How long does it take you to get through Sydney international airport?

19 replies


Member since 01 Nov 2017

Total posts 23

Form a Canberra perspective, the time taken to get through SYD is quite variable - as others have noted - but for transit passengers Sydney is a genuine nightmare of stress as well as time. From Canberra, I look to depart from Melbourne if possible (and I must investigate Brisbane in future) but have flown a couple of times by Qatar from Canberra which is heaven by comparison to Sydney; literally 30 seconds getting through immig/customs both ways, and max 10 mins for bags inbound. (That’s four J fares that Qantas has missed out on.)


Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

Member since 02 Jul 2018

Total posts 22

For departure, it can be within 15 minutes from check-in to duty free stores. Taking CX138 flights which is nearly the last flights leaving Sydney.


Member since 29 Apr 2014

Total posts 1

My record is 9 minutes from the aerobridge to the front doors towards the Uber pickup area, and that was with checked baggage. Generally speaking though I can usually make it from the aerobridge to the taxi stand/train station within 20 minutes.

Try achieving that at any number of supposedly better international airports around the world...


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 03 Oct 2016

Total posts 11

Like most here I am a high level frequent flyer, usually I get through the airport quicker during a peak time then a mildly busy time.

This is due to when Outbound - Syd express pass is either closed or just points you into the general line with only a few smart gates open and screening lines open (the smart gates aren't run by a human, why can't they just leave all of them open?).

When returning to Syd, is a little different as there is no express path smart gate and they are almost always faster than the manual express pass for customs after baggage collection, again when its not "peak time" they close 1 exit entirely, express path lane and the green nothing to declare so everyone is funneled into one spot. Only during this situation (usually evening arrivals) have I had to wait a long time.

However if you are not a frequent flyer and have to use the general lines at all times, going at the times mentioned above would be best.

Stephen D

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 12 Nov 2017

Total posts 42

My best time from arriving, through immigration and customs, collecting bags, was about 12 mins. Worst about 30mins. For taking off through the e lane, normally 4 mins max.

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