Manchester Airport might be the busiest British airport outside London - but it doesn't seem to be the best according to passenger reviews.
In fact, travellers posting reviews on the airport rating site Skytrax thing it's dirty, slow and outdated.
The airport, which currently has three terminals, is set to be converted into one slick super terminal at a cost of £1bn.
The new and improved Manchester Airport, set for completion in 2023, will include faster check-in and security checks, as well as a speedier journey through immigration and baggage claim.
And that couldn't come soon enough for the difficult-to-please Skytrax community.
Manchester Airport scored just three of out 10 on the website - although is worth noting that Heathrow and Gatwick only score four out of 10.
Neville Duncan, nominated by Which? magazine to represent passenger interests at Manchester Airport, fears hub managers may be too focused on the ‘glorious tomorrow’ - and not paying enough attention to ‘the quality of service provided to passengers in the interim’.
He told the Manchester Evening News: “It is not unreasonable to expect passengers to experience a degree of inconvenience as they move through the airport but there is no excuse for not managing queues in a professional manner and not maintaining a high level of cleanliness in all facilities.
“Many passengers in the North West have choices regarding the airport they use. I believe that there is a risk that a bad experience at Manchester during the transformation programme may result in outgoing passengers using other airports.”
A spokesman for Manchester Airport said they welcomed feedback and that they were committed to investment to ‘deliver the best possible experience’ ahead of the transformation.
Here, we’ve looked only at the reviews which have been verified by Skytrax site administrators.
"Serious issues with outbound security"
P Parker found it to be ‘a shambles’.
He said: “Shambolic arrangements in security. A single queue snaking its way to a cramped checking area. This took an age and even when eventually dealt with there is no space to sort yourself out after the checks are completed.” P Parker, July 30 2017
Bob Berry describes his ‘horrendous experience’.
The queue for security is exceptionally long, and there are lots of unopened security stations. It is totally unnecessary to have a queue this long. It was too hot with too many people crammed in to the security area. The security staff are also exceptionally rude, and impersonal. It is best described as mass confusion.”
Bob Berry, July 26 2017
Kerry Mota said it took her one hour and 45 minutes to get through security.
She added: “There were only three security lanes open out of 16 with hundreds of passengers all trying to make their way through, it was absolute chaos. When I spoke to a member of staff to say we had to board in five minutes he just laughed at me and said “not to worry”. All the while staff seemed to be everywhere laughing and chatting in groups on aisles that were not even open!”
Kerry Mota, July 20 2017
H Thomas says staff weren’t opening enough security lanes when he was there.
“Shocking experience tonight. Security checks took 2 hours, kids crying, elderly unable to keep standing, one elderly lady vomitted and we all had to walk over it. I could see 13 security stations but only 2 were open.
There wasn’t even anywhere to queue. I was at the airport 3 hrs before the departure time with the intention of getting something to eat - had not eaten all day and ended up with no time.”
H Thomas, July 18 2017
Gill Bennett agrees.
“I have travelled extensively all around the world. My experience at Manchester Airport last week was the worst ever. Security was to blame for this horrible experience, they treated us like cattle and screamed instructions at people as if we were imbeciles. There were several in our group and we all felt verbally abused by these offensive people.”
Gil Bennett July 4 2017
M Kitts reckons the managers don’t care.
“T1 security queue is truly shocking. Long queues, you are penned in by barriers in a hot airless queue. After 40 minutes crammed in this queue I get to the scanners. Friday evening in holiday time and four weren’t being used. I complained to the manager and got the rudest most disinterested staff member who told me there was no problem! She was totally disdainful and couldn’t care less about my opinion. Awful, did I mention that.”
M Kits July 2017
"And passport control isn't much better..."
Roderic Smith has an issue with immigration.
“Worse was to come at immigration with its confusing layout and far too many people being funnelled into an inadequate, stuffy space.
But staff were also praised, by Carole Partridge.
“I wish to commend one of your Passport Control staff. The gentleman in question was caring for people who were in the Passport Control queue. This queue was fairly long and, because I have trouble walking and was using a walking stick, he signalled to me to follow him and headed me straight to the front of the queue. His thoughtfulness was extremely appreciated.”
Carole Partridge, July 30 2017
"It's not clean enough"
G Johnson says the airport is just plain ‘dirty’.
“Easily the worst airport I have ever used. Overall a dirty, shambolic, overcrowded experience, one that I don’t want to repeat. Feel sorry for Manchester folk having this monstrosity to represent their fine city.”
G Johnson August 1 2017
H Davidson also takes issue with the ‘filth’.
“Through to the main area and the airport is an absolute disgrace, filthy dirty in many areas. Toilets gross and without supplies. This is my third time through Manchester airport this year it’s the worst airport I’ve ever used.”
H Davidson, July 21 2017
W Martin found the toilets a disappointment.
“Disorganized, dirty (bathrooms are filthy), and no communication amongst staff. Never again will I fly in or out of this airport.”
W Martin July 17 2017
M Robinson minces no words.
“Dirty, crowded and cramped in areas where large groups need to pass by, long queues especially at passport control that is ridiculous and beyond badly organised, miserable staff and squalid toilets! I can only compare this airport to those of far poorer countries. There is no excuse for it to be this run down with the prices charged.
M Robinson, July 15 2017
"It's old fashioned"
Roderic Smith reckons it’s all looking a bit shabby.
“Arrival at Terminal 1 was utterly depressing. The pier was shabby and dated with shoddy signage, low ceilings, and not particularly clean.
When I was at university in Manchester in the 1970s I had a summer job as a baggage handler/porter at Manchester airport and it is sad to see that Terminal 1 has remained much as it was 40 years ago with little effort having been made to improve passengers’ experience apart from the obvious desire of management to maximise profits through cramming in as much retail activity as possible. Overall, a total embarrassment to the city of Manchester.”
H Caws pulls no punches.
“We were ushered through a narrow litter-strewn passageway through a sliding door that opened and closed sporadically splitting up families.
Note to the airport: why not use some of the trumpeted £2 billion spend to sort out the easy-to-remedy stuff first? Do something about smelly toilets, empty soap dispensers, slow baggage, access staircases that work, are easy to position and ready for an on-time flight.”
H Caws, July 2 2017
A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We never like to hear any of our passengers have had a bad experience at our airport and always welcome feedback. This allows us to improve and invest in the experience.
“Working closely with our wealth of third party partners, who are responsible for a lot of the processes here at the airport, we always try to ensure the best journey for all customers.
“We are committed to customer services, which is why we are investing in our operations. This commitment couldn’t be clearer than the £1bn we plan to spend on our transformation programme, which will improve the whole quality of the airport experience, and allow it to continue in its role as economic and employment generator for the entire region.
“We expect the new terminal to be open in less than three years, but in the meantime we are committed to doing all we can to deliver the best possible experience. That includes measures like investing in the terminals through additional security resource, the latest technology, and new products and services.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The security of our border is paramount — which is why 100 per cent of scheduled passengers are checked when arriving in the UK. Over the past 12 months at Manchester Airport, Border Force has met the agreed service standards for processing passengers.”
“We are pleased that the public appreciate the extra help our officers give to those who may have difficulties travelling.”
Border Force’s agreed service standards are to clear European Economic Area (EEA) passengers within 25 minutes and non-EEA passengers within 45 minutes 95 per cent of the time.