Old Feb 24, 17, 7:26 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Mwenenzi
This is a Guide for first time passengers using MEL

For more information:-> MEL Airport web site: www.melbourneairport.com.au

Melbourne Airport has 4 passenger terminals. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are interconnected, making up the main terminal building. Terminal 4 (opened August 2015) is located next to Terminal 3.
Transfers are convenient in Melbourne Airport as it does not require bus or car transfers. Its easy to just walk, with your luggage, between terminals.

The Wikipedia entry for Melbourne airport lists airlines & routes. (May not be up to date)

Terminal 1 - Domestic
  • Qantas

Terminal 2 - International
All international flights, including for Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia

Terminal 3 - Domestic
  • Virgin Australia
  • REX (departure)
Terminal 4 - Domestic
  • Jetstar Airways,
  • Tigerair Australia
  • Regional Express (REX)
  • Airnorth

Note the airport web site does not list lounges.

Melbourne Airport has 9 Airline Lounges in the International Terminal (T2). These are airside after security and emigration.
  • Air New Zealand Int'l Lounge - Level 1 (*G)
  • Emirates Lounge - Level 3
  • The House (Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia and other airlines) - Level 3
  • Qantas Club/Business Lounge - Level 1 (OWS, OWE)
  • Qantas First Lounge - Level 3 (OWE)
  • Singapore Airlines Silver Kris - Level 1 (*G)
  • Cathay Pacific First Lounge - Level 1 (OWS, OWE)
  • Marhaba Lounge (Qatar Airlines)
  • AMEX lounge
  • Plaza Premium (Priority Pass) Has cash entry

Melbourne Airport has 4 Airline Lounges in the Domestic Terminals
  • Qantas Chairmans Lounge - T1, Level 2
  • Qantas Club - T1, Level 2
  • Qantas Business Lounge - T1, Level 2
  • Virgin Australia Lounge - T3, Departures Level

OW lounges (ausbt.com.au) -->https://www.ausbt.com.au/a-qantas-flyer-s-guide-to-melbourne-international-lounge-access

Passengers are advised to check-in all baggage 3 hours prior to departure time. While at check-in desks passengers are required to have present passport (with visa if needed) or Personal ID (100 Points) and airline ticket/reservation. Check-in counters are located on the departures level of all terminals.

Passengers flying Qantas First, there is a land-side check-in desk designated for First passengers only in the International Terminal (T2).

For Domestic passengers, we advise you to check-in at least 2-1.5 hours prior to departure time, to meet airline cut off times. Some airlines are very strict, especially Tigerair and Jetstar.

Domestic check-ins are self service kiosks. NZ and JQ use kiosks and self bag drop for international flights. Other international airlines check-ins are traditional counter type.

Domestic Airlines cut off check-in times
  • Qantas Airways - 30 minutes prior to departure
  • Qantas Link - 30 minutes prior to departure
  • Jetstar Airways - 30 minutes prior to departure
  • Virgin Australia - 30 minutes prior to departure
  • Tigerair Australia - 45 minutes prior to departure
  • Regional Express (REX) - 30 minutes prior to departure
*These times are used as a guide only, airlines may change and alter times at anytime.

Internet Check-In is available up to 45 minutes prior to your flight, however check up with your existing carrier and their own online check in rules. Remember for International flights the check-in agent still needs to see your passport and all appropriate documents for your intended destination. All domestic airlines operating out of Melbourne currently offer internet check-in service.

At Melbourne Airport, laptops and other electronic devices are to be taken out of bags and placed into a separate 'tub'. There are certain restrictions on Liquids and Aerosols, which must all be able to fit in a small compact plastic bag;
From Department of Transport & 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.
Passengers departing Melbourne to board an international flight are required to have present passport and airline boarding pass at the entrance to departure area for inspection by an airport officer.

Then carry-on baggage is checked through security screening. A short walk to the Australian exit controls to the self service kiosks (if using an eligible passport) or the desks with Border Control officers.

To ensure a speedy process through emigration and security check, don't forget your express pass from the check-in agent if flying in Business Class or First Class! (right hand lane on the entering departure area).

Passengers who have brought Duty Free prior must show a Duty Free representative for processing after emigration.

If MEL is your port of entry into Australia you have to clear immigration, customs and quarantine with all your carry on and checked luggage. Check the visa/ETA requirements before your flight or you may be denied boarding (refer below)

There are no arrivals lounges at any Australian airport.

All passengers arriving into Melbourne, must have completed an Australian Immigration Arrival Card, where passengers are to DECLARE all items listed on the card, as Australia is very strict on Quarantine laws.

Once your aircraft has arrived into MEL, simply follow the sign "Arrivals" to where passengers are required to provide Passport with visa (if needed). Self service Smartgate are available for some passport holders. The arrival card is later handed to the officer at Customs.

Once completing Immigration passengers are to collect their baggage. The arrival card is handed to the Border Protection officer at customs barrier who direct passengers to lanes for inspection (declared goods) or outside if no inspection required.

NOTE: Australia is very restrictive of imported (and even inter-state) meats, fruits, vegetable matter and even dirt on one's shoes from rural or farm areas. There are amnesty bins to dump "contraband" in, but if you have any doubt declare it in your entry form so you can avoid serious fines.

MEL also has E-passport kiosks/SmartGate for immigration. SmartGate can be used by Australian, New Zealand, Singaporean, United States and United Kingdom passport holders of 16 and over. Simply place your passport at the scanner, answer the questions truthfully, then collect your card and proceed to a screening gate to get your face checked and recognised. Try to use SmartGate to avoid the long queues.
Au government link----> smartgate
Arrivals SmartGate enables eligible travellers arriving at Australias eight major international airports the option to self-process through passport control. It provides a secure and efficient way to clear through passport control.

Arrivals SmartGate uses the information in ePassports and facial recognition technology to perform checks usually conducted by an Australian Border Force officer.
FT Thread ---> Smartgate at Australia & NZ immigration Click to open the wiki

Australian Visa/ ETA
  • Link to Australian government web site---> Entering or leaving Australia
  • Link to Australian government web site---> Crossing the border
  • Link to Australian government web site ----> Visa types
  • Link to Australian government web site ---> Transit visa. Needed by some passport holders when doing international airside transit
  • Link to Australian government web site (application) ----> Australian Electronic Travel Authority AUD$20. For passports holders from Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Hong Kong (SAR PRC), Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and United States. Beware of non government 3rd party look-a-like web sites that charge more, often found with a browser web search. Only the Australian government web site/department issues visas. The other scam web sites just send you data to the Au Gov web site.
  • FT thread---> Free Australian ETA Visa application* Click to open the wiki
    Processing Australian ETAs for free * to FT members (and up to 3 more friends & family) who have more than 80 posts, AND have at least been members for more than 12 months! Please read post 1. Thanks to Guy Betsy for his service to the FT community

For passengers transferring internationally from MEL, once you have arrived and disembarked, simply stay Airside and follow the sign "Transit" and follow the escalators up to the departures level. Depending on your airline, your bags may have been transferred to your next flight. Passengers who have not collected their boarding pass for their continuing flight please contact the information desk on the departures level for your boarding pass to be issued. If passengers have Lounge access, boarding passes can be issued or be collected at the Gate issued for you flight. There are no Airline Transfer desks at MEL.

If you have booked 2 separate tickets on different airlines and they do not have interline agreements (i.e. AirAsia KUL-MEL then Air New Zealand MEL-AKL) you must clear immigration and quarantine and collect your bags to re-checkin for your next flight. Allow for at least 2 hours during non-peak times or 4 hours during peak times, international check-in cutoff time is usually 1 hour to 45 minutes prior to departure time.

From post 167 in this thread
Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer
.....at MEL international transit is often unmanned (over 50% in my experience in many international transits at MEL). There is a phone on the wall to get someone to come across from departure security, which typically takes 10-20 minutes......
Passengers transferring domestically, regardless of the flight you have arrived from, you are to complete the same process as of arriving passengers; refer to "ARRIVING PASSENGERS - INTERNATIONAL". Once completed Immigration and quarantine, simply go up 1 level to the departures level to check-in for your domestic flight; refer to "TERMINALS & AIRLINES" for domestic airline information.

Once passengers have arrived into Melbourne, simply go up one level to the departures level to Terminal 2. Depending on your airline, they will transfer your baggage onto your International flight, QF, JQ (selected itineraries) and VA will automatically transfer your bags if booked on 1 single ticket. Passengers flying Tigerair and REX are advise to contact their airline.

MEL has some international flights that transit to other Australian cities. Once passengers have checked-in for your international flight at the origin destination, bags will be connected onto the final destination.

Some domestic flights depart from the international T2 terminal. These are bookable and are considered a domestic flight. Passengers will still need to adhere to International check-in times of 3 hours prior. Identification is needed (100 Points). A drivers license with photo is acceptable. The boarding pass will have a 'orange' domestic sticker and will be stamped by the Border Protection officer.

Qantas operates flight QF09 MEL-PER-LHR from T2 (International).
Jetstar has a couple of tag flights per week that operate to SYD, CNS and BNE from T2 (International).

Link-----> https://www.melbourneairport.com.au/...Buses-shuttles
Melbourne Airport has taxi and bus service direct to the city centre.
  • SkyBus departs every 10 minutes direct to Southern Cross Station www.skybus.com.au
  • A Taxi Fare would settle you back around Au$55 Australian Dollars to the city
  • Smartbus Route 901 departs from the T4 terminal forecourt and routes to Frankston*
*Please note, that to use Melbourne's Public Transport system (Train/Bus/Tram), you must have a valid Myki card. A Myki Visitor Pack can be purchased at the news agency, sky bus kiosks and the information desk in the arrivals hall.

More information about Myki can be found here: Myki Visitors Value Pack

Melbourne Airport has 4 hotels onsite, the Park Royal connect directly to the main terminal building, with Holiday Inn and Ibis Budget in walking distance from the main terminal building.
  • Park Royal Melbourne Airport (****)
  • Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport (***)
  • Ibis Budget Melbourne Airport (**)
The Mantra Tullamarine Hotel is located close to the airport, about 5 minute drive. Nearby is also the newly built Quest Melbourne Airport which also includes serviced apartments.
  • Mantra Tullamarine (***)
  • Quest Melbourne Airport (****)

Melbourne Airport is absolutely smoke free inside the terminal buildings

Melbourne Airport has a designated area for praying in Terminal 2

Melbourne Airport's Airlines have ticketing desks on Level 2 in Terminal 2 or respective airline ticketing desks in the domestic terminals.

In Melbourne the currency is the Australian Dollar ($AUD), there are kiosks near the check-in desks on the departures level, on arrival and after Customs.

Melbourne Airport is a medium sized airport, and there is limited choice landside. There are selections of fast food chains, bars and cafe's around the airport. Airside T2 has quite a few iconic Melbourne restaurants including Cafe Vue (theres also Cafe Vue Express landside), Little Ludlow Pub and Bar Pulpo by MoVida.

Terminal 4 (T4) has a large selection of food and beverage outlets ranging from Mc'Donalds to Melbourne icons such as Brunetti's.

Passengers who are arriving into Melbourne, in peak times (Mornings Tue, Thurs, Sat & Sun & Midnight rush) make sure to get to Customs and Immigration quickly as there will be long queues at Quarantine and would take you up to 2 hours to clear if caught in the rush.

It would be wise to exchange money at your home city or city you are currently in, as a rule, airport exchange rates are quite low and they also charge a commission, Travellex charges $11~ AUD per transaction at Melbourne Airport.

Melbourne is a great city to get around on foot, trams are also easily accessed on the main streets, a tram is never too far away. If walking or riding trams is not your thing, may I suggest the Melbourne Bike Share, remember you must wear a helmet when riding a bike, these can be purchased at 7-11 convenient stores and are inexpensive. If you are intending to use public transport in Melbourne, you need a Myki card.

Some of Melbourne's tourist attractions includes; Flinders St station, Sealife Melbourne Aquarium, Crown Casino, St Kilda Beach, Albert Park, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne Laneways, MCG, Melbourne Park, Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, Queen Victoria Markets, Eureka Tower, Shrine of Remembrance, Southbank, Melbourne Central, Emporium Melbourne.

Melbourne is a great shopping city, Melbourne's main retail core is in the city; Melbourne Central, Emporium Melbourne, QV Mall, Bourke St Mall, Myer, David Jones and Collins St are all connected to each other and is home to more than 3000 retail stores, cafes and restaurants. Luxury Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Bvlgari, Omega, Miu Miu, can be found on Collins St, Crown Casino and Chadstone. Trading Hours for shopping in the city is: Saturday-Wednesday: 9AM-7PM, Thursday-Friday: 9AM-9PM. Harbour Town (Docklands), DFO South Wharf and Spencer Outlet Centre are all Outlet Malls within the CBD, these malls generally close at 9PM on Thursdays and Fridays.

Melbourne is well represented with Hotels across all brands; IHG (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza), HHonours (Hilton, Double Tree), Accor (Sofitel, Novotel, Pullman, Grand Mercure, Mercure, M Collection, The Sebel, Ibis), Marriott [Starwood] (Westin, Sheraton, Four Points ,Marriott), Hyatt (Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt). Local brands include Crown Resorts (Crown Towers, Crown Metropol, Crown Promenade), Hotel Windsor, Grand Hotel Melbourne, Ovolo, Art Series (The Black Man, The Cullen, The Olsen).

Love Sport? Then Melbourne is the place for you! Melbourne hosts regular sporting matches varying from rugby, soccer (football), Australian football (AFL), cricket, netball, basketball and aquatic events year round. Major events include Australian Open (Tennis), Australian Masters (Golf), Australian F1 Grand Prix, Australian Motor GP, Melbourne Cup Carnival and the AFL Grand Final.

If sports isn't your thing, and you are more of an arts person, then Melbourne has you covered too! Visit the Melbourne Museum, ACMI, Federation Square, State Library, National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Centre. There are also quite a number of independent galleries in and around the CBD, most of these are tucked away in lane ways and random nooks, rooftops and even underground. Melbourne is famous for its lane ways full of street art, painted by street artists of all ages, the lanes have transformed the city and is one of the main tourists draw cards, famous lanes include Hosier Lane, just off Flinders St. Explore, loose yourself in Melbourne! - you don't know what you will find!

Don't forget to pick up a Melbourne Guide on arrival! These include great discount coupons for tourist attractions!

Hope this Helps and Enjoy your Stay in Beautiful Melbourne!

This is a general guide only. For more detailed information do your own research. Partially for passport-visa issues.

16 April 2019
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Airport info MELBOURNE (MEL) - amenities, transfers, transport

Old Aug 12, 22, 3:13 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: MEL CHC
Posts: 20,040
Originally Posted by SharkyTheArchae
Thank you for the feedback. I checked the Uber app for the rate from MEL to my hotel. It came out to an AUD45 for and UberX. Rome2Rio lists the taxi fare as AUD30 - AUD40 . Is there a specific reason for not using Uber as much from MEL? Or is it mostly familiarity? Convenience?

I will read up on 13Cabs and Ola. Thanks for those names.
Melbourne Airport to city centre I would expect to be more like AU$50 - AU$55 or more for a taxi. Depends a lot on traffic

They take you to Spencer St station (Southern Cross) depot. Before CV19 they then used to take you in a mini bus to city hotels(no extra cost). But not sure if that service is back. If 2 people taxi/uber more convenient and not a lot more money. 3 or more taxi/uber more convenient and maybe less money.

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Aug 12, 22 at 4:56 pm
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Old Aug 12, 22, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by SharkyTheArchae
Is there a specific reason for not using Uber as much from MEL?
I just don't particularly like Uber as a company.

I don't think $30 for a cab to the CBD is realistic.
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Old Aug 13, 22, 9:19 am
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by SharkyTheArchae
<snip>As for data points, I did my due diligence by reading this entire thread and commenting that Uber was mentioned twice and Didi not once, and further adding that I've read unfavorable reviews of Didi online to warrant a request for first-hand experience. If you were affected by my post enough that you were not able to see my DPs, again, I am sorry for offending you. I don't want any internet battles.
I'm not at all offended, I don't bruise that easily.

All I'm saying is that you are looking for very specific, niche data points that may or may not exist. So at the end of the day, YOU may have to be the first hand experience that you seek. That is all I meant.

Good luck.

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Old Aug 13, 22, 11:12 pm
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Apparently Qantas is increasing MCT for Domestic -> International at both MEL and SYD to 90 minutes from August 21st.


Definitely makes sense in SYD where 60 minutes always seemed very tight to me. Can't speak to MEL where it's a little simpler connection.
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Old May 9, 23, 5:38 am
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Flying internationally on QF J this Friday, which lounge is preferred - Qantas Business or Emirates?
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