Domestic to international transfer at SYD

By Victor G | Aug 29, 2017, 07:00 AM
I'm travelling to LAX in October and was booked on VA23 from Melbourne. The aircraft is now booked in for routine maintenance on my day of travel and I have been transferred to VA1 ex-SYD with an early morning connection from MEL.

I'm VA Platinum and would like to know if I should expect to be given a fast-track or express pass for security and passport control at SYD international when I check in at MEL?
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By Yaf | Aug 29, 2017, 10:06 AM
Yes, you should expect a express pass when you check in at MEl
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By Victor G | Aug 29, 2017, 12:21 PM
Thanks.  It's a real hassle having to connect through SYD as we are travelling with an infant and therefore anything to speed up the transfer will be a bonus.
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By xtfer | Aug 30, 2017, 02:14 PM
This happened to me in the other direction. Why VA can't work this out in advance I do not know... but yes, there's an express lane in Sydney. It's not the same entry. When you get off the transfer bus and make it out of the windy corridor into the main area, turn left and watch out for the Express Entry, it will come up before the main one. You'll need your Express lane pass provided at domestic check in. 

If you are heading for the lounge after immigration, instead of getting stuck in duty free hell, head down to the far end of the immigration area toward the Travel Refund signs, and follow the little corridor through to the main walkway to the area where VA departs from.
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By Andrew Barkery | Sep 01, 2017, 01:20 PM
Hopefully the time that you have is about 3 hours.
Although VA takes you by bus from SYD dom terminal secure zone gate near gates 45/46, you have to go down a set of escalators, and then onto the wait zone, where you will be either given a tear off slip to pass to the bus driver to tear off, or it might be included in the BP envelope you get given in MEL.
It also then goes onto the front of SYD T2 to pick everyone else up, its not like the QF bus.
Then it drops you off out the front of SYD int T1 out the front, so you have go pass all the check in counters, fight your way with other people, and then onto the Express path way.
Google to see what the entrance looks like behind the rows and rows of check in counters.
No more Aust outgoing green forms, so saves a lot of time form filling.
Even with 3 hours from SYD dom to SYD int, and with Express Path, you will find by the time you do get into SYD int secure zone, past immi and int security, your time will probably be about maybe an hour and a bit.
Its a big hassle to transit SYD.
Try to have a little HLO as possible, so one of you carries the tot and run like a mad couple.  Bad of me to say this.
Personally, or ideally, I would do a night stop over in SYD at the Rydges.
I live in ADL so have to the VA/QF SYD dom - SYD int each time I go to NZ.
Not a nice experience.
QF transfer is a bit better, as the bus uses the airside road, but with VA, it goes onto the public road.
They might do extra security checks at the gate prior to boarding the plane, when I was on my way to NZ, they practically brought out some of those privacy screens on a flight to US.  
Usually when you are at the gate, you show your BP for scanning, and show your passport photo page, maybe to the US, they scan your MRZ at the gate too.
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By Victor G | Sep 04, 2017, 01:45 PM
Thanks Andrew.  The transit time will actually be a shade over two hours and was originally scheduled as 90 minutes by Virgin when they re-booked me.  I wasn't satisfied that 90 mins was long enough and asked them to put me on the earlier flight which is the first available from MEL on a Saturday.  We are in row 3 so will be among the first off the domestic aircraft and will just have to hope that the wait for the transfer bus isn't too long.

We have an alternate option which to fly MEL-BNE and then connect to VA7.  Thanks to the lack of daylight saving in QLD we could still depart MEL at 7am but would have 2hrs 40 minutes to connect at BNE.  Has anyone got experience of this domestic to international transfer and is it generally quicker than SYD?
Last edited by Victor G at Sep 04, 2017, 01.51 PM.
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