Disabled Travellers Guide: Sydney Airport Disability Access Review
Sydney Airport stated aim is ensuring that all travellers, regardless of disability, have a positive experience of its services and has a full disability access plan in place.
Prior to arrival
Travellers are recommended to inform their travel agent of any disabilities or needs when booking their holiday, so that their airline can put appropriate wheelchairs or facilities in place. Agents will usually inform travellers of check-in details, but visually-impaired tourists will find tactile ground surface indicators outside Sydney airport three terminals which will inform them of any changes to this.
Disabled parking bays are provided close to entrances to all three terminals. Cars need to display a mobility parking permit to be able to park there. Picking up a disabled passenger is permitted if the passenger is already at the kerbside and has a permit. Waiting for a disabled passenger, whether or not they have a permit, is not permitted. Because of the proximity of the bays to the terminals, as part of standard security regulations the driver must remain with the car at all times.
If the passenger needs escorting into the terminal, then a third person, such as airline staff, must help. The only exception to this is the Sydney Terminal Two (T2) passenger pick-up point on Keith Smith Avenue, which is sufficiently far away for the security rules not to apply.
Inside Sydney airport terminal
Be aware that assistance from kerbside to the check-in counters, as well as with collecting baggage and help to or from transfers or transport is not provided through the airport and needs to be arranged instead through your airline.
If you need to change terminals, or are transferring flights, kerbside staff are able to request taxis with disability access. The transfer bus (TBus), which operates between terminals one and two (international and domestic), is wheelchair-accessible. Train stations under all three terminals are accessible by lift.
There are Special Assistance Lanes at security in terminals one and two, staffed by trained advisors. Travellers with a condition that is not immediately obvious, such as a cochlear implant, artificial hip or pacemaker, are advised to speak to security line officers about being transferred to these lines. Official documentation may be required.
Travellers are advised to pack only essential medication in their hand luggage and ensure they have documentation for it.
People with medical implants will be allowed to bypass the walk-through metal detector and be given a pat down search instead. Travellers with prosthetic limbs will also bypass the walk-through detector and will be searched with a remote wand, although permission for a pat down search may be sought if the wand alarm goes off repeatedly.
All walking aids need to go through security but chairs and walking aids on loan are available while this is taking place. Wheelchair users who can stand will be asked to pass through the detector before their chair is searched. If they cannot stand, they will be asked for permission to undergo a pat down search.
Visually impaired passengers can walk through the detector with their dog. Canes will be screened and help given to aid the passenger through the detector. Security screening explanation cards are also available in braille.
Sydney airport terminal building
Ground sensors alert any change in surface area, for example escalators, ramps and travelators and ATM machines have braille panels, as do the accessible toilets throughout all terminals.
There are automatic doors and lifts to all levels of the terminals. Additionally, there are interactive direction boards and wheelchair-accessible drinking fountains. The free internet kiosks in the departures area of the International Terminal are also wheelchair-accessible.
All public telephones are hearing aid compatible and there are TTY phones in terminals one and two.
About the author:
Emma Firth has been writing professionally for 14 years, most recently for the Telegraph in the UK. She writes mostly on health, fitness and social media.