Background and Location
Manchester Airport (MAN) is the main airport in the North of England and provides a choice of airlines that fly to Florida either Direct or Indirect. It was in 2011 the UK’s third busiest airport after Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
The airport is located approximately 8.5 miles to the South West of Manchester and is owned by the ten local authorities that make up the Greater Manchester conurbation.The airport itself consists of three terminals, two runways and its own train station (with a planned Metrolink tram station by 2016).
By road, access to the airport is via its own dedicated junction (J5) on the M56 motorway which leads to either the M60 Manchester orbital motorway to the east and beyond to the M62 towards Yorkshire, to the west linking into the M6 motorway for passengers from the North (Lancashire, Liverpool, Cumbria), or the south to the Midlands and for passengers from North Wales linking the M56 onto the A55.
For Sat Nav users the generic postcode to get you to the airport is M90 1QX
from there each terminal is clearly signposted.
Below is the general map of the airport showing the terminal, the M56 motorway and local hotels. For a plan of the location of the airport on the wider regional road network ClickHere
Which airlines fly to Florida from Manchester Airport?
If you choose to fly direct then flights are available with the following airlines;
- Virgin Atlantic (Terminal 2) - VS
- Thomson Airways (Terminal 2) - TOM
- Thomas Cook Airlines (Terminal 1) - TCX
If you have chosen to fly indirect, via one of the airlines hub airports, then flights are usually available with the following airlines;
- Aer Lingus (Terminal 1) - IE
- American Airlines (Terminal 3) - AA
- British Airways (Terminal 3) - BA
- Air France (Terminal 3) - AF
- Lufthansa (Terminal 1) - LH
- Delta AirLines (Terminal 2) - DL
- Icelandair (Terminal 1) - FI
- United (Formerly Continental - CO) (Terminal 2) - UA
Terminal 1 was the original airport terminal and has had considerable money spent onupgrading to bring it up to world class standards in terms of security and passenger facilities in the past few years.
If you are arriving via taxi or drop off you will drive up a ramp and into the departure level (Main Check-In Area), from there you walk straight into the Main Check-In Area and find your check in desk / bag drop.
For those arriving by train or bus you will arrive in to The Station from there you simply go up either lift or the escalator to the Skylink a glass enclosed walkway that links Terminal 1 and 2 to The Station and use either the moving walkway or walk to Terminal 1.
For those passengers using the Manchester Airport VIP Valet or Meet and Greet parking the route into Terminal 1 Main Check-In is a little different, the simplest route after leaving your car keys is to walk towards the Arrivals area on the ground floor, on the left you will see a set of lifts that go up into the Skylink or stairs behind those lifts. Go up to the Skylink level and you have a short walk down the Skylink into the Terminal 1 Main Check-In Area.
For a plan of Terminal 1 Main Check-In Area ClickHere
Once checked in there is very little to do in this area other than go through security into the Departure Area. For those of you who have paid in advance (current price £3.50 each),have it included in their airline ticket or booked VIP Valet Parking this is where you decide whether to use the Fastlane security channel or go through the normal security lanes.
It can be often quicker to go through normal security as they have more lanes open (up to 13 lanes at peak times) and families with pushchairs etc... often get moved to the Fastlane security lane making it anything but fast (I say this as a parent!). Once you’ve done the security check (remembering to take off any belts, clear bags for the 100ml liquids, take off watches and remove laptops from their bags etc...) you free to roam the Departure Hall or make a hasty retreat to one of the Lounges available.
For a plan of Terminal 1 Main Check-In ClickHere
For a plan of Terminal 1 Departures Lounge ClickHere
For a plan of Terminal 1 Arrivals and VIP Valet and Meet and Greet access to departures ClickHere
Each terminal has its own Lounges and these are covered in their own section, the one thing you will now notice in the departure area is that it initially looks quite small with what looks like a department store (Biza) at the end. Don’t be deceived, to get to the main departure area you have to go through Biza (sampling a few drinks on the way if you’re so inclined) this then leads eventually into the area where you can grab bite to eat, go to a paid Lounge or do some more shopping before going off for your flight.
Remember though to keep an eye on the Departure screens, Manchester is a silent airport (like most today) and if you're not a frequent traveller keeping an eye on these screens for your gate and other important information in case of delays is vital.
Terminal 2 was built in the early 1990’s and has like most of the airport had considerable sums spent in recent years in reconfiguring and updating it.
If you're arriving via taxi or drop off you will drive up a ramp and into the departure level (Main Check-In Area), from there you walk straight into the Main Check-In Area and find your check in desk/bag drop. For those arriving by train or bus you will arrive in to The Station from there you simply go up either lift or the escalator to the Skylink a glass enclosed walkway that links Terminal 1 and 2 to The Station and use either the moving walkway or walk to Terminal 2.
For a plan of Terminal 2 Main Check-In Area and Departures Lounge ClickHere
For a plan of Terminal 2 Arrivals and VIP Valet and Meet and Greet Parking ClickHere
On the whole Terminal 2 is far simpler to navigate. If using the Manchester Airport VIP Valet or Meet and Greet parking you walk across into the Arrivals area and use a lift or escalator to take you up into the Main Check-In Area.
As you come into the doors from the drop off area, Virgin Atlantic are to the left, Thomson Airways and Monarch are usually in the middle area and the US carriers tend to be towards the right side of the check-in area. After check-in you will notice escalators and lift areas that protrude into the check-in area floor space, you need to go up in either to the security area to then proceed through to the Departure area.
Once through security you come back down escalators or via lift into the main Departure area. Once again you’ll have to run the gauntlet of the Biza free samples to proceed through to the departure gates, paid lounges (including the Virgin Holidays 'v-room') or to grab a bite to eat.
Terminal 3 was built in the late 1990’s and was originally planned a dedicated British Airways terminal. Today it handles a mixture of airlines include the Low Cost airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair and is the smallest of the three terminals.
If you're arriving via taxi or drop off you will arrive on the ground floor and will have to enter the arrivals area and take the lift or escalator up to the departure level (Main Check-In Area), from there you will find your check in desk/bagdrop.
For those arriving by train or bus you will arrive in to The Station from there you simply go up either lift or the escalator to the Skylink a glass enclosed walkway that links Terminal 1 and 2 to The Station and use either the moving walkway or walk to Terminal 1 and then follow the signs that lead you via a covered walkway to Terminal 3.
For a plan of Terminal 3 Main Check-In Area and Departures ClickHere
For a plan of the Drop off and Arrivals Area ClickHere
Being the smallest terminal makes it the easiest to navigate through, but it has the least facilities. The Manchester Airport VIP Valet and Meet and Greet are both located in the short stay car park just across the road from Terminal 3. You park your car and head towards the car park office located on the first floor to drop off your keys and then proceed across the covered walkway straight into the departure check-in area.
Once through the security area Terminal 3 has only a few shops and places to eat in comparison to the other terminals but enough to get a sandwich for the flight,a book and grab a coffee.
Eating at Manchester Airport
Each Terminal has facilities for eating; these range from snacks through to full meals and have prices to suit most budgets.
From time to time Manchester Airport publishes vouchers for use in various Shops and Restaurants although none are available at the time of this article. It is always worth checking on the airport website in the ‘Eating and Drinking’ section a week or two before your holiday.
The current list of places to eat and drink after security are;
- Bar MCR
- Burger King
- The Real Food Company
- Caffe Ritazza
- Runway Bar
- Soho Coffee Co.
- Starbucks Coffee
Shopping at Manchester Airport
- Burger King
- Broderick’s Coffee
- Caffe Nero
- Frankie and Benny’s
- The Observatory Bar
- The Real Food Company
- Caffe Ritazza
- Soho Coffee Co.
Each terminal contains a wide variety of shops ranging from the likes of WH Smiths, Boots and Tie Rack through to Timberland, Jo Malone and Kurt Geiger. The anchor duty free stores are called Biza in Terminals 1 and 2 and the layout makes passengers walk through them to get to the remainder of the departure area and the gates, at most times of the day or night passengers can usually sample some form of an alcoholic drink, the latest perfumes or sample of chocolate.
Lounges at Manchester Airport
Manchester Airport has Lounges in every Terminal. However some can be pre-paid and some cannot, these are only accessible to passengers flying in particular classes (Upper Class, Business or First Class) or frequent traveller levels with certain airlines i.e. British Airways Gold Cards and of course for those booked via Virgin Holidays the use of V-Room.
The list of Lounges per Terminal is below;
Terminal 2Terminal 3
- Escape Lounge T1 MoreInformation
- The Bollin Lounge
- Emirates Lounge for First & Business class passengers plus Skywards Gold Awards cardholders only. MoreInformation
- Etihad Lounge for the exclusive use of Etihad Pearl Business Class passengers, Etihad Guest Gold & Etihad Silver Card holders. Moreinformation
- bmi Executive Lounge
- British Airways Lounge
- Flybe Lounge
The Lounges in bold can be pre-booked by any passenger via the Manchester Airport website or via other websites, the non-bold Lounges such as v-room are restricted to certain passengers or tickets.
Kids at Manchester Airport
Manchester Airport provide a few play areas for children to burn off some energy before a flight.
In Terminal 1 they have a 0-3 years play area next to gate 20 near the Runway Bar, in Terminal 2 there is a 0-3 years play area next to Caffe Nero near gate 213, alongside a 3-8 years adventure play area in the same location.
Many of the restaurants provide child friendly options or have dedicated child menus.
For those parents travelling with autistic children the airport have produced a booklet entitled 'Airport Awareness'
which is a handy book for your child to take with them through the airport.
Boots also have available a service that allows parents to pre-order baby milk for collection after security. Orders must be placed a minmum 7 days before departure the phone numbers to pre-order are;
Smoking at the Airport
- Terminal 1 - 0161 437 9221
- Terminal 2 - 0161 436 8640
- Terminal 3 - 0161 437 4154
Smoking is permitted in certain designated areas before entering the check-in area and after exiting Arrivals.
Currently, Terminal 1 permits smoking after security near the food court, Terminal 2 permits smoking after security at gate 300 both areas are outside and are signposted. Terminal 3 does not have a smoking area after security.
Manchester Airport Hotels
The airport has one airport hotel with direct links into Terminal 1 and 2 via the Skylink, the RadissonBlu hotel.
There are a number of other hotels within the airport grounds or very close by that whilst not directly linked into the airport are a couple of minutes walk or mini bus ride (usually prepaid) to the Terminals.
Some of the hotels close by (approx. 5-10 minutes by minibus) include;
- Bewleys Manchester Airport*
- Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport*
- Hilton Manchester Airport Hotel*
- Premier Inn Manchester Airport (M56/J6) Runger Lane North/South Hotel (Two hotels on same site)
- Holiday Inn Express Manchester Airport
- Etrop Grange Hotel
- Marriott Manchester Airport
* can be walked from the hotel to the terminal but may need to cross a busy road.
There are a number of hotels that are not so close and yet still offer easy access (easily under 15 minutes to the airport by minibus);
Manchester Airport Parking
- Best Western Cresta Court Hotel
- Britannia Hotel South Manchester
- Best Western Pinewood
- Holiday Inn Manchester Airport.
There is a multitude of parking available to passengers; off-site, on-site, meet and greet,Valet, airport owned and private. This article only covers the parking provided by Manchester Airport and not those provided by private companies.
The nearest parking to the airport terminals are naturally the most expensive (although you can find the occasional bargain) this consists of the most expensive of parking in the short term parking provided by the airport. At a similar cost is the VIP Valet parking where you arrive at an area next to or in the short term parking area hand over your keys and your car is parked in the car park for the duration of your holiday, you get Fast-lane security for your party and your car is waiting for you on your return, typical cost is around £90-£100 for two weeks with both Short-Term and VIP Valet.
A particular bargain for the hassle-free factor is the airport Meet and Greet option; you go to the same parking area as those using VIP Valet, but your vehicle is then taken to a long term secure parking area and you don’t get Fast-lane security, however at around a two thirds of the cost of VIP Valet (typically £65-£70 for two weeks) it can make it very comparable to long term self parking or parking via off site companies.Typically walk time for these options to your terminal is under 5 minutes.
The airport provide a number of self-park long term parking areas, where you park your vehicle in large open air car parks and then catch a bus to your terminal and get a bus back to the car park on your return. Typically transfer times take from 10-20 minutes. Typical cost for two weeks is around £60 for two weeks.
The cheapest on-site offering is JetParks, these are 3 car parks on the edge of the airport grounds with comparable transfer times to long term parking. Typical cost do vary depending on the location but range from £50 to £55 for two weeks parking and is a popular choice.
Arriving at Manchester Airport by Public Transport
If you arrive by public transport (Bus or Train) then you arrive at the airport at a transport interchange called imaginatively ‘The Station’. Plan of The Station GroundLevel
, this is linked by the Skylink walkway direct in to Terminal 1 and 2 (and via a walkway from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3).
Trains arrive and depart on a regular basis and the current route map can be found here
with links to the west coast mainline from Crewe as well as dedicated trainsfrom various points across the north and from Scotland.
Coaches are also available and terminate at The Station, a network map is available here