QF SYD transfer

4 replies

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 13 Nov 2018

Total posts 18

What’s the go with Qantas pax transferring at SYD these days? QF Domestic to QF International and QF International to QF Domestic? It’s been 10 years since I’ve been forced to fly out that way. I have had a burning hatred of SYD for more than 20 years and have avoided it for the last decade…

Anyone been through recently?

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 140

Transited SYD for an international flight a few days ago.

Recommend you get your checkin luggage ticketed all the way to the international flight (not an issue for intercapital domestic flights, although YMMV if your domestic flight is from a regional airport). Also get your boarding pass sorted then.

On arrival to Syd Domestic QF terminal 3, go to gate 15 you board the complimentary internal QF transfer bus, probably every 15-30 minutes depending on the time of the day. It's almost a 8-10 min ride despite the short distance due to speed limits on the airport tarmac, much of the time used up for loading and unloading pax (tip: only the front door opens for embarking and disembarking most of the time, hence last in first out).

Then you get out of the transfer gate (stairs and lifts only, no escalator to level 1) to go to 2nd level for departure. If you are lucky to get the boarding pass sorted at the airport of origin, you just need to join the hordes of pax lining up for immigration and security. Despite the long queue, the line moves fairly quickly until the automated immigration system overloads every 15 mins or so and needs to be rebooted, takes 5-10 mins to restart.

I know I said the queue moves faster than expected but due to the vast number of people ahead of me it still took 3 hours standing on my feet to get pass everything before I am free to wonder inside 10 minutes past the official boarding time for my flight.

Yup I meant that right. The fact is the delay was so bad that the boarding time was pushed back 25 minutes. And also there are representatives of airlines whose flights are boarding who will walk the queue to call out the flight details and pull you out in front of the queue for the security screen (you will have to be creative and take the initiative to jump the queue for the first-immigration-queue). I estimated at least 600-1000 people was ahead of me when I join the queue. (I wrote 400-600 originally but realised that cannot be right since there was at least 5 departing flights in that time slot)

And pray that the persons ahead of me are not novices in travelling; sorry to stereotype but if you travel enough, you would know the profile, so I would not stick my neck out to list the features here. So open your eyes when you choose those mini queues lining up for individual screening/immigration station

I was familiar with SYD international and unless your flight is in a less busy timing (weekday tues-thurs early PM or evenings) you really need to arrive early for this. Or stick your neck out to ask for fast track. Good rule of thumb is that if your flight boarding time has passed, you can ask for help at the staff at the corners of the zigzag queue (I counted 12 corners). It is likely they would still look for you at the queue if you have checked in but it does help to be proactive.

And if for some reason you cannot get a QF transfer bus (domestic and international flights on different tickets, unhelpful check in staff at your airport of origin etc), you can catch the airport transfer bus (dunno how much they charge, but yes there is a fee) or the train (also a charge) which probably does take 10 mins or so for the transfer, the interval between train/bus service is probably more variable. And if you couldn't need to get yourself checkin in for both the domestic and international flight at the airport of origin, chances are that your check -in luggage needs to be picked up at the domestic carousel by yourself for the transfer, just like any Jetstar/REx/VA pax going on to a QF international flight.

QF international to QF domestic transfers are also working with respect to QF transfer bus, I was told, but I didn't see any signs for this going thr other way.

Last edited by XWu at May 01, 05.41 PM.
Last edited by XWu at May 01, 05.47 PM.
Last editedby XWu at May 01, 2022, 05:49 PM.

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 13 Nov 2018

Total posts 18

Thanks XWu, I was afraid of the immigration and second security wait times. Sounds like the same _hole it was 2 decades ago. What annoys me the most is that Qantas website seems to think it’s ok to have a 45min transfer!! I have to call and get it fixed to the 2 hour transfer as it’s not an option to book it that way. Whoever is doing the booking system design behind the website clearly doesn’t understand what a pain it is to transfer between domestic and international in Australia.

Anyone coming into Australia and transferring domestic via SYD recently? (QF-QF)

hakkinen5

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 20 Aug 2014

Total posts 156

I too see options for Domestic to International connections through Sydney at around 60 mins on Qantas.com There is no way I'd take up that option. That's just not enough time.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 140

I also had options of 1 hour transit time at SYD which I was confused by this as well, since there was no way this will be appropriate connection time even before the Pandemic. The boarding time is 45 min before departure time so it doesn’t make any sense that anyone can make it (the transfer bus itself takes at least 10 minutes including boarding and disembarking, and assuming they don’t wait for other pax to fill the bus up)

I heard BNE International is a lot quieter but doesn’t have that much flights to start with and I am not aware of any international QF transfer bus, and waiting for the airport transfer bus or train is a real pain

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