Sydney Airport - minimum connecting time INTL to DOM

By dingogav | Jun 14, 2019, 10:40 PM
In early November, on a Saturday, we arrive into SYD on a China Airlines flight at 1215 and are holding a separate ticket for Virgin to HBA at 1405.
We know it is deemed a valid connection, but realistic?

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By Madhatter49 | Jun 14, 2019, 11:16 PM
Really pushing it. If the flight is delayed or just half hour late arriving you could easily miss the connecting flight.

If it was on the same ticket and your bags were checked through, it might be possible but the airline would then cover getting you on a different flight too.
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By Andrew Barkery | Jun 15, 2019, 02:03 AM
You can't check through bags direct from an int to a dom flight coming into Aust, you do need to claim the bags off the carousel at T1 SYD and then present them for inspection if asked, if you go through the green or red lane, they might ask to see the contents of the bags, even if no food or iffy items.
Then drag the bags to the bus, and run off to T2 SYD where VA dom flights fly out of SYD from.
But realistically, its just too close to call.
After going through incoming AQIS, you will then have to drag the bags to the int - dom bus counter, and check in with the masses.
If your VA flight was later on in the day, then a bit of leeway is better.
If flying QF, you will have a dedicated int - dom screening at T1 SYD int airport, and then have your BP printed there too.
But with VA, I would not do the shortie, not so bad IF you are already checked in for the Aust dom flight via online, but still, all you need is a hold up in the time, and you are up you know what creek.
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By Brandon Loo | Jun 15, 2019, 07:41 AM
Although being on separate tickets isn't ideal if you miss your connection, you'd still have to do the same thing in Sydney regardless of being on the same ticket or not, due to being an international arrival.

Online check-in for your VA flight beforehand if possible.

After you've cleared customs in Sydney and entered the arrival hall, immediately head left to 'Virgin Australia Domestic transfers'

If you're lucky, it should be quiet at that time of day. Drop off your bags at the counter and get a bus ticket for VA's transfer to T2. Checking in online will speed up this process slightly.

The bus will drop you off at the Lounge Premium Entry which is great if you have lounge access. Otherwise follow everyone through the main entrance and get through domestic security ASAP.

One suggestion is to consider upgrading your VA flight to business if you're not already Velocity Gold or Platinum.

This gives you access to priority check-in at the transfer counters, and you can clear domestic security at Premium Entry, both of which can save lots of precious time.

It'll just be difficult getting the timing right, as you'd only want to upgrade when your China Airlines flight is definitely going to be on time, otherwise the upgrade is forfeited along with your VA economy ticket if you arrive late in Sydney.

Otherwise, changing your VA flight to one later in the day will also save you a lot of stress.
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By anonymous | Jun 15, 2019, 11:07 AM
If you had no checked baggage then I would say doable. If you do have checked baggage then the answer will depend on actual flight arrival time, waiting time at smartgate/baggage carousel/customs and if you get selected for a bag check. It sounds like you already have the tickets so perhaps just hope for the best.
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By patrickk | Jun 15, 2019, 03:55 PM
Under two hours is tight. QF book it for me all the time but often I have to move to a later flight. Try for a three hour gap.
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By turner773 | Jun 15, 2019, 07:40 PM
I make international-to-domestic connections to Hobart with Qantas at Sydney multiple times a year. Without bags I normally make it from the aircraft door to the domestic business lounge in just under 30 minutes, though later in the day the buses only run every 20 minutes so can get unlucky (no idea about Virgin). If you had a same ticket connection then I'd say 1h50m was a very sensible amount of time. As it is, I suspect you will most likely make your connection with time to spare, but you are gambling the price of your Virgin ticket that the inbound flight does not get seriously delayed.
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By TtheTraveller | Jun 15, 2019, 09:40 PM
If you want an insurance policy on missing the connection, sign up for Jetstar’s promo email. With a bit of luck they’ll do a Friday destination sale and you’ll be able to pick up a $49 fare (excluding luggage) for later in the day
Last edited by TtheTraveller at Jun 15, 2019, 09.41 PM.
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By Andrew Barkery | Jun 15, 2019, 10:55 PM
With VA in SYD, its a pain in the bum!
With QF its easy peasy, as the QF bus goes via the internal road, and drops you off at T3 on the secure side.
VA from T2 to T1 uses the internal road, and drops you off roughly the same spot the QF bus does, but from T1 to T2 at SYD with VA, I believe the bus company VA hires still has to use the main public road, with all the traffic lights, etc, ie, it has to skirt around the outer rim of the taxicar park, the public car park, then all the way round near the railway line, and come into T2 via the public roadway.
The OP only has 1 hour and 50 mins, very close call.
Hopefully there is another VA flight down to Tassie later on in the day if the OP misses the one that has him/her coming in at 12.15pm.
Would be great if VA had the same system in place as to what QF has at SYD T1, but they don't.
With status, at SYD T2, being able to use premium security screening, if OP has status or flies J class, would be a good thing, but if no status and in Y, and hopefully, no storm or thunder activity, the OP might have to do a run.
But best of luck.
Personally, I would leave it at a space of at least 3.5 hours from int to dom at SYD, MEL maybe 2.5.
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By patrickk | Jun 16, 2019, 06:00 AM
Am fascinated by the acronym OP. I know this forum loves them but... old passenger; odd passenger... etc. better if we’re not able to let our imagination run so wild.
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By Sibelius | Jun 16, 2019, 05:29 PM
Am fascinated by the acronym OP. I know this forum loves them but... old passenger; odd passenger... etc. better if we’re not able to let our imagination run so wild.

Original Poster
Last edited by Sibelius at Jun 16, 2019, 05.29 PM.
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By dingogav | Jun 17, 2019, 10:17 AM

I really am very thankful for all of the feedback and helpful guidance.

Although our Virgin Australia flight is ticketed separately, we are inclined to roll the dice and stick with this connection. We are on business class award tickets with VA and are also both gold members, so are hoping that these aspects will provide us with the opportunity to move quickly in transit if needed. We are also banking on both terminals being a little quieter, with it being middle of the day on a Saturday. Our only other option with VA is to fly via MEL and arrive into HBA about 5 hours later than our current schedule, so roll the dice we will!

Thank you again everyone.
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By xtfer | Jun 17, 2019, 10:23 PM
You'll be fine.

I do this all the time (connections in less than 2 hours to VA domestic) and have never missed one.

Don't declare anything on arrival (i.e. don't bring anything declarable), and since you are VA Gold I assume you can use the automatic gates.

As you note, on a Saturday it will be relatively quiet.
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By zukand | Jun 27, 2019, 01:22 PM
I have a similar situation coming up, and am struggling to find any good recent info - this is the first thing that's popped up.

We have reward seats booked DPS>MEL via SYD all on one ticket. JQ economy to SYD, then QF Business to MEL.

Originally we had about 2 hours to transit in Sydney which would've been fine. A schedule change means we have 45min. I contacted Qantas and they've said (quote) "I guarantee that this is enough time to make your connecting flight" and therefor they aren't going to pre empt it and push us 60 minutes onto a later flight.

This gives is 15min to disembark, get bags and go through customs and check in (Bag drop closes 30 min prior) and the kicker - they said if we miss it it's considered a no show.

In reality - I think they'll just book us onto the next flight...Anyone had any experience with this?

Doesn't seem fair/right on their part.
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By zukand | Jul 17, 2019, 03:28 PM
Incase anyone comes across this - We missed our flight. It was fine.

We landed on time, but by the time we disembarked the connection had already closed. When we finally arrived to the transit desk, I just flat out said "I think we've missed our connection, can we please jump on the 8 o'clock" and all was right with the world.

Disappointing that I was miss-informed by the original rep.


Austin (qantas rep) :

Upon checking, the minimum connecting time is 45 minutes. I can guarantee you that you have enough time for the connecting flight.


If you miss the connecting flight. The flight will be a no show.

Me: and we would be put onto the next available flight?


I apologise but we are unable to do that. Since you have enough time to make it to your connecting flight.

Me: so we have 15minutes to land, get off the plane, collect our bags, go through customs / immigration and then check in? (As check in closes 30min before the flight?) and if we don't make it we are considered a no show?


One moment please. Let me double check.


You have 45 mins and that is the minimum connecting time. I can assure you that is enough time to reach your connecting flight.


What I can do is to change the time for Syd to Mel flight. Please be advise that fees will apply and it's not sure if there's an available classic flight reward available.


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