Guide to Manchester Airport
Heading to Manchester Airport soon? Why not checkout our short guide to MAN, filled with helpful information, travel tips, and useful resources, to make your trip that little bit easier? Whether you’re a first time flyer or a seasoned business traveller, we’re sure that we can help you to make the most of your time in Manchester Airport, whichever way you decide to get there, and whatever terminal you’re flying from. Find everything you need to know when travelling to, from, and around Manchester Airport, with terminal information, transport options, taxis, trains, parking, and more!
Manchester Airport (MAN) handled a record number of passengers in 2019, with more than 28 million people entering one of its three terminals. It’s the country’s busiest airport outside of London, and a hub for almost 30 airlines flying to close to 200 destinations across the United Kingdom, Europe, North America, and Asia. The airport is only 20 minutes away from the city centre by car, connected to a range of different public transport options, and supported by a range of on-site and off-site car parks. Given all this, the size of the airport can be a little intimidating for those used to smaller, regional facilities, which is why we’ve listed everything you need to know below:
Manchester Airport has three passenger terminals, a goods terminal, and a VIP terminal. The passenger terminals, Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3, are linked by a covered walkway called the SkyLink, which leads to the ‘The Station’ - the Manchester Airport train station. To give you an idea of the walking distances involved, T1 and T3 are approximately five minutes on foot to The Station, whereas T2 is a ten minute walk away. There are travelators in the SkyLink, but these are not guaranteed to be in action.
Manchester Airport Terminal 1 is the largest of the three passenger terminals. Most flights depart from Terminal 1, including those from airlines such as easyJet, Jet2.com, and TUI. There are two check-in halls; Hall A which is used by almost all of the airlines that fly from T1, and the smaller Hall B, which is only for Jet2.com and Etihad. Past security, you’ll find plenty of shopping and dining facilities, lounges, and seating options. For more information, please consult our guide to Manchester Airport Terminal 1.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all flights that were due to depart from Terminal 2 will now depart from Terminal 1. This change took effect on September 2nd, with no word on when the terminal will reopen.
Prior to this, Terminal 2 was primarily a hub for intercontinental flights and holiday charters. Major airlines which arrived/departed from T2 included Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Eurowings, Oman Air, Pakistan International Airlines, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Singapore, United, and Virgin Atlantic. Past security and passport control, the terminal has fewer retail and dining outlets than T1, fewer lounges, and less seating. Transfer times to T1 and T3 are longer, however few routes from this terminal require passengers to meet a connecting flight.
The newer of the airport’s three terminals, T3 is generally for short domestic and European flights, with airlines such as Air France, British Airways, Iberia, KLM, Loganair, and Ryanair, with the exception of American Airlines’ daily flight to Philadelphia. There are a variety of food and beverage options, retail stores, and seating areas past the security checkpoints, plus several lounges. Terminal 3 is connected to Terminal 1 by a ground-level covered walkway between.
PremiAir is a VIP Terminal, which, for a cost of £100 per person allows you to check in just an hour before departure at the old off-airport lounge on Old Wilmslow Road. Your luggage will be transferred to your terminal before your flight, you can fast-track through the security checkpoints. PremiAir functions similar to an airport meet & greet service with porterage, but doesn’t include access to any of the VIP lounges.
In addition, you can make use of the airport’s home bag pick-up service, which can be booked via Manchester Airport’s website. Prices start at £20 per bag, and includes suitcase pick-up from your home at an agreed time, sealing, and transport to your terminal. This allows you to travel as if you only had hand luggage on your way out, and then collect your cases at Arrivals, when you’ve reached your destination.
Getting to Manchester Airport
There are several transport links which connect Manchester Airport with the city, and to cities further north in England and in Scotland. Most connections in terms of trains, trams, buses, and long-distance coaches leave from The Station, which is the airport’s public transport hub.
Trains between The Station and Manchester Piccadilly run several times an hour, typically priced at £9.40 return. From Manchester Piccadilly, you can take another train onwards to cities north of Manchester, or further afield to Scotland. There are no direct trains to London, Euston, Birmingham, Bristol and the south, from the airport, meaning that you’ll need to change trains at Piccadilly. Just be aware that the transfers between the upper-level platforms and the main terminus platforms can take up to ten minutes. For more information on rail travel, please consult our Manchester Airport trains guide.
If you’re considering taking the tram to Manchester Airport, or from The Station to the city, you can board one of the Metrolink trams which run through Wythenshawe, Roundthorn, St Werburgh's Rd, Chorlton, Trafford Bar, Deansgate / Castlefield, St Peter's Square, plus a handful of other stops, before terminating at Victoria Station. From the airport, you can take the tram to into the city, and then transfer onto another line for East Didsbury, Stretford & Altrincham, Salford Quays & Eccles, Prestwich & Bury, Newton Heath, Oldham & Rochdale, and Ashton-under-Lyne services. The journey takes an hour, to/from the airport and the CBD, and costs £9.20 return. Trams run every twelve minutes between 6.00am and midnight, and then every twenty minutes from 3.00am to 6.00am.
You’ll find the Manchester Airport bus station outside of The Station. During the small hours, it's easier to reach/depart the airport by bus, than to rely on the trains or trams. The Stagecoach Bus 43 runs every 30 minutes round the clock from The Station to Wythenshawe, Sharston, Northenden, West Didsbury, Rusholme, Manchester University and Manchester Piccadilly Gardens, and takes just over an hour to complete its journey.
You can also take a National Express Manchester Airport coach from The Station, with buses to the city leaving every 30 minutes from Stands A, B & C. The journey takes about twenty minutes and costs £10 return. Most of the intercity services stop at Chorlton Street briefly, but there are also a few direct coaches that will take you from the airport to cities such as Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, London, and Belfast.
Manchester Airport is a twenty minute drive from the city centre, and can be reached by the M56 Motorway, using junction 5. The journey is relatively easy, and as long as you travel outside of peak commuter hours, can be completed without issue. If you’re travelling by taxi, you can expect to pay around £15.00 in each direction, with additional surcharges applicable for night-time journeys.
If you’re driving to the airport to collect or send off friends and family, you can find more information about the various pick-up and drop-off points on our blog. In brief, pick-up costs £4.50, at either of the terminals, and drop-off will cost you £3.00 for five minutes or £4,00 for ten minutes. There is a free drop-off zone at JetParks 1, however passengers will need to take a shuttle bus to the airport.
If you’re considering parking at the airport, you can select from a range of on-site parking options, which include:
- Meet & Greet parking, where you hand over your car and your keys at the drop-off point, before walking to Departures
- The T1/T3 Mid Stay Car Park, which is a three minute walk from T3 and a ten minute walk to T1
- The Multi Storey Car Parks, including the T1 Multi Storey, the T2 Multi Storey, and the T3 Multi Storey, which are within walking distance of the check-in desks
- The JetParks Car Parks, including JetParks 1, JetParks 2, JetParks 3, and Jetparks Ringway
Or from a range of more affordable off-site car parks, which include Toad Parking, NCP Manchester Flightpath, and Hunters Airport Parking. Off-site car parks typically operate park & ride services, meaning that you’ll need to take a complimentary shuttle bus onwards to your terminal. These services are quicker and easier than you might think, however we advise that you compare all the options on the market before booking, to ensure you get the best deal.
If you’re unsure as to where you can park, we recommended searching for a car park by terminal. You can use Parkhero to find and book into an official Manchester Airport car park or off-site car park, depending on your preference, based on whether you’re flying from Terminal 1, Terminal 2, or Terminal 3. We make it easy to search, compare, and book Manchester Airport parking, using our intuitive online search tool and secure online checkout. You can pre-book your parking space in less than two minutes, and receive a copy of your booking confirmation straight to your email inbox.
While You Wait
Regardless of the terminal you’re flying from, you’ll find that the vast majority of retail outlets and eateries are beyond the security checkpoints. There are few options before the check-in, in comparison with other UK airports, leaving little reason to hangabout. Instead, you can head to one of the airport’s many lounges, checkout the duty free shipping, or grab a bite to eat.
You’ll find an Escape Lounge in each of the three terminals, which are available to all passengers for a fee. The Escape Lounge serves free drinks and snacks, but changes extra for warm meals. As of September 2020, entry costs £30.00 for adults and children above the age of two years, which covers three hours of access. You can save £5.00 by pre-booking online, on the airport’s official website.
Terminal 1 Lounges
There are several lounges in Terminal 1, in addition to the Escape Lounge, with different pricing and entry requirements. While we have included more information in our Terminal 1 guide, you can find a quick overview of the options below:
- The Aspire Lounge, open to all passengers. Entry costs £25.00 for adults and £18.00 for children, and includes drinks, snacks, and internet access
- 1903 - the former Etihad Lounge. Entry to 1903 costs £45.00 per person, and includes a selection of drinks and warm meals
- The Emirates Lounge, free for first class and business class passengers travelling on the airline, and £120.00 per person for everyone else
Terminal 2 Lounges
At present, the T2 lounges are closed, alongside the rest of the terminal. Prior to the closure of the terminal, there were two other lounge options besides the Escape Lounge, including:
- The Aspire Lounge, which is open to all passengers. Entry costs £25.00 for adults and £18.00 for children, and the price includes drinks, snacks, and internet access
- The V-Room, which is only for Virgin Holidays customers. Lounge entry is priced at £20.00 for adults and £12.00 for children
Terminal 3 Lounges
Passengers can select from two lounges in Terminal 3, outside of the British Airways Lounge, which is reserved for the airline’s own passengers. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, T3 is running with reduced amenities. If you’re considering purchasing lounge access, it would be worth checking online to ensure that it’s open on the day you fly.
- The British Airways Lounge, is for first and business class passengers travelling on British Airlines, American Airlines, and Iberia
- 1903 is open to all passengers (18+), provided that they pay the £45.00 cover charge. The lounge serves free drinks, including alcoholic beverages, but does not accept groups larger than four
Eating & Drinking
There are several options when it comes to food and drink at Manchester Airport, including cafes, sit down restaurants, and fast food outlets. You’ll also find an airport pub Manchester, and lounges which serve alcohol past security. Your choice of Manchester Airport restaurants is determined by the terminal you’re flying from, with more choices available in Terminal 1, and fewer in Terminal 3. The airport now supports a takeaway food app called grab, which you can use to pre-order food to take with you. More details are available on the Manchester Airport website.
- Terminal 1, has several outlets including Joe's Kitchen, Pret, Greggs. Bar MCR, Burger King, Cafe Balzar, Costa, Giraffe, Mi Casa Burritos, PizzaLuxe, Starbucks, Grain Loft, and Upper Crust
- Terminal 2, is home to several chains, including Brodericks, Burger King, Cabin, Caffè Nero, Camden Food, Greggs, Spinning Jenny, and Upper Crust.
- Terminal 3 has Caffè Nero, Costa, Delice de France, Flat White, KFC, Kiosco, Pork & Pickle, Lion and Antelope, The Nook, and Trattoria Milano
Shopping & Money
There are plenty of shopping outlets in the Manchester Airport duty free areas, and you’ll find the full list of shops in each terminal within our individual Terminal 1, Terminal 2, Terminal 3 guides. Provided that you’re flying outside of the United Kingdom, you can purchase a range of duty free goods, including alcohol, tobacco, perfumes, makeup, luxury goods, plus souvenirs. You’ll find a Dixons, Boots, and WHSmith store at every terminal, plus a range of familiar fashion and accessory stores such as Bobbi Brown, Clarins, Dune London, Jo Malone, Pandora, and Temptation.
If you’d like to exchange your UK pounds into other currencies, you’ll find ICE outlets in each terminal. As exchange rates are often far higher at the airport, we advise UK debit card holders to wait until arriving at their destination to withdraw anything other than pounds, if possible. Rates can be as high as 25%, either side of bank ranks, for most major currencies - quickly eating into your holiday spending money.
WiFi & Internet Access
WiFi is free throughout the terminals, for 60 minutes every 24 hours. After this point, you’ll have the option of connecting to premium service for longer usage times and faster downloads. WiFi costs are currently set at £5.00 for an hour, £10.00 per day, and £30.00 per month. All of the leading UK network providers have reasonable signals in and around the airport zone, so you should have little problem making calls.
Manchester Airport Hotels
While there are numerous hotels near Manchester Airport, only the Radisson Blu, the Crowne Plaza, the Clayton Hotel, and Hilton Manchester Airport are within the actual grounds of MAN. Ideal for long stopovers and early morning flights, these hotels are within easy walking distance of the terminals. These hotels tend to be in the mid-upper price range, with plenty of facilities, from swimming pools to fitness centres, 24 hour receptions, room service, and on-site restaurants and bars. Some offer sleep, park & fly packages, although these are priced in accordance with the hotel’s four or five star rating.
- Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport: A four star hotel, the Radisson Blu provides free WiFi for guests, plus free access to their Free access to the health club, which includes a sauna, gym, and pool. Room prices start at £103.00 per night.
- Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport: A favourite for business travellers, the Crowne Plaza provides stylish, modern accommodation, and excellent dining options. Room rates at the four star property start at £76.00 per night.
- The Clayton Hotel, Manchester Airport is ideally situated between Terminals 1 and 3, and is serviced by a complimentary 24/7 shuttle bus. Relax in comfort in the hotel’s soundproofed rooms, enjoy first-class dining facilities, from £75.00 per night.
- The Hilton Manchester Airport is located just 5 minutes from Terminal 1 via courtesy shuttle. The hotel offers comfortable guest accomodation, flexible spaces to meet and work, and an on-site fitness centre. Room prices start at £76.00 per night.
For budget hotels, you will need to travel further out of the airport grounds. Your options include the Holiday Inn Express, the Premier Inn, and the Airport Inn. Please check our guide to Manchester Airport hotels for more information.
The UK’s leading airport comparison site, Parkhero makes it easy to search, compare, and book affordable parking at or near any major airport in the country. If you’re looking for parking near Manchester Airport, we can help you to find the best available price in an official or off-site car park, regardless of whether you’re looking for a park & ride, park & walk, or meet & greet service. Once you’ve found a suitable space, you can complete your reservation via our secure online checkout, and receive a copy of your booking confirmation via email in just a few minutes.
Please note that the information above is provided for reference only, and does not constitute travel advice. For the most recent and relevant Manchester Airport news you should check the official website at: www.manchesterairport.co.uk
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