Manchester Airport is gearing up for the festive season as 1.56m passengers are set to travel through the UK’s third largest gateway between today (Fri 14th December) and 6th January.
Friday 21st December will see the Northern hub welcome the most passengers, with 79,300 due to depart from or arrive at Manchester’s three terminals.
In total over the festive period the airport will see an additional 100,000 passengers compared to the previous year, an increase of 7%.
The most popular Christmas destinations include Dubai, Dublin, Amsterdam, Tenerife and Paris.
Ahead of Christmas, the airport is advising customers how to make their journey through Manchester as smooth as possible, advising passengers of potential ground transport disruption and reminding passengers of hand baggage rules and restrictions.
Fiona Wright, Customer Services and Security Director at Manchester Airport, said: “As we edge closer to Christmas and New Year we want to ensure each and every one of our passengers has the best experience and start to their trip, while ensuring their safety and security.
“Our colleagues are committed to ensuring passengers get away seamlessly, which is why we are issuing this advice today to make as many passengers’ journeys as easy as possible whether they are jetting off to Benidorm, Beijing or Barbados.”
“When it comes to what you can and can’t pack in your hand luggage, the rules are exactly the same at Christmas as they are for the rest of the year.
“However, at this festive time of year passengers often travel with gifts of more unusual items, which unwittingly do not comply with the rules. If in doubt, check with your airline first and put it in your suitcase for the hold, rather than your hand luggage.
“Safety and security is always our number one priority, so to help passengers avoid having Christmas treats confiscated and to prevent queues, we’re just reiterating how everyone can help us to help them.”
As temperatures plummet, thick winter coats along with hats, scarves and gloves are essentials to beat the cold outdoor weather. However, at the UK’s third largest airport, passengers are being asked to remove them once inside the terminal before the security check point – to help speed up security queues and reduce waiting times.
Manchester Airport calculations show that on average, an unprepared passenger who has to unzip zips, undo buttons, take off hats, gloves and untie a scarf at the metal detector, rather than in the queue, add over a minute per person to the security processing time. This doesn’t sound much but multiply it by thousands of passengers and it soon adds up.
The airport is also asking passengers to take careful consideration about what they put in their hand-luggage before they get to the airport to avoid Christmas presents being confiscated. Many popular stocking fillers actually breach security regulations, typically because they contain liquids, and passengers may be asked to leave items behind if they are not compliant.
The airport has enlisted help from #RunwayJoe, its very own Elf on a Shelf who will be demonstrating some top tips and advice. Passengers can read his advice here or log onto the airport’s social media channels to learn more over the festive period.
FESTIVE TRAVEL ADVICE
Manchester Airport’s number one priority is safety and security and, as a result, has to comply with a number of security regulations, regardless of how many passengers it handles on any given day.
Passengers can play their part by:
- Arriving at least 2-3 hours before their flight depending on their destination
- Having all their liquids, gels and pastes (no bigger than 100ml each) in a clear plastic bag
- In addition, coats and belts should be removed and large electricals out of their hand luggage ready for the security tray
Christmas is also when airport security officers have to confiscate more items from hand luggage than at any other time of the year because passengers try to carry items that they do not know are prohibited. Items confiscated are often Christmas presents intended for family and friends. Manchester Airport is urging passengers to carefully consider what they are packing and into which bag – or face having to throw them away.
Most confiscated items include perfume, aftershave, make-up and bottles of champagne, which are prohibited under the liquid restrictions rule. More unusual items that are not allowed in hand luggage include cranberry sauce, brandy butter and snow globes; all of which must be checked into the hold. This is because the usual rules apply about not having liquids in your hand luggage more than 100ml each, and in a clear re-sealable bag.
Christmas crackers are also an area of confusion. For the vast majority of airlines, they are strictly prohibited from hand baggage, although some do allow one box per passenger to be carried in hand baggage. The decision is down to your individual airline, so please check with them before you fly.
Gift-wrapped presents also cause issues; because if a bag requires a full search, security officers have to unwrap the present to inspect what is concealed beneath the festive wrapping paper.
Passengers with reduced mobility and hidden disabilities
Any passengers with reduced mobility needing assistance are advised to book this in advance with their airline to avoid any delays to their journey through the airport. This can be for all levels of reduced mobility and for passengers with a range of issues. All the information and contacts can be found here
Manchester Airport also offers help for passengers with hidden disabilities to ensure they have a smooth transition through the airport. Passengers can pick up a sunflower lanyard from the OCS desk in each terminal. Once worn staff are specially trained to give the right care and service to these passengers.
Plan your journey
In recent months, there have been a higher than usual number of delays and cancellations to rail services connecting to Manchester Airport. Please keep a close eye on timetables and plan your journey accordingly.
For those travelling by car, please also check with Highways England for any road delays.
The airport also introduced a new forecourt management system in July. There is now a dedicated area for passengers being dropped off for free at Manchester Airport, from where complimentary shuttles are provided to each of its terminals. Details can be found here
The new measures have reduced congestion on the terminal forecourts and surrounding road network significantly and for those still wanting the convenience of an express drop off in these areas, a fee is now payable, set at £3 for five minutes and £4 for 10. Blue badge holders can drop off on the forecourts free of charge.
There has been no change to arrangements for those picking passengers up, with visitors asked to park in terminal car parks, where 30 minutes costs £4, giving people the ability to park-up and meet their passenger in the terminal.
You can read more festive tips here