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We take you inside Manchester Airport’s new Terminal 2 extension

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On Tuesday we were invited to visit the brand new Terminal 2 extension at Manchester Airport.

Completed during 2020, the terminal had sat empty. Manchester Airport had been waiting for passenger numbers to pick up before opening the terminal in July.

Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Aegean, Air Baltic, Ethiopian, Jet2 and TUI are all operating flights from the new terminal now – quite a varied group.

Manchester Airport T2 entrance

The expansion of Terminal 2 is part of a £1 billion transformation program that will see the old part of Terminal 2 refurbished and Terminal 1 completely demolished. When T1 is gone Manchester Airport will consolidate completely around T2, with the new half offering a 150% capacity boost versus the old half.

The extension looks very smart, although only about 1/3 of it is currently in use by the airlines:

Manchester T2 departures

Here is the connection to the old terminal:

Manchester T2 connection

The whole building feels very open, with check-in staff located at little island desks around the baggage drop area.

10 new security lanes also make for improved boarding with the latest body scanners – although not the latest 3D luggage scanners, yet. Whilst Manchester has a reputation for slightly chaotic security it looked very orderly and fast when we visited. We were asked to use a PR picture for privacy reasons.

Manchester Airport security

Of course you are sent through Duty Free first, although the walk isn’t particularly long here:

Manchester T2 duty free

I was surprised to see different signange from the ‘yellow for departures, purple for connections’ signage you see at Heathrow as I had always assumed this was a British standard. You’ll be pleased to know that the slightly depressed public announcement voice from Heathrow Terminal 5 is being used!

Once airside you can find a whole raft of new retail outlets and restaurants, including a JD Sports:

Manchester Airport T2 JD Sports

The centrepiece of the terminal is this atrium with escalators that take you up to several restaurants and the two new lounges on the first floor:

Manchester T2 airsde

The colour of the ceiling panels is changable. It didn’t look quite so purple in real life!

Manchester T2 escalators

One of the restaurants upstairs is the Amber Alehouse Manchester brand Seven Bro7hers Brewing Company:

Manchester Airport Amber Alehouse

We made a quick pitstop here to try some of their craft beers, including a watermelon and cornflake beer (both very delicious):

Manchester T2 Amber Alehouse beers

There are two more restaurants on this floor, with one still to open, as well as the two brand new lounges which we will cover in two separate articles.

The Escape Lounge is already open and is accessible with Priority Pass. The more premium 1903 Lounge is currently open for select Virgin Atlantic flights only. It is due to open fully from September.

Virgin Atlantic will have its own dedicated Clubhouse lounge but the project has been paused until passengers numbers pick up enough to justify it.

Manchester Airport premium lounges

On the ground floor there are more retail outlets with a number of local Manchester brands in addition to the usual Pret, WH Smith etc:

Manchester Airport T2

A range of seating areas are available for anyone without lounge access, including bar stools, benches, sofas etc. The airport has made an effort not to just put row upon row of airport seating into the terminal.

The terminal also has its own immigration area and half a dozen new luggage belts.

Conclusion

The new Terminal 2 extension at Manchester Airport is a big upgrade for anyone travelling through the airport. It’s great to see Manchester Airport with an excellent modern building that puts customer needs first.

The new Terminal 2 is a great alternative whilst PremiAir, the ‘pay to use’ VIP terminal which we strongly recommend remains closed until next year.

Stay tuned for two further articles where we will look at the two new lounges in greater detail.

Comments (88)

  • Jonathan says:

    It’s not just the staff attitude (although I agree with sentiments above) it’s the shambolic processes.

    Why would you funnel security fast track passengers (generally frequent/business travellers who have everything ready to get through asap) to the same scanner as families who generally take the longest to sort out the 6 iPads/buggy/formula milk/little Tommy’s 12 spiderman figures he’s secreted in every orifice? It’s so obviously a bad idea you can’t avoid the conclusion it’s done on purpose!

    Then after the inevitable 30 minute wait for your secondary bag search which turns up nothing again you have to spend 20 minutes stood in the corridor to reach departure lounge while they board a flight (despite loads of empty gates on the piers).

    Add to that the shambles when they introduced charges for parking drop off leading to 1 hour queues to get out of short stay car park & you can see why it has the deserved reputation as one of the worst airport experiences in the developed world.

    I always now drive the 2 1/2 hours to Heathrow over the 60 mins to Manchester if I’m connecting at LHR (& I’m usually a committed TP optimiser!).

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Not often life is this easy but agreed with literally everything of this. My experience too (that and the ropey 767 AA fly to PHL) and why I’ll drive twice as far to LHR over the nonsense that is MAN.

      The Hilton downgrading to a DT to avoid having to up its game is a perfect metaphor for the whole place.

      • John says:

        Although in the UK plenty of DTs are better than Hiltons

      • Anna says:

        It’s not very good at all! I stayed last night and the room was filthy. When we went back there after breakfast they’d stuck another seal on the door while all our stuff was still in there!

    • TimM says:

      Also the number of times at arrivals at MAN helping my mother in her 80’s through the endless snaking queue for passport control while young parents with a toddler in a push chair are immediately directed to fast track along with half a dozen of their ‘new friends’. I have complained bitterly about this and only received an automated response.

      Now I book assistance for her but that can mean a wait of an hour or more for a wheelchair, while people who arrive late for their flights get automatic priority over us.

      The unpleasantness, the bullying, the awful language, the stupid, stupid systems they have and any challenge or suggestion is met with a threat to take us of the flight.

      The place needs ceremoniously bombing and all the staff and management put on trial. A demolition simply isn’t good enough.

      An extension to T2 does not change the systemic issues which run far deeper than a building or front line staff. MAG needs to lose its licence to operate at the very least.

      • Ian says:

        There is never any excuse for making comments about bombing, even if it is a badly considered joke. If this site was properly moderated, nonsense like that would be dealt with.

        • James says:

          +1

        • TimM says:

          I was invoking the spirit of the Lancaster Bomber, parked by the international pier, as was, just opposite the only food outlet at Manchester Airport for many years, the Lancaster Restaurant. This was above and to the right hand side of the current duty free shopping maze of T1.

          Then, after security (two metal detectors & luggage x-rays that damaged film plus a compliment of 4 staff) there was just a few seats and the pier of gates apart from one small, scruffy but very cheap duty free shop along the way. There were no salespeople, no branded shops, no rudeness and the airline kindly requested that passengers arrived at the airport an hour in advance of the flight, to allow plenty of time.

          Things have gone forever downhill at MAN ever since. Each generation of management make it worse then retire.

        • Ed says:

          The comment was clearly meant as hyperbole. Obviously no offence could possibly have been intended and frankly I find it rather surprising that anyone would be in the least bit upset by the original post.

          I suggest you take a step back (or is this offensive against those who are unable to walk? obviously not) rather than immediately lashing out at the moderators of a free website which no one is forcing you to use.

          • Magic Mike says:

            I don’t think the OP was suggesting leaving people in there before sending in the Lancaster’s…

            Although I think they should have used “ceremonially” not “ceremoniously”?!

          • Magic Mike says:

            …For a pedantic post I should have removed the errant autocorrect apostrophe!

          • Mr(s) Entitled says:

            I’m astounded that this was flagged when the comment on the first page comparing the experience of MAN to the horrors of Auschwitz has gone unchecked.

          • Doug M says:

            Agreed. I’m anything but woke, the Auschwitz comment was just wrong. I get Tim doesn’t like Manchester, who does, but he needs a bit more thought before he compares an airport to a place 1 million+ people were systematically murdered.

          • Mike says:

            Ed – well said

        • Mike says:

          Ian – you need to “ man up “

  • Marc says:

    They have to retrain (or refrain) the staff in security – I’m certain they work full time at either nearby Styal (Womens prison) or Strangeways and work at the airport as a second job honing their skills.
    Dreadful, shouty, rude, bossy, not the best way to start a holiday at all.
    Must do better!

  • Red Flyer says:

    I’d rather drive 4 hours to start my travels from LHR if flying using Avios than the 45 mins to MAN. Such a miserable departure and arrivals experience in T1 & 3 that I avoid at all costs. Sadly LPL has less choice but is my NW departure point of choice wherever possible.

    • barnaby100 says:

      The same.Since BA left LBA we now drive to LHR or Newcastle- both of which are further than MAN. Cheaper to park in T5 short stay than MAN long stay.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Although, does rather vindicate BAs decision….

        • barnaby100 says:

          Possibly not. Been to Europe 4 times this year with Jet2- would have been BA before.

  • Harry T says:

    Is the fast track security at Manchester worth paying an extra £3.75 per person for? This is an offer I’ve been given as an add on to the official Manchester airport car parking, which also seems well priced at £67.15 for eight days.

  • Dave says:

    Its refreshing to read and realise its not just me who hates the departures/arrivals experience at MAN. I spend 2 years of my life travelling weekly out and back with SAS/LH to Norway/Sweden/Germany, MAN was a better airport for me as family and friends in Cheshire and closer than BHX or LHR. After multiple weeks of being stuck waiting an age to get back into the country (in a long gloomy, funny smelling arrivals corridor), I moved all my flights to BHX and LHR.

    • Red Flyer says:

      Can never understand why on arrival you seem to go up stairs and down again 2 or 3 times – surely that was harder to plan and build than a straight walk???

      • Ian says:

        1960s design that’s been altered and extended many times since!

      • TimM says:

        This was blamed on the post 9-11 security arrangements which stipulated that arriving and departing passengers had to be separated. MAG took the very cheapest option of simply splitting the pier corridor down the middle thus requiring at least two flights of steps down, underneath, and then back up again through the former staff service route in order to move between the gate and the corridor, with no lifts available, nor warning to the elderly, infirm or those with wheels. Like it or lump it.

  • ian_h says:

    Keep in mind that these changes and the upgrades to the facilities are intended to address many of the issues in the comments – its a definite improvement and I can only speak as I find – the staff at MAN security have been some of the most friendly I have encountered.

    • Ian says:

      Looks like you and me are in the minority! Invariably, I’ve flown out of T3 at MAN on BA/Iberia. Yes, in recent times, the queues at security have been a bit longer than you’d ideally want. But staff at security have always been, to me, at least very professional and mostly helpful and friendly with it.

    • John says:

      I don’t use MAN that often but the staff have been friendly to me too. The main issue is that they seem to have weird rules for what they accept in hand baggage that are not the case at any other airport in the world. But if you know their “rules” then you just deal with it or don’t fly from there

  • Yorkieflyer says:

    We do use MAN through necessity rather than desire due to the much greater availability of flights compared to its competitors. The security experience is invariably horrible the queues, barking orders, the ludicrous proportion of secondary screening and body search’s compared to any other UK airport. Newcastle, Liverpool or Leeds are far preferable. Even East Midlands, owned by MAG group is a reasonable experience. It clearly needs a total clear out of the nasty folk employed there

    • Blenz101 says:

      Agreed. I’m flying back on EK this week to visit friends and family in Leeds. Actively picked LHR and an LNER train rather than go through that place twice in one week.

  • john says:

    Any thoughts on the landside facilities from the tour?

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