As we arrived to Sydney by air, we found out that Sydney Airport (SYD) was just 9 kilometers south of the centre of Sydney. This international airport is quite a modern airports and all kinds of facilities like bureaux de change, cash machines (ATMs), restaurants, gift, souvenir and duty-free shops, parking facilities and also at Sydney airport there is a choice of car hire companies.
When we arrived and left the plane we saw that the sign were pretty clear and were able to find our way easy. Finally some relatives waited for us to pick us up and they guided us to the entrance and we left by car. Once again we were surpised that such an international airport is only 9 kilometers away from its city centre.
Well, I guess from Europe, Asia, America etc you would have to take a plane (or boat?!) ;) There are plenty of flights coming from all over the world and from other Aussie cities.
But for us it is easiest to drive...Sydney is about 2 hours from Canberra, 5 hours from Wagga or about 8 hours from Melbourne by car...
Arrival at Sydney Airport is straightforward, and like Singapore and Hong Kong, the process is simple and quick.
Immigration queues are rarely more than a few minutes for foreigners (are you listening China, USA and UK??!!). However, Australia is paranoid about foreign food getting into the country, and they seem more conrened that apples may get in than unwanted foreign people.
All incoming luggage gets X-rayed and this can take some time.
Finally, there is a question that is on the little immigration form asking if you have any criminal convictions. I understand that this is not now a requirement for entry, so it is best to just say "No" to this one.
Getting a visa for Australia is very simple, but must be done before you leave your own country.
For nationals of many countries, you merely need to complete an online visa application. It takes just a couple of minutes and costs AUS$20. Probably the easiest visa system of all!
Don't fly Qantas.
They are forever bragging how wonderful they are, and trying to appeal to Australian patriotism.
They are only profitable because of government regulations. And their only competition on the US leg is United Airlines. (Who are equally bad).
The service is crap - which is more a reflection of Qantas management than the staff.
Take my recommendation - and fly an Asian Carrier. And tell Geoff Dixon he is a wanker.
Can I say that? Oh well there is an Aussie word for you!
Subscribe to email alerts from airlines travelling where you want to go and watch your weekend newspaper's travel section for sales by consolidators. Even on remote Kauai, my small town travel agent matched a low fare advertised by the big Honolulu agents, as he knew I could just mail them a check if he couldn't compete. I bought a ticket on QANTAS for return travel from March 1 to April 30 (2005) with limit of 60 day stay for USD$659. Honolulu-Sydney! That is about half of what it was the last time I went. Reason is now Hawaiian Airlines runs the route from Honolulu to Sydney. Also Air Canada do Vanouver-Honolulu-Sydney. This puts pressure on QANTAS and American to cut their normally top-shelf fares. That flight takes 10 hours going to Sydney 9 coming back to Honolulu. Service and food found no fault although Sydney bound my in-flight map tracking thingy didn't work! (It is one of my favorite parts of flying is seeing the progress on the map.) Unlike economy on USA airlines I was given free wine with dinner.
Since the collapse of Australia's largest domestic airline (just after Sept 11), domestic travel has changed drastically. Qantas, once one of the worlds best airlines, now offers very poor service (due to lack of competition). Virgin Blue, who started services in 2001, now have a very extensive network and they offer exceptional fares and great service. Booking is easy via virginblue.com.au
A new discount airline, Jetstar, started services about 18 months ago and have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Qantas has cancelled many flights, forcing people to fly with Jetstar and suffer through all of their problems (very poor customer service, delays, rude staff, refusal of boarding to some passengers etc). Worst still, Jetstar have a habit of allowing you to book the flight you want (eg: 6pm) and then a few weeks before you leave informing you that you are now on a 6AM flight! Happened to me 6 times this year and it does a great job of ruining your plans (especially if you have a connection).
By all means, fly all over Australia, it's the best way, but fly with Virgin or (if you must) Qantas. NO JETSTAR!!!
So where was this taken? a comfy lounge bar? a sunny backyard? It was taken in the bar on the observation deck at Sydney airport, we had a great time saying goodbye to Danielle, going down to the restaurant to eat and back to the bar again, i never felt so relaxed in an airport.
We found Airport Connect and thought it was a good deal. Since we weren't renting a car in Sydney, we were just looking for the least expensive way to get to our hotel and back. Just after you claim your baggage, head to the rental car area and you will find a desk advertising 'Airport Shuttles'.
Here, you can get a fare to your hotel and back for $17.50 per person. They have buses that seat about 10 people, so you may have a little bit of a wait for the bus to fill up, but it shouldn't be too long. Then on your return ticket, there is an 1800 number to call the day before you leave and let them know what time you need to be picked up!
It was easy, painless, and fairly inexpensive. I guess you should check out the taxi fares to where you need to go and the number of people in your party to see if this is the best option for you!
I choose to fly with Virgin Blue during my Aussie trip as the price were very competitive and less time consuming compare to road or train trip.
To obtain the lowest price you should plan your trip a bit in advance. From my personnal experience, the flghts were pleasant and ontime (Perth - Adelaide - Sydney).
This airline operates since 2000 and have continously extend its route network. Nowadays the fleet of Boeing 737-700/800 linked all major Australian cities. Other DownUnder destinations are available in New-Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu and Cook Island.
This is one busy sector. A number of airlines fly this route. From Singapore, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Gulf Air & British Airways all fly to Sydney directly. It is a 7 hours journey.
A number of airlines also fly to Sydney but with a transit stop. Such airlines include Australian Airlines (Denpasar, Bali), Garuda Indonesia (Denpasar, Bali), Royal Brunei Airways (Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei) and Malaysian Airlines (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).
I highly recommend flying business class on a long haul flight if at all possible. We redeemed our frequent flyer miles and flew business class to Sydney, AU and back home again, This was the best flight I ever had. Totally worth 90,000 frequent flier points and $83 for 9/11 tax.
Somehow I got lucky and booked us into the upper deck of the 747. The best seats in the plane, 16 AB. Not only was there overhead storage but there was a storage locker below the window which accommodated a lot of our carry on and was so convenient to use. The seats in business class downstairs did not have this luxury. The seats reclined almost flat but enough that I slept 6 hours straight.
We received an amenities bag that had: eyeshades, socks, toothbrush/toothpaste, mints and earplugs. The service was great and when we arrived in Sydney we felt refreshed not jet lagged at all. Okay so I am working on accruing miles again so I can fly business class until then I take my place in the cheap seats!
If you are headed to Sydney, your best bet is to check out Qantas. Qantas is by far the most popular airline in Australia, and it is disguinshed by its Red tailed airplanes with a kangaroo on it. Qantas is known as a "redtail" when being referred to by locals, and will get you from Los Angeles to Sydney. For more information on flights and schedules, check out their website.
Here is our first view of Australia... definitely not our last!
Sydney airport is the busiest in the southwest Pacific but it's still managable! Tax-free shopping was a bit of a let-down so don't expect too much. The view of downtown from the gates was very cool, tho. A nice way of saying goodbye!
To get to Sydney I flew with Virgin Blue airlines. They have very cheap and competitive flights. If you want anything to eat or drink on the flight you have to pay for it (and headphones if you want to listen to music - good music channels too, plus a great comedy station), but the prices are reasonable.
The best thing about flying with Virgin Blue was the staff, they were fun and friendly... especially when we were told where to go to get our luggage "... and for those of you not listening, you can pick yours up in Bangkok in 3 weeks".