Traveling to Bali, I had a 6-hour layover in Sydney. Thinking it would be nice to see and photograph the famous Opera House, I did some research and purchased a visa for a temporary stay in Australia. At check-in, I felt something off with my plan, when the gate agent said something about having a visa. Hmmm… I thought.
I flew to LAX, transferred planes to my non-stop to Sydney. Upon arrival, I thought it would be easy to leave the airport. Standing in line at customs to fill out my forms and make my way to the train, I decided I should not do it, as I could not miss my flight to Bali. So I turned around, and went through transfer security to get to my gate. Boy, am I glad I did that.
Turns out, if I would have completed my paperwork and left the airport, my airline ticket would have been void, and I would have had to start all over in purchasing a new ticket to get to Bali, and back home. Here are my tips for layovers in the Sydney Airport.
1- Leaving the airport could terminate your ticket and uproot your travel plans– Most airports I have traveled to, leaving the airport during a layover is no problem to take in some local culture or food, however in Sydney this is not the case. Daily travelers leave the airport to explore a bit, only to return to the airport in complete frustration for having left, because of some type of travel rule with the government or airport. Be sure to understand the particulars with your visa and leaving the airport on a layover.
2- Shopping is abundant – If you have time to kill, shop. There are a variety of stores to browse and purchase souvenirs, clothing, perfumes, makeup, alcohol, and more from. Boutique style stores, designer brands, and everyday Aussie flare is everywhere you turn. Travel Tip: McDonald’s menu is different here. I don’t like McDonald’s, but if you enjoy it- you might like the Aussie version better.
3- Purchase the Airport Lounge Day Pass – As a platinum Delta member, I take advantage of having access to Delta’s Lounges when traveling internationally. To my surprise, when I arrived at the Sky Team Lounge in SYD, I was told my Delta status did not work for entry on the particular arrival flight I was on, however it worked on my departure flight. I am not sure I will ever understand all the ins and outs of the airlines, their partner airlines and airport lounges, however it is absolutely worth the $70 AUD to have access to the lounge. Wifi access, computer access, a beautiful spread of food, and access to beverages. It is the best way to get work done or simply refresh away from the busy airport crowds.
Sydney airport (SYD) is just a little bit different from other International Airports visited. My advice, don’t leave if you have a Sydney, Australia airport layover.