Manchester Airport first in UK to launch a new free way to keep queues shorter

Manchester Airport has become the first in the UK to have a pre-booking system for security to keep passenger queues shorter. In a bid to reduce crowding as flights start to ramp up again, and amid restrictive social-distancing rules, hub bosses have introduced 15-minute security slots as part of a trial.

Passengers are encouraged to go online as far in advance of their flight as possible to select a booking slot that is around two hours before their flight departure time, and are asked to arrive within that chosen time frame. Passengers can book their free slot online at least two hours prior to their departure time and before arriving at the airport within their chosen time frame.

They will then have access to a dedicated lane – separate from the main queue – straight to the security checkpoint and will be able to reach the departure lounge more quickly. The new method is aimed at allowing the airport to manage the volume of passengers coming through security more efficiently and help to reduce queues. The availability of slots is ‘limited’ and will be operated on a first come first served basis, through online booking.

Passengers are warned that if they arrive outside the allocated time they will not be able to access the dedicated line and will be redirected to the main queue – which may be longer than usual due to social distancing rules.

The trial is part of a series of measures introduced by MAG to ease the way toward increasing flights and passenger numbers. All MAG staff who have interaction with passengers are also required to wear protective equipment. There is also an ongoing trial to take travellers’ temperatures, as well as the Government-led 14-day quarantine for the majority of passengers. But Manchester Airport is the first UK Airport to announce such a booking scheme, with the aim ‘to support safe standards for future air travel’. The system was developed by MAGO which is MAG’s in-house digital business. If successful, it will be extended to the group’s other airports at London Stansted and East Midlands.