Manchester Airport opening a private terminal with ‘drive to plane’ – and anyone can use it!

Links on Head for Points pay us an affiliate commission. A list of our partners is here.

Manchester Airport has an excellent route network, but even its biggest supporters have to admit that the passenger experience is dire at best.  Even the lounges are a mess.

Things are changing.  A new pier is under construction, which will include a swanky new Virgin Atlantic lounge amongst other facilities, but this will take time to complete.

In the meantime, Manchester Airport has had another idea.  It is building a totally separate VIP terminal to open this Summer which anyone can use.

Called PremiAir, it is currently under construction near the Runway Visitor Park.  It looks like this:

Premiair terminal manchester airport

and

PremiAir terminal Manchester airport

If you decide to pay up – and reports say that it will cost ‘from £50’ which is a bargain compared to the cost of paying for lounge entry in the main terminal – this is what you will get:

Flights from Manchester:

  • Free food and drink in the lounge
  • A dedicated baggage desk to check your bags immediately with no queueing and no hassle
  • Passengers and their party will be called forward from the lounge when their car is ready and taken through security to be driven to their aircraft. They will be the only ones passing through security at that time.
  • A chauffeur-driven ride to the steps of the plane

Flights to Manchester:

  • A chauffeur-driven ride to the terminal from the aircraft
  • Fast-track immigration with dedicated Border Force staff (it isn’t clear what happens to your baggage)

For clarity, the terminal will be open to anyone irrespective of their airline or class of travel.

At any airport this would be a welcomed innovation.  At Manchester it will be like Christmas for regular premium passengers who are fed up with the existing facilities.  I get a feeling that some of the long haul airlines may even want to pay for this as part of their regular offering.

In a press release, Andrew Harrison, CEO for Airport Services at Manchester Airports Group, said:

“It is something a large number of customers have been telling us for some time they would be interested in and we hope the services it will offer will appeal to a wide range of passengers, whether they are travelling for business, want to mark a special occasion or just want to add something different to their experience.”

The even better news is that Manchester Airports Group is already looking at building similar facilities at East Midlands and London Stansted, both of which it also owns.

Ross Powell, director of operations for terminal designer Jacobs said:

“We have worked hard with the Airport to create a simple yet elegant design, utilising natural materials, full height glass and visual connection to the airfield to offer the guest a warm, relaxing and personalised environment.”

Obviously this is something which Head for Points will need to try out, so look out for a report later in the year.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

DEAL GONE: Buy 2,000 Avios for €19 via Groupon Spain
British Airways repaints a 747 in BOAC livery (and a potted history of the airline)
Click here to join our email list and receive all of the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. It certainly looks promising although pricing will certainly be the critical issue for family groups.

    • **** family groups. This obviously isn’t aimed at them and I find the behaviour of most family groups abhorrent in lounges. It’s almost impossible to work in shared lounges where parents and there little darlings run riot.

      I’d like to back up my argument with the Terminal 5 BA south lounge: The ‘business’ area is next to the children’s play area.

      • sorry for the rant…. But those who do need to work whilst in transit will probably understand…

        • Everyone is entilted to a rant but i would be willing to pay £50 each for my family to use the facility. Hopefully you won’t be too offended by our prescence.

        • Rant probably better directed at lounge designers and your choice of seating location. Children being noisy in …………. A CHILDREN’S PLAY AREA is hardly “abhorrent” behaviour.

        • Fraggle says:

          Oh dear… another entitled “big deal” who feels that that lounges are simply a space for their “high powered” wheeler dealer, big important business stuff…
          Newsflash, they’re not.

        • Lady London says:

          Yup @fraggle and those people want to get away from you.

      • Whilst I find children quite frustrating in general at the best of times, so called ‘business travellers’ mouthing off on their mobile phones, usually including these words : ‘I’m in the lounge’ irk me much more. Give me a fat toddler any day. At least you can kick it away like a football.

  2. Speaking as one of those long term fed up premium passengers at Manchester, I think this is the best idea they’ve ever come up with.

    I just hope it’s managed well. The premium experience is something that Manchester Airport is spectacularly poor at (and has been for the last ten years I’ve been using that airport).

    Looking forward to trying it myself.

  3. Doesn’t London City have a similar thing (first class lounge at the private jet centre) and you are driven to your car, but BA will not allow passengers to be driven to the aircraft like this, so that part doesn’t apply to BA passengers.
    Won’t the same thing happen at MAN?

  4. Typical Manchester airport behaviour – extract further revenue from premium passengers to provide the basic services you would expect as standard.

    • +1
      Yes, at least get your ‘basic’ product right before trying to do something else!

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Just to be clear, you expect to be chauffeur driven to your plane as a standard service?

  5. Why can’t this lounge be post-security. MAN seems to have unspoken rules not applied at any other UK or European airport.

    Unless the private security channel here confirms that they will not ask you to take out anything other than laptops, large tablets and liquids. Because every time my bag gets pulled aside. I might as well unpack the entire bag but will probably get yelled at for doing that too…

    As for “the only ones passing through security at that time”, what happens if 15 people on a flight pay up, it’s still going to be slow. Much better if you could go through security on arrival at the lounge.

    • I got barked at the other day for using a “non approved toiletry see through bag” – that’d be the one Heathrow gave me two days before.

      MAN security staff, as well as being rude, do just make up the rules as they go along.

      • I agree! Always a terrible experience in MAN security. I think at least 50% of bags are pulled for search in security. I was told off for keeping a mirror next to a packet of face wipes in my make up bag. I mean, what?!

        • Agreed, the security seemed to need more training in using the scanners and in good manners.

        • The airport security is a PITA and it’s useless, but if you think that UK airports are bad, you should fly from the US more.

          I’m getting groped roughly 1/3 of the times when going thru TSA.

        • Most UK airports are ok. MAN is bad.

      • Yes the mentality of the people at this airport is ridiculous, they think they are cattle herders at times

      • Trickster says:

        In the interest of balance, I have never found the security staff to be rude. I am by no means a regular traveler though. As an aside though I have seen some terrible behaviour on many occasions from uppity passengers towards the staff.

      • Vistaro says:

        Go through the place many times a year and it’s a very poor experience, fast track often mean nothing with the standard queue using the same scanners, the staff telling you your plastic bag must be ziplocked even when there’s barely anything in it, bags often pulled aside for a manual search which just makes a mess of the bag – but must be said the arrival experience at LHR T5 from an international flight is just as bad, no fast track for immigration, fast track security painful – nothing good to say about UK airports

      • Anonymus says:

        they always do.tempted to make a video and post but illegal so abstain. theres even a guy who handles oversized baggage and they don’t know how to speak respectfully

      • They definitely do. I had one tell me off for being on my phone while queuing. Not taking pictures or videos, I think I was either messaging someone or reading something online.

  6. What a great idea! Make thevexperience so awful that people will be prepared to pay money to avoid it. Would it not be better if Manchester spent the time money and energy on improving the rest of the facilities!

  7. Definitely welcomed, especially if Virgin use this for Upper Class while their other lounge gets built.

    Still doesn’t ease transfers changing terminals from FlyBe to VS, that I suspect will remain a PITA. Unless of course they collect you from your domestic connection, then we’re talking…

  8. It will be nice if PP holders can actually get in the Escape Lounge in T3 as a result of this! Not sure I would class MAN’s route network as “excellent”, there’s a very long list of destinations you can’t get to directly from there (including Gatwick!)

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Really? You can fly direct to 205 destinations from Manchester across 55 airlines. You can fly domestically or internationally, you can head east or west. The longest direct flight is nearly 13hrs to Singapore.

      https://www.flightsfrom.com/MAN

      Compared to LHR it may not rank the same, but this is a major airport in a major developed country. Compare MAN to most places and it will compare favorably. If 205 became 206 with the inclusion of Gatwick would that suffice to constitute excellent?

      • It would be a major step in that direction! But 205 airports, the vast majority of which are in Europe, still doesn’t impress. The USA and Caribbean are woefully badly served (even more so because of the lack of access to Gatwick). And before anyone mentions Jamaica and the DR, there are many more islands than these!

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          But the airport is in Europe. Reminds me of Basil Faulty asking a guest what exactly he expected to see through the window of their Torquay hotel?

      • Actually if you check, a lot of these aren’t direct flights at all, I don’t really understand how they can claim this!

      • Not 205 direct destinations, check your source again. This is total destinations!

        • Mr(s) Entitled says:

          There own website states 190+ https://www.manchesterairport.co.uk/flights-and-hotels/book-flights/

          Whatever the number, you seem intent to view MAN very subjectively based on where you want to fly and not objectively based on the number of destinations.

          Remove hubs like LHR, AMS, ATL etc from the equation and you will find it is one of the busier airports in the world that does not have hub status for a flag carrier. Most people have significantly less choice on their doorstep.

        • It does not say these are direct routes, which is what you seem to be claiming.

        • Charlieface says:

          Have a look at the Wikipedia page which lists direct flights only and is usually very up to date. I get something over 200 distinct destinations. I grant you that includes the seasonals which the data won’t be fully accurate but you get the picture.
          It’s been known that MAN has a mass of leisure flights and last year they had 27m pax but they don’t cater well to biz travel. T1 in particular is horrific, security lines can be actually out the front door, half the gates are tarmac walk or bus. It’s shame because it could be a terrific network hub for an airline like Virgin.

  9. Nigel the Pensioner says:

    All good comments above! For us, it will put MCR back on the radar if the prices are reasonable. Heathrow VIP is not really worth the fees charged, but it gives peace and quiet certainly!
    I expect £50 will be an arrivals experience only and I would expect the departures fee to be double this for what is on offer (given LHR VIP costs)…….any maybe another £50 for the return leg! That should certainly deter most family groups.
    It would be difficult to size the project for capacity; if it takes off (PTP), then prices will have to be increased to slow volume and maintain use by experience. Once prices have gone up, can you see them coming down again? No, neither can I. I’ll watch this closely.

    • +1. Pax travelling in business will already have lounge access, families travelling in school holidays have probably been squeezed to the limit anyway so that leaves the remaining travellers who have a bit of extra money to spend – stag and hen parties?!

      • The lounges are all shocking though – nothing your self respecting senior business person would covet. Security is so bad that I was given a VIP escort by Virgin last time I went through. Anyone paying £2k for a flight from MAN would be mad not to pay for this.

        • Agreed, Rob can you please enquire if VS intend to use this for UC pax.

          Even better if they collect you from the domestic FlyBe connection.

        • If they did, pretty sure it would be fully flex J only.

        • Anyone flying Emirates Premium classes are potentially paying £50+ on the off chance the security is a bit faster – nothing else is an improvement on the current offering.
          I’m also sceptical about the chauffeur drive – a dedicated boarding pier to the front of the plane works well, and I doubt it will be in the same league as Lufthansa in Frankfurt.

        • But…this is the North and not a lot of people fly premium class, even when they can afford to do so (QED my in-laws!). In fact, we’re the only people we know who do and we’re considered an oddity, despite our social circle being very much middle class professionals. The Terraces lounge at MAN has never been busy whenever I’ve been in it, which is usually at peak time. I might be completely wrong though, and I’m definitely looking forward to a review!

        • Security is always a misery but I don’t think MAN is any worse than LHR, especially when you’re only connecting onto a domestic connection after arriving on a long haul flight – always a truly depressing end to a holiday!

      • I remember reading this and thinking – no way that’s £50.
        I do nearly all my flying from Manchester and Leeds. I think this accounts for my bemusement that people are so interested in airport lounges at all, as in both these locations currently you’re frankly far better off sitting in a chain restaurant or airport bar; even if the lounge is cost-free to you.

        • True! We have a flight at Easter that isn’t at the crack of dawn for once, so looking forward to a proper cooked breakfast at the Hilton instead of cold toast and muesli courtesy of BA.

    • barnaby100 says:

      In response to Anna who said, But…this is the North and not a lot of people fly premium class, even when they can afford to do so (QED my in-laws!). In fact, we’re the only people we know who do and we’re considered an oddity, despite our social circle being very much middle class professionals.

      Yes, obviously we are all too busy having our cash for our whippets and ferrets to consider business class travel.
      Your evidence base for this comment would be ? Other than your in laws?

      • I just said – my (fairly big family, professional and social circle. I’m a Northerner born and bred so there’s no need to get chippy. I take it everyone you know flies in business class then?

        • barnaby100 says:

          That isn’t what you said, you said, ‘this is the North and not a lot of people fly premium class, even when they can afford to do so’

          And your factual source for this is?

          What everyone I know does is immaterial as it isn’t factual. I certainly wouldn’t pass a comment about a substantial section of the Uk population based on what my social circle does.

        • I’m speaking empirically, from my own observations. If you’re not refuting this based on your own experience, I’m not sure what your point is?

        • And of course what everyone you know does is factual; it’s the very definition of factual, which is a thing you know to be true.

  10. This sounds excellent.

    I used Stansted for Emirates but it’s a terrible experience currently, it also just feels dirty and grubby and the lounge is dire.

    It would be great if they do something at Stansted because I’ve switched back to LHR for the moment although it’s 75 mins further

  11. Sounds an amazing facility but undoubtedly price will be the key.Have just flown Manchester to Beijing on KLM business and was so pleasantly surprised that KLM use the 1905 premium lounge in T3.Super lounge with wonderful hosts and a limited but excellent food offering.The daily specials were super.Flying Virgin Upper in a few months and presume they use Escape in T2.

  12. Elena Nikolova says:

    I would happily pay for this service at Manchester. I might start flying more from there than going down to London.

  13. OT: If I book a hotel through Marriott now for which I don’t currently have the points will the points I need change when the new category is introduced or will I still only need the points required at time of booking?

    Thanks,

    J

    • I’d like to know this to.

    • After the August merger they were asking for the higher figure in case where it went up. I never got to the bottom of whether this was (another) IT screw up or if that is how it was meant to work ….

      • Thanks Rob, will give it a go and see what happens.

        • Chelseafi says:

          I booked 2 rooms last July 18 for June 19 stay, I have now finally got it sorted at original points price one was a TP, which I got upgraded, but most times I called they didn’t want to do it at original points price, I managed to speak to one guy who seemed to be on the ball and he put a note on my account to say when I got all the points in my account to attach to booking it should be on the old points pricing. It seems they have to just credit your account with the short fall of points and then add to booking.

      • Just spoke to a manager.

        If a redemption stay is booked for a date after the point changes come into effect, it won’t be impacted. But if a modification is made e.g. dates, room type etc. you will have to pay the new updated redemption pricing.

        J

  14. While this looks good, it has to be said MAG runs the most miserable set of points of entry in the world with airports they own in the UK. :/

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      It’s possible that I don’t see it as a UK national returning but I’ve been through many a gateway in the US that has provided a significantly worse reception. And that includes traveling on a US passport!

  15. Wow this one has generated a lot of feedback. Here is my two pence worth. Manchester is my home airport and I use it a lot. In the past I would bore my southern colleagues with how efficient Manchester was compared to LGW and LHR at handling queues and relatively quiet lounges. Over the past years there has been a notable increase in the queuing (downstairs in T1 anybody) and the rip-off drop off charges. Could I be cynical and state they have created the market for this new Premium experience which is actually in some areas just selling what was free previously….

    • +1 – one distinct possibility is that using this faculty will become a status symbol and will result in the other lounges and public spaces becoming less crowded.

    • Lady London says:

      Just like Premium Economy offers for quite a high extra money, exactly what was given to all in Economy a very few years ago.

  16. Love New Places But Dont Like Getting There says:

    What an excellent idea… love it, please make it happen.

    I travel frequently from MAN to all kinds of destinations, and often find myself travelling early or late. I also change plans at short notice and have to chain 2 trips together (making a long layover at MAN.

    Often I find the existing lounges are closed, or (with exception of BA lounge) full of people being loud and obnoxious. There are not many other options to relax/catnap or find a quiet place to do calls or work on projects.

    This option would reduce my stress so much.

  17. Bob Davidson says:

    From the outside it looks like a golf driving range.

  18. Jonathan Owen says:

    MY personal opinion is that no one under the age of 12 should be Allowed in the new area let the people without small kids use it. Yes I do have kids before anyone moans. I say this because why should people put with kids that the parents can’t keep in control which is a lot of parents these days but not all I have seen some very well behaved kids also.
    That’s my 2p worth lol.
    MY questions about the lounge area are;
    1, will there be a duty free area?
    2, will there be a smoking area?

    About security at man airport we have not ever yet had a bad experience there.

    • I’m planning to take my kids into the First Class lounge at London City’s Private Jet Terminal in a couple of weeks!

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.