Sydney Airport brings back Express Path for international passengers

By Chris Chamberlin , May 11 2015
Sydney Airport brings back Express Path for international passengers

Sydney Airport has reintroduced the fast track Express Path lane from the arrivals zone at its international T1 terminal.

The airport copped plenty of flack over its decision late last year to remove the Express Path facility in favour of 'green' and 'red' exits based on whether incoming travellers have goods to declare.

It wasn't just first class and business class passengers as well as top-tier frequent flyers who were impacted by the move, with several airlines also unhappy that their premium passengers were forced to join the same snaking queue as everybody else after baggage pickup.

However, on recent inbound flights we've noticed that the Express Path is back.

In the main arrivals hall of T1 – the one used by Qantas – look for Express Path signage near the left-most 'No Goods to Declare' green exit.

Outside of peak hours there's an Express Path line feeding into the above green channel.

PREVIOUS [30/12/14] | Sydney Airport has removed the fast track Express Path lane from the arrivals zones at its international T1 terminal in favour of 'green' and 'red' exits based on whether incoming travellers have goods to declare.

The airport has retained a fast track lane at the initial Australian Customs Service passport check prior to collecting your baggage.

However, most returning Australians – as well as many New Zealand, US UK and Singapore citizens carrying a recent-issue smartchipped passports – use the automated SmartGate passport checkpoint to sidestep those queues and head straight down to the baggage carousel.

And this is where things have changed. Those Express Path slips issued to first class and business class passengers as well as top tier frequent flyers have no currency once you're past baggage pickup, with travellers joining the back of the same queues as everybody else.

"Sydney Airport, Customs and Department of Agriculture are trialling improved passenger wayfinding and facilitation processes in the baggage halls and at the secondary line screening, based on feedback from our passengers and our airlines" a spokeswoman for Sydney Airport told Australian Business Traveller.

In addition to installing "internationally recognised red/green channels for Goods to Declare and No Goods to Declare exits", the arrivals area is also being fitted with "new large LED dynamic screens, new static signage and rationalisation of existing signage, as well as providing clearer access routes through the secondary line."

The red and the green

As you’d expect, the red exit is for those who have answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions on the incoming passenger card, and is found in the centre of the arrivals hall and in place of the previous Express Path lane.

Travellers with nothing to declare will head for the green No Goods to Declare lanes – located at either end of baggage claim – and will be funnelled straight to the exit, although there's still the facility for customs officers to carry out a baggage scan for any passenger.

The Express Path lane for departing passengers remains available to eligible travellers.

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

This trial isn't been run in Melbourne just yet, is it?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

Seriously??? What drugs do these people take?

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 570

Oh so back to what it was a few years back now. Must admit never understood why they changed from red and green.The express pass at this point was a little silly anyway, because if you had to declare you couldn't use it.

 

If they wanted to be sensible they could have green for nothing to declare, red for goods to declare and red express just to jump the line over other declarers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Also, express green to jump over the zillion people surging out at seven in the morning.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 570

Would be pointless as on the green exit they only do random x-ray of bags, so should flow pretty well without a seperate express exit.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Lol, "random" x-rays are anything but. Best to provide an express channel anyway.

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

I used this Saturday night after EK413. I had nothing to declare and went straight through the Green path. It was fantastic not to mention convenient and fast.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Shhh!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

What a disgrace - sydney pales in comparison to every other capital city airport and this just puts the nail in

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Well yes, the tiles at MEL are all yellowing and SYD is still white, of course it pales in comparison.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

Oh if only there was a facepalm emoticon! I clearly meant country capital cities

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

I know.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2014

Total posts 169

Sydney is not a country capital

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

It's a state capital, like MEL and BNE.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

Sydney International is a tragic excuse for an airport, the only redeeming feature is the QF First Lounge which makes departing from SYD tolerable. Arriving into SYD International is an awful experience :-(

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Unfortunately for those of us who live in Victoria and often have to connect to Sydney for their international leg (only a handful of direct international Qantas routes out of Mel, if not going to the US or Europe via DXB), transfers at SYD eat up much of the opportunity to pay a visit to the flagship Qantas lounge. What I wouldn't give for more Qantas services from Melbourne or an integrated SYD airport complex (the best thing about Melbourne, even if we have yellowing tiles). It's hardly world ending to miss out on a visit to the Qantas flagship lounge, but it is nice to be able to do so.

Although it's not always possible, I usually ask for longer transits on my itineraries if there's a great lounge to be visited in the middle of the journey. ;)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Me too, but if you're wheelchair bound, you can sometimes be waiting an hour or more for transfer. I had a recent transfer with Qantas/Emirates to CHC where despite arranging for a two hour transit at SYD (the longest that was able to be booked by the operator), not only did I completely miss out on the Lounge but my flight as well (the ball was well and truly dropped, considering my flight arrived on time - I spent the entirety of those two hours airside at SYD T3 at the wheelchair transfer area, and even though my flight had left I was still taken to T1 only to come back to T3 later that day lol)). Part of the joys of being a disabled traveller unfortunately - it was very frustrating being so near but so far. Us wheelies can't use the normal transfer bus anymore, which has introduced more risk of transfer failure it appears, and they weren't keen to let me roll across the Tarmac gap myself :-) (Have wheels, still try to travel!)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

It's off-topic, but what's your favourite airport lounge to linger in Chris? Given your experience, I'd be interested to know - disregard how many times you visited, I'm interested which one had the most positive impact on you.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2014

Total posts 102

To the people complaining. Have you ever used it? I have come through dozens of times and i have a stack of arrivals express paths that have never been used. 

14 Feb 2012

Total posts 37

Agreed, and the express path doesn't seem to be policed particularly well when arrivals is busy anyway. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jun 2013

Total posts 38

I came through on Christmas Day - I had my express card in my hand ready to go after 6 months away - and had to queue up behind heaps of slow people also trying to work it out as well. Not a great first experience but I won't write it off just yet.

Bring back the good old days of a proactive customs agent stamping my landing card while I wait to collect my bags at the carousel! :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

Out the plane door at 6.43am this morning on QF82 (we landed before the DXB A380)

Outside the airport at 6.50am in time for the early running 400 bus at 6.55am.

So far so good.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Apr 2013

Total posts 146

It will be interesting to see how it works out. As far as the departing express path lane at SYD is concerned I think it is slower than the general departure lane. The last few time I have used it I'd have been better off not using it.  

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 570

It doesn't help when they call down 10 passengers from the normal line to queue at the priority security screening area. By rights they should never call anyone down, even if it means only 1 or 2 people waiting.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

They did that at MEL on New Years Day. I was ready to run them over with my trolley - 7:30am is much too early to deal with this sort of joke.

31 Dec 2014

Total posts 28

I arrived recently at 06:30 on BA15 (flying J) under the new arrangements. By 06:55 I was out of the terminal and on my way - including a quick duty free shop.

I've been giving away my inbound express path vouchers for ages.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 982

They used to have the Green/Red set up at SYD upto around 2006/2007. Why did they change it in the first place?

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

Airports the world over are a yawn-fest.  Arrive at the last minute, and board early - anyone who loves lounging for hours hasn't flown often enough.  Arrival likewise - just get me the hell out.  This is a great idea.  Now, can I please get Global Entry so I can speed through LAX?  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 477

Used it tonight on QF146 - got through really quickly then SYD terminal staff decided to take 25mins to bring the bags out...

30 Jun 2011

Total posts 50

I simply regarded the Red queue as the Express queue.  My tactic was to 'declare', and then when navigating the shorter queue just tell the officer "oh, no nothing to declare, it's just that I regard this as the Express option, thank you very much'.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2012

Total posts 159

It worked well last week!

QNATAS Frequent Flyer

15 May 2015

Total posts 1

I don't know what is so difficult about the red and green system.

My last two visits to the UK (Manchester) I have been out of the Terminal literally 10 minutes after stepping off the plane.  Admittedly travelling light with only hand luggage.

Australian airports are abismal.  To X-Ray each and every piece of luggage coming into the country is overkill.  I travel with hand luggage only and still have to queue in the rat lines with Mr and Mrs Tourist with ten kids and 30 pieces of luggage.  I recall one return to Australia (Brisbane) when the rat lines stretched at least a kilometre.

Elitist I know, but I would pay a business class fare just to avoid this and go through "Priority'.


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