When will Sydney Airport’s Express Path reopen to frequent flyers?

The fast-track priority lane lets you spend less time standing in line and more time relaxing in the airport lounge.

By David Flynn, September 12 2022
When will Sydney Airport’s Express Path reopen to frequent flyers?

Top-tier frequent flyers fondly recall the Express Path at Sydney Airport’s T1 international terminal, which provided a time-saving shortcut through immigration and security ahead of overseas flights.

However, since mid-year it’s been replaced by a priority lane operating with a very different set of rules.

Originally intended for passengers with flights close to departure when the general security screening and customs lanes were congested, Executive Traveller is told airport staff would regularly ‘comb the queue’ and bring people forward in order of flight priority.

A sign directs passengers to the Priority Screening Lane.
A sign directs passengers to the Priority Screening Lane.

The Flight Priority Lane has since expanded its remit to include those travelling in first and business class.

But frequent flyers don’t make the cut, unless an airline’s check-in desk happens to affix a green SYD sticker to their boarding pass – and while some Executive Traveller readers report this happening, the priority lane remains largely out of bounds unless you’re at the pointy end of the plane.

That stands in stark contrast to those shiny pre-Covid days, when elite frequent flyers – typically those with Platinum or equivalent status, depending on the airline’s loyalty program – could pick up an Express Path-branded paper slip at checkin counter and make a beeline for this fast-track lane.

During peak travel times, they were worth more than their weight in gold – and most frequent flyers kept a few stashed away ‘just in case’.

So when will the Express Path as we knew it return? In short, when airlines are prepared to pay for it and there’s sufficient staff to support it.

Executive Traveller understands the former Express Path was designed and paid for by participating airlines, while the current priority lane was developed and paid for by Sydney Airport.

But the airport is in discussions with airlines on how and when things might change.

“We are working closely with our international airline partners to see when it will be possible to bring back the Express Path product,” a Sydney Airport spokesperson tells Executive Traveller.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Aug 2015

Total posts 37

While the first / business lane might get you through immigration quicker, there is no priority screening after that you get mixed in with everyone else. And they don’t have enough lanes open for that even, passed through it last week and it still has not improved 

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 37

it does go to priority screening - the shorter priority screening line is off to the left hand side of the passport scanning, the regular line is to the right.

31 Oct 2018

Total posts 13

Any idea when this will reopen in Melbourne? Nothing available yet, even for First and Business. 

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