Airport Guide: Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport

The Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, or Sydney Airport, is the biggest airport in Australia and even on the whole continent. It is an important international gateway and the main hub of Australia’s national carrier Qantas. In this Airport Guide we’ll give you all the necessary information about departing, arriving and transiting at Sydney Airport.

With more than 40 million passengers a year, Sydney Airport is one of the busiest airports in the Southern hemisphere. It’s the main hub for all Australian international airlines, including Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar. There are flights to all inhabited continents from Sydney, including Africa (Johannesburg), South America (Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires), Asia, Europe and North America.

Biggest carriers at Sydney Airport:

  • Qantas: dozens of domestic and international destinations
  • Virgin Australia: several domestic and international destinations
  • Jetstar Airways: several domestic and international destinations

Shopping and dining at Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport comes with three terminals only, which means that all terminals are quite big. This again leads to all terminals offerings several dining and shopping options. The biggest choice of shops and restaurants is available in Terminal 1, the international terminal. Here, you can find all typical fast food chains, several bars, cafés and even proper restaurants.

Sydney Airport

The International Terminal has lots of shopping

The other terminals, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, come with more casual options, including fast food, bars, cafés and several snack places. When it comes to shopping, there are the typical daily needs, book etc. shops in the domestic terminals, while there are several shops, including fashion, accessories etc. in the International Terminal. Especially before flying internationally, you can really go shopping or dining at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport.

Sleeping at Sydney Airport

If you have a longer layover, an early departure or a late arrival at Sydney Airport, there are several options available. According to it’s theoretically possible to sleep in the international terminal, but there are no comfortable benches or other sleeping spots available. The domestic terminal even closes at night. However, there are several airport hotels available at and near Sydney Airport.

Pullman Sydney Airport Deluxe Executive Room

There are several hotels near Sydney Airport

The Rydges Hotel Sydney Airport is located right across from the International Terminal. Other options are either in walking distance of either of the terminals or can be reached with a shuttle. There are several different hotels, from two-star to five-star, so it is basically up for you where to spend the night. Hotels near Sydney Airport aren’t cheap though. We stayed at the Pullman Sydney Airport when having an early morning departure and found the hotel to be okay.

Lounges at Sydney Airport

With Sydney Airport being a major hub, there are several different lounges available in both terminals. The biggest carrier, Qantas, operates four different lounges: two in the domestic terminal (Qantas Club & Qantas Business Lounge) and two in the international terminal (Qantas Business Lounge & Qantas First Class Lounge).

Qantas First Class Lounge Sydney Seating

The Qantas First Class Lounge is one of the best lounges on the continent

The Star Alliance carriers Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines (First & Business Class) operate lounges at Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport, too. Moreover, there are several other lounges, including a SkyTeam Lounge, an American Express Lounge, an Etihad Lounge, an Emirates Lounge and two lounges operated by Virgin Australia. Yet, you should be aware that there are NO Priority Pass lounges at the airport, yet a few restaurants are cooperating with Priority Pass.

Overview of all lounges at Sydney Airport:

  • American Express Lounge Sydney (T1): American Express Platinum & Centurion Members
  • Emirates Lounge (T1): Emirates Business and First Class passengers and Skywards Silver and Gold members
  • Etihad Lounge (T1): Etihad & Partners Business and First Class passengers and Etihad & Partners Gold and Platium members
  • Virgin Australia Lounge (T1 & T2): Virgin Australia The Business guests, Lifetime Lounge member as well as Velocity Platinum and Gold members; eligble Etihad Airways partners status guests
  • Qantas International Business Lounge (T1): oneworld Business and First Class passengers and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members
  • Qantas International First Class Lounge (T1): oneworld First Class passengers and oneworld Emerald members
  • SkyTeam Lounge Sydney (T1): SkyTeam Business and First Class passengers and SkyTeam Elite Plus members
  • Air New Zealand Koru Lounge (T2): Star Alliance Business and First Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members
  • Qantas Domestic Business Lounge (T3): oneworld Business and First Class passengers and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members
  • Qantas Club (T3): Qantas Club members and oneworld Business and First Class passengers and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members

Transportation at Sydney Airport

Sydney is one of the few cities in Australia that has a rail link to the airport, unlike Melbourne Airport. However, there are no airport trains as such, but rather just normal suburban trains, which stop at the airport. Thus, there are no special facilities for putting luggage and the trains can be very crowded in rush hour. The trains stop once at the international and once between the two domestic terminals.

Trains are the quickest way to get into the city

There is a surcharge for those trains, but services into Sydney are quick and stop often at many important stations, including Central and Circular Quay. Other than that, there are a couple of regional buses and taxis. However, buses are only useful for selection destinations, while taxis are way more expensive than the train. Another option are car sharing services like Uber.

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