Sunday, March 06, 2011

SYD = Not Very Nice

The Sydney Airport (SYD) has always seemed fairly pleasant.
Nothing spectacular mind you, but nothing horrible either.
Until now. We should have know something was wrong when
we arrived on our way to Hobart. We decided to spend the
night at an "inexpensive" hotel near the airport. To catch
a shuttle to the hotel, it cost $6 per person each way to get
to the hotel. Yikes!

We had a really nice stay in Tasmania and our flight from
Hobart to Sydney was uneventful. We decided we would stay
at the airport since we didn't really want to spend the night
at a hotel and go through that whole shuttle situation again.

Now, here's another major flaw with Sydney's airport. The
Domestic Terminal and International Terminal aren't connected.
You can catch an airport bus (for a fee) or a taxi (for a fee) or
a subway (for a fee). Of course the bus only runs until 8pm,
the taxi would be exorbitantly expensive and the subway was
hard to drag bags through. I've never been to such a place that
made it so difficult for it's patrons to just complete the basic
act of traveling!

After we finally reached the International Terminal where we
hoped to find a cafe or someplace to hang out for the night,
we were informed by a man in a sport coat (see photo) that
we could not stay in the terminal since it closed at 11pm.
Aargh! We were "welcome" to be herded into a tiny area in
the basement area, where we and 50 or so other folks would
also be spending the night. They then started to close down
metal gates with bars down over the walkways to the rest of
the terminals and the exit doors. Only one door was left
unbarred and if you left, you couldn't get back in! It felt like
a concentration camp! Then, when it didn't seem it could
get worse, half a dozen women in yellow vests walked around
and asked everyone to see their passport and flight itineraries.
One guy asked a vest-wearer, "I have nothing else to do, but
come to the airport and hang out? Of course I have a ticket!"

We survived the night and didn't get much rest, but eventually
the rest of the airport opened up to us, we took a shower and
were on our way.

I found out that the city of Sydney literally sold the airport to
a second party and this huge business conglomerate is alienating
not only international travelers, but local Australians as well.
All in the quest to make a buck. It was a pretty bad experience
and the city of Sydney should be ashamed of itself!


Benjamin said...

Wow. All of us travelers have a ton of miserable stories. So you know that a miserable story is REALLY a miserable story when other travelers are amazed at the true miserableness of the story. I am SO sorry for you guys.

Sheri said...

Tom, you stole my blog posting subject! Yes, SYD is one of the worst airports we've been to in a long time. We had to transfer from Intl to Domestic and were required to pay $11 for the two of us to catch a shuttle bus.

On the way back from Perth, we luckily had decided to overnight in Sydney so we walked to our hotel from the domestic terminal and caught a shuttle ($12 for the 2 of us) to the international terminal the next day. Never mind that everything is within 2 kilometers....sheeesh.

Thanks for providing the back story.

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