We got a first look inside Manchester Airport's luxury private terminal fit for celebs and football stars

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Everybody loves going on holiday, but getting there is often stressful.

Finding a parking spot, rushing through security, dragging your suitcase to check-in – all these things can make flying abroad an ordeal.  

But for those who can afford a bit of a luxury, the private terminal Aether at Manchester Airport can take all that stress away. Originally opened in 2020 under the name PremiAir, the terminal was only open a few months before being forced to close due to the pandemic. But now it’s back with a new name after a four-year hiatus. 

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We were invited to take a look around as Aether prepares to welcome customers once again. Here’s everything you can expect.

Inside the new look Aether private terminal at Manchester Airport.Inside the new look Aether private terminal at Manchester Airport.
Inside the new look Aether private terminal at Manchester Airport. | ManchesterWorld

What is Aether?

The idea behind Aether is to remove all the stress associated with air travel. Located alongside the Runway Visitors Park on Old Wilmslow Road, the terminal includes a lounge room overlooking the runway that can be divided using wall partitions into smaller private rooms, a BMW shuttle service straight to the airfield, an exclusive menu curated by one of Manchester’s top chefs and its own security. 

The service can be booked for both departure and arrival. There are different packages to choose from, depending on whether you’re travelling with hold luggage or not. At the moment, only passengers flying with Aether’s partner airlines will be able to book in with hold luggage. If you’re just travelling with cabin bags, then you are able to use Aether’s services, regardless of which airline you are flying with. 

The new-look Aether private terminal at Manchester Airport.The new-look Aether private terminal at Manchester Airport.
The new-look Aether private terminal at Manchester Airport. | ManchesterWorld

How does it work?

The Aether experience begins three hours before you are due to take off. If you are driving yourself to the airport, there is a car park where you can leave your car while you are away, although this is not included in the price for booking into the terminal. 

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All passengers are greeted at the door, where friendly staff will go through all the usual pre-flight checks, such as weighing your bags, making sure you have the correct documents and that there are no dangerous goods among your baggage. All checked-in bags will be taken to the airport’s main baggage area, but Aether’s security team are able to track each suitcase in case it is left behind or goes missing, making sure it will definitely join you on your flight. 

From here you are taken to the lounge, which will be prepared especially depending on the size of your party. If you are travelling with a football team – one of the examples given by the general manager as part of the tour – then you can use the full room. Otherwise, the lounge can be divided into small rooms for privacy. The runway side of the room is covered in a large window, meaning you can watch the planes go by. When we went to take a look around, everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of the huge Emirates Airbus, which seemed to eclipse the smaller Ryanair and EasyJet planes zipping past.

 

It’s a dream for plane-spotters. It’s a dream for plane-spotters.
It’s a dream for plane-spotters. | ManchesterWorld

The room has a variety of different seating, including comfy arm chairs. There’s some seating with plug sockets if you’re travelling for work and need to catch up before your flight. The decor is simple and classy, with marble-top tables and bronze and gold finishings. There’s one important thing missing from the lounge, though – departures boards. This is because the Aether lounge hosts will be keeping an eye on this for you, making sure you know about any delays or other announcements. The exclusive a la carte food menu has been curated by Adam Reid, the Manchester-born chef known for his restaurant, The French, at the Midland Hotel. 

There will be no sitting on the floor at this terminal either as Aether only admits up to 12 people in the area at any one time. The other important perk is that if you want to spend an extra few hours with your loved ones, they are able to wait with you in the lounge for a fee of £40. Unlike the usual airport experience, security is the last thing you do at Aether. They have a full body scanner, as well as one for shoes so you definitely won’t have to take them off. Border forces not based at the terminal are called over to Aether when passengers are preparing to depart. 

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The final part of the Aether experience is the chauffeur-driven ride directly to your gate. The terminal includes its own road which runs along the edge of the airfield. The swanky BMWs have plush interiors and massage chairs. One of them even has a screen if you need entertainment on the short ride to your plane. 

One of the plush chauffeur-driven BMWs that will take you to your gate. One of the plush chauffeur-driven BMWs that will take you to your gate.
One of the plush chauffeur-driven BMWs that will take you to your gate. | ManchesterWorld

When will it be open and how much does it cost?

Aether will be available to book from November 4. There are various different packages to choose from.

The Express package starts at £90 but does not include access to the lounge. Instead, you arrive around 70 minutes before your flight is due to take off and staff will help you prepare for the flight and get you through security. Cabin bag packages start at £150 per person, and checked-in packages start at £170. 

As spaces in the lounge are limited, you need to book at least 48h in advance. If you are booking into the lounge simply to accompany a friend who is flying, then that does not need to be booked in advance. More information, including booking, can be found on the Aether website.

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