My Trip To India And Australia: Part 15 – Melbourne International Airport

Today starts my journey home. I’m flying from Melbourne International Airport on a Qantas Airlines A380 to Los Angeles which will take 15 hours, and then flying an American Airlines 737 from there to Toronto which will take another five hours with a 90 minute layover in between. That means that I have a very long day ahead of me. And it started at 5 AM which is when I woke up so that I could finish packing, shower, and check out of the hotel. Even though my flight wasn’t scheduled for take off until 10:55 AM, I  wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time to check in and clear security.

Now the cab right that I took from the airport to the hotel cost me $110 AUD. So I decided to take a limo to the airport as that cost me $120. It was a 5 series BMW that was very comfortable. So much so in fact that I was nodding off in the car in the latter half of the 45 minute ride to the airport. Once there, I checked in, checked my bag, and got my boarding passes, and made my way to security. On the way there, I saw this:

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This McLaren supercar which is built by the same guys who build their F1 cars was on display to promote the Australian Grand Prix this weekend. Too bad I’m not sticking around to see that. But I digress, I was heading for security and this million dollar car distracted me. But when I entered security, I was pulled out of line by security offices and my laptop bag along with yours truly was swabbed and then scanned with a trace portal machine for I presume drugs and or explosives. Now I observed them only pulling people out of the line who had dark skin (like myself) or who looked they were of the Muslim faith (for example, every woman with a hijab or Niqab was pulled out of line). For lack of a better description “white” people were not pulled out of the line. Witnessing this made me think that racial profiling was at play here. That’s very unfortunate on the part of the security staff.

So, after that, followed by the metal detectors and the x-ray machine, I reached passport control. Yes. for the second time on this trip I had to go through passport control to get out of a country. But unlike the last time, this one required no questions to be answered  and took 30 seconds. That was efficient.

So once out of security, I made my way the gate that was assigned to my flight. Fortunately, they make it easy for you to find your gate:

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What was interesting was this:

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They route you through these stores. Presumably because they hope that something catches your eye that you want to buy. I on the other hand found a restaurant and bought breakfast. Then I headed to the gate where I found this waiting for me:

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This is the Qantas A380 that I will be flying to L.A. It will be interesting to see what the differences are between what Qantas has done with the A380 and Emirates has done with the same aircraft. I’ll report on that when I arrive in L.A.

One thing to note is that Melbourne Airport does have WiFi that is free. But you may have to re-log in every hour or so and provide your e-mail address and postal/ZIP code along with your birth date to do so. The other thing is that the signal strength can be flaky depending on where you are in the airport. But to be fair, they tell you that up front. They also have a paid service that can cost you up to $20 AUD for two hours of usage. But the free WiFi was good enough for me to post this story.

My next stop is LA and I’ll should be there in 15 hours. That should be fun.

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