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Australia is open to international travelers

Australia reopened its borders on February 21, 2022. In July, the last travel restrictions have been lifted — overseas arrivals no longer have to prove they have been vaccinated. A negative pre-departure test is no longer required. However, masks are still mandatory on planes flying to Australia.

Most passport holders need the right visa to come to Australia.

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Book cheaper flights to Melbourne

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Arriving in Melbourne

  • If you are flying to Melbourne from abroad, you will most likely land at one of its biggest international airportsits main international airportMelbourne Airport MEL (the main airport 20 km from Melbourne CBD, known also as Tullamarine) or Avalon Airport AVV (primarily served by Jetstar, Bonza, and Air Asia, located 50 km to the south-west of Melbourne). Two other airports — Essendon Fields Airport MEB and Moorabbin Airport MBW — are limited to a handful of passenger airlines, cargo flights, and corporate jet aviation.

    Regular buses run from Melbourne Airport to Southern Cross Railway Station in the city center, with SkyBus services available every 10 minutes during peak times. From Avalon, Skybus offers transportation to Melbourne, Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula, and the Surf Coast. Taxis can be found outside the main airport entrances and have designated pick-up areas. They are registered and follow strict guidelines, with a flagfall fee and additional charges based on distance
    .

    These are also the best (and the cheapest) airports to fly into Melbourne. As they are used by many airlines serving the same routes, the competition for passengers is fierce – with decreased airfare as a result.


  • Once in Melbourne, take advantage of frequent flights between the major cities via domestic airlines such as Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Rex Airlines, and Bonza. To check flight schedules/prices and to book the tickets, visit their official websites — OTAs and flight search engines often don’t have access to the flight repository of smaller local airlines. They also often fail to update prices in the event of short-lived sales and promotions that airlines run from time to time. To not miss out on these great offers, visit Promo Radar which aggregates current promotions run by popular airlines.
  • Planning to explore the region? Popular destinations near Melbourne can be easily reached with low-cost regional airlines (LCCs) by the likes of AirAsia, Bamboo Airways, Batik Air, Jetstar, Scoot, and WestJet.

    These budget carriers offer flights from Melbourne Airport at lower prices than full-service airlines, and they often fly to smaller airports that big players do not cover. However, the “no-frills” airlines may not provide free checked baggage allowance, complimentary food, in-flight entertainment systems, and fast customer support; you may not even get to choose your seats (unless you pay extra). With that in mind, they are a great option to save money if you have a stopover in Australia and then fly only a short distance to one of its neighboring countries.
Best airports to fly into Melbourne: Melbourne Airport (MEL)
Airports of Melbourne on Google Maps Melbourne has 4 airports – Melbourne Airport MEL is a little over 20 km / 12 miles from the centre of Melbourne with the Tullamarine Freeway linking the airport and to the city. Avalon Airport AVV is located to the south-west of Melbourne (50 km / 31 miles), outside the city of Geelong. Moorabbin Airport MBW is in Melbourne's Southern suburbs (22 km / 14 miles), and Essendon Fields Airport MEB is located just 10km from Melbourne's CBD.
Things to know before flying to Melbourne
Airlines flying to MelbourneAir Canada, Air China, Air Europa, Air France, Air India, Air New Zealand, Air Niugini, Air Tahiti Nui, Air Vanuatu, AirAsia X, Alaska Airlines, ANA, Alliance Airlines, American Airlines, Alliance Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Bamboo Airways, Batik Air, British Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Egypt Air, El Al Israel Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Fiji Airways, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia, Gulf Air, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Airways, KLM, Korean Air, LATAM, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Rex, Royal Brunei Airlines, SAS, Saudia, Scoot, Singapore Airlines, Srilankan Airlines, SWISS, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Vistara, WestJet, Xiamen Airlines
Australian airlinesQantas, Jetstar Airways, Virgin Australia (international routes)
Rex Airlines, Airnorth, Alliance Airlines, Bonza, Skippers Aviation, Maroomba Airlines, Eastern Air Services (domestic routes)
Airports in MelbourneMelbourne Airport (MEL)
Avalon Airport (AVV)
Essendon Fields Airport (MEB)
Moorabbin Airport (MBW)
Regular price (roundtrip)✈ € 900 — € 1,200 (from Europe)
✈ $ 1,100 — $ 1,600 (from USA)
Flight hacks 40% — 80% off regular fare
Airline promotionsSee ticket sales & promos available for flights departing from February to April

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Prearrange your Australian Tourist Visa

Passport holders from most countries need a visa to come to Australia, even if they are just visiting the country for a shorter holiday. You might even need a visa to transit through Australia to another destination.

The visa must be obtained before traveling to Australia. You can do this electronically (an ETA) via the Australian Government website, or your travel agent can arrange this for you.

The cheapest time to fly to Melbourne

The winter months of June to August are the low season in Melbourne when flights are the cheapest. The colder temperatures keep most travelers away (especially in the farther south that is heading toward Antarctica), so you’ll have the city’s top attractions all to yourself. Remember that since Melbourne is located in the Southern Hemisphere – seasons are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere.

To get decent weather conditions and still avoid crowds of tourists and high airfares, book your flight to Melbourne for the shoulder seasons: September and November (spring) and between February and April (autumn). It is just before people start traveling for their holidays.

Avoid Australia’s public holidays

Prices skyrocket during holidays in Australia – adjust your travel dates to avoid expensive tickets. Airlines start to raise their flight prices to Melbourne for the Australian summer – December to February – when travelers from across the country and around the world flock to the city for the end-of-year holidays.

Hotel and apartment rates also soar during the Australian school vacations: April (Easter school holidays), July (Winter school holidays), September/October and December (Summer school holidays).

If you plan to visit Melbourne during these popular holidays, book your flight at least 2-3 months before departure to avoid high fares.

Know your time zone

When checking flights and airport transfer times, ensure you know the local time zones. The departure/arrival times on your plane ticket and boarding pass are based on the time zone of the departure/arrival airport – this also applies to the connecting (layover) airports.

Australia has multiple time zones. Some of them are half-hour and quarter-hour time zones. There are three primary time zones in Australia, which change to five when DST (Daylight Savings Time – not all states and territories observe DST) kicks in during the warmer months of the year (October – April).

Melbourne is in the Australian Eastern Time Zone (AEST) which is GMT/UTC + 10h during Standard Time and GMT/UTC + 11h during Daylight Saving Time.

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Flights to Melbourne fromUnited States and Canada

  • There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to Melbourne. However, most major hubs in Asia have non-stop flights to Melbourne, as do some larger airports in the Middle East – your journey will have at least one stop. Direct flights to Melbourne MEL are just 11 hours long if you are departing from Honolulu HNL. The popular route from West Coast (Los Angeles LAX, San Francisco SFO) to Melbourne MEL takes around 16 hours without layovers. When opting for a non-stop flight, American travelers can only choose from a limited range of flight operators: Qantas, Jetstar Airways, and United Airlines. Currently there are no direct flights from Canada to Melbourne.
  • Melbourne is well-served via one-stop flights from North America. Flights to Melbourne with one layover depart from most major North American airports, including Atlanta ATL, Dallas DFW, Denver DEN, Chicago ORD, Los Angeles LAX, Las Vegas DFW, Miami MIA, Seattle SEA, Houston IAH, New York JFK, and San Francisco SFO in the United States and Toronto YYZ, Vancouver YVR, Calgary LAS, and Montreal YUL in Canada.
  • The best airlines to fly to Melbourne from the US and Canada are: ANA, EVA Air, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Qantas. They are top full-service carriers, offering exceptional customer service, in-flight comfort, a generous checked baggage allowance, and reliable customer support channels – all included in the ticket price.
  • For long-haul flights, the type of aircraft you choose can make a huge difference to your overall comfort on board – especially if you’re flying economy. The best aircraft have comfier seats with more legroom, WiFi, superior entertainment systems, and a better passenger experience in every cabin in general. When booking a flight to Melbourne, look for the airlines that use wide-body planes designed for long-haul flights, such as Airbus A350 (best choice), A380, A320neo, or Boeing 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner.

Melbourne from US & Canada
plane ticket prices in 2023/24

Real-time economy class airfares to Melbourne from the US and Canada. Shown are the top three deals for flights departing in the coming months (February to October).

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Long waiting times when calling the helpline?

Social media is usually a faster way to reach the airline when a problem arises. Use Twitter or Facebook Messenger to contact the airline customer service and get a response and solution within minutes (see detailed guides for Qantas, Virgin, and Jetstar).

When it comes to Twitter there’s one more trick to get in touch with the airline faster: mention the airline in a tweet about your issue (add “@airline_handle”, for example: “@Qantasairways”). The social media team will often notice it immediately, ask you for a direct message, and respond privately.

Use regional airports to visit Central Australia

There are no major airports that service Australia’s epic heartland. So, if you wish to visit, you’ll have to take a domestic flight to a regional airport:

  • Alice Springs Airport ASP is the best choice for the never-ending desert landscapes of Red Centre (~A$350 from Melbourne with Qantas),
  • Ayers Rock Airport AYQ is the gateway for Uluru (~A$300 with Jetstar),
  • Mount Isa Airport ISA is serving western Queensland (~A$400 with Virgin Australia).

The 80-hour rule for Qantas seat selection

Qantas restricts access to sought-after seats to elite frequent flyers, so you may not see those seats as available during the booking process. But these restrictions are lifted 80 hours before a flight. So, if you want to snap up your favorite seat, log in to Qantas Manage Booking 80 hours before departure, check for previously unavailable seats, and change your seat selection.

Extra checked bag for an infant

Virgin Australia aims to become the first choice for family travelers. It has the most generous policy regarding infant luggage allowances – a 23kg checked bag, and 3 infant items are allowed, free of charge.

This policy applies to the airline’s domestic and international short-haul and long-haul flights.

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Flights to Melbourne with stopover

Direct flights to Melbourne are, of course, much less hassle than flights that require one or more connections. However, they tend to be more expensive. In a trade-off between convenience and cost, the best option is often to opt for a flight with one layover.

So if you’re looking at a long-haul trip with at least one connection, rather than simply transiting an airport, why not take this opportunity to plan a longer stopover? A stopover is a prolonged layover — more than 24 hours — and it won’t only break up your long journey but will also become a legitimate part of your vacation. If you’re prone to severe jet lag, a one or two-day stopover would help minimize its adverse effects.

When booking flights, many airlines allow you to include a free stopover en route to your final destination in Melbourne. Those flights are usually cheaper than non-stop (direct) flights, and you can often choose your stopover at no additional cost — just by looking for multi-city flights with longer layovers.

Big cities in Asia and Pacific are known for their rich culture and history — making them a great idea for a stopover during a longer journey. Here are a few suggestions for a stopover while en route to Melbourne.

Some airlines openly advertise stopovers and offer significant discounts and travel perks for passengers to break up their trips: free luxury hotel stays, complimentary domestic flights, or exclusive rates for activities. Start checking for stopover deals to Melbourne with government-owned airlines (as they are looking to attract tourists to give the country economic benefits) — such as Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines. Almost every airline’s website has multi-city search functionality, often hidden inside the one-way/return/multi-city switch.

A well-chosen stopover will not only turn one vacation into many but also save you several hundred dollars in airfare. The available stopovers to Melbourne will depend on your initial destination (Europe, North America, Asia, etc) and the airline you are flying with. For most airlines, the best free stopover offer will be at their main hub.

Flights to Melbourne from UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and other countries in Europe

  • There are no direct flights from Europe to Melbourne — you’ll need to get a connecting flight from elsewhere in the Middle East or in Asia. There is only one route from Europe to Melbourne that has direct connection without any layover - from London Heathrow Airport LHR. These ultra long-haul flights are operated by Qantas. London to Melbourne is among the longest commercial flights in the world - scheduled flight time is 23 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Airlines that frequently fly from the UK, Germany, France, and other European countries to Melbourne include Air China, British Airways, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Finnair, Lufthansa, Malaysia AirlinesQatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, Qantas, Thai Airways, United Airlines, and Vietnam Airlines.
  • Consider departure airports in neighboring countries to increase your chance of spotting the best deal. Especially look for large airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines. For example, if you live in Western Europe, check air tickets to Melbourne from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Paris, and Rome. Use European low-cost airlines such as RyanAir, EasyJet, and Eurowings to fly to the hub, then save hundreds of euros by taking a cheaper long-haul flight to your final destination.

    We recommend checking prices for flights to Melbourne from these European airport hubs: London LHR and Manchester MAN in the United Kingdom, Frankfurt FRA and Munich MUC in Germany, Paris CDG and Nice NCE in France, Amsterdam AMS in the Netherlands, Madrid MAD and Barcelona BCN in Spain, Rome FCO and Milano MXP in Italy, Brussels BRU in Belgium, Copenhagen OSL in Denmark, Oslo OSL in Norway, Stockholm ARN in Sweden, Zurich ZRH in Switzerland, Lisbon LIS in Portugal, Vienna VIE in Austria, Warsaw WAW in Poland, Prague PRG in Czech Republic, and Dublin DUB in Ireland.

European airports with the cheapest flights to Melbourne

Find the lowest prices for flights to Melbourne Airport in Melbourne from the major airports in Europe — London, Dublin, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Lyon, Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul, Stockholm, Geneva, Helsinki, Zurich, and others.

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Check different departure airports

Consider neighboring cities when choosing the departure airport – especially look for larger cities with airports that serve as hubs for multiple airlines.

For example, if you live in West Europe, check prices for flights departing from Paris, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rome, or Vienna. In 9 out of 10 cases, the cheapest flight to Melbourne will depart from one of these hubs, and it may be €500 less or more than your first choice. Yes, you may have to fly a few hundred kilometers to this hub, but low-cost airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir, or WizzAir will happily take you there for €50 – €100.

Use a similar tactic if you depart from the US or another region. It’s one of the best ways to save hundreds on trips.

Book flights from many departure airports
By entering more than one departure city in the flight search engine (at the top of this page), you can quickly find the airport with the cheapest flights to your destination

Last-minute flights to Melbourne. The real cost of convenience.

Last-minute flights are often touted as a great way to save money, but the reality is far from it. Booking last-minute flights to Melbourne almost always never works out. The convenience of being able to book a flight on the fly is a dangerous game of chance, and you will most likely end up paying significantly higher than booking in advance.

The common perception may be that airlines decrease ticket prices to fill empty seats as the departure date approaches. However, the truth is that airfares depend on demand. Based on years of research and current customer data, the airlines know what people are willing to pay for specific flights and dates. They are also well aware that people are willing to pay a premium for flights they need to take immediately. To make the most money, the airline will sell its cheapest fares first and then increase the prices right before the flight to take advantage of business travelers and others who are willing to pay the premium price for late booking.

Last-minute flight cost spike
Late booking penalty: The flight prices rise as departure draws near. Last-minute flights are almost always more expensive than booking in advance.

Occasionally, airlines can put some seats on sale to fill the remaining seats, but these are for unusual times and unpopular places. Popular destinations and dates around peak travel times tend to sell out quickly.

Planning ahead is key to securing a good deal on your flight. Last-minute flight deals are hard to come by, so as soon as you have a tentative travel timeline, book your flight. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to save money. If you are looking for a good deal, the best time to book your flight to Melbourne is around 60-90 days before the departure date.

“Hot seats” on long-haul flights

Those days seat selection is considered an optional, extra paid service – seats with extra legroom (front and exit rows) are usually priced higher. However, if you’re about to take a long-haul flight to Melbourne, those “hot seats” are worth considering – expect to pay $50-$100, which is much less than upgrading to Premium Economy.

If you want to choose your seats, do this early (ideally during the booking) for a more extensive selection of available options.

Booking hot seats (preffered seats with extra legroom) on plane
Choosing a hot seat during the flight booking process is usually worth it. For a reasonable price, you will get more room to stretch your legs, as well as a wider seat pitch.

Lost baggage prevention

Avoid lost luggage nightmares by removing old tags on your suitcases. Tags are printed with a barcode for identification and tracking, so the old tags can confuse baggage handlers and the conveyor belt scanners. They are one of the reasons so many bags miss their flight or get misrouted.

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Domestic air travel from Melbourne

Most domestic routes in Australia are operated by local airlines. When traveling to popular tourist destinations such as Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast from Melbourne Airport, you’ll be flying with one of these domestic air transport companies: Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Rex Airlines, and Bonza. In most cases, it is the best (the fastest, the most convenient, and the cheapest) way to travel around the country.

If you plan to fly domestically from Melbourne check the latest prices here, then book your flight ticket online.

Flights to Melbourne from Bali, Bangkok, Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, and other major hubs in Asia

  • Asia is probably the best continent for short-haul and mid-haul flying. The sheer scale of this most populous region on Earth is reflected in the type of aircraft operating many shorter routes: intra-Asia flyers benefit from comfortable, wide-bodied aircraft by the likes of Boeing 777, 787 or Airbus A350, A330, and A380. When booking your flight to Melbourne look for these bigger planes as they will almost always give you the best experience in every cabin, including better seat pitches, higher ceilings, and larger overhead bin space.
  • Asia is also home to most of the world’s best airlines. There are only ten airlines that received the prestigious 5-star mark of quality from Skytrax, and all of them are from Asia: ANA, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines. Choosing one of these airlines for your trip to Melbourne will guarantee a pleasant journey – delicious meals served during the flight, great in-flight entertainment, and above-average airline customer service.
  • Asia is extremely well served by low-cost regional airlines. If you are visiting Australia and want to see several other countries on a tight budget, they often have great sales with rock-bottom prices, while still offering a relatively comfortable flight experience. Among the best Asian budget airlines you can book without hesitation are AirAsiaCebu Pacific, Citilink, FlyDubai, Indigo, Jetstar Airways, Scoot, SpiceJet, and VietJet Air. The cons? Being no-frills airlines they may not provide free baggage allowance, inflight meals, or onboard entertainment. The departure times may also be quite inconvenient as they try to save money by flying at off-peak hours.

Asian airports with the cheapest flights to Melbourne in 2023/24

Find the lowest prices for flights to Melbourne from the largest airports in Asia — Changi (Singapore), Dubai (UAE), Hong Kong (China), Incheon (Seoul, South Korea), Indira Gandhi (New Delhi, India), KLIA (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Narita (Tokyo, Japan), Denpasar (Bali, Indonesia), Soekarno–Hatta (Jakarta, Indonesia), Ninoy Aquino (Manila, Philippines), Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok, Thailand), Taoyuan (Taipei, Taiwan), and others.

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Take advantage of loyalty programs

Choose an airline that suits you the best, then stick to it. By becoming a ‘regular’, you will be able to use its loyalty program and earn “miles” (or points) – not only for flying but also for everyday expenses (if your card is affiliated with an airline).

Points earned this way often add up over time and are extremely helpful in flying at reduced fares. Airlines offer not only ticket discounts for their frequent flyers, but also special travel perks such as cabin class upgrades, increased checked baggage allowance, or access to their airport lounges so you can relax during long layovers.

If you often fly with Emirates, opt for Skywards, with Qantas – for Qantas Frequent Flyer, with Singapore Airlines – for KrisFlyer, etc.

Proof of onward travel – a simple hack

Travelers who go on long trips often don’t have a set itinerary and fly on one-way tickets. The problem? For many APAC countries, proof of onward travel is a legal requirement. If you arrive at the airport without an onward ticket (from Australia to another country), you’ll either be forced to buy one online or forbidden from boarding the plane altogether.

The cheapest solution? Renting an onward ticket! Use the websites such as OneWayFly or OnwardTicket to get a flight reservation for a limited amount of time (usually 2 to 14 days). They work by actually booking you on a real flight out of Australia and giving you a confirmable flight reservation with a PNR (Passenger Name Record) under your name. After the time limit, your spot on the flight is automatically canceled. Such “temporary tickets” tend to cost anywhere from $10 to $20.

Confirmed flight ticket reservation
Proof of onward travel: confirmed flight ticket reservation (source: OnwardTicket)

How to book a superdeal to Melbourne?

Every superdeal you receive from Air Traveler Club includes a link you can use to book a flight. It always directs you to the website that offers the lowest price. Sometimes it’s an airline website; in other cases, Google Flights or a similar flight booking platform.

This video explains how to use Google Flights to book a plane ticket.

YouTube video

Dealing with the jet lag

Jet lag affects people differently depending on age, physical fitness, and genetics. The most accepted rule suggests that you should allow one full day to recover from jet lag for every time zone (hour gained) you traveled east and a number of days equal to half the time zones crossed when you traveled west.

The most effective natural jet lag remedy is to force your body into its new routine. You can begin before getting off the plane: set your watch to the time in Melbourne, then do your best to sleep and eat based on the new time zone. Close the window shade when it’s time to simulate darkness. During your first day on the ground in Australia, get outdoors, stay physically active during the day, and absorb sunlight.