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Old 9th January 2007, 04:11 PM   #1
KeithMEL
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Default MEL Airport Guide

ARRIVING

Customs and Immigration formalities. Do I need to fill out any forms? How do I get through quicker?
Regardless of your nationality you will need to fill out an arrival card which incorporates quarantine declaration.

Depending on the time of the day you arrive, quarantine can be very busy. Pax of incoming flights from Asia (including flights from Europe that stop in Asia like QF10 and QF30) will be thoroughly vetted regardless of whether they present items for declaration due to the tendency of such pax to be in possession of items forbidden by quarantine laws like wooden articles or dried foods and then unknowingly failing to declare them. To avoid lengthy queues and unnecessary delay, simply buy something simple to declare (if you have nothing to declare) before you board your flight to Melbourne - a chocolate bar usually does the trick and you'd be let through without having random customs people rummaging through your bags.

UPDATE:

Since 1NOV07, MEL, SYD and BNE have been conducting a 6-month Arrival Express Path trial for premium passengers. The Arrival Express Path will allow Suites, First Class, Business Class and *G passengers to clear CIQ via an express lane.

This new facility is offered as an extension to the Express Path on departure. Currently the only other airline offering such a service at these airports is QF, and I'm not sure if there are plans to extend it to other airlines.

Note: to use the Express Path on arrival, you must have nothing to declare. In other words, if you are eligible for this service, please disregard all previous recommendations to declare chocolate bars or Kris Chili Sauce on arrival. You must also have no more than TWO pieces of checked baggage.

Luggage reclaim : Do priority tags work? Is it quick or slow?
Priority tags work in MEL. But it's another story as to whether they speed up your bag's appearance on the carousel. On *A flights with a huge number of connecting pax like SQ;s, you'll soon notice that, unless you have PPS or came in on F, there will be a lot of people with *G status and hence priority tags. On QF or CX flights, priority baggage handling is not a guaranteed oneworld perk and hence priority tags on these airlines seem to work better as there'd be less prioritised baggage.

Baggage reclaim is slow compared to Changi Airport, but it's still decent. The MEL baggage reclaim belts seem to operate in a very egalitarian manner in the sense that the belt will only start up as the first of the Y pax start arriving at the carousel after clearing passport control.

Duty Free Shops – Costs for typical items
There is a duty free shop on arrival just before passport control, operated by Downtown Duty Free. Prices for typical items here.

Transport to Town tips – what’s the best way?
Taxi - taxi ranks are plentiful, and taxis are freely available. However if you arrive after 9am, you might need to walk over to the Qantas domestic terminal to queue up for a taxi as the ranks in front of the International terminal will be un-used. Typical fares to the CBD will run about 40+ AUD, to the southeastern suburbs about 75+, to the eastern suburbs around 65+, and includes toll charges.

Skybus - A much cheaper way to get into town. Costs AUD15 one way or AUD24 return. Takes you right into the CBD at their terminus in Southern Cross station on Spencer St. Click here for more details and reservations. You can also rock up to the ticket counter at the QF domestic terminal and get a ticket on the spot. Buses leave every 10-15 minutes and the journey should take no longer than 20 minutes. Connections to hotels are also available.

Are there any left luggage services? Where and how much?
Yep. See here for comprehensive details.

Are there airport hotels? Are they airside? Are they within the compound?
Melbourne Airport has about 3 hotels in the vicinity of the terminal - all landside.

Hilton (4*)
Holiday Inn (3*)
Motel Formule 1 (2*)
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Last edited by KeithMEL; 16th November 2007 at 07:54 PM..
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Old 9th January 2007, 05:10 PM   #2
KeithMEL
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DEPARTING

Best way to get back to the airport from town. How much will it cost?
Taxi - The fare will set you back approximately AUD40-45.

Skybus - See above for details. The Skybus will depart from its terminus at Southern Cross station on Spencer St every 10-15 minutes, and connections are available from hotels.

Which terminal? Who flies out from where?
Terminal 1 - Qantas and Jetstar domestic flights
Terminal 2 - All international flights
Terminal 3 - Virgin Blue and REX domestic flights
Terminal 4 - Tiger Airways

If flying Qantas International First Class, you will receive porter assistance with luggage and check in formalities.

Who has lounges here, and which one can I use?

INTERNATIONAL
Once airside, look for the signs that say 'Airline lounges.' All airline lounges are located one level below the main departure concourse, with the exception of the Air New Zealand lounge which is an extra level down. They're all located around the same area so it won't be that hard to locate the respective lounges.

There is an established Silver Kris Lounge here for all SQ pax and *Gs, with both Business and First class sections. The SKL is open 3 hours before the departure of each of the 3 SQ dailies.

UA operates an RCC here which is only open when the sole daily UA flight leaves for SYD and LAX.

NZ has one of their new style lounges at MEL. Although it is a *G lounge, access seems to be pretty much limited to NZ, TG and OS pax and all other pax will be sent to the SQ or UA lounges. 'Capacity control' will often be cited as a reason/excuse.

There is also a Qantas Club which functions as the main oneworld business lounge. If flying oneworld in First, you are entitled to use the new Marc Newson-designed Qantas First lounge featuring restaurant dining, spa treatment and concierge service.

CX has a First Class lounge - its Business Class pax and oneworld sapphires are entitled to use the Qantas Club. Bear in mind that this lounge is hardly the Wing nor the Pier.

MH also operates a Golden Lounge at MEL.

DOMESTIC
Both Qantas and Virgin Blue operate their own domestic lounges at MEL.

I’ve got access to more than one lounge, which one’s the best?

*Gs should try getting into the NZ lounge. Access really depends on the lounge bouncer you speak to but certainly not impossible - just frustrating.

For oneworld sapphire and emerald pax, the Qantas lounges are far superior to the CX lounge, in terms of food and beverage selection, business centre facilities, and decor. Boarding calls for CX flights will also be made in the QF lounges.


What sort of food is available in the concourse areas?
There are some fast food outlets, including Hungry Jacks (or Burger King for the rest of the world), and a food court landside at the international terminal. There is an Irish pub that's near the Virgin blue/REX terminal, and more fast food outlets at the Qantas/JQ terminal.

Several coffee joints can be found after passport control, including the ubiquitous Starbucks.

Any immigration forms on departure?
Yes. You will be required to fill out a green departure card regardless of your nationality. This is available from most check in desks, if not - there are usually stacks of them near passport control.

How much time should I allow to get airside?
You are advised to budget approximately 15-20 minutes to clear both passport control and security. The queues at passport control can be pretty long during peak hours, however the slow trickling of people clearing passport control means you'd usually get through security in a jiffy. In general, the departure boards are pretty spot on in telling you what to do, either 'relax', 'proceed to passport control', 'proceed to gate', or 'final call.'

If flying F, J or holding high tier FF status, you will receive a card at check in which entitles you to access Express Lane, a dedicated fast track service through immigration and security.

Any airport tax to be paid on departure?
No.

Is there free internet around somewhere?
There are internet kiosks located throughout the airport.

Any food or shopping that I shouldn’t miss before my flight?
No, the best food is outside the airport. Duty free prices are rather average - but more savings to be made on liquor outside the airport at any Dan Murphy's. LAG restrictions do apply so plan accordingly.

How strict are they with hand luggage here?
Not very. 2 pieces seems to be the norm regardless of class or carrier

Security – Laptops out? Shoes off? Tips? Any No-Liquid restrictions?
Laptops must be taken out. Jackets and shoes can be left on, unless you repeatedly trigger the metal detector. You might also be randomly selected for an explosives' detection test.

Restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels that can be taken through the security screening point exist for international departures.

You might be selected for a random bomb check post-security. The security staff seem to only select travellers who establish eye contact with them..... But if you do get selected, the check consists mainly of swabs of your body and belongings. Certainly not as vigourous or personal as the checks in FRA. I can sense that certain sections of SQTalk are disappointed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Department of Transport and Regional Services
All containers with drinks, creams, perfumes, sprays, gels, toothpaste and similar substances will have to be carried in a re-sealable transparent plastic bag, no larger than one litre, and be inspected separately at the airport screening point.

Each container should not have a capacity greater than 100 millilitres and all containers should fit comfortably in the re-sealable plastic bag. Exceptions will be made for passengers with medical conditions and quantities of baby food required for the flight. However, these items may be subject to additional security checks. Passengers can still take on board items purchased after the screening point, including duty free.
Please click here for more information.

Can I smoke in this airport? Where?
This is an entirely smoke-free airport.

Anything I should avoid?
Nothing of note

CONNECTING

Are the international terminals and domestic terminals in the same building? How do I get around?
The terminals are all part of the same building. If you're connecting from one international flight to another international flight - simply stay airside, and proceed up the elevator to the departure concourse (it'd be clearly marked 'transit').

Regardless of which airline you choose to connect to for your domestic flight - you will need to clear CIQ and recheck your bags for all international to domestic connections. Proceed up the elevator once landside, and turn right for the Qantas/JQ terminal, left for the DJ/REX terminals.

For pax connecting to an international flight, your bag should in all likelihood be checked through to your final destination if you're flying QF. Less likely so if flying DJ, JQ or REX (exceptions apply - contact your airline for more info). You will then need to go landside, up the elevator and proceed to the international terminal for your onward flight.

For pax connecting to another domestic flight, you'll be checked through to your final destination if you're flying QF. If you're making a DJ to REX (or vv) connection, your bags will be checked through to the final destination but you still need to collect your onward boarding pass from the relevant check in counters. However if you have to connect from a DJ or JQ flight to a QF flight or another DJ or JQ flight, you will have to recheck everything all over again at the respective terminals.

Other general tips


Overnighting at this airport:
Is it possible? Do the terminals close?

Unfortunately overnighting is not possible as the terminals are not open 24/7.

Spotting at airport: Said to be boring; beer at pub recommended as a remedy.


General commentary on this airport:

Generally very manageable, and it's quite compact so no great distances to conquer. MEL is also one of the few airports in Australia where all terminals are interconnected, making for easy domestic-international (and vv) transfers. CIQ can be a zoo during peak times but still quite civilised compared to larger airports. Once again, this is an ENTIRELY SMOKE-FREE airport so you'll need to have your nicotine fixes before proceeding into the terminal.

If in doubt - please refer to the Airport's website.
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Last edited by KeithMEL; 25th August 2007 at 09:59 PM..
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Old 14th January 2008, 11:05 AM   #3
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