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Are there Manchester Airport queues today? Advice on fast track security, airport hotels and airport lounges

Here is the latest Manchester Airport news today, with travel advice on how to clear security more swiftly and when to check-in, as the airport deals with another busy week.

Travellers have shared their ongoing frustration at long queues and security delays, some of which have caused passengers to miss flights at Manchester Airport - as airport bosses admitted people should expect to wait up to 90 minutes at busy times over the coming weeks.

The problem initially occurred on Wednesday 16 March, with the airport then blaming high traveller numbers and an unusually large number of bags which did not comply with security rules.

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Bosses have explained previously that there were also employee sickness absences due to Covid, affecting some airport operations. Many passengers took to social media to express frustration about long queues at check-in desks and the security line, and also at baggage reclaim, where some luggage was left piling up.

On Wednesday morning (18 May), passengers reported getting through security queues in under half an hour at Terminals One, Two and Three - with some reckoning there were slower queues for airside cafes than at the security checks. The airport usually tends to be quietest mid-week in terms of passenger numbers.

However, some passengers have been reporting problems with their lounge bookings being cancelled: see here.

An airport spokesman confirmed to ManchesterWorld that April had been a ‘busy’ start to their summer season: see our video interview here for what he said in full about the latest travel advice.

Manchester airport Credit: Shutterstock

What has the airport said?

Airport managing director Karen Smart stepped down from the top job on 5 April, to be replaced by an interim CEO Ian Costigan, who will be in charge of leading the airport’s pandemic recovery plan.

Meanwhile, Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, said: “The simple fact is that we don’t currently have the number of staff we need to provide the level of service that our passengers deserve. While we still expect most passengers to get through in less than 30-40 minutes, there will be times over the next few months when waiting times will rise to between 60 and 90 minutes.”

Mayor Andy Burnham also said he advised passengers turn up three hours before their flight departure time - and make sure they follow hand luggage guidelines to help speed up the security process when they get there: see the latest advice from Mr Burnham here.

The airport has stressed it takes time to train and security-check new staff - and Mr Burnham says he has written to the Government to see if the process can be speeded up.

However on 5 May, airport bosses said 60 new staff had started in April and another 200 were due to complete training in May.

Ian Costigan, interim managing director of Manchester Airport, said: “While the majority of people will get through security in less than 30 minutes, customers need to allow time for check-in and the possibility that security queues may be longer at peak times.”

A passenger aircraft landing at Manchester International Airport Credit: Getty

When should I arrive at Manchester Airport?

An airport spokesman advised people to ‘arrive at the earliest time your airline recommends.’

You can find this by checking the individual airline’s website and searching for your route.

You can also speed up the process by checking in online in advance on your airline’s website or on their app. Many permit online check-in until up to two hours before your flight.

Some airlines - including Jet2 - are offering twilight bag drop services at Manchester Airport, so you can drop off check-in luggage the evening before to smooth the process on the day, but not all airlines do this - you need to check on your airline’s website baggage page in advance for details.

And, of course, travelling only with carry-on luggage can speed up your passage through airport - as long as your hand baggage complies with your airline’s size policies and you are not carrying any forbidden items such as liquids over 100ml - see the Government website here for an overview of these items, plus check out our handy guide to how to help your hand luggage get through security faster here.

Make sure your contact details on your airline booking are up to date too, so your airline can try to alert you to any significant changes or known disruption.

And finally, check which of three terminals your flight departs from and arrives into ahead of your trip, to make sure you get to the correct terminal in good time: this information should be in your flight booking on the boarding pass, and is also on the terminal checker here on the airport’s own website.

Terminal Three has fully reopened again from Friday 22 April which has meant some airlines have changed which terminal they operate from: see here for which airlines that impacts.

How do I buy fast-track security passes for Manchester Airport and how much does fast track security cost?

You can usually buy fast-track security passes, which give you access to a priority lane, in advance by booking them on the airport’s website here from £4.

However the airport has currently suspended the sale of new fast track security passes due to demand but says it will honour existing bookings

You can also buy a Passport Control fast-track pass for those returning into Manchester Airport but this only applies to Terminal One and costs from £4.

Is there a lounge at Manchester Airport?

The Escape Lounge is open to all passengers and you don’t need a first-class ticket as you can book a space in advance for Terminal One or Terminal Two or Terminal Three here. There is also the 1903 lounge at Terminal Two which can also be booked here.

Prices start at £24 but be warned that the lounges can book up some time in advance with a spike in interest from passengers recently.

Some passengers who booked in advance have been emailed before their trips in April, saying the booking can’t be honoured due to capacity and staffing issues: see more advice here.

A passenger aircraft landing at Manchester International Airport Credit: Getty

Are there hotels at the airport?

Yes there are a number to choose from, including the Radisson Blu, Crowne Plaza, Marriott and Hilton, all within close range of the terminals.

You can see a fuller list and check distance here.

What else has the airport said?

Bosses previously issued a statement saying it had been difficult to predict passenger volumes as the travel industry recovers post-pandemic. They added: “This has been compounded by up to 60% of customer bags being rejected as they passed through security because they contained restricted items – a much higher rate than we typically experience.

“Our colleagues have been working tirelessly to safely process passengers as quickly as they can and we would like to thank them for their dedication. We have deployed staff from other parts of the operation to assist in security and, wherever possible, we have prioritised customers within the queue in order to ensure they make their flights.

“We would like to apologise to those impacted by these challenges.”