Qantas and Virgin recently told passengers that they needed to arrive at the airport two hours before domestic flights due to temporarily tightened security restrictions.
This got us thinking — with these rules, is it faster to just drive to Canberra from Sydney now? We decided to find out.
This adventure required getting up at 5am on a Saturday, which was super fun for all of us. What ensued was an epic 3 hour adventure and what turned out to be a very tight race.
We compiled a highlight reel right here:
Or, you can watch it all play out via our Facebook live videos below.
And We’re Off
Tegan Checks In From The Airport
Rae And Cam Check In
Rae And Cam Worry They Might Lose Because of Maccas
Race To The Finish Line
In the end, the Mustang won by a mere five minutes. A few things contributed to this — flight delays, a pit stop at Goulburn Macca’s and a wrong turn at the airport.
Despite the close race, we came to a unanimous decision that when it comes to going to Canberra from Sydney, driving is definitely the best option.
The cost of driving one way from Sydney to Canberra — petrol and a Macca’s breakfast for two — is about $60. The cost of flying varies when you book, but on a Virgin flight you’ll usually end up paying anything between $180 and $240 — three or four times as much as in a car.
In addition to being cheaper and more convenient, you can better guarantee your arrival time. I’ve flown to Canberra few times for work and there have always been delays. And as any Canberra dweller or regular visitor can tell you, morning fog in our fair Capital makes this a regular occurrence.
The only real benefit that flying has is of business travelers who can get a bit of work done at the airport and on the flight, especially if you get delayed.
It’s also worth noting that the new airport rule had been lifted the day before we embarked on our adventure, but there was no official announcement or update on the Qantas or Virgin sites at the time. I also noticed that security had been beefed up, but didn’t experience any additional delay getting through.
Lastly, a big shout out to the Gizmodo community for getting involved via our collaborative MustangVsPlane playlist on Spotify, which ended up being 455 songs deep. It certainly made things more fun, though I don’t think we needed the 10+ versions of Mustang Sally.
At 8:05AM tomorrow, I’ll be on a Virgin flight out of Sydney. Fortunately, I live pretty close to the airport, but due to the new rules that means leaving the house at 5:45AM. Worst. Saturday. Ever.
But it’s OK, because I’m dragging Campbell and Rae down with me by scabbing a lift to the airport in the Mustang.
Taking the new check-in times into account, my journey should take just under 3 hours, which is roughly the same as the drive. Who will make it to Canberra Airport (within the confines of the law) first?
Sane enough to not get up ludicrously early to watch Facebook Live? That’s cool, we’ll save it for you, because we’re nice like that.
Want to choose some songs for our road trip? Add to our Spotify playlist:
See you tomorrow in EXCITING CANBERRA. And if anyone wants to let out the Mustang’s tyres at Goulburn Maccas, I’ll buy you a drink.