Manchester Airport has previously advertised itself as “world class”. This was not at all amusing when confronted with unpleasant staff, bad communication, slow unloading of hold luggage, broken kit – travelators have been a favourite for some years now – and queues. Queues for check-in, security, and passports never go away at Manchester.
In fact, the only time you never have to queue is at the mind numbing selection of retail opportunities: in Terminal 1, where the former iconic concourse has been turned into just another tacky temple to the hard sell, unfortunate punters are forced to walk through the supposedly tax free shop, even on their return home (after Customs, and you can’t avoid it).
So when I passed through en route to Milan last week, finding no broken travelators between the rail station and Terminal 1 allowed the thought to enter that things were improving, though this was tempered by encountering for the first time the amateurish reworking of the terminal’s newer pier to achieve separation of outbound and inbound passengers (You’ll have to rebuild the piers, folks. No point bodging it).
Returning to Manchester yesterday from Zürich – an airport where the kit tends to work – showed that any optimism was unfounded. On arrival at the end of that newer Terminal 1 pier, the airbridge refused to move in our direction and the aircraft could not be disembarked for a full quarter of an hour. The last such failure I encountered was at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, and after five minutes steps and a bus had been provided in substitution.
Just to rub it in, I then encountered two broken travelators in Terminal 1, with a further one on the way to the rail station (and the walking route from T1 to the station needs improving). The hold baggage, which had actually been unloaded, was decanted onto a reclaim carousel and left to circulate with no supervision. It is fortunate that none of it – as far as is known – was removed by someone other than the rightful owner.
So when I hear that Manchester Airport “holds the title Best UK Airport”, I have to conclude that whoever awarded that title has not had to suffer the shortcomings of the place. Because, Manchester Airport people, right now you are running something that is between a joke and a disgrace.Sort yourselves out. And sharpish.