Whether you’re a business traveller catching up with clients in Sydney’s CBD, taking some time off to visit Sydney’s beautiful beaches, or just passing through New South Wales on the way to your next meeting, you’ll likely be spending some time in Sydney Airport. If you’re travelling for business or for bleisure, we’ve curated the best tips from our road warriors and support agents in Sydney to make sure your time at the airport flies by.
Getting to/from the airport:
Unlike most cities, it’s usually cheaper to take a taxi or rideshare service than the train if there are 2 or more people. This is due to the high access fee for the Domestic and International train stations, so it’s usually around the same cost or less to split a car.
If you’re arriving back into Sydney, order your rideshare before you exit the airport - it’s a bit of a walk from the terminal to the pickup spot and your driver will likely take 10-15 minutes to arrive during high traffic times.
Rumour has it you can request an express pass upon check in at your airline counter if you ask the agent nicely!
In the airport:
If you’re travelling internationally and purchased more than $300 AUD of goods in Australia, you can get the money you paid on taxes back. To skip the (sometimes very long) line at the International Terminal, upload your receipts on the app (search Tourist Refund Scheme in the app store).¹
If you’re flying Star Alliance airlines, you’ll get to choose to go to either the “New Zealand” Lounge (known for their cocktails) or the “Singapore” Lounge (known for their food) -- Choose your own adventure wisely!
Best restaurant options include Kitchen by Mike, Wolfgang Puck, Chicken Confidential and Coast Cafe and Bar in T1 International OR Chur Burger, YO! Sushi and Lorna Jane Nourish Café in T2 Domestic.
Free showers are available in Terminal 1 on the departure level; however, you do need to bring your own soap and towel. Before you go through security, you will find showers at the general check-in area near check-in counters A and K. After you go through security, showers are located near Gate 31 and Gate 51.
Airlines typically reserve bulkhead seats for families. However, if there aren’t families with unassigned seats traveling, you could potentially score an upgrade for free. Ask at the gate shortly before you’re scheduled to board if there are any bulkhead seats available.
If you’re arriving back into Sydney from an international location, don’t stop at the first set of e-Passport self service machines — keep going straight to the second set, as they always have much shorter lines.
¹ Note: You can’t bring the goods back to Australia after claiming taxes back; you also must wear or carry the goods as hand luggage with you unless the goods are oversized or powders, liquids, aerosols or gels.