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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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Sam says:

    Is this designed by Fosters+Partners? The letter signage at the check in concourse really resembles HKG in appearance.

  • Barnaby100 says:

    I hope that it comes with customer service /attitude training for the security staff.

    • Flymatt says:

      Agreed! MAN’s greatest downfall – I hope they don’t miss the opportunity to turn things around.

    • L Allen says:

      Ditto that! The security team are awful.

  • Jimbo says:

    Pictures of a pedestrian design of an airport terminal that could be a mall or terminal anywhere and designed by anyone in the last 20 years. Oh and a picture of beer. Boring. Boring. Boring.

  • Anna says:

    So there is a shiny new terminal but BA is funnelling their premium passengers through the pretty ropey Escape lounge in T1!

    I am at MAN again this morning with my new favourite airline, Ryanair 😂

    • Yorkieflyer says:

      Glad you’re a yellow n blue convert, they aren’t the airline that some believe them to be

    • Rhys says:

      The terminal is still in a transition phase – not sure of the longterm plans for BA.

  • TimM says:

    “I hope that it comes with customer service /attitude training for the security staff.” Agreed. If it is the same staff from Cell Block H all the nice new shiny facilities will make little difference. Manchester security always reminds me of the Mony Python sketch where customers pay to be insulted.

    The compulsory duty-free maze is a signature feature of MAG.

    The eventual demolition of Terminal 1 is good news although, much like Auschwitz, I thought it could have been turned into a memorial to its millions of victims over the decades.

    The new T2 has to be an improvement. I note however that BA will be using T1 for the foreseeable future.

    • Rhys says:

      Duty free mazes are a signature of pretty much all UK airports these days!

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        Heathrow T5 doesn’t have that, I don’t think T2 and T4 does either. T3 does, but you can avoid it with Fast Track.

        If definitely not just a UK thing though. In Italy even some motorway service stations try and force you to take an indirect route through the shop to exit the place!

        “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.”

        It was a BAA/HAL standard. I think apart from Heathrow the only others that follow this standard were the ones that were last to be sold off by Heathrow Airport Holdings. It’s a shame because it’s clear and consistent. I don’t know if yellow and black used to be a UK standard many years ago, Newcastle in the 80s used it despite never being BAA but ditched it when they expanded in the 90s.

        “You’ll be pleased to know that the slightly depressed public announcement voice from Heathrow Terminal 5 is being used!”

        I know it as the Schiphol voice as the PA system is created by a Dutch company and that’s the first major airport it appeared. It now appears all over the world. But it’s only in AMS where I’ve heard it threaten to offload your luggage.

      • Dubious says:

        Not just the UK – Australiasia and parts of South East Asia have cottoned on to the idea too…

        Ever departed from Terminal 2 of Melborne (Tullamarine) Airport in Australia? It must have the record for the longest duty free maze anywhere in the world.

  • Read2goagain says:

    I went through yesterday… 6am flight so an early one for that terminal, still worth booking fast track security. It was definitely slightly less chaotic than the old terminal 2 (or 1 or 3 for that matter!) but I assume that’s the covid distancing effect rather than security doing the right thing.
    One notable missing shop is Boots – I didn’t need anything this time… but when flying hand luggage only I buy my toiletries there. Don’t know if it’s a later addition?
    No option for fast track passport control when returning in terminal 2 yet, so not looking forward to that!

  • Matty says:

    I was next to someone who had their BA Club Europe butter knife (or whatever it is) confiscated at Manchester in May.
    “No airline in the world will let you fly with that” and “You could do a lot of damage with that”.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Why would anyone try and take a butter knife with them?

      • Matty says:

        He said he worked away on building sites and used it for his sandwich spread.

        • Paul Pogba says:

          Building sites usually have their own set of Greenhams finest/cheapest cutlery so that sounds very odd.

    • Rhys says:

      “That’s an offensive weapon that is”…

    • davef says:

      Last time through there they made me wait next to an unmasked woman with a bag full of creams/makeup/bottles etc for 15 mins and let her through with it all, then slowly searched my bag and confiscated a credit card sized “multi-tool” which doubles as a mobile phone holder – which had no blades apart from a 1 mm long screwdriver part.

      Every time I go through MAN they flag me for a second ‘random’ check because the scanner says there’s an issue with my right lower leg/shoe. (No other airport in the world has ever done that – 89 airports and counting)

      I despise MAN so much I’m thinking of moving somewhere within easier reach of LHR – ugggh

  • Mark says:

    As many have said, unless a new airport means new staff then it’s all pointless. I have had the misfortune of flying out of MAN a few times and it is the worst airport experience I have had.

    • Bagoly says:

      I fear you may be right.
      But there is a possibility that a better working environment will lead to a somewhat better attitude.

      • the_real_a says:

        There is a lot of truth in that. If everyday you have 10-20 annoyed people complaining about things you really dont have any control over, the result rather quickly is utterly hating your job. New buildings often offer better flow, modern equipment and a decent new staff areas.

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