“How do you like our security compared to the US?” and Melbourne Airport’s self-service

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First time to Australia and greeting passengers with Australia and New Zealand passports is SmartGate, self-service immigration. Passengers first go to a kiosk to record their info and then to a gate that scans their face. The major hiccup is the inability of people to look directly at the flashing sign telling them to look directly at it. It is cumbersome to have two steps rather than the one for the US’s Global Entry, but it is open to all Australia and New Zealand passport holders and does not require application, background check, fee, etc. I am envious.

Travelers in first/business class are given cards by the airline for expedited immigration with crew and diplomats.

Headed over to Qantas domestic for my weekend hop to Tasmania (why waste a good weekend?) and the Qantas process is totally self-service for bag drop. Check-in is at a kiosk but then unlike the US where passengers need to huddle in lines until an agent tags the baggage, Qantas has you tag it yourself and drop it off at an automated weigh station and scanner. The fun part is when the conveyor belt zips the bag away slow, then really fast.

Qantas Self Checkin

Qantas Self-service bag drop

Domestic security is fast and civil, shoes, belts and jackets stay on, only computers and large aerosols out. I got picked for secondary bomb screening, the agent asked if I had done this before, I said, “Not here, my first time in Australia, but plenty of times in the US.”

He said, “Oh, how do you like our security compared to the US? You get to keep your shoes on!”

I had nothing but praise and and mentioned no nude-o-scopes. He said, “We tried those, they didn’t work very well, so we got rid of them.” Amen.

Now it is a matter of a short hop to Hobart and a bit nervous for my first time driving on the left side of the road.

Oh, and this Qantas lounge does not lock down its wi-fi, I am camped outside. 🙂

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10 years ago

Driving on the left is not so bad, although having a copilot can be helpful. Shifting into third gear can be mildly awkward, and crappy cars feel worse.

If traveling with a spouse who gets nervous about such things, learn from my lesson and do not neglect to inform them in advance!

Jimmy @TravelByPoints
10 years ago

Have fun, Mr. RTC!