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I am a US citizen looking to do some traveling in 2 months. Here is the flight itinerary I'm considering for Saturday May 26th from Auckland to Singapore with a layover in Sydney:

  • LATAM Airlines flight 801: AKL --> SYD, takeoff 7:20am, landing 9:15am.

  • Scoot Airlines flight 3: SYD --> SIN, takeoff 12pm, landing 6:20pm.

All times local.

I would be booking these two flights separately. I understand the risks: neither airline is responsible for making sure I make this connection should there be any flight delays.

However, assuming that the flights are reasonably on time, is that enough time to make the connection? What would the procedure be like at Sydney airport? Would I have to clear customs of some sort? I expect to have one checked bag.

Any advice or personal experience would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Yes, you would have to clear immigration and customs, collect your bag and recheck it - it's going to be tight, at the very least. – Moo Apr 6 '18 at 7:28
  • I've missed 2 hour connections in other countries because of immigration... these flights were on a single booking though so always got a replacement and didn't have to go back to a check in desk to recheck my bags. You'll have to do this. For me it will be very risky, depending on the cost of the flight it might not be worth it. How much more is a single booking flight? – BritishSam Apr 6 '18 at 8:03
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It's worth noting that that LATAM flight is (or at least from my research in the past) notoriously late. So that could cause you problems.

Sydney is pretty good generally, especially if you have a smart passport. You'll need to hoof it from your plane, usually 5-10 min to the duty free, fill out a form quickly on a computer, then go through the smart gate. You can be at the baggage carousel in 15 minutes, no problems. Longer if you need to queue for the passport desks though.

The baggage is the big problem. There are plenty of carousels, but if multiple flights arrive at the same time, everyone immediately goes from there into customs, and there are only 'two' lines (multiple ones merge). The queue here can be an hour, or it could be 10 minutes. Coming from NZ you're pretty safe for questioning as they know NZ is strict like Australia for foods, vegetable material and the like.

Then you'll need to check in, and Scoot is upstairs down the end. It's a 5 min walk from the end of customs, so not too bad. Easy to find, same terminal. And once you've checked in you know you'll make it.

Of course, that's a risk.

You could look at booking it with a credit card with travel insurance built in - you've not made an unrealistic connection, it's just that other delays might cause you problems - the airline, the passport, the carousels and customs. Other than that, you're fine.

  • Good to know about the smart gate. If I didn't have a checked bag, would I still have to clear customs/leave the ticketed area? – nukeguy Apr 6 '18 at 14:41
  • @nukeguy if you can check in beforehand, then perhaps not - you could just transfer. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Apr 7 '18 at 1:09
  • However if you do have to leave, at least you can just bolt to the customs area quickly ahead of the pack – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Apr 7 '18 at 1:10

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