What To Do While Waiting for Someone at the Airport


You're at Melbourne Airport, excitement building as you wait to greet your arriving loved one. But the clock ticks on, and the comfy chair starts to feel a bit less comfy. What do you do? Stare at the arrivals board? Pace the waiting area? This blog has the answer!

Whether you're at the international terminal or at the domestic arrival gate, we’ll show you how to make the most out of that waiting time. Learn about the fun things you can do to pass the time, where to pick-up or wait for arriving passengers, and top tips for a smooth, memorable airport hellos.

So, if you’re ready to turn boring airport waits into something you’ll want to look forward to, let’s get right into it.

Monitor Flight Status

This goes without saying. When you’re at Melbourne Airport waiting for someone, it’s crucial to keep an eye on their flight status.

I mean, delays and last-minute cancellations are inevitable, especially for international flights. So, knowing if the flight is on time, delayed, or cancelled lets you plan the best course of action. Plus, with real-time flight information, you can decide when to head to the pick-up area and avoid waiting too long if the flight is delayed.

Here's how you can check the flight status of arriving passengers at Melbourne Airport:

  • Use the Melbourne Airport Website: The official Melbourne Airport website has a real-time arrivals board. Simply head to our arrivals page and choose the terminal your loved one is arriving at (Terminal 1 for domestic Qantas flights, T2 for international flights, T3 for domestic Virgin Australia flights, and T4 for most other airlines). You can then search by airline or flight number to see the estimated arrival time and any updates on delays.
  • Airline Apps & Websites: Most airlines have their own mobile apps and websites where you can track flight status. Download the app for the airline your family member or loved one is flying with and enter the flight number. This will usually show the most up-to-date information, including any gate changes.
  • Good Old-Fashioned Phone Call: If you prefer a personal touch, you can always call the airline directly and ask for a flight status update. Or you can keep in touch with your loved one and ask them about their flight and if there are any delays. Just keep in mind that some airlines don’t have onboard wi-fi, so they may not be able to respond until their flight has landed.

Keep in mind that arrival times are estimates and can change due to weather or air traffic. Checking the status closer to the scheduled arrival time will give you the most accurate information.

Also, delays can happen after the flight has landed. Long queues at the baggage claim area, trouble with checked bags, and hold-ups at the airport security can further delay their exit.

Know the Passenger Pick-up Areas

Knowing exactly where to pick up arriving passengers at Melbourne Airport means less time driving in circles. Plus, Tullamarine has a one-minute standing time limit for their pick-up areas to avoid congestion. So, familiarising yourself with the pick-up zones keeps traffic flowing smoothly for everyone.

Thankfully, Melbourne Airport has designated pick-up areas for every terminal, and they’re pretty easy to find:

  • Terminals 1, 2 & 3: Head to the ground level of the forecourt for these terminals.
  • Terminal 4: This pick-up zone is located on Level 1 of the Terminal 4 Car Park. Simply follow the signs as you enter the car park.

Again, there’s a 1-minute time limit in all pick-up areas. So, make sure your loved one is waiting and ready before you pull in to avoid any hold-ups. Refer to our airport maps for a visual guide on where these pick-up areas are.

Stay at the Airport Waiting Zone

If you’ve arrived a little early at the airport and your loved one’s flight has just landed or they’re still wrestling their way through the baggage carousel, Melbourne Airport has a waiting zone just off the Tullamarine Freeway or Airport Drive. It’s perfect if you don’t want to waste gas circling the pick-up areas or just need a little bit more time to chill before hauling luggage.

The Wait Zone offers free parking for the first 30 minutes. If your wait extends to an hour, you’ll be charged $4. After that, Terminal Parking rates will apply.

Consider Short-Term Parking Options

Need to park longer at the airport? No worries. Melbourne Airport has heaps of onsite parking options with hourly and daily rates, perfect for those long waiting times. Whether you’re looking for great value or the convenience of having someone park your car for you, we’ve got you covered.

Here are your short-term parking options at Tullamarine:

  • Value Parking: At $12 a day, it’s the cheapest option around. This open-air car park is a bit further from the terminals, but there’s a free shuttle bus that runs every 15 minutes, 24/7. It’s an economical choice, especially if you’re expecting extended flight delays.
  • Terminal Parking: Parking here is free for the first 15 minutes, making it perfect for quick pick-ups and even drop-offs. But it can also be convenient for longer waits since it provides link bridge access to Terminals 1, 2, and 3 and is just 100m away from Terminal 4.
  • Premium Parking: This one gets you the best spots in the house, all under cover and just a quick walk from the terminals and check-in counters. Choose this if you want a bit of extra comfort during your wait.
  • Valet Parking: For the ultimate convenience, Valet Parking lets you hand over your car to a valet at the drop-off point, and we’ll take care of the rest. Located at Level 2 in the Terminal 1, 2, & 3 Car Park, it offers 24/7 customer service, making it a premium choice for hassle-free parking.
  • Business Parking: Right across from Terminal 1 (about 50m away), this self-park option is ideal if you’re meeting someone off a Qantas domestic flight.
  • Qantas Valet Parking: If your loved one is arriving at Terminal 1, why not enjoy the luxury of Qantas Valet Parking, located within the Qantas domestic terminal? Just hand in your car keys and head right to the terminals. You can even opt for car cleaning or earn Frequent Flyer points just for parking.

The best part? If you pre-book your parking online, you may even pay less than drive-up rates. Plus, it takes one worry off your list if the flight gets delayed. You’ll know exactly which car park to head to when pulling up at the airport.

Simply go to the Melbourne Airport parking page, then click on the “Book Parking Online” button. Enter your entry and exit dates and times, then choose your terminal. Select the parking option you like and pay for your booking. We accept all major credit cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.

Once your booking is confirmed, you will receive a confirmation email with your unique QR code. Simply scan that code when entering or exiting the car park. Pretty easy and convenient, right?

Enjoy a Coffee or Snack

Waiting for someone can be hungry work. Luckily, Melbourne Airport isn't short on delicious options to keep you fueled while you wait. From domestic to international airport terminals, you’ll find a fantastic range of cafes and restaurants perfect for grabbing a coffee, a light snack, or even a full meal.

Need a caffeine fix? Melbourne's famous coffee culture extends to the airport, with cafes serving up delicious brews. You can grab a latte or a cappuccino from cafes like Flat Chat Espresso and Bar or Hudson’s Coffee if you’re waiting at the international arrivals.

Feeling Peckish? Go beyond coffee! Opt for a light snack or a sandwich from Subway or Little Pope. If you're looking for something more substantial, try a burger from Grill'd or a tasty meal from restaurants like AFL Kitchen & Bar or The Grace. Check out our Shop & Eat Directory for a full list of dining options at Tullamarine.

Charge Your Mobile Phone

unning out of battery while waiting at the airport can be a real bother. You won't be able to track your loved one's flight or capture that happy reunion photo! No worries, though. Melbourne Airport has several options to keep your cell phone charged and ready for that reunion selfie.

For one, all terminals have charging stations scattered throughout. These are free to use, so you can plug in your phone and relax while it gets some juice. Many cafes at Melbourne Airport also have built-in charging ports at tables or seating areas. So, you can enjoy a coffee and charge your phone at the same time.

If you've left your phone charger behind, there's no need to panic. You can buy a new one at these locations:

While using public charging stations is convenient, be cautious of "juice jacking." This is where scammers install malware on charging ports to steal your data. Only use official airport charging stations and avoid using random cables – bring your own instead.

Explore Airport Shops

Expecting a long wait? Why not treat yourself and indulge in a fun shopping spree while you’re at it? Melbourne Airport boasts a wide range of stores, perfect for browsing or finding last-minute welcome gifts.

Pamper yourself with beauty finds from stores like Mecca, Sunglass Hut for trendy shades, or Kathmandu for outdoor wear. Running late on a welcome back gift? Grab Australian treats like Tim Tams or Vegemite from convenience stores, or browse for travel accessories or Melbourne-themed gifts at specialty stores.

If you have some extra time, browse our duty-free shops. Lotte Duty Free has a fantastic selection of perfumes, liquor, and skincare products. You might find the perfect gift or a little something for yourself.

Top Tips for Smooth Airport Pick-Ups

Airport pick-ups don’t have to be a hassle. Here are some more tips to make your airport runs more seamless:

  • Stay Connected: Keep your cell phone handy. Make sure the person you're picking up has your number so they can reach you if they need to.
  • Know the Terminal: Melbourne Airport has multiple terminals. Make sure you know which terminal your loved one is arriving at so you’ll know where to park and which pick-up area to pull up at.
  • Stay Updated on Airport Security Guidelines: Keep up with the latest airport security guidelines to know what you can and cannot bring if you're meeting someone inside.
  • Be patient. Flights can get delayed. Factor in extra time, especially during peak hours. Consider grabbing a coffee or browsing the shops while you wait.

So, the next time you’re waiting at Melbourne Airport, don’t waste your gas and energy driving in and out of the airport vicinity. Just park onsite, then grab a coffee, catch up on some emails, or just enjoy watching the hustle of travellers from all over the world. There's a spot for everyone, whether you're looking to eat, shop, or just relax.

And if you’re expecting a longer wait, why not book your parking online? It only takes a few clicks and saves you the frustration of not knowing where to park when your loved one’s flight is delayed. Book your parking now so you can head straight to the arrivals area, ready to greet your loved one with a smile.