Airport info SYDNEY (SYD) - amenities, transfers, transport

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SYD Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport
inter-terminal transfer and connection information

Link to Sydney airport web site
For a PDF map with all options, click on this link

Getting to SYD airport info link

International Terminal 1 and Domestic Terminals 2 & 3
T1 for all international flights, including QF, JQ & VA
T2 for Virgin Australia VA domestic, Jetstar JQ domestic, REX & other airlines
T3 for Qantas QF domestic
If travelling with Qantas refer below for the Qantas seamless lite transfer. Keep your QF boarding pass
If travelling with Virgin, Jetstar or REX you need to use the public transfer options. There is a free option.
The T2 and T3 domestic terminals are walking distance apart. Clearly marked signage will assist if you require directions between these terminals.

Click on this link for all SYD inter terminal transfer options.

From unknown source
NOTE: International and Domestic terminals are opposite and across Sydney's Kingsford Smith International Airport, 4km / 2.5 miles away - not walkable, really; connections between International Terminal 1 and the Domestic Terminals 2 and 3 are therefore complicated and time consuming. If flights arrive and depart on time, 1.5 hours is marginally doable during peak morning hours, at least 2 hours at other times. Many would advocate for two or even three hours for a more relaxed International <-> Domestic experience.
Australian Visa
  • Link to Australian government web site Entering Australia
  • Link to Australian government web site (application) ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) apply AUD$20. For passports holders from Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Hong Kong (SAR PRC), Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and United States.
  • Link to Australian Government web Subclass 651 eVisitor For many other passport holders. Check your eligibility & visa type needed.
  • Beware of non government 3rd party look-a-like web sites that charge more, often found with a browser web search. Only the Australian government web site/department issues visas. The other scam web sites just send you data to the Au Gov web site.

FT thread Australia immigration (incl ETA visa) & customs

Smartgate
With some passports you can use smartgate
Arrivals SmartGate enables eligible travellers arriving at Australias eight major international airports the option to self-process through passport control. It provides a secure and efficient way to clear through passport control.

Arrivals SmartGate uses the information in ePassports and facial recognition technology to perform checks usually conducted by an Australian Border Force officer.
FT Smartgate thread (may not be up to date) Smartgate at Australia & NZ immigration

International Arrival
NOTE: Australia is very restrictive of imported (and even inter-state) meats, fruits, vegetable matter and even dirt on one's shoes from rural or farm areas. There are amnesty bins to dump "contraband" in, but if you have any doubt declare it in your entry form so you can avoid serious fines.

If SYD is your entry into Australia you have to clear immigration, pick up checked luggage, and then process customs & quarantine with all your carry on & checked luggage.

From 05:00 to 07:30 there are many wide body long haul aircraft arriving. SYD T1 arrivals non official link. It can take a long time to get through immigration, customs & baggage pick up. Or it can be a short time. If on a separate Australian domestic flight take note of this.

There are no arrivals lounges at SYD. The arrivals (immigration) side and departures side are physically separated. You cannot access the T1 departure lounges on arrival if you are entering Australia. If using air side transit for an ongoing international flight you will have normal access to T1 departure lounges. You cannot go backwards through the transit door to the immigration area. (Unless you are being escorted for a very good reason: think grumpy unhappy people in uniforms)

You pass through immigration, then you must pick up your checked baggage & clear customs & biosecurity.
If continuing on a domestic QF flight go to the T1 transfer area for the dedicated QF bus (as below). Otherwise you must proceed via other transfer means to T2 or T3, as below, and you must take all your baggage with you.

As you walk out from T1 Customs into the arrivals area landside, walk to your right, toward the McDonald's sign, for the T-bus shuttle bus bays. You will encounter Australian cash machines / ATMs and SIM vendors for mobile telephony here.

International Transit - airside
If you are transferring from an international flight to another international flight you do not formally enter Australia. You remain air side.
Depending on your passport you many need an Australian transit visa.----->(Au Government) Do I need a visa to transit through Australia?

From SYD airport link
Security screening for travellers in transit
If you're transiting on arrival in Australia, you'll be re-screened at Sydney Airport before re-boarding your aircraft and departing for your final destination. Any liquids, aerosols and gels you have that do not meet the quantity restrictions or pass screening won't be allowed through the screening point. This includes duty-free items.
Inter terminal Transfer Transportation Options
  • QF seamless lite transfer if your onward Australian domestic flight is on QF (as below). You do not need to arrive at T1 on QF to use this free service. Keep your QF boarding pass.

There are four other transfer options:
  1. The public land side "T-Bus" shuttle bus
    This wends its way through traffic and is not as recommended if you have another option. You will not need it if you have a Qantas domestic flight as you can use the QF airport shuttle described below.
    "The T-Bus is Sydney Airports complimentary shuttle bus service between the T1 International and T2/T3 Domestic terminals. The service operates frequently throughout the day, 7 days a week, between 6.00am and 8.50pm. The journey takes approximately 10 minutes. Bus stops are located on the Arrivals level outside each terminal. For more information, contact our Customer Care Centre on 133 SYD." (updated 20/02/18)
  2. The suburban Airport Link metro - train.
    This is the regular Sydney suburban commuter train system. It is not an airport shuttle. The same train will take you into the city or the outer suburbs.
    Airport Link offers a $7.00 (one way, per person) single transfer ticket for passengers travelling between the T1 International and T2/T3 Domestic terminals. However, pricing does vary if the traveller is using an Opal Card. The journey takes only two minutes and there are frequent services between 5am and midnight, seven days a week. For more information, visit www.airportlink.com.au and https://airportlink.com.au/trip-info...inal-transfer/
  3. Number 400 bus as this post by serfty
    There is Also the 400 Bus which can be had for $2.30 NSW transport trip planner
    "The route 400 bus travels to Sydney Domestic Airport and Sydney International Airports. There are frequent services that operate in both directions between Bondi Junction and Burwood via Eastgardens. The bus stop at the domestic airport is located outside Terminal 3, which is walking distance from Terminal 2.
    Transferring between Domestic and International airports
    To go from Domestic to International airport, catch route 400 towards Burwood.
    To go from the International to Domestic airport, catch route 400 towards Bondi Junction.
    The route 400 bus timetable varies depending on the time of day. Use the Trip Planner for the most up-to-date service information and Opal card fares"
    .
  4. Taxi
    A taxi will set you back "a lobster and some" - about AUD$25.00 or more. Tipping taxi drivers is not the custom in Australia, but one may round up and give the driver the change due. A taxi journey between T1 International and the T2/T3 domestic terminals will take up to 10 minutes, depending on the time of day. Taxi drivers do not like doing this short T1 to/from T2-T3 trip, as they can wait in the queue for very long time, but legally cannot refuse a fare.

Sydney Public Transport Opal card From Amex Australia 19 Dec 2019:
You can now use your American Express Card to pay standard (peak) Adult Opal fares on all Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Intercity Opal rail services, Sydney Ferries and light rail services. Simply tap your American Express Card or mobile wallet on the Opal reader and go. Just remember to tap off with the same Card or device so you're charged the correct fare. Opal Daily, Weekly and Sunday Caps apply but no other Opal benefits are currently available for contactless payments, however youll still be able to enjoy the rewards, security and convenience benefits that American Express offers.
Not clear if this is only for Australian issued Amex cards or all Amex cards.
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Australian domestic airport security is straightforward. You will not have to remove shoes, unless they are very thick soled, if your next flight is departing from a domestic terminal (T2 or T3). There are no restrictions on liquids. You are free to take duty free purchases with you on domestic flight provided that they depart from the domestic terminals Link.

International Terminal 1 to Domestic Terminal 2 Virgin domestic
Virgin now restarted T1 checkin- bag drop, but have stopped the T1 to T2 transfer. Use the Tbus, train or taxi.
Links--->VA Transfer maps Sydney International to Domestic and VA International Connections
From Transfer desk at SYD International (03 Oct 2022)
Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Just a heads-up for anyone coming into SYD International and transferring to Virgin domestic.

The Virgin transfer desk IS operational (after being closed for most of the past few years), but it is incredibly poorly signposted - you basically need to already be headed towards it in order to see the signs that are pointing to it. It's in the same location as before, so after you pass through customs you need to turn LEFT and head to the far end of the terminal. Their bus between terminals is not operating, so you then need to walk all the way back to the other end of the terminal to catch the T-Bus over to the domestic terminal.

From catching the T-bus it's clear that most people don't know that the transfer desk exists - when I was there, almost everyone on the bus was carrying their checked luggage, despite the vast majority of it already being tagged to a destination beyond SYD. This significantly slowed down the boarding of the bus.
From post 525 (info from a UA-VA thread 30 May 2022)
Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
I did SFO-SYD-MEL last week on UA/VA single ticket.
Immigration at SYD was a breeze, but luggage took awhile. Once clearning custom before exit door, there is a door on the left that connects you to the VA transfer desk. Look out for the sign.

Transfer, rechecking the bag (single luggage tag issued by UA), and issuing the boarding pass took less than 5 min.
The longest wait is the bus from T3 to T1. There were mutiple flights arriving during early morning, so the line was long, I got onto the third bus after I got into the waitling line. The buses were crowded and luggages were stored on the seats and between seats, so made it hard to get out of bus if you were stuck in the back. The buses were packed because many passengers were desparate to get to their connecting fights.

Once I was in the VA lounge, nice flat white and full breakfast made me forgetting the unpleasant bus ride quickly.
It would be a much pleasant experience if the inter-terminal bus transfer can be improved.

I budged 3 hours for the transit, and glad I did not take the VA agent's offer to get on an earlier flight (an hour earlier), I needed the extra time for waiting for the bus, and clear security at the domestic terminal. A 40-min relaxing visit in the VA lounge with great coffee is a nice break after a long 15-hour flight. It would be even nicer if the showers were working at the VA lounge.


International Terminal 1 to Domestic Terminal 3 Qantas domestic seamless lite transfer.
As you walk out from Customs into the arrivals area landside, walk to your right toward the McDonalds sign for the public T-bus shuttle bus bays.
From posts on AuFreqFlyer the boarding pass and bag drop are available at T1.

QF link-->Sydney T1 international airport guide (as at 03 Apr 2022) [ a lesser service compared to pre CV19 ]
Transferring between T2 and T3 (domestic airports) and T1 (international airport)
Sydney Airport T-Bus
The T-Bus is Sydney Airports complimentary shuttle bus service between the T1 International and T2/T3 Domestic terminals. The service currently operates every 30 minutes and takes approximately 10 minutes. To catch the T-Bus, proceed to the bus stop on the Arrivals level outside each terminal.The first bus departs T1 International terminal at 07.30am and the last bus departs T2 Domestic terminal at 7.30pm. For transfers outside these hours, we recommend you take one of the alternative public transport options.

Qantas seamless transfer
The Qantas Seamless Transfer service is available between Qantas and Qantas, oneworld or Emirates Flights, subject to capacity restrictions and operational requirements.For international arrivals, a Seamless Lite service is available for customers arriving on international flights and connecting to a Qantas domestic flight. Transfers to the departures level of the domestic terminal (T3) depart every 15 minutes in the morning and every 30 minutes in the afternoon and evening from bus bay 10, with a travel time of approximately 20 mins.

To check if a Qantas Seamless Transfer is available to you, please check with staff in Sydney or at your initial check in. If unavailable, alternative options include the free Sydney Airport T-Bus, paid train services or paid taxi. Ensure you allow enough time to collect your baggage and check in for your onward flight.

Please refer to our Sydney Domestic Airport (T3) guide for further details on domestic arrivals.
From QF newsroom 01 Jul 2022 -->QANTAS AND JETSTAR GEAR UP FOR NSW, WA AND ACT SCHOOL HOLIDAYS
<snip>
As international travel continues to pick up, Qantas has resumed direct transfers for customers arriving off international flights at Sydney Airport and connecting to domestic flights. This means customers can check in and be security screened for their domestic flight in the international terminal and be transferred by bus across the tarmac to the domestic terminal. Each day up to 1600 customers (and their bags) will use the service making it easier and faster to connect to their domestic flights and help ease congestion in the domestic terminal.
<snip>
Domestic Terminal 3 (Qantas domestic) to International Terminal 1 (Reverse of above)
Qantas seamless transfer
The Qantas Seamless Transfer service is available between Qantas and Qantas, oneworld or Emirates Flights, subject to capacity restrictions and operational requirements.

For domestic arrivals, transfers to the international terminal (T1) depart from gate 15 approximately every 30 minutes between 7:30am and 9:30pm every day, with a travel time of approximately 15 mins.

To check if a Qantas Seamless Transfer is available to you, please check with customer service staff when you initially check in, or at gate 15 in Sydney. If unavailable, alternative options include the free Sydney Airport T-Bus, paid train services or paid taxi. Ensure you allow enough time to collect your baggage and check in for your onward flight.
You will have to process exit immigration and security, yet again, before walking through Duty Free maze toward your gate or the airport lounges if you have access. Keep your QF boarding pass

Note QF will not through check baggage on separate itineraries on other airlines. QF will interline to QF and QF to EK flights on separate PNR's, and when an award flight. But check the details .
With separate tickets you need to take your checked baggage to T1 by landside public bus or train. FT link--->Qantas - no checking of luggage separate itineraries from 1 Sep 2016 [some exceptions]

19 Jan 2018 Transfer T3 to T1 SYD without International flight OK

Domestic Terminal 2 to International Terminal 1 (Reverse of above)
Virgin Australia Links--->VA Transfer maps Sydney International to Domestic and VA International Connections
Keep your VA boarding pass.

Domestic Terminal 2 issues i.e. Jetstar, Virgin Australia
Source unknown
Flying Jetstar with ongoing ticketing on QF international I came in to T2, walked to T3, processed security, went to T3 QF gate 15 transfer lounge and took the "Qantas Seamless Transfer" bus. Arriving at departure at T1 I processed immigration and - security once again - immigration in about an hour. Of course, add time if you have baggage to check in. (If in Business or First, an Express Pass makes a bit quicker at the T1 end.)
_______________________________
Lounges

(more to be added)

https://www.ausbt.com.au/a-qantas-fl...-lounge-access

________________________________
Uber
https://www.uber.com/en-AU/airports/syd/
At SYD, your pickup location depends on your terminal and ride option.

For T1 International Terminal, follow the signs from Car Park 7 to the Express pickup area for your uberX, uberXL or UberSELECT ride. For all other ride options, head to the limo pickup area.

For T2 Domestic Terminal, follow the signs to the priority pickup zone for your uberX, uberXL or UberSELECT ride. For all other ride options, head outside to the general passenger pickup area
30 Nov 2017
Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
....I used Uber today at SYD. My first mistake was ignoring the post upthread that talked about the distance from the arrival terminal to the pick up zone. I was depending on Wifi and not data roaming which cost me more in the end.

The second mistake was misunderstanding the app and web saying go to Express Pickup past Carpark 7. I made my way to the large sign that said Express Pickup - 15 minutes. However, the driver expected me to stop at the smaller sign Express Pick up - 2 minutes.

The end result was me paying for 3 phone calls. The total bill for a ride to a hotel in Parramatta was 86 AUD whereas the taxi could have come in at 100 AUD so I would have been better to go with the taxi.
_______________

Shower on arrival in T1 SYD?
_________________
Accommodation at Sydney Airport

Closest hotel: Rydges Sydney Airport (~100 yards/100m from T1 international check-in)
Link to property website. Provides free transfers to / from domestic terminals 05:30 - 22:45.
Link to FT post with Rydges information

There are Accor hotels in the airport area Accommodation at Sydney Airport
Ibis Budget (Formerly Formule 1 Sydney Airport)
A short walk from Sydney Airport's Domestic Terminal and train station, ibis budget Sydney Airport offers comfortable, affordable Sydney Airport accommodation for travellers.

An airport shuttle service is available at an additional charge which operates from 6am - 11pm every half hour from the Sydney Domestic Airport between terminals 2 and 3, and Sydney International Airport from Bay 33. Join us in the restaurant for all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast, served daily.
International departure body scans - no (official) opt out.
For International Departures, there is a random assignment of body scanning, aka nude-o-scope. Unlike many jurisdictions, there is no opt out without a medical certificate. Those who are not officially documented to opt out of the nude-o-scope will have to throw themselves on the tender mercies of security supervisors to avoid the scan. These supervisors are not known for their kindness to strangers.

+++++++++++++++++++++
28 Dec 2017 Links updated
06 Jan 2018 Bus 400 added
19 Jan 2018 QF T3 to T1 link added
02 Feb 2018 Shower link added
20 Feb 2018 T bus now free
21 Feb 2018 Updated FT smartgate link
26 Feb 2018 Updated air side transit
30 Mar 2018 Trying to fix links lost due to site downgrade
19 Sept 2018 Added UA-QF transfer link
19 Dec 2018 Added Opal card Amex info
21 Feb 2019 Added BA express pass link
22 Mar 2019 Added VA DL text & link
11 May 2019 Added Lounge ausbt.com.au & link
29 Sept 2019 AU Gov links revised
26 Jan 2020 Fixing formatting after software downgrade
19 Feb 2020 Fixing formatting after software downgrade (font size now not changeable)
07 Mar 2022 Added QF airport guide link
25 Mar 2022 Added QF airport guide revisions

03 Apr 2022 revised QF & VA transfers
23 Jun 2022 VA T1 checkin-bag drop & transfers
02 Jul 2022 QF T1 T3 airside transfers
0 Oct 2022 VA T1 transfer


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Old Sep 10, 22, 8:03 pm
  #586  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 536
Hi Flyertalkers,

I have a flight tomorrow from SYD T2 at 07:00am. Does anyone here have an idea of how long security lines at currently at T2? Some people have told me 2 hours and other 5 minutes. So, I would like to ask the experts here who have flown in recent days.

Many thanks!
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Old Sep 18, 22, 5:25 pm
  #587  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Francisco/Sydney
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Posts: 7,569
Arrived in SYD Intl this morning from SFO, connecting to the Gold Coast on Virgin.

Arrivals was insanely busy - probably as busy as I've ever seen it, even in the before-times. Spoke to one of the staff who said it's been that way for much of the past week. In fairness we were probably the last flight in from the 6-7am peak period so the worst time to land. My priority-tagged bag (well, box) took about 40-45 minutes to come out, and based on the number of people waiting that was clearly early on in the bags. (I don't know how early it was as I was jujmping between the normal belt and the oversized as I wasn't sure where it was going to come out - ended up being the normal belt)

The Virgin transfer desk is open, but incredibly poorly signposted. I only saw 2 signs for it, and you'd only see them if you were already knew where it was and were already headed towards it. (It's in the same location it's always been - the opposite end of the terminal from the QF one - turn left after customs and keep walking). As a result, the vast majority of the people on the T-bus between terminals had bags with them (bags that were already tagged for their final destination on VA flights!), as they clearly didn't know the transfer desk existed. This slowed the loading of the buses significantly.

Security in T2 (Virgin) was moderately busy, but no more than 10 minutes to get through. (I didn't even look at the check-in area so can't comment on that)

All up from landing to being in the Virgin lounge was about 1 hour 40 minutes.

Transferring from UA to VA under their new partnership worked fine. UA issued boarding passes and tagged my 'bag' (box) all the way through. Bag drop at VA desk was a little slow as I had to also check my roller-board bag, so I went from 1 checked bag on the first leg to 2 on the second. (I knew I was going to have to do this due to VA's carryon limits, but decided to carry it on for the first leg anyway).
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Old Sep 22, 22, 2:40 am
  #588  
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 316
Originally Posted by superboi View Post
Thanks very much docbert and Mwenenzi !

I did look at BLR-DEL-MEL but it was more $$$ and longer (duration as well as distance) than BLR-SYD-MEL.

Will report back with my experience in a few weeks.
Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
For Intl T1 to Dom T3 where was the biggest delay?
Some people have used the train or free T-bus after T1 QF bag drop, due to congestion on the QF airside bus.
Update with my experience:

QF68 arrived on time but collecting bags and going through immigration and customs took the best part of an hour so by the time one arrived at the transfer desk it was 11.20. Agent there said that the bag drop cutoff for QF441 (d. 1200) had been missed, and rebooked on to the next available flight QF449 (d. 1400). Cut-off time for bag drop is 60 minutes as per QF website so in future I would budget at least 2 hrs between flights.

Transfer area was mostly empty at that time. About a 10-min wait for bus which gave a nice view of the airfield (my first spotting of A380s from more than 2 carriers at the same location). Eventually reached T3 at 11.50. With hand baggage only one could have dashed and made it for QF441 (which was still finishing up boarding).

QF449 was fairly full so gate agent was asking for volunteers to gate check their cabin baggage. Had lost pre-assigned seat and got assigned to horrible 30B so offered bag in exchange for a better seat and was later moved to 23F by gate agent who was very friendly.

Time break up:

Deplaning and walk to baggage: 10 minutes
Baggage: 20 minutes
Immigration: 10 minutes (manned counter)
Customs: 10 minutes
Walk between the above and from customs to transfer desk: 10 minutes
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Old Sep 22, 22, 7:20 pm
  #589  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Programs: TK Elite Plus, AA Exec Platinum, Hyatt Globalist, United 1K
Posts: 196
I have a ticket to New Zealand from the US connecting in SYD but I decided to skip NZ on this trip. Can I choose to not take my SYD-AKL flight and just leave in SYD after landing from SFO?
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Old Sep 22, 22, 9:12 pm
  #590  
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Join Date: Apr 2001
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Originally Posted by flyjfk View Post
I have a ticket to New Zealand from the US connecting in SYD but I decided to skip NZ on this trip. Can I choose to not take my SYD-AKL flight and just leave in SYD after landing from SFO?
Some one else asked the same question a few weeks ago.
Do you have passport, visa etc for entry into AU? AU border force will not be expecting you.
Will you have checked bags? They will be tagged and sent SFO-SYD-AKL.
Likely you will noticed by the airline for missing the SYD-AKL segment. Along the lines of "flyjfk your AKL flight is waiting for an immediate departure. Please proceed to gate XX"
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Old Sep 23, 22, 8:41 am
  #591  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Some one else asked the same question a few weeks ago.
Do you have passport, visa etc for entry into AU? AU border force will not be expecting you.
Will you have checked bags? They will be tagged and sent SFO-SYD-AKL.
Likely you will noticed by the airline for missing the SYD-AKL segment. Along the lines of "flyjfk your AKL flight is waiting for an immediate departure. Please proceed to gate XX"

I can get the ETA for AU for the flight I will be on. Will that be enough for AU to expect me? Or should the airline also inform AU as my final destination.
I won't have checked bags.
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