Why Sydney’s international airport is killing off flight announcements
A new "quiet terminal" approach is being introduced.
Well, that was quick. From Monday 17 September, Sydney Airport's international terminal (T1) will cease flight announcements in the main terminal area.
As part of a new "quiet terminal" initiative, announcements for flights will only be broadcast around gate areas. That means you won't be endlessly bombarded by announcements for "Mr Smith, the last passenger to board the Jetstar flight to Hawaii" while you're strolling through duty-free.
"Passengers will now be able to relax without being interrupted by constant announcements," Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said in a statement announcing the change. "We've worked closely with our airline partners and other stakeholders to ensure we've struck the right balance between providing a relaxing and stress-free environment and ensuring passengers have the information they need in terms of signage and updated flight information to assist them to get to their gate in a timely and efficient manner."
"Critical announcements" will be able to be broadcast throughout the airport, but that's only likely to be used in cases of emergencies. The change isn't being made at T2 or T3, the two domestic terminals (though at T2, many announcements are already only heard in gate areas).
Such a switch might be viewed as inevitable. This approach is common in airports around the world. Sydney and Hong Kong will be familiar examples to many Australians.
If (like me) you're typically in an airport lounge prior to departure, then this won't make much difference anyway. The Qantas lounge still runs announcements for flights on Qantas and partner airlines, and I've trained myself not to move until those announcements happen. If they're not ready to board, why lose lounge time just to stand at the gate?
That could change in the future. Many overseas lounges don't announce flights, often for practical reasons. In Changi or Heathrow, if you announced every flight the chatter would be incessant and the announcements would actually stop being useful. Affiliate lounges (like the American Express lounge in Sydney or ones which can be accessed through Priority Pass) also typically don't announce flights.
Outside the comfort of the lounge, this will definitely make a difference. It's bad news if you're the kind of disorganised passenger who relies on your name being called to get to your flight. But frankly, in that case you deserve to suffer so you'll change your ways in the future.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.
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