Clearing customs in Australia?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by FlyMeAway, Sep 2, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. I'm flying UA from SFO-MEL via SYD. Will I clear customs in SYD, or do I have to leave time to clear customs once I land in MEL?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    You will arrive in SYD then clear customs via a special channel instead of the normal arrivals process...There is an International to Domestic Transfer center as well...for the UA SFO-SYD-MEL passengers there will be an agent holding up a sign for the MEL passengers and they will help you through this process as well...
     
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  3. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Enjoy Melbourne.
     
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  4. thewinchester
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    thewinchester Silver Member

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    Wrong. All passengers arriving into Australia from an international flight follow standard customs procedures regardless of carrier.

    The only exception to this is if your carrier provides passengers in your premium cabin or FF status class class what is known as an Express pass. If you are provided an express pass, then follow the designated signage when reaching the immigration control point (usually to the Left of the immigration hall) to use the express lane.

    The use of the express pass at the Quarantine and Customs barrier is dependent on how you are risk assessed in respect of biosecurity and customs issues.

    Transfer to the domestic terminal is via DJ's domestic transfer lounge located in Arrivals Hall at Pier C, and is available from 0700-1900. If you arrive outside these times, use either the terminal transfer bus or the AirportLink rail line (terminal transfer by rail costs AUD5).

    Information on INT transfers for UA can be found at:
    http://www.unitedairlines.com.au/local/english/SI/virginblue_terminal.html

    *Posted by an Aussie who knows exactly how customs/immigration works in his own country.

    Sent using my Roman era abacus
     
  5. jswong
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    jswong Gold Member

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    The SYD-MEL flight is treated as international and you will be considered a transit passenger in SYD and clear customs in MEL

    Jeff
     
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  6. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    That's correct. However you will go through security when transferring planes at SYD so don't buy any inflight or US ditty free booze or perfumes/colognes/after shaves.
     
  7. Ok, so... I now have three different answers.

    Has anybody flown this flight recently? I'm on UA 0863 SFO-SYD connecting to UA 0839 SYD-MEL, which is a continuation of the LAX-SYD flight (though I'm not sure if it uses the same equipment).

    It does seem unlikely that I'll clear in SYD as there is only an hour and a half or so between the flights.

    Also -- as to having to re-clear security in SYD... According to the itinerary flight lands in T1 and connecting flight takes off from T1. Still have to re-clear security?

    This is somewhat important as I need to provide my team with an estimate of when I'm arriving at the client on Monday morning, which will depend on whether or not I have to clear customs in MEL or whether I will already have cleared in SYD.

    If I clear in MEL, can anybody provide an estimate for time from landing to time through customs (including checked luggage)? If anyone has experience with this timing roughly aircraft-door to Hertz-lot, that would be even better :)

    If it makes a difference, I'll be in UA F with whatever fast-track style pass they provide.

    Thanks!
     
  8. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    I took this service three times last year and you definitely clear customs/immigration in MEL. Those in C or F get a Fast Track card for this service and the quarantine exit. Bags are generally down quickly so there's a limited wait following a long walk through Arrivals Duty Free and a short line for customs. And you do go through a dedicated transit security processing at SYD before being let back into the departures hall. The UA flight connections are generally the only ones being processed through this security channel, so it goes relatively quickly. My experience is that all major airports in Asia/Pacific require such security re-screening for transit passengers. I'd give it a max of half-hour to get through the whole procedure and arrive at Hertz's in terminal counter.
     
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  9. Thanks Canadi>n!

    Does UA have an arrivals lounge in MEL? Is the transit in SYD long enough for a shower? Sounds like a good idea after the overnight flight...
     
  10. jswong
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    jswong Gold Member

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    No arrivals lounge in MEL and usually enough time for a shower in SYD

    Jeff
     
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  11. Thanks Jeff -- have you done this recently? Are the showers in the RCC or should I head to the NZ lounge? Are towels, soap, shampoo, etc. provided?

    Canadi>n, have you done this recently w/showers, can you comment?

    Thanks all!
     
  12. jswong
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    jswong Gold Member

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    No RCC in SYD. The NZ lounge has showers. Need to ask at the front desk for towels. Not done your flights for a while but done lots of international transits through SYD

    Jeff
     
  13. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Not sure there's enough time for a shower, but these are available to all at the NZ lounge along with breakfast.
     
  14. aussieflyer
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    aussieflyer Silver Member

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    Did it a couple weeks ago.

    Plane came in a little early but had more then sufficient time for shower in the NZ lounge, quite nice actually.
    Even had time for a bite...

    If your not a real slow poke you shouldn't have an issue if you arrive on time.

    In MEL, there's fast track machines (similar to Global Entry) for aussie passports which take no more then a minute so hard to say the timing on regular immigration. With no checked bags, from the plane door opening to the taxi rank has been done in under 10 min (and I bought a bottle of scotch in duty free, which by the way is a ripoff.)

    Dont bring anything youll need to declare (e.g. food, plants animal products) because customs can take forever.
    They sometimes check you anyway.
     
  15. travelinmike33
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    travelinmike33 Silver Member

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    Probably not as much of an issue since it sounds like you're headed there for business, but it is worth reiterating that Australian customs is much stricter than US. Some Australian colleagues of mine have had souvenirs taken from them upon returning from abroad that would not get a second (or probably even a first) glance from customs in the US. I was also given a 30 second search/questioning at baggage claim because the sniffer dog smelled what was likely the leftover residue of some airline snacks that had been in my bag briefly.
     
  16. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Also for Aussie customs, pay attention to the list of prohibited pharmaceuticals. There re substances in OTC cold and allergy medications that are banned in Australia or require a prescription, almost as a controlled substance.

    I've also heard stories of customs inspecting laptops and cell phones, presumably for pornography.

    Personally I had a flight from NRT where every item entering the country was X-rayed as part of a search for forbidden food and ag products. They found lots and lots, but I waited in line for over an hour.

    I'm not sure what the current practice is, but planes from some areas are sprayed upon landing for insects. It seems scary but is SOP and they say the stuff is safe. It is also common for dogs to sniff everyone and their belongings when exiting the plane.

    The overall impression is of strictness but professionalism and I would also say friendliness.

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint
     
  17. Geo
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    Geo Gold Member

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    I agree with the immigration and Customs in MEL path. I did this 6 weeks ago. Our flight from LAX to SYD was a touch late so I didn't have time for a shower in the lounge. And it might be just the fog of jet lag, but I also don't remember security before reboarding. One thing that is absolutely for sure... you don't see your checked bags until after you clear Immigration in MEL. MEL has apparently gotten a lot better. Instead of putting every piece of luggage through a scanner they just peeled a group of us off to the side for a good doggie sniff, then out the door we went.
     
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  18. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    All transit passengers should be directed to a special security clearance area, then back into the departures gate area. The food inspection is a major check and you must declare all suchitems on your ag form. However, certain food items will be let into the country but if you fail to disclose these and they're detected, you could face a stiff fine. I always bring some granola bars when traveling and as long as I declare them, as processed food, these are not confiscated.
     
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  19. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I think I had some airline food when I flew to SYD, the Dog sniffer didn't set off so I was fine thankfully.
     

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