Daily cleaning, installation of cabin HEPA filters on flights from Sydney to Cairns
Qantas Airways, American Airlines and Emirates have all waived their change and cancellation fees on flights from Sydney to Cairns. Confirm policies on booking site.
Etihad Airways and LATAM Airlines do not allow booking a middle seat on flights from Sydney to Cairns.
The average direct flight takes 3h 00m, covering a distance of 1971 km.
There are 187 (direct) flights between Sydney and Cairns per week, averaging 26 per day.
In the past 3 days, the cheapest one-way tickets were found on Jetstar ($83) and Virgin Australia ($101), and the lowest round-trip tickets have been found on Multiple Airlines ($203) and Jetstar ($235).
Qantas Airways (4 times daily), LATAM Airlines (3 times daily), Jetstar (2 times daily) are the most frequent flyers on this route.
From Sydney to Cairns, Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly on average and Thursday is the most expensive. Flying from Cairns back to Sydney , the best deals are generally found on Wednesday, with Tuesday being the most expensive.
When flying out of Sydney you will be using Sydney Kingsford Smith, often referred to as Sydney Airport. You will be landing at Cairns, also known as Cairns Airport.
Smoking areas at this airport are located outside the terminal buildings. There is a no smoking policy inside the terminal buildings, so if you are a smoker, make a note of the location of the designated spaces (marked on terminal maps) and take advantage of them before going through security.
Sydney Airport offers free Wi-Fi – select ‘-FREE SYD WiFi-’, follow the registration instructions, click proceed and you can start surfing. Cairns Airport also has a Wi-Fi service in all terminals – it is free for 30 minutes in T2 and for 60 minutes in T1 – thereafter you will need to pay.
The terminals at Cairns Airport are within walking distance of each other and you can get from one to the other via a covered walkway. From T2 Arrivals to T1 Departures, follow the Green line and from T1 Arrivals to T2 Departures follow the Blue line. The walk takes between 5 and 7minutes.
If you wish to use public transport from Cairns Airport ,you will need to catch the Airport Connect bus service which, for around AUD6 one way and AUD8 return, will take you from the airport to the Sheridan Street bus stops, where you can continue your journey north towards beaches or southwards towards Cairns.
KAYAK is a travel search engine. That means we look across the web to find the best prices we can find for our users. With over 2 billion flight queries processed yearly, we are able to display a variety of prices and options on flights from Sydney to Cairns.
KAYAK’s flight Price Forecast tool uses historical data to determine whether the price for a flight to Cairns from Sydney is likely to change within 7 days, so travelers know whether to wait or book now.
Hacker Fares allow you to combine one-way tickets in order to save you money over a traditional return ticket. You could then fly to Cairns with an airline and back to Sydney with another airline.
Sometimes travel dates aren't set in stone. If your preferred travel dates have some wiggle room, flexible dates will show you all the options when flying to Cairns from Sydney up to 3 days before/after your preferred dates. You can then pick the flights that suit you best.
Scores according to KAYAK customer reviews
Pros: "Flight attendants super sweet and really paid attention to any needs. Comfy seats, lots of movies to choose from and a tasty breakfast."
Pros: "It was our first time flying on Qantas. everything was above expectations."
Cons: "Crew was not friendly. Also - who thought putting call buttons in the armrest was a good idea? We had 10 accidental calls from the people around us alone."
Cons: "Have a choice of both sweet & savoury snacks onboard."
Cons: "Lost 2 of 3 bags. Still don’t have them. Some staff very helpful and empathetic. Some staff very rude and abrasive. Didn’t want to take ownership and work to correct the problem. Had a “not my problem” attitude"
Cons: "very cramped"
Cons: "Crazy long delay. Wasted a whole extra day at the airport with no help or accommodations. :("
Pros: "Normal standard for that kind of trip"
Pros: "staff were very friendly"
Cons: "the entertainment equipment had a glitch and not function properly"
Pros: "Lunch served was good."
Cons: "The flight was delayed a bit."
Pros: "I loved Qantas's attention to detail and their exceptionally friendly staff. Best airline I've used in recent years."
Cons: "Flight was late departing."
Pros: "Watched movies to pass the time. Trip uneventful but 2 hours late"
Cons: "The announcements by cabin crew on board were hard to understand as English not first language"
Pros: "Friendly Crew"
Cons: "The 3 Hour Delay in Sydney!!!"
Pros: "Not much"
Cons: "Delayed no information"
Pros: "Great at all."
Pros: "I watched heaps of movies and programs."
Pros: "Staff was very accommodating"
Pros: "The flight itself was fine. Point a to point b with no hiccups."
Cons: "The cabin crew was rude and had no self awareness. 2 times where I wasn't finished with my drink and they grabbed it right out of my hands. I was grabbing it so they could clear everything else but they took it as me trying to hand it to them. Both times I told them I was still drinking that and they disregarded it and threw it in the trash without hesitation. It's like they were robots on autopilot. Also, the male attendant in my row would always bump me pretty severely with his bum while grabbing things from the cart."
Pros: "I loved the first meal and the choices all seemed amazing. Staff were friendly during boarding. Seats were really comfortable and good movie and song choices."
Cons: "The second meal, a small noodle box was dry, overcooked, and bland even with the dressing. The crew was not very friendly during the flight (I understand maybe they had a cranky passenger before and it was a long flight but smiling isnt that hard!). Inflight service was inconsistent as one side came down to serve 15minutes after the first side. The headphones looked quite dirty so I used my own. Boarding was quite slow and then takeoff was late but it was nice that the captain explained it."
Pros: "Excellent service. Comfortable seats in economy with good leg room"
Cons: "Poor screen & audio quality on movie system."
Pros: "In flight entertainment had a good selection"
Cons: "Delayed and missed connecting flight. As a result had to pay for a new one. Placed in the last row of economy so I could sit with my partner. Lied to by the check in counter. Disappointed by qantas yet again!"
Pros: "Took off and landed safely"
Cons: "Entertainment is old compared to other airlines. Screen is low resolution."
Pros: "Dinner meal"
Pros: "Snack and Qantas Entertainment app"
Pros: "Everything on time."
Pros: "Crew on the plane was a group of wonderful ladies. Always smiling & pleasant, even when they had to move people around. Great service with a smile."
Cons: "No info ahead of time about checking in. Once we got to the airport, I was told that I should have known better & checked in 24 hours prior. initially, the agent said that all seats are appropriated randomly. At the gate, I'm told different. I had to fight tooth & nail to get a seat next to my wife (who often gets airsick). It didn't feel good to have to argue & make a scene to accomplish this."
Cons: "Average airline compared to Singapore & MZ airlines"
Pros: "Close to two hours delay leaving Australia"
Cons: "I was surprised that we were flying a different carrier than Emirates"
Pros: "The food and service were excellent!"
Pros: "On time dep and arr."
Cons: "Nothing specific."
Pros: "Nothing to be honest.."
Cons: "food was pathetic, served late, i have always found the Qantas crew to be rude. No change to that. Somethings dont change. this is one of them. I first flew w Qantas in 2005 in business class, and since then i have downgraded. But the attitude hasn't changed. It's as if we are doing service by choosing Qantas...."
Pros: "Customer service was outstanding"
Cons: "There was no Sauvignon blanc on the wine list"
Pros: "Helpful staff, good vegetarian foods"
Cons: "Compares very unfavourably to Emirates who we used on the outward leg. Food very poor and choices limited by the time we were served."
Pros: "on time"
Cons: "very rough ride"
Pros: "Flying to Qantas always enjoyable - staff always make for pleasant journey. Always happy to fly Qantas."
Cons: "One negative experience was that there was only 1hr 30mins between connecting flights. Between departing international flight - picking up luggage/toilet stop and clearing Immigration/Customs then catching bus between Qantas international domestic terminals we were racing to catch flight. As we arrived Qantas domestic terminal our names were being called over along with info the plane was awaiting our arrival. In my experience 2hrs is minimum time between connecting flights - otherwise good experience."
Pros: "Friendly service"
Pros: "I liked that they accommodated my dietary restrictions"
Cons: "I didn't like the seating. It was really cramped"
Cons: "My gates changed at Sydney abruptly and some of the ones checking flights through at gate 1c were rude as the Tv screens said my flight was boarding when it wasnt."
Pros: "The special meals for my son and daughter were amazing!"
Cons: "Old 747"
Cons: "Announce the app download well before boarding so that I can get it. I never had a chance"
Pros: "Good crew, clean."
Cons: "Food both free and purchased. Seat most uncomfortable after and hour and a half."
Cons: "Plane trip was great , baggage pick up very slow. No entertainment on trip Melb to Cairns so can't comment."
Cons: "No comment all ok"
Pros: "Easy checkin"
Cons: "Flight was late in leaving. Sat in seat for 45 minutes without moving."
Cons: "On time."
Pros: "fast boarding"
Cons: "Better Movies"
Pros: "Snack was good"
Cons: "Seats very uncomfortable and msny headrests would not stay in position making back of neck very uncomfortable. Also. Making passengers board via rear plane door and stairs where ramp to front plane door was used makes it much more difficult for seniors with carry on bag. Should use of front entra"
Pros: "First time trying the new inflight Wifi - great!"
Pros: "On time"
Cons: "Not very comforting seats"
Pros: "Movie selection was good. Complimentary wine was excellent and plentiful."
Cons: "Seat room was cramped."
Cons: "Delays from Sydney to Cairns were disappointing and VA did nothing to make up for it. (The flight was pretty empty so that was a plus!"
Cons: "No organization in check in process. Staff unfriendly and unhelpful. No control over situation."
Pros: "Information on departure delays was forthcoming"
Cons: "The checkin machine kept giving me my fellow travelor boarding pass and not one for me."
Pros: "Very friendly"
Cons: "Despite multiple confirmation emails from Kayak (including this survey). But I found out last minute from the airline that the flight never actually got booked, so I needed to book a different flight last minute."
Pros: "On time"
Pros: "On time"
Cons: "There was an extremely long line at check-in with only a couple of Virgin Australia attendants working. Despite the line (of several hundred people), the staff appeared to have no urgency about moving customers through the check-in process, and at one point two of the the three workers quit working, packed up and left. Replacements arrived five minutes later and took another five to ten minutes to set-up before helping customers - leaving one agent for the overflowing line. Total wait time for check-in alone was over 1 hour."
Cons: "Boarding made half passengers drag their carryon luggage down stairs, then drag them up the plane. Not acceptable! Almost pulled my back out."
Cons: "See above"
Pros: "Nice crew."
Cons: "This flight was full with many families with small children. The parents exercised almost no control over their rambunctious children. A gentlemen in my row turned around to request that the children seated behind him not bang and bump the back of his seat. After 3 such requests a fight almost broke out between adults. I’ve never experienced anything quite like this on a flight. I myself got no rest on the 3 hr flight to Cairns."
Pros: "Not much"
Cons: "Check in was terrible. The kiosks were not working and there was NO staff available to instruction or to ask questions. The check-in and bag drop off lines elevate terrible. I believe a big problem is they only allow one bag including carry-on and there were no signs indicating this!"
Pros: "Can watch movies by phone"
Cons: "The food, the service are very normal"
Pros: "I missed the connection in Sydney to get to Cairns… So, still waiting to board the last leg of the flight. The airport in Sydney was really busy and it just took a while to go through customs, and baggage claims etc.."
Cons: "Nice people but the seats are close so very tight fit for anyone over 5"5'"
Pros: "Mostly everything"
Cons: "The seats were a bit cramped."
Cons: "Our flight was cancelled and as we were overseas and did not know we had been put on a flight 4hrs earlier and as we got to the airport to later than that earlier flight had to buy new tickets with another airline. We are very disappointed as it cost up extra money."
Pros: "No significant problem"
Pros: "First class was dirt"
Cons: "Flight was cancelled, no compensation, had to find somewhere to stay, travel to and from airport for a flight the next day instead."
Pros: "Enormous leg room"
Cons: "Fly Virgin Australia every time if possible"
Cons: "Flight was delayed over two hours"
Pros: "friendly staff smooth trip"
Cons: "it got abit stuffy the aircon wasnt great but it was a nice flight"
Pros: "2 free checked bags when flying domestically is a big plus!"
Pros: "everything was great"
Pros: "Staff polite and helpful at boarding desk"
Cons: "Poor food selection"
Pros: "Crew was friendly and helpful."
Cons: "Literally had to cut in front of people exiting the landed flight in LA and run to the next flight, which was going from LA to Sydney. Same thing happened after landing in Sydney. Had to collect my bags, go through customs, recheck bags, take a shuttle to a domestic flight terminal, go through security, then I hear over the speaker it was the final boarding call for my flight, had to run again. I am a 56 y/o woman, was not fun. When I arrived in Cairns at about noon, I found that my bag missed the flight. I was told my bag would be delivered to my hotel in Palm Cove that evening, I received my bag the next morning. The flights into and out of LA were run by Delta, the flight from Sydney to Cairns was VIrgin Australia."
Pros: "The egg and lettuce sandwich was fresh and delicious! A bigger serving would have been nice. The Cadbury biscuit chocolate was also a perfect match with a coffee."
Cons: "The inflight entrainment could have been more extensive. For example the big fat Greek wedding advertised in the inflight magazine wasn't available as a selection."
Pros: "Arrived on time."
Cons: "There was no entertainment this was especially annoying on an almost 5 hour flight. Seats were too squashy."
Pros: "Nice that they had a tasty snack with a chocolate biscuit"
Cons: "Alcoholic beverages would be better if"
Pros: "Generally speaking, I like Virgin Australia."
Cons: "The only problem was we were delayed."
Pros: "Flight attendant was friendly and very accommodating!"
Pros: "Very efficient service and excellent trip to Cairns. Check in and loading was seamless."
Cons: "Water was the only complimentary drink. And no peanuts or pretzels were included."
Pros: "Good food, quick flight, we had a fair amount of space"
Cons: "The hostess forgot to give us drinks and didn't even remember after everyone had been served"
Pros: "The crew was nice enough and the seats were comfortable."
Cons: "Only water and tea and drink options and the supposed Wi-Fi onboard didn't work at all."
Pros: "Awesome service! Was able to bid for an upgrade and got it! Airline is the best!"
Cons: "Doesn't give you ticketing information right away, takes 36hrs"
Cons: "cost of going over baggage weight was extremely high"
Pros: "Crew wasn’t that polite."
Cons: "Anything extra"
Cons: "Jetstar is just an airline that charges for everything. No customer service or personality. The carry-on bag rules apparently are not the same for everyone. Several people had multiple bags well exceeding 7kg. Of course the rest of us had to pay the bag fees. Just a company of crooks."
Cons: "Seats quite uncomfortable. Could feel the seat structure through the sestback."
Cons: "We had a row of drunk boys directly behind us. They drank non-stop, were extremely noisy and obnoxious - standing in the aisles, shaking seats, and yelling/singing non-stop. Worst flight I have been on this year as the crew did nothing to address this issue despite numerous complaints. P"
Pros: "After we finally got checked in after standing in line (1.5hrs), due to the previous night's storms (& finally had to argue with staff, after they had already announced final check in)- everything else went off without a hitch. The flight operated- a plus when compared to my two previous JetStar bookings."
Cons: "I organization of staff who had told us at "we would be fine" in the line we were in- only to be hurried to the "final check in desk" and have the staff there tell us to get back in line."
Pros: "Boarding was a breeze! Staff was very friendly"
Cons: "No free snacks or beverages... only available to purchase"
Pros: "All staff on ground and in flight very pleasant and helpful"
Cons: "I,ve no complaints"
Cons: "No food or entertainment. Seats do narrow and MINIMAL leg room"
Pros: "Same as the previous review"
Cons: "Pay extra $500 for my luggage. Still do not know why."
Pros: "Crew was nice and boarding process was very efficient."
Cons: "seats were extremely close to each other and incredibly uncomfortable. They didn't even offer a glass of water without payment. Literally everything but the air cost money."
Pros: "Crew friendly"
Cons: "Bag drop lineup ridiculously long. Flight late departing. Black tea $4. Missed our transfer to port Douglas and had to wait 2 hours to the next. Not happy."
Cons: "The entire experience"
Pros: "This was a simple no frills flight cost is low because extras are just that extra."
Cons: "Seats are paper thin, so much so that i got pushed every time the gentleman behind me moved his knees."
Cons: "So I told them I was going to have luggage but they didn’t have it at the check in counter. Then they charged me $195 for 1 bag that weighed 24kg. Are you joking?? Then, the woman says we’ll we can upgrade you to an exit row seat for free. I thought that sounded awesome, extra legroom and all, so of course I accepted. When I get on the plane, my seat was in the row ahead of the exit row, with no extra legroom. The flight attendant said that the row i was in is considered an exit row as well. Here are the problems: 1 even if I didn’t tell them I was taking luggage, who the hell would pay to take one goddamned bag for $195 when the entire flight cost $150?! 2 imagine I paid for the exit row seat and they stuck me in the row ahead of the exit area so I had no extra leg room I would be extremely angry. Lastly, everything on the flight is for order, nothing is free not even water. I would never, ever, fly jetstar again even if the only alternative was to walk."
Cons: "Over 1.5 hours to check our bags, delays, baggage fees"
Cons: "Extreme difficulty in check in and bag drop process waited over an hour and combined with security almost missed the flight."
Cons: "Jet star line to check in was very long with only two people working"
Pros: "Good seat and small load so could move around"
Cons: "No entertainment and charges for everything."
Cons: "My husband is 6.7 feet tall, we were trying to change seats for him for over 2 weeks and wasn't able to do ( need exit raw or extra leg room)"
Cons: "Luggage fees"
Pros: "We got there no leg room"
Cons: "No leg room a320"
Cons: "I contacted Jetstar several times months before traveling to cancel my flight and obtain a refund they refused"
Pros: "Cute flight attendants."
Cons: "Unexpected fees for baggage. $255 additional fees!!! Charge for soft drinks and water! Lost my bag to rub salt in the wound. Unhelpful and disrespectful counter staff! Customer service is clearly not part of company training or culture. Nearly impossible to get customer service via website. I had better luck getting a phone number using google. I travel nearly every week on business and have never experience such poor service. I will never fly this third world airline again."
Pros: "Did not order any food, so there were no surprise charges."
Cons: "Hidden fees. I will never book another flight with Jetstar."
Pros: "Boarding went quickly because thry use front and back entry ways but be warned, take away cups not allowed."
Cons: "Baggage drop/self check-in was a huge inefficient line and the check-in lines were actually moving faster. What's the value of early check-in? And of course you pay for everything, bags, snacks, food and even coffee. In the end, it doesn't seem worth it."
Cons: "Was given 3 different instructions about how and where to check in. And their fees for checked luggage are exorbitant compated to other airlines."
Pros: "As you wait in line to board an employee is going down the line with a scale checking each carry on bag for weight. The same bag I've carried on multiple flights without problem. I'm told my bag will cost me an extra $50. Their weight restrictions are about half the norm evidently, so just plan to add $50 to your ticket price. Also everything else is extra as well, so don't be fooled into believing your trip is really just the price of the ticket (as it was with every other economy flight I had taken) but something considerably higher. I always travel with a standard size carry on bag and small personal bag and have never had this issue with any other airline."
Cons: "Deceptive ticket prices and policies."
Cons: "Beware, they charge $15 per kilogram for over weight luggage."
Cons: "There were 2 employees I spoke with when checking in about my carry on baggage and they didn't say anything. Then Jetstar sends someone to the gate with a scale to catch everyone they have already let through with bags to see if they can hit us with the most expensive bag fee since it is gste side at that point. It was a shady move since we would have paid much less at the check in desk. Not cool!"
Pros: "Overall a good experience!"
Cons: "I did not like having to pay extra charges for luggage after I chose by booking. I thought I was choosing a "deal" and it was not the great deal I thought I had."
Pros: "We landed safely. That's about it."
Cons: "Airline cares more about money than happy customers. Disappointed. Customer service was far from helpful and passive aggressive, despite the fact that the error was on their mobile website (wouldn't let me add baggage) and so I was forced to buy it at the airport which cost like 2x as much. They wouldn't help adjust. Plane was also very dirty."
Pros: "I liked the courteous service. Smooth flight."
Pros: "The plane was relatively new."
Cons: "Boarding was late. Food selection was poor Entertainment choices were slim And obviously charging for luggage and food sucks."
Pros: "Flight agents were nice enough and that's about it."
Cons: "The gate agent makes everyone weight their bags to verify they are not over 7kg which is crazy. Super rude about whole process as well. The chairs are so close that a rather large woman behind me had her knees digging into my back because there wasn't sufficient room!! No, she wasn't 7 foot tall. Probably 5'7""
Pros: "I am still in denpasar"
Cons: "The Jetstar domestic flight from Sydney to Cairns unexplicably left from the international terminal and we missed our flight due to that. The employees at Jetstar were rude and unhelpful. Jetstar cares only about money and not about customers' safety and security. They never even asked for our passports to verify that we were the actual ticketholders! However, they made sure to charge us every penny possible for our luggage. I could not get a simple cup of water on the flight without paying for it. Jetstar is a terrible airline and I would not recommend it to anybody!"
Cons: "Gate agent assumed we didn't speak English so she re-assigned us from an exit row to the back if the plane. Agent didn't ask us if we spoke Eng (we are native Eng speakers). When we realized what she was doing, she was surprised that we spoke Eng but continued to re-assign us. Extremely poor service. Will not fly Jetstar again."
Cons: "2h delay"
Pros: "The flight attendants getting on the plane were nice. Otherwise, I had no interaction with them."
Cons: "This airline has many hidden baggage fees, and they are more expensive at the airport than online. They also charge an exorbitant amount of money for each kilo over your reserved baggage weight. The staff working at the counters is extremely rude."
Cons: "Baggage allowance for international flyers and charges for excess baggage !!! Obscene !"
Pros: "The check-in woman was a gem! Due to Australia's strict carry-on policy - one item, period - I had to repack my luggage, which contained a fragie printer that had been in my carry-on when I could have it AND a computer bag. The Jet Star allowed two checked pieces, and the agent gave me all the time I needed to make the changes. She then marked the bag fragile, and sent me to the oversize/fragile bay with it. It arrived in PNG rattled, but working normally.The woman was a peach!"
Pros: "The plane was very clean and the leather seats were very comfortable. The flight attendants and check-in desk team were fantastic!"
Cons: "The extra fees for ANY check-in luggage, plus the extra fees by the kilo for both check-in and carry-on luggage makes the trip more expensive than other airlines. Lesson learned."
Pros: "Cheap fare"
Cons: "Restricted carry on weight limit"
Pros: "The flight was on time and the crew seemed nice."
Cons: "They ended up charging us for our one bag both ways and it was a very confusing process. The boarding process is laughable and they didn't let people with disabilities and young children board first. We did not have any drinks or food as the airline charged for everything."
Cons: "Despite being on the phone with them twice the day before discussing baggage, nothing was told me and my family paid $1200 at the airport to transport our luggage only one direction. Lousy service, charge for everything, telling everyone I know how horrible of an experience it was and to never, ever fly them!!!! Dr Robert Merrill"
Pros: "Very friendly check in and welcoming staff"
Cons: "All food and drink had to be purchased"
Airlines flying from Sydney to Cairns have enacted additional safety measures and adjusted policies to better accommodate travellers. Policies vary by airline.
Daily cleaning, installation of cabin HEPA filters on flights from Sydney to Cairns
Masks required on board, masks provided on flights from Sydney to Cairns
Social distancing seating
Middle seats unavailable to book on flights from Sydney to Cairns
Testing for antibodies, testing for symptoms for flights from Sydney to Cairns
Waiving of change fees. Search flexible flights from Sydney to Cairns