Manchester Airport Guide

Control tower at Manchester Airport
Manchester Airport.

Mark Williamson / Getty Images

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Manchester Airport

Manchester M90 1QX, UK
Phone +44 808 169 7030

Travelers visiting the U.K. typically arrive and depart via London, but Manchester Airport is a popular airport for those in the northern areas of England and southern Scotland. It's a relatively busy airport, mostly serving Europe and the Middle East. Located close to central Manchester, it's an easy airport to access and navigate.

Manchester Airport Code, Location, and Flight Information

Know Before You Go

Manchester Airport is a large international airport with three terminals, serving the areas around Northwest England. It's not quite as busy as Heathrow in London, but during holiday periods and over the summer Manchester Airport can be bustling. It's the U.K.'s third-largest airport, with more than 27 million passengers per year, and offers flights to more than 200 destinations.

While some airlines offer flights to the U.S. and Canada, travelers primarily use Manchester Airport to journey to Europe and the Middle East, particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Many large airlines operate out of Manchester Airport, including British Airways, Air Canada, Delta, American Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

Security is notably tight in all U.K. airports, including Manchester Airport. Be prepared to fit all your carry on liquids into a single plastic bag, which is provided before the security lines, and note that there are no exceptions to this rule. It's a good idea to 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 to take any electronics out of your bag.

Manchester Airport Parking

Manchester Airport offers several parking options for both passengers and visitors, including short stay and long stay lots. The airport also offers several special parking services, including Meet & Greet parking, which is a good option if you're traveling with children or have large, heavy luggage. Several of the parking lots, including Meet & Greet and Jet Parks, must be pre-booked online ahead of your trip. Those who pre-book can also save money on the rates, which vary by lot.

Some of the nearby airport hotels also offer parking packages and deals when you book a room. Look for options at the Crowne Plaza, Radisson Blu, Manchester Hilton, Mercure, Marriott, and Clayton Hotel.

Driving Directions

By car, Manchester Airport is about 27 minutes from central Manchester. If using a navigation system, input the airport's postcode, M90 1QX, for the best directions and then follow signs for the specific terminals on your approach. There are several main driving routes from the city center, but the fastest is the A5103, which heads directly south to the M56 where the airport is located.

Passengers may also be driving in from Liverpool (45 minutes), Sheffield (an hour and 40 minutes), and Leeds (an hour and 10 minutes), as well as from Scotland. Use Google Maps for the best directions from each location, and consider arriving before or after rush hour to avoid traffic.

Public Transportation and Taxis

While many travelers prefer to drive and park at Manchester Airport, it can also be accessed easily by several modes of public transportation, including Metrolink and train services.

  • Metrolink: Manchester's Metrolink tram service connects the city with the airport. Trams go directly from the airport to the outskirts of Manchester, where you can switch to another line for a quick journey into the city center. The tram station is a five to 15-minute walk from the various airport terminals.
  • Trains: Trains connect Manchester Airport to Manchester Piccadilly station, which takes about 20 minutes. TransPennine Express and Northern Rail run trains every 10 minutes seven days a week. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the station.
  • Buses: The National Express coach service operates routes between Manchester Airport and destinations around the U.K. Check the time and availability of your preferred route online, and consider booking tickets in advance. There is also the Stagecoach bus service, which connects the airport with Manchester city center 24 hours a day.
  • Taxis and Ubers: Manchester black cabs are available outside the airport near each terminal and at Manchester Airport Station. Most taxis can take five to six passengers along with their luggage, and all are wheelchair accessible. The taxis take payment by credit card, so you won't need cash in hand. Uber is available in the U.K. if you prefer to request a car via app, and private car services are also bookable in advance. The most popular service in Manchester is called Street Cars, which can be booked online or by phone.
row of five airplanes at boarding gates on a cloudy day
Anthony Devlin / Getty Images

Where to Eat and Drink

Manchester Airport has a solid selection of takeaway and quick dining options, as well as several coffee shops. It's not the best airport for sit-down dining or fancier spots, like you might find at Heathrow, but most travelers shouldn't have an issue finding a decent meal or snack. Manchester Airport operates a "Grab" service, where passengers can pre-order food on their app and pick it up in the terminals.

  • Trattoria Milano: Found in Terminal 3, this is a sit-down Italian restaurant with pizza and pasta dishes. There's also a "15 Minutes Pronto Menu" for those in a hurry.
  • Giraffe: For a casual sit-down meal, head to Giraffe in Terminal 1, which serves breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. It has a kid's menu and some options for vegetarians.
  • Upper Crust: Found in Terminals 1 and 2, Upper Crust is a takeaway sandwich shop with a vast range of options.
  • Pret a Manger: Pret a Manger is one of England's most popular to-go spots, offering pre-made sandwiches, salads, and soups, as well as coffee. Find it in Terminal 1 before and after security.

Where to Shop

There are lots of shopping options in Manchester Airport, including Duty Free. Most of the bigger fashion shops are in Terminal 1, but you can also find some worthwhile stuff in the other two terminals.

  • Jo Malone London: The London fragrance shop has an outpost in Terminal 1
  • Hamley's: Britain's favorite toy store, Hamleys, is the best place to shop for a souvenir or a fun gift. There is a shop in Terminal 1.
  • Dune London: Get your fix of British fashion at Dune, located in Terminal 1.
  • WH Smith: Located in all three terminals, WH Smith is a chain that sells books, magazines, and snacks, as well as souvenirs.
  • Boots: Boots is a drugstore chain that can be a lifesaver when traveling. They sell all the usuals, as well as snacks and souvenirs, and can be found in all three terminals.

How to Spend Your Layover

If your layover is several hours or more, it's easy to get into Manchester to explore the city. Opt for a train into Manchester Piccadilly to save time and walk around the nearby area. Manchester Art Gallery is a few blocks from the station, as is the Northern Quarter, which has lots of shops and eateries.

For longer layovers, the airport has several hotels, including the Crowne Plaza, Radisson Blu, and a Holiday Inn Express. Book your hotel online directly with Manchester Airport to save money and benefit from their free cancellation policy. The Radisson Blu, Hilton, Crowne Plaza, and the Clayton are the hotels located closest to the airport terminals.

Airport Lounges

Manchester Airport has two brands of private lounges, neither of which is associated with a specific airline. Escape Lounges are located in all three terminals, while 1903 Lounges can be found in Terminals 1 and 3. Each can be pre-booked online ahead of your visit and have a single-fee entry cost per person. Most airlines, including Emirates, Virgin, and British Airways, also have lounges for eligible passengers.

Manchester Airport boasts a private terminal, PremiAir, for discerning travelers, which includes bespoke private suites. The terminal's services, which are 24 hours, needed to be pre-booked online or by phone, but any traveler can use the services as long as their airline is listed by the terminal. The suites include complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, refreshments, and food that's made fresh to order.

Wi-Fi and Charging Stations

Wi-Fi is free throughout Manchester Airport. Travelers can use the service on any device for up to four hours in any 24-hour period. While in the airport terminals, lounges, or Runway Visitor Park, connect to "_FreeWifi" to use the Internet. There is also a pay-as-you-go service available for those who need more time or speed. Premium Wi-Fi costs 5 pounds per hour, 10 pounds per day, and 30 pounds per month.

While there are not dedicated charging stations, outlets can be found throughout the terminals, as well as in all the lounges.

Manchester Airport Tips & Facts

  • AirPortr is available at Manchester Airport if you don't want to deal with your luggage. The home bag check-in service will collect your bags from home or your hotel and deliver them directly to your flight, allowing you to skip airport lines. The service starts at 20 pounds and can be booked online.
  • To breeze through security, pre-book FastTrack. The service gives you access to a dedicated security line or to the Passport Control FastTrack line. It's bookable up until one hour prior to your departure and starts at 4 pound per person.
  • The Runway Visitor Park, Manchester Airport's most notable attraction, can be found just off the main terminal areas on Wilmslow Road. It offers views of the runways and retired aircraft, as well as tours. The Concorde Classic tour gives visitors a chance to see the flagship BA Concorde G-BOAC, which sits in the middle of the Concorde Conference Centre. Learn more about its programs at the Park's website.
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Manchester Airport Guide