Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thumbs down to Melbourne, Australia, Airport

Thumbs down to Melbourne, Australia, airport --

I loved traveling around the Melbourne, Victoria, Australia area.  Highlights included driving The Great Ocean Road and visiting the national parks The Grampians and Great Fern Park.  The Melbourne area itself is huge and congested; kind of like driving through the San Francisco Bay Area.  Wonderful place. 

However, traveling through the Melbourne Airport was a pain in the butt, worse than just about every other airport I've been through in the past 20 years of traveling.  

Surprisingly this progressive city's international and domestic airport does not offer free public wifi!  Most people traveling internationally will need wifi in order to check emails or notices about late flights, etc.   
The lines through security and passport control were horrific (LAX and Miami are the only ones worse in my memory), and security was stricter than any other place I've traveled through.   I had to wait about an hour to get through passport control and through security. 

Airport security confiscated a set of small tools that every other airport has allowed.  I particularly liked the provincial comment by one security agent.  I told her that I had traveled recently through Sydney Airport with the same small tools that she was confiscating.  She snorted in derision and said “Sydney!”.  It was incredibly unprofessional and amusing at the same time to hear out loud the competition between these two great cities of Australia.  

Oh, and they were very confusing about when you needed to show your passport or not, and would yell at you if you did or did not have your passport immediately handy.  When are airports (including domestic US airports) going to come up with a consistent set of rules as to whether you need to carry your ID and boarding pass through all of security, or not?  Some airports scream at you if you start walking through the metal detector with a boarding pass in your had.  Other airports require you to have a boarding pass.  And why do some airports make you show your boarding pass about twelve times.  Once or twice should be enough, particularly since boarding passes are so easily counterfeited.  

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