Sydney Airport tips for local and international travellers.
The Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (international code: SYD) reported that more than 3 million people passed through it in December 2022. This can be further broken down into almost 2 million domestic passengers and 1.1 million international passengers.
The data just goes to show that more and more people are looking to travel to and are surely looking for accommodation in Sydney. But how do you prepare when travelling to Sydney Airport? Read on further to find out the essential things you need to know about this well-known airport.
7 things you need to know about Sydney Airport
Sydney Airport is dubbed the busiest airport in Australia. This may be because it serves as an essential part of the country’s transport system.
Sydney Airport is located near downtown Sydney, making it easier for anyone to easily explore the city. All you need to do is drop off your bags, check in at a Sydney accommodation, and start your trip right away.
However, to better prepare for travelling around the city, it’s best to remember the following facts about Sydney Airport.
1. The airport has three terminals.
As with most major airports the world over, Sydney Airport has several terminals. It has three terminals to be exact:
- Terminal 1 is the International Terminal.
- Terminal 2 is for domestic flights. As of the time of writing, you’ll find the following airlines here:
- Rex Qantas (only for flight numbers QF1600 and up)
- Terminal 3 is also for domestic flights, although Terminal 3 only carries domestic Qantas flights with flight numbers from QF0400 – 1599.
Keep in mind that these three terminals are commonly referred to as T1, T2, and T3.
2. There are several transfer options between terminals.
Transfer between terminals is dependent on the airline. For example, Qantas and Virgin offer free transfers for select customers with connecting flights.
The airport also has a free shuttle bus that’s available from 6:00 AM to 8:30 PM. This is called the T-Bus. Make sure to time the transfer properly because each ride takes about 15 minutes.
If time is of the essence, then consider taking the train in between the terminals instead. A trip costs $6.40 and will only take less than 5 minutes. The train station is easy to find, so there’s no need to worry about getting lost.
A traveller may also use an Opal card or, if it’s unnecessary, then a single ticket will do. Getting a taxi is not advisable because the fare can go from $17 to $25 just for one way. There is also the risk of getting stuck in traffic between the terminals.
3. Sydney Airport has different operating times depending on the terminal.
It is important to remember the different operating hours per terminal so you can get to your accommodation in Sydney on time. It works the other way, too – the operating hours of the terminal can dictate when you should check out from your Sydney accommodation.
Terminal 1 (the International Terminal) opens at 3 AM and closes at 11 PM. On the other hand, both domestic terminals operate from 4 AM to 11 PM.
4. Sleeping overnight at Sydney Airport is possible.
Yes, that’s right, you can stay at the Sydney Airport overnight, but do you really want to? Everything inside the airport shuts down at 10 PM because the airport is closed overnight.
It’s important to remember that both domestic terminals are locked, and no one is allowed to sleep there during this time. However, there is a waiting area where the International train station is located. But this area is quite tiny and quite uncomfortable.
There is no heating, and it could get cold at night especially during winter. Benches are not available, so you may be left to sleep either on a small chair or on the floor. However, the staff will not force you to leave, especially if you have a flight to catch the next day.
Plan accordingly and get proper accommodation in Sydney. This way, you can get enough rest for your flight.
5. Sydney Airport offers free Wi-Fi and has plenty of charging outlets.
Free WI-FI is available within the airport but don’t expect it to be high-speed internet quality. Look around Terminal 1, and you’ll see free internet kiosks around the area too.
The locations of these kiosks are not permanent. It’s best to check the airport map if internet connectivity is going to be crucial for you, so you’ll know where to proceed.
As for charging outlets, Terminal 2 has many available by the departure gates. For Terminal 1, you’ll see these outlets after passing through the immigration.
There are more areas on the Departures side, and you’ll find them near the Optus shop. It’s hard to miss because it’s in the middle of the hall and in the northern part of the International Terminal Train Station.
6. There are sim cards available at the airport.
Sim cards from different service providers are available in the International Terminal arrivals hall. Any traveller can choose from Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone.
Plan ahead because the stores are only open until 11 PM. You can still find sim card bundles available in the city in case you arrive late and the stores are already close. Note that the sim card stores in the airport are sometimes more expensive than those available in the city.
Another option to consider, especially if you’re concerned about data, is to get a sim card from a supermarket. They have a wider range of options and exclusive offers to choose from.
7. Arrive at the airport two hours before a domestic flight or three hours for international flights.
When travelling to the airport by car, remember to account for traffic. There’s heavy build-up from 6:30 AM to 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM.
Ensure also to check if there is any ongoing construction work along the way. Sometimes, new routes to the airport are under construction. This can make a short trip from the city to the airport take as long as an hour.
Weekend mornings also have traffic congestion. It’s also usually traffic on 1st and 2nd day of January.
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