Question on checkin for international

Old Feb 14th, 2017, 06:48 PM
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Question on checkin for international

LIkely one of the most noob questions ever, but can't help it. Want to avoid messing myself up because I assumed something. Domestic travel I do, This is first international flight.

Travelling to Australia in April from BWI. All booked via Qantas, using American to DFW and then Qantas to Sydney. BWI flight is 6:20 pm, and it appears I cannot do an online checkin. So when should I be at the airport to make sure I'm good? Don't want to be there too soon, it's a long travel day, but don't want to miss a checkin cutoff either. I assume that checkiin with AA at BWI also checks me into the flight to SYD?

On the way back, I'm flying Qantas domestic from BNE to SYD and then Qantas international to DFW and after a long layover, flying AA from DFW back to BWI. Same questions. Checkin time at BNE? Can it be done online? I assume that checkin at BNE checks in for the flight out of Sydney but what about the AA flight to BWI? Thinking that gets done when I get my luggage after customs?

Like I said noob questions but I'd hate to get to the airport and find I can't get on my flight because it closed because I assumed.
John_McGing is offline  
Old Feb 14th, 2017, 07:24 PM
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You can't usually do online check-in for international flights because somebody at the airport needs to lay eyes on your passport to confirm you're square with visas etc.

Check in at BWI as if you were going on a domestic flight - 90 min. or whatever you're comfortable with.

You should get your Qantas boarding pass at BWI but I'm not sure if Qantas will give you your AA BP on the way back. But you can go to the AA service desk at DFW after customs (they are everywhere) and they'll set you up if you don't have a BP already. Your bags should be checked through to BWI so after customs you'll hand them over at the re-check counter and should be good to go.

Note you'll have to change terminals at SYD; if it's all on one ticket Qantas will give you adequate time for this.
Gardyloo is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2017, 06:19 AM
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I allow more than 90 minutes for checkin for an international flight, even if the first leg is domestic, as I don't always get TSA Pre. If you go to it will tell you what the airline recommends.

If your flights are all on the same ticket your bags should be checked all the way through.

The sequence at your port of entry to the US is:

Passport control.

Retrieve your checked bags.

Customs (these days you mostly get the customs form from the kiosk you use for passport control)

Recheck your bags - this is right outside customs.

Note that the customs inspection at Australian ports of entry is EXTREMELY strict. Read the regulations and stick to them, or you could find that apple you forgot about drawing a hefty fine.
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Old Feb 15th, 2017, 06:25 AM
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In Europe we advise being 1 hour before flying time and 2 for international.
The bags are checked at the first leg as is immigration so it is normal to be earlier. Esp for a first international flight.
WoinParis is offline  
Old Feb 15th, 2017, 09:27 AM
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Make sure you apply for your Australian ETA at least a couple of weeks before you travel if you haven't already done so. The processing can be pretty quick, but you don't wan to wait until the last minute.

I wasn't able to get my US domestic flight boarding pass in Sydney the last time I went, but it was because I was on two different tickets. I think if you are on a single ticket with two airline partners, you should be able to do everything with one check-in.
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Old Feb 15th, 2017, 10:10 AM
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You may have to show your passport in Brisbane and check your bags, but when you fly into SYD from BNE you arrive in the domestic terminal. Your bags may be checked through already, but you need to allow time to transfer yourselves to the International terminal a couple of km away.


Allow for plenty of time also since you first go through the Australian passport check in Sydney (yes, they check passports as you exit the country just as they do when you enter it), plus of course all the security and airline boarding procedures.

Having done this trip dozens of time over the last 35 years, from DFW and - more often - from LAX or SFO or - once - from YVR, allow me to give you a hint:

Stay off coffee and TV - the flickering images stay on your brain long after you wish you could sleep a little. Try to amass as much sleep as you can. From DFW it's about 14 or 15 hours, and if you sleep in small increments, ten or fifteen minutes at a time, between sort of waking up and rearranging your limbs, those increments will add up to the equivalent of almost a real night's sleep.

After some years of perfecting this, I can honestly say that I have zero jetlag when I get into Sydney in the early morning hours and I can be up and active until after dinner time.

But it took me many trips to get to this stage. My wife, with only about six Australia trips behind her, is almost there - she just requires a mini-nap on the day of arrival.

Any more than a mini-nap will "turn you around" and you'll want to be active at night and you'll be drowsy during the day. Don't let that happen, tough it out on Day One, stay outside, hop on a ferry from Circular Quay, go for a walk, for example from the Opera House through the Botanical Gardens to the Gallery of NSW and then into the center for refreshments at the fabulous QVB = Queen Victoria Building. After dinner, have a good night's sleep.

Otherwise, as they say in Oz, "no worries Mate" - enjoy your trip.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2017, 03:49 AM
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I want to thank everyone who replied. I very much appreciate the advice.

This confirms what I was reading but hearing it from people who have done it helps settle things down.

And am more than grateful that I have all my flights on one confirmed reservation so comfortable that the connection times satisfy.

I have an AirBnB in Potts Point where the woman I"m renting from has agreed to leave it free the prior evening so I can check in when I get there, and believe it or not, I've planned just about the exact walk through the Botanical Gardens and the Quay (described above) for that first day. I'd say Great Minds think alike but I think I was just lucky.

Thanks again, I'm honestly very grateful for the focused and thoughtful replies.
John_McGing is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2017, 04:06 AM
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Depending on just where in Potts Point you're staying, you may get to see a side of Sydney that can be a bit startling. Or not - depending on your experience and tolerance level with "the underbelly of human culture".

When you look at the map, you'll find that Potts Point is the northern extension of what begins as Kings Cross (or just "The Cross" in the local vernacular) at the top of Williams Street (with the huge Coca-Cola sign), and Kings Cross is an often rowdy entertainment area, formerly a veritable red-light district (famously so during the Vietnam War years with all the US R+R personnel). Weekend nights can get lively, just as they can get lively on the lower stretch of George Street in the city, from about Town Hall down.

No real cause for alarm, just steel yourself for some less-than-pretty sights on a Friday or Saturday night.

A curiosity (and photo op) you might like to get to know: Down by the wharves, on Cowper Wharf Rd, between Forbes and Dowling St., is a nondescript concrete shack named Harry's Café de Wheels, selling hot dogs and the like. Why "De Wheels"? Because it started as an actual cart on wheels, at that time located further towards Potts Point, at the bottom of the hill, where Wylde St meets Cowper Wharf Rd. It was the only way for the sailors returning to their lodgings to get a late-night snack, and many late-night revelers, yours truly among them, would swing by there to get sustenance at some ungodly hour.

Now the wheels are gone, but the name persists.

Enjoy Sydney, it is full of character and characters, I hope you'll get to meet some of them.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2017, 01:29 PM
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When changing terminals at SYD Qantas provides a bus for its passengers to make the transit. You catch it from within the airport but as I recall it is not well signed so you may need to ask.

The concerns regarding the goods you carry is not just as issue when you enter Australia, but also when flying from state to state. Sniffer dogs will be used to determine if you have any fresh fruit or veg--which pose a risk of spreading pests-- and presumably other contraband as well. I was stopped when carrying a lunch bag that had held an apple and orange I’d eaten on the plane. As noted, just be sure you give truthful information on your declaration and likely the worst that will happen is that you have to throw out something. I’ve found the customs officers in Oz to be quite pleasant.

I haven’t had an international flight with Qantas is a few years, but when travelling Cathay Pacific between Perth and Toronto I have been able to check in online, print out boarding passes or get electronic versions. Your passport and boarding pass will be checked at security and again at the gate.
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