Sydney Airport ends the duty-free maze

By David Flynn, February 6 2015
Sydney Airport ends the duty-free maze

The snaking channel through duty-free at Sydney Airport's T1 international terminal will be ditched for a wide pathway leading straight to the airport lounges and departure gates as part of an extensive make-over of the terminal's passenger area.

While duty-free retail will remain on either side of this path, a spacious new 'orientation zone' and pathway signposted with walking time to the gates will give travellers a clear line of sight through to the escalators leading up to the Qantas lounges and T1's central core.

Sydney Airport's shift to new duty-free operator Heinemann comes with an added bonus for travellers
Sydney Airport's shift to new duty-free operator Heinemann comes with an added bonus for travellers

The current layout creates a bottleneck as outbound travellers are fed from the security screening channels into the duty-free store.

It's especially problematic during daily peak periods as well as holiday seasons, when occasional travellers gather at the entrance to the retail space either by array of duty-free delights or wondering "where do I go now?", much to the frustration of frequent flyers.

The terminal's retail footprint will also be overhauled once duty-free specialist Heinemann takes over in mid-February.

In March the current duty-free space will be relocated into the central area of T1 (above), which the airport describes as 'the forum' and has already been boarded up (below) as construction progresses on the new shopping space.

The duty-free zone at the airside entrance to T1 will be boarded up for its own make-over, and by year's end will re-open with a straight pathway cutting through the displays of liquor and perfumes.

Heinemann will add "more than 400 new brands" to the current retail range, according to Sydney Airport, along with "online shopping, mobile shopping (and a digital loyalty app)."

T1 will also pick up a new interior design intended to make the airport less generic and more strong associated with Sydney.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

And what one can buy in duty-free today? Just booze and smoke - everything else one can get cheaper elsewhere.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

I'm sure there's some countries where booze costs less than it does in an Australian duty free shop, but they're not countries I travel to regularly.

Buying duty free booze just means paying $50 instead of $60 for a bottle of whisky I can pick up for $US25 at BevMo fourteen hours later. 

Can't say I've ever priced cigarettes but I'd be shocked if Australian duty free prices wind up attractive compared to oveseas prices either.

My favourite duty free item: $200 jars of Manuka honey. 

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Yes, there are plenty of countries where booze and smoke SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than Australian duty-free shop. Problem only they dubious quality. I usually buying Ouzo on my way back.

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

I believe that quite a bit of Apple gear is the same price in Australia as the USA when the time you take out the 10% GST, because buying it in the US you can't avoid their state sales tax which can be a lot higher too.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

I pass through SYD frequently en route to the USA, Asia and Europe and can honestly say there is nothing for sale in the airport Duty Free stores that is noticeably cheaper than anywhere else.

Why not get rid of the Duty Free mega-store altogether? Why must airports resemble Westfield's anyway?

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Great idea, and about time too. The airport will surely sell more duty-free if passengers feel more relaxed about the airport, can wander through and get a coffee and then look around the shops, and not be force-fed into the  duty-free machine as soon as they are spat out from security. The 'orientation zone' at the start plus signposting sounds excellent. Good move, SYD!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Agreed Mal, pissed off and frustrated people generally aren't known for opening their wallets and creating an IKEA type maze when people are in a hurry to get somewhere is a bad idea. It makes more sense to put duty free near the gates or near the lounges, because people naturally tend to cluster here and generally are just hanging about. Rather than having one big duty free area, it makes sense to have a number of smaller format areas (keeping stock replenished from behind the scenes storage - so instead of needing space for twenty bottles of the same spirit for example, display only four and replenish as needed - with electronic inventory management, this is easily an automated process). Tempt, not frustrate.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

Would be better to bulldoze the whole terminal and start all over again. SYD T1 is an abysmal facility.  The only good thing about it is the QF First Lounge.

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Want to try posting a comment that's actually useful?

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Oh, quit your complaining. I've been to "abysmal" airports, and SYD is not one of them.

It's pretty normal. 

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 66

In the grand list of international airports Sydney is abysmal...unless you strive for mediocrity!

LH
LH

American Airlines - AAdvantage

30 Sep 2014

Total posts 5

If you want abysmal, please, visit Manila. I was overjoyed to be returning to Sydney's T1 after a horrible experience that is Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Agreed LH, one trip through NAIA was enough to put me off ever going back. That airport is a major pain.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

Agree that NAIA is one of the worst, but the Philippines is a developing country, so its understandable their infrastructure is not well developed.  Australia is a First World nation, we should have a much better facilities at our largest airport.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Except there are other countries with similar socio-economic standing to the Philippines who have far superior airports. By agreed, that we in Australia have even few excuses (personally I think the privatisation of our major airports was a wrong move, because it's led to them being treated as cash cows rather than critical infrastructure).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Jun 2014

Total posts 35

At last, and agree terminal needs a complete make over. Compare it to the new tom bradley terminal, lots of opens spaces, room at the gates for eveyone. Sydeny is a chaos mess.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 97

I welcome this change will make our departure level looks more straight forward and easier for our customers, but how about the arrival level?

Surely they should push the arrivals duty free shop aside as well.

And how about the duty free shop which leads to gates 50 - 63? I believe this should be put aside as well.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1388

Wonder if tax reclaim will also get relocated, or if it will be even further off the new straight path

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 66

Amazing what the hint of competition can do.

They should also relocate the TRS desk while they are at it - on my last departure (Dec 20) it was a shambles...the line snaked all the way back to security. Was not prepared to sacrafice my louge time for a few GST dollars so skipped it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 194

I wonder how many perfume and booze displays have been destroyed by swinging bags and backpacks as passengers struggle through the maze to get to their gate/lounge? I wonder this every time!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Sep 2011

Total posts 3

As a frequent traveller through T1 I've never found the duty free maze a problem because I always use the little-known shortcut.  As soon as you enter the Duty Free store from security, turn to your right and you will notice s shortcut that takes you straight through to the main plaza and bypassing the shopping frenzy. 

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

10 May 2016

Total posts 1

Where can i buy Manuka Honey Duty Fee? in Sydney internatioal airport


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Sydney Airport ends the duty-free maze

Notice (8): Undefined variable: infiniteScroll [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 216]
Notice (8): Undefined variable: infiniteScroll [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 222]
Warning (2): Invalid argument supplied for foreach() [APP/views/news/view.ctp, line 222]