Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport Guide

Jet plane arriving at Birmingham International Airport bringing Malala Yousefza, shot by the Taliban, for treatment.
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Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport

Address
5900 Messer Airport Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35212, USA
Phone +1 205-595-0533

Birmingham Airport is an international airport serving the Midlands area of England. It's located near Birmingham, Coventry and Leicester, and is generally used for flights heading to Europe and the rest of the U.K. While the airport is relatively small, it can get busy, especially over holidays. Found a short drive from central Birmingham, it's easy to access and fairly stress-free to navigate.

Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information

Know Before You Go

Birmingham Airport is an international airport with one terminal, connecting travelers to other U.K. destinations, as well as Europe, the U.S., Asia, and the Middle East. It's often used by regional passengers heading to European holiday spots like France, Greece, and Spain. Numerous airlines fly into Birmingham—including British Airways, Lufthansa, and KLM—and many offer connecting flights through Europe to and from the U.S. The airport has good links to transportation, making it an ideal choice if you're visiting a destination in central England. 

Security is notoriously tight in all U.K. airports, including at Birmingham Airport. Be ready to fit all your carry-on liquids into a single plastic bag, which is provided before the security lines. Check your luggage if you have a lot of toiletries to avoid any hassle. Passengers will also need to remove shoes, belts, and jackets, and take any electronics out of bags. Arrive early if traveling during a busy period, like the summer holidays or over a bank holiday weekend.

Birmingham Airport Parking

There are several options for parking at Birmingham Airport, which vary based on distance from the terminal and by price. These include valet parking, multi-story parking garages with covered parking spots, and uncovered parking lots accessible via shuttle bus. The lots range from a one-minute walk to the main terminal to a 10-minute shuttle bus ride to reach the airport terminal, but all of the parking options are easily accessible for travelers.

All of Birmingham Airport's parking lots can be booked online in advance, which guarantees visitors a spot for their trip. Longer stays may be eligible for discounts of up to 70 percent. There is also a designated drop-off lot for those who are driving passengers to the airport. This lot allows stays of up to 20 minutes for free. Disabled parking is available in the valet lot, as well as in several of the other lots, and there are dedicated motorcycle spaces available in Car Park 1.

Driving Directions

Birmingham Airport is only 8 miles from central Birmingham, which makes the drive relatively quick and painless. Insert the postcode  B26 3QJ into your Sat-Nav system or into Google Maps to find the best directions. Note that rush hour typically takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., so it's best to allow for extra time when heading to Birmingham Airport during those times.  

The airport serves other cities around the Midlands, including Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leeds, Coventry, and Worcester. Birmingham Airport is located off the M24, a main highway that connects much of the Midlands. Your best bet is to use Google Maps or a Sat-Nav for clear directions to and from the airport.

Public Transportation and Taxis

Birmingham Airport has good connections to publication transportation. It is directly connected to Birmingham International Station by a free "Air-Rail Link" system, which takes approximately two minutes, and there are also buses and taxis available.

  • Trains: Birmingham International Station connects Birmingham Airport with around 100 towns and cities throughout the U.K. Several train companies operate out of the station, including Avanti West Coast Trains, West Midlands Railway, Cross Country and Transport For Wales. Birmingham New Street station, in central Birmingham, is 10 minutes by direct train, with seven services per hour from Birmingham International Station. Trains to London operate out of Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham New Street. Use the Trainline website or app to search the best route.
  • Buses: The Midlands' public transport, known as TfWM, operates several bus services from Birmingham Airport. The National Express WM buses connect the airport terminal with Birmingham City Centre, and also stop at Birmingham International Interchange. There are also long-distance coach services, operated by National Express and Megabus, that offer 120 daily services to 35 destinations around the U.K. Tickets can be purchased in advance or when boarding.
  • Taxis and Ubers: Arrow Cars is the official private taxi service for Birmingham Airport and it is the only taxi company allowed to pick up and drop off on the terminal front. Cars can be booked in advance by phone or online, or via their mobile app, Arrow Cars Birmingham. Licensed black cabs are also available, all of which are wheelchair accessible. The taxi rank can be found outside the terminal and no prior booking is needed. Uber runs in Birmingham and visitors can book a car via the app upon arrival.

Where to Eat and Drink

Birmingham Airport has a variety of food and drink options available to passengers, before and after security. There are several take-away restaurants in the terminals, as well as sit-down options for those who have more time. The airport notably has several restaurant before security, for those who have extra time or want to say goodbye to family and friends over a meal.

  • Pret a Manger: One of the most popular takeaway spots in the U.K., Pret a Manger has a great selection of to-go food like sandwiches, salads and pastries. They also have vegetarian selections, along with non-dairy milk options for coffee and tea.
  • All Bar One: All Bar One offers globally-inspired breakfast and lunch dishes in a bar setting. It's popular for cocktails and an expansive wine list, and it's a great pick for those on a longer layover. Birmingham Airport has two, one before security and one after security.
  • Factory Bar and Kitchen: For a sit-down meal that is guaranteed to arrive with 13 minutes of ordering, head to Factory Bar and Kitchen, which serves three meals a day along with bar offerings. They also offer a dedicated children's menu.
  • Bottega Prosecco Bar: Sit down for a glass of wine or Prosecco before your flight at Bottega, which also serves breakfast, cheese and cured meats, salads, and sandwiches.

Where to Shop

There are some shopping options at Birmingham Airport, although it doesn't quite have the selection of bigger airports like Heathrow. World Duty Free can be found after security.

  • WHSmith Books: Found after security, WHSmith is a chain that sells books, magazines, and snacks, as well as Scottish and British souvenirs. WHSmith Books is a separate bookstore with lots of titles to pick from, as well as magazines and newspapers.
  • Superdry: Superdry sells British-made clothing for men and women, with a Japanese and vintage American influence. It's a good spot to pick up a hoodie or accessory for the road.
  • Rituals: Find your signature fragrance at Rituals, which sells scents and gifts for the body and home.
  • Seacret: Seacret sells skincare made from ingredients taken from the Dead Sea.
  • Next: Next is a British high street shop selling affordable men's and women's clothing. They also have a selection for kids.

How to Spend Your Layover

Because Birmingham's city center is so close to the airport, it's easy to spend your layover exploring some of the popular attractions downtown. Take a train or taxi into the city center via Birmingham New Street station to explore its shopping or see one of the museums. Birmingham New Street has a left luggage service, in case you don't want to haul your bags around town. If you prefer to stay close, Birmingham Resorts World, a shopping and cinema complex, is adjacent to the airport.

For longer layovers, there are several nearby hotels. Book into the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, Hotel ibis Styles Birmingham NEC and Airport or Moxy Birmingham NEC for a nice overnight stay. The Genting Hotel, at Resorts World, is another good hotel, with a notable spa and a modern vibe.

Airport Lounges

There are five exclusive lounges at Birmingham Airport. These include the Emirates lounge, Aspire Lounge, Clubrooms, and No1 Lounges. Emirates lounge is for qualified passengers only, but travelers can pay to access Aspire, Clubrooms, and No1. All of the lounges offer free Wi-Fi, food, and drinks. FastTRACK passport control and FastTRACK security are also available for qualified passengers. Several of the paid lounges accept pre-bookings, which passengers can do on the Birmingham Aiport website.

Wi-Fi and Charging Stations

Passengers can access free Wi-Fi at Birmingham Airport in 30-minute intervals while in the terminal. To access it, open your Internet browser and create a login. Free Wi-Fi is also available in the airport lounges. Charge your phone or laptop at one of the many outlets found both before security and throughout the departure lounge. Be sure to bring along an adapter if your device uses an American plug. 

Birmingham Airport Tips & Facts

  • Keep the young ones entertained at Sky Zone, a free interactive play area open to all families. Parents can also download a coloring pack for kids ahead of travel.
  • Book Express Security Lane to skip the queues after check-in, or opt for Premium Arrivals Fast Track to expedite your journey through passport control. Both can be booked in advance online.
  • There are four water refill stations located after security. Look for the most convenient ones behind Bottega Prosecco Bar & Cafe and adjacent to the restrooms behind No1 Lounge.
  • Those who want to watch the planes coming and going can head to the airport's Aircraft Viewing Area in Car Park 5. It's open 24 hours a day and has picnic benches and a great view of the runway. Note that cars parking in Car Park 5 will need to pay the hourly rates.
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Your Complete Guide to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport