Josh Reviews... Melbourne Airport

I’m sitting here in the departure lounge for gate 11, waiting for my flight to be called. I’ve got a laptop (unfortunately, NetStumbler doesn’t show anything, so I can’t post this in real-time). I can either program (which would be even more geeky, if such a thing is possible) or write a quick JRE in the ten minutes before my flight’s called.

I had a choice between taking the train, or paying $50 more (after the cost of the Skybus) to fly, and have an extra two hours of sleeping in. Given how painless it was to get here (and the fact that the coffee’s better at the airport), I think it’s worth the money. (Does anyone else remember when flying was prohibitively expensive?) I can speak with authority on the coffee – after the requisite checking-in, that was the first thing on my mind: “where can I get a coffee?”. There were a couple of alternatives. The first one that caught my eye was HighTide bar, near the food court on the departures level. Do not make the same mistake I made by buying coffee there. It was $2.90 for a small strong latte (when you’d expect to pay no more than about $2.20), and it tasted like drinking pulpy cardboard. There turned out to be a Hudsons around the corner – it cost more, but at least you can rely on Hudsons coffee to taste like actual coffee, instead of pulpy cardboard or the water they serve at Starbucks. Oh, and when I asked for a lid for the coffee at HighTide (I was carrying a laptop bag and a suit bag, so I don’t know how they expected me to keep a takeaway coffee steady without one), the only response was an uninterested grunt and a lid shoved in my general direction. It was a little striking that they had Beez Neez (it’s honey malt beer) on tap: presumably they think you’ll need a stiff drink after ordering one of their coffees. Hudsons: 35 HighTide: 0.55 Since they’re a small airline, I didn’t expect the astoundingly quick Qantas E-ticket Super Duper Uber Automatic Pick Yer Own Seat check-in that I enjoyed so much in Sydney. Still, it was pretty good – fast, friendly, and no hassles. Plus, the baggage allowance is pretty generous for a little Saab 340: two bags, 10kg. ReX: 45. The only reason it isn’t 55 is because they haven’t called the flight yet. Oh, and there’s no wireless LAN in the departure lounge. Quite intolerable. Random observations:

  • A sign near the Virgin check-ins: “Group Meeting Point: stand here if you want to look popular”. Those wacky, wacky Virgins.

  • There’s a Hudsons at the departure lounge. How cool is that?

  • A 747 in full British Airways livery is parked right outside the window. See above comment – I’m glad I brought my camera.