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How much time to allow at Sydney airport for flight to US at 7:30 pm on a Thursday

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Do I need to get to the Sydney airport 3 hours ahead to get through security and make my flight? Thank you for any information!

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That would be a good idea.

Depending on aircraft type, A LOT of people could be checking in.

Passport control tends to be quick, but security checks are usually tediously slow. If you are lucky to get through all of this quickly, have a beverage or browse duty free on the other side.

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Do I need to get to the Sydney airport 3 hours ahead to get through security and make my flight? Thank you for any information!

The government has tightened security at major airports and request you arrive as early as possible. 3 Hours is the benchmark for ease of departure.

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That would be a good idea.

 

Depending on aircraft type, A LOT of people could be checking in.

 

Passport control tends to be quick, but security checks are usually tediously slow. If you are lucky to get through all of this quickly, have a beverage or browse duty free on the other side.

 

 

 

If they say 3, make it 4. Hopefully, you'll have an FF lounge in which to hang out.

 

 

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Do I need to get to the Sydney airport 3 hours ahead to get through security and make my flight? Thank you for any information!

Yep. Or even a bit earlier.

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Keith - interesting recommendation - how many times have you flown out of Sydney International airport? I think some local knowledge may be useful

 

First it depends what class you are travelling and your airline status

 

Qantas state on their tickets:

  • International First / Business Closes 60 minutes before departure
  • Economy / Premium Economy Closes 90 minutes before departure
  • Qantas codeshare services (QF Flight numbers operated by Jetstar)^
    Check in opens 3 hours before departure Closes 60 minutes before departure
  • Jetstar Business / Economy (JQ)^ Check in opens 3 hours before departure Closes 60 minutes before departure
  • Flights operated by Jetstar Asia (3K)~ Check in opens 2 hours before departure

Virgin is 90 minutes before departure

 

You do need to see what your airline requires

 

So I guess it depends on how cautious you are and how much you like waiting around airports

 

If you have checked baggage and been ticketed then they are unlikely to leave without you if you are stuck in a processing lane - they will be paging you and sending out the search parties - they don't want to unload your baggage - now if you are finishing that last drink in the bar and ignoring pages then you deserve to be left behind

 

Sydney has facial recognition on immigration gates so if you have an electronic enabled passport you will use that - then through security which is not as (visibly) stringent as most US international airports

 

Two hours is fine - a 33% tolerance over the airline recommendation - three is being cautious ad four is just plain crazy

 

Now what I will warn of is allowing time for Sydney traffic delays - our traffic is notoriously bad most of the time and certainly around late afternoon as the commute begins and that impacts airport traffic - so do allow plenty of time to get to the airport at that time of the day

Edited by Bodogbodog

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Keith - interesting recommendation - how many times have you flown out of Sydney International airport? I think some local knowledge may be useful

 

First it depends what class you are travelling and your airline status

 

Qantas state on their tickets:

  • International First / Business Closes 60 minutes before departure
  • Economy / Premium Economy Closes 90 minutes before departure
  • Qantas codeshare services (QF Flight numbers operated by Jetstar)^
    Check in opens 3 hours before departure Closes 60 minutes before departure
  • Jetstar Business / Economy (JQ)^ Check in opens 3 hours before departure Closes 60 minutes before departure
  • Flights operated by Jetstar Asia (3K)~ Check in opens 2 hours before departure

Virgin is 90 minutes before departure

 

You do need to see what your airline requires

 

So I guess it depends on how cautious you are and how much you like waiting around airports

 

If you have checked baggage and been ticketed then they are unlikely to leave without you if you are stuck in a processing lane - they will be paging you and sending out the search parties - they don't want to unload your baggage - now if you are finishing that last drink in the bar and ignoring pages then you deserve to be left behind

 

Sydney has facial recognition on immigration gates so if you have an electronic enabled passport you will use that - then through security which is not as (visibly) stringent as most US international airports

 

Two hours is fine - a 33% tolerance over the airline recommendation - three is being cautious ad four is just plain crazy

 

Now what I will warn of is allowing time for Sydney traffic delays - our traffic is notoriously bad most of the time and certainly around late afternoon as the commute begins and that impacts airport traffic - so do allow plenty of time to get to the airport at that time of the day

 

 

 

So, basically, you are agreeing with 3-4 hours if only for a buffer related to traffic.[emoji106][emoji106][emoji106]

 

 

 

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So, basically, you are agreeing with 3-4 hours if only for a buffer related to traffic.[emoji106][emoji106][emoji106]

 

No I’m not

 

There’s a big difference to needlessly sitting around Sydney airport for 4 hours (twice as long as you need to IMHO) and actually getting to the check in on time given the traffic in Sydney

 

If I were agreeing then depending on where they were coming from, let’s say the central city for example, they might have to allow 3 hours for the travel to the airport and to checkin - but if they were coming from say Hornsby they’d really need to allow 4 hours in total to be on the safe side.

 

Judging Sydney traffic is an art not a science - although traffic apps like Waze and Google maps is helping these days

 

I’m amused that someone from CA and someone from TX is giving advice on a question relating to Sydney airport - yes there’s a theoretical answer but I think the OP was looking for practical advice and local knowledge

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Thank you all for replying. It is Virgin and I have no status. I was hoping to do a tour to the Blue Mountains that day that said I would be at the airport at about 4:45 pm and thus the question for my 7:30 pm flight wondering if I was allowing enough time.

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Thank you all for replying. It is Virgin and I have no status. I was hoping to do a tour to the Blue Mountains that day that said I would be at the airport at about 4:45 pm and thus the question for my 7:30 pm flight wondering if I was allowing enough time.

 

I think given you will be coming from Western Sydney from the mountains you do run a risk of hitting traffic on the M4. The trip from the scenic area of the mountains is around 2 hours each way without a delay

 

I don’t know how long they’ve allowed for the trip to the airport but it looks risky and tight to me based on Sydney traffic - 1 hour plus delays can easily occur on the main routes and that would put you at risk

 

Maybe you will need to consider another tour that day and do the Mountains earlier in your visit - sorry but that would be my recommendation

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No I’m not [emoji107][emoji107][emoji107]

 

 

 

There’s a big difference to needlessly sitting around Sydney airport for 4 hours (twice as long as you need to IMHO) and actually getting to the check in on time given the traffic in Sydney

 

 

 

If I were agreeing then depending on where they were coming from, let’s say the central city for example, they might have to allow 3 hours for the travel to the airport and to checkin - but if they were coming from say Hornsby they’d really need to allow 4 hours in total to be on the safe side.

 

 

 

Judging Sydney traffic is an art not a science - although traffic apps like Waze and Google maps is helping these days

 

 

 

Some airports are worth "sitting around"

 

We are fortunate to fly out of SFO, which has very well appointed FF clubs, modernized terminals (including an ongoing series of curated museum displays) and enough good eateries to satisfy a variety of palates. In addition, one of the adjacent towns is Burlingame, which has great shopping, dining et al. and is served by a free trolley that circulates among the many excellent airport hotels.

 

With the understanding that we are very cautious about all sorts of travel elements including insurance, ground transport, buffer arrival/layover times, etc,. (resulting in part from a professional lifetime of work-related flying where "we've seen it all"), we often arrive for early AM flights out of SFO the evening prior! We catch a ride from home on the north side of the Bay to one of the Burlingame hotels, trolley to dinner, get a good night's sleep and early shuttle from hotel to SFO - still arriving for international flights prior to whenever the earliest checking begins. Whether it's the United Club or just a restaurant (e.g., Yankee Pier) and a stroll through the latest exhibit, there's plenty to do/see at the airport.

It's been about a decade since I was last at SYD and I don't have much recollection of the amenities. But, I am sure there are things to do and see there. After reading this thread, I tried checking out SYD on the Gate Guru iPhone app only to find that SYD is not listed. That's weird!

In any case, major international airports can be a pleasant experience. It just may take a bit of research to find out all that is offered.

 

 

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Some airports are worth "sitting around"

 

 

On that one we will have to agree to disagree - the option of spending time in Sydney proper or in an airport concourse seems a clear cut choice to me - but to each their own

 

It's been about a decade since I was last at SYD and I don't have much recollection of the amenities

 

And here was I thinking this thread was about Sydney International Airport in Australia as opposed to San Francisco International airport and its’ facilities...and that the OP was looking for local knowledge and input

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And here was I thinking this thread was about Sydney International Airport in Australia as opposed to San Francisco International airport and its’ facilities...and that the OP was looking for local knowledge and input

 

 

 

It is about SYD- just offering an example and hoping someone who frequents SYD will respond in kind.

 

You said no need to show up hours ahead. But, that is a faulty assumption given the vagaries of modern air travel. Your post also insinuates that an airport (specifically SYD) is not a pleasant place.

 

 

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hoping someone who frequents SYD will respond in kind

 

They did and I do

I fly in and out of Sydney International airport regularly and have done so for many years

 

You said no need to show up hours ahead. But, that is a faulty assumption given the vagaries of modern air travel. Your post also insinuates that an airport (specifically SYD) is not a pleasant place.

 

What assumption is faulty about anything I’ve said as it relates to Sydney Intl airport? I know the security processes that guests are required to pass through from firsthand experience and they are different than say LAX or Heathrow

 

You are clearly cautious as indicated by arriving at the airport the day before for some flights. I look at what the airlines require and knowing the airport and how it operates make a choice that compiles with the requirements. You are correct I don’t see an airport as my holiday destination

 

Don’t try and put words in my mouth - I didn’t say it wasn’t a pleasant place just that there are nicer places to spend time at in Sydney

Edited by Bodogbodog

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Two hours is fine - a 33% tolerance over the airline recommendation - three is being cautious ad four is just plain crazy
Unless there's been some recent new recommendation to allow more time than previously, I agree with every word of this.

 

Sadly, I think that my view may also come from being a regular user of Sydney airport. It sounds like those of us who know the airport best have the least valued opinions about how much time to allow.

 

There is only one qualification to what I have said: if you have access to the Qantas first class lounge, then four hours could be a very pleasant time. But I've also done the non-status hanging around for hours there when it's been necessary. There are far worse airports in the world to do that, but I wouldn't deliberately choose to spend four hours at SYD.

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There is only one qualification to what I have said: if you have access to the Qantas first class lounge, then four hours could be a very pleasant time

 

Thanks for the confirmation I just couldn’t believe it when some said 4 hours

 

There is no new requirements or recommendations from the authorities - I am travelling in less than a week so would be aware or have been advised if that were the case

 

Yes the Qantas First lounge is one of the best globally I believe but even with the spa and the restaurant there’s only so much eating and drinking one can do - so even with that access I’d still opt for a couple of hours

 

The OP will be out in the concourse so no such luck - and for them the challenge is more around the amount of time to allow to travel to the airport

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Yes the Qantas First lounge is one of the best globally I believe but even with the spa and the restaurant there’s only so much eating and drinking one can do ...
I agree with that, but it is a beautiful space in which to just sit, look out of the window, watch the airport activity and (for me) sadly get a last fill of the Sydney skyline for a number of months.

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I don't think Sydney airport (FF lounges excluded) has ever been considered an enjoyable place to hang out for more than about 30 minutes. Check-in 2 hours before flight time is ample.

The traffic to the airport can be truly diabolical however and you definitely need to be generous with time allowed to get there. I would be very uncomfortable doing a day tour of the Blue Mountains on the same day as a 7.30pm flight. Too many possibilities for missing your flight or at the least spending a very stressful few hours stuck in freeway traffic.

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Just a bit of information that confirms my earlier post

 

I just checked in for my flight to the US tomorrow - on Virgin their advice is be at the airport at least 2 hours before departure for bag drop and processing after online checkin

 

Please see a Virgin Australia team member at the airport to obtain your boarding pass and to have your travel documents verified. This will include a valid passport and may include visas and/or proof of onward travel. If you have checked baggage, arrive at the airport least 120 minutes prior to flight departure. We also recommend that you are at the boarding gate at least 45 minutes prior to flight departure.

 

If you are flying to the USA, you must have a copy of your itinerary with you (either electronically or hard copy) and please arrive at the boarding gates 75 minutes prior to departure.

 

Interestingly the boarding pass I printed out refers to arriving at the airport 90 minutes prior to departure....talk about confusing and contradictory

Edited by Bodogbodog

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If anyone is still on this post , I have a question. We will be going to Syd in Feb 2020. Can you tell me where we fly out of. Will leave Denver as a starting point. Thanks for any info. Like departure times duration and any tips to make it better. We do at least have Business class so not too bad.

 

Thanks.

 

Mike and Lisa

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If anyone is still on this post , I have a question. We will be going to Syd in Feb 2020. Can you tell me where we fly out of. Will leave Denver as a starting point. Thanks for any info. Like departure times duration and any tips to make it better. We do at least have Business class so not too bad.

 

Mike & Lisa

Do you mean in Sydney or en route from Denver to Sydney - if the later it depends what you’ve booked - if you mean Sydney there is only one international airport in Sydney at Kingsford Smith airport

Edited by Bodogbodog

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We will be going to Syd in Feb 2020. Can you tell me where we fly out of.
And if you're asking about North American gateways for the trans-Pacific sector, then it's too early to be firm about this because schedules for February 2020 won't begin to be published until February 2019 (although it will be possible to be reasonably confident by November 2018). Currently, the North American gateways for flight to Sydney are Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston Intercontinental and Dallas/Fort Worth. But (other than Los Angeles) any of that could change by the time you fly - it's still a long way off and you won't be able to make a firm booking until early 2019.

 

However, don't forget that there are also a few options for stopping in the middle of the ocean. And there are alternative routes that don't involve flying non-stop from North American to Sydney, which could open up other gateways.

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Our flight home leaves from Sydney to the US on American Airlines at 10am. We’re staying at The Grace Hotel downtown so am I correct that we should leave before 7am to allow for rush hour traffic?

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Our flight home leaves from Sydney to the US on American Airlines at 10am. We’re staying at The Grace Hotel downtown so am I correct that we should leave before 7am to allow for rush hour traffic?

YES! And not later. Better at ghe airport half an hour early and relax over a cup of coffee, than 10 minutes late. Check in opens 3 hours before departure for a reason.

All those people who suggest that they cut it fine arriving at the airport, "because you only need 90 minutes" must be travelling on a full fare flexible ticket and irrelevant schedule. " if I miss that flight, oh well. I just take the next." Not with most tickets...

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YES! And not later. Better at ghe airport half an hour early and relax over a cup of coffee, than 10 minutes late. Check in opens 3 hours before departure for a reason.

 

All those people who suggest that they cut it fine arriving at the airport, "because you only need 90 minutes" must be travelling on a full fare flexible ticket and irrelevant schedule. " if I miss that flight, oh well. I just take the next." Not with most tickets...

 

As one of those people to be fair what did I say about Sydney traffic?

 

You don’t need to be at the check in counter 4 hours before - as you point out it doesn’t even open up til -3 hours!

 

Absolutely understand and allow for Sydney traffic - but don’t over compensate on the airport aspects

 

And no I don’t travel on fully flexible fares and even if I did international flight schedules don’t really lend themselves to catching the “next flight”

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All those people who suggest that they cut it fine arriving at the airport, "because you only need 90 minutes" must be travelling on a full fare flexible ticket and irrelevant schedule. " if I miss that flight, oh well. I just take the next." Not with most tickets...
Arriving at the airport 90 minutes before the flight isn't even cutting it fine! That's very common for me, and I am usually travelling on the cheapest non-refundable tickets I can get. And no, I don't have the luxury of saying "I'll just take the next", because I'm very often on the last flight of the day on routes which only have one or two flights a day anyway.

 

It seems that what I have in common with Bodogbodog may be that we do this frequently, so we know not to make a big deal of it, while also not doing anything that's not sensible.

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Since there seem to be a number of people on this thread who truly know Sydney traffic, could you advise me regarding getting from the White Bay cruise terminal to the airport for an 11:35 am flight to NZ? Our ship gets in at 8 am (hopefully earlier) and we had flights scheduled for after 1 pm but Quantas cancelled them. So now we are in a bit of a time crunch. Should we take a taxi to the airport? Take a taxi to Circular Quay and then a train to the airport? What makes sense—time wise? Try to reschedule to a late afternoon flight?

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Qantas (no U) :D

 

Only one option - take a taxi or Uber from White Bay to the airport

 

You don’t want to be backtracking to Circular Quay. If you wanted to catch the train you would go to Central station and catch it from there but with the time pressure in your case I would recommend taking a taxi directly. You will be fine to get there in that time window to arrive by say 9.30am to allow checkin 2 hours prior to your flight

 

I don’t think you need to reschedule unless you want to make some time to look around Sydney

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Thank you for your response. In the meantime, I was sent a link to the port authority’s calendar and it shows that we will dock at the OPT. Phew. I checked it out this morning and found that we are the only ship using that terminal that day. So we are definitely relieved.

 

Lots of people talk about the terrible traffic in Sydney, especially during rush hour and we didn’t want to be in the middle of that. We live an hour away from San Francisco and get an airport hotel when we have a morning flight.

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With two of you and your luggage I’d definitely get a taxi or Uber (we don’t have Lyft) rather than schlepping your bags on the train

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Definitely take credit cards - I saw a bad news post recently about a taxi driver not turning the meter on and then saying only cash - don’t let them even try that - they need to run the meter and also accept credit cards.

 

Remember in Australia there is absolutely no need to tip - people get a reasonable wage so tipping is not a factor here

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Thanks for the reminder about no tipping. We are so used to doing it here in the USA.

 

And thanks for the reminder about the meters. We were so frazzled in Warsaw last summer after a delayed flight that we didn’t notice the taxi meter wasn’t on. When we got to the hotel, I was surprised at the fare requested because I had read that we should pay x for the ride. Since we hadn’t confirmed the cost before we got in the taxi, we figured we got “taken” due to our carelessness.

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The only problem I can see is if you happen to be flying on the first weekend of the school holidays or a long weekend as the traffic in and out of the international terminal can be very bad on those days. I am still a fan of the train. If you are docking at the OPT and don't manage to get off the boat before 7am (when traffic through the city would be really light and taxi definitely the best option) I would bear the trek to the station with my luggage and take the train. The reason is that once you are actually on the train the stress is over whereas in a taxi the stress has just begun if traffic starts to get bad. In reality i don't think you will have a problem arriving on time with either option but for me the train is the more relaxing option.

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We’re going to the airport on Wednesday, May 9 to fly to NZ. Our ship is scheduled to dock at 7 am according to the port authority calendar (and 8 am according to the ship’s schedule) so to be on the safe side, I would say around 8 am.

 

We’ve been to the OPT years ago. We got out, turned left and went to pick up the HOHO bus. Is that the direction we go to pick up the train? Can we buy the tickets on the train with a credit card or does it have to be before?

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These days when you exit the OPT you just keep walking straight ahead to get to the station, then left, then right into the station entrance. There are elevators and escalators to take you up to the platform level once you are through the turnstiles.

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We’re going to the airport on Wednesday, May 9 to fly to NZ. Our ship is scheduled to dock at 7 am according to the port authority calendar (and 8 am according to the ship’s schedule) so to be on the safe side, I would say around 8 am.

 

We’ve been to the OPT years ago. We got out, turned left and went to pick up the HOHO bus. Is that the direction we go to pick up the train? Can we buy the tickets on the train with a credit card or does it have to be before?

 

Direction is right.

The trains are elevated at circular quay.

You buy tickets BEFORE you get on, either at a machine or window. Both take credit cards

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Thanks to all for your advice. I feel more confident that we will make our flight. I almost changed our tickets to the afternoon flight but, due to everyone’s help, I’m glad we didn’t spend the money to take a later flight.

 

We looked at the schedules for all the airlines flying Sydney to Auckland and couldn’t find any direct flights from noon onward, except for the 4 pm Qantas flight. A rather strange situation.

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