All-day check-in is a popular Qantas service at Sydney Airport. When departing from Sydney on an international Qantas flight, you can check in any time from 4am on the day of departure. This is very handy if you arrive at the airport early, want to drop off your bags or simply wish to maximise your lounge time.
Unfortunately for Qantas passengers departing from Melbourne (and other cities), this service is not extended to other airports. At Melbourne Airport, Qantas international passengers are only able to check in up to 3 hours prior to the scheduled departure time. This is even the case when Qantas check-in counters are open and processing passengers on earlier flights.
I tried to check in for QF35 this morning at MEL. I was told by multiple agents (including in the First class check-in room) that I was too early and they only open the check in 3 hours prior to flights (3.5 hours for A380 flights).
I had the same experience when trying to check-in for QF29 MEL-HKG earlier this year. Very annoying.
The only exception at Melbourne Airport is Qantas’ Airbus A380 flights to Singapore and Los Angeles. If you’re on QF35 or QF93, you can check in up to 3.5 hours before departure.
This strict policy appears to be an issue with Melbourne Airport, rather than Qantas.
According to QF ground staff ive spoken to in the past, access to the baggage containers is limited due to space constraints at the International terminal.
MEL don’t allow it because local management don’t want to pay for extra baggage staff to remove the bags from the sortation system and then load into different containers. But yes, MEL has never offered all day check-in. Maybe next time people need to write into Qantas and suggest that this be a thing. Staff want it in.
Some AFF members have reported being able to check-in early at Melbourne Airport as they were travelling only with hand luggage.
First checkin was able to force it couple of weeks ago. About 7pm before the 11:15pm AKL service. Was HLO however.
If the First counters are open they may [check you in early]. Other than that, avoid exit rows and use On Line Check In – Print your own boarding pass before you get to the airport.
If you would prefer to have more time airside (i.e. in the lounge) before your flight, checking in online could be an option if you don’t have checked baggage.
If you’re connecting from another destination on Qantas, you’ll probably already have your bags checked through and boarding passes issued to your final destination. In that case, it is possible to pass through customs and immigration more than 3 hours before your flight. However, multiple members report that this has necessitated manual immigration processing.
I’ve connected through MEL a number of times only to find the flight wasn’t ‘active’ in the boarder system yet because I was “early”, and I had to be manually processed through immigration.
It would be great if Qantas started offering all-day check-in at Melbourne Airport, just as it does in Sydney. For now, this seems unlikely.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: QF enforcing 3 hour checkin time limit at MEL?