Manchester Airport is set to welcome nearly 900,000 passengers over the next two weeks as it gears up for the busy festive period.
The UK’s third largest airport is expecting Friday 22 December and Friday 29 December to be the busiest days, as people jet off for Christmas and then New Year.
The airport is also providing advice to passengers to ensure they have a smooth journey through the airport.
With the chilly temperatures, thick winter coats along with hats, scarves and gloves are essential. However, passengers are being asked to remove them once inside the terminal before the security check point – to help speed up security queues and reduce waiting times.
Manchester Airport’s calculations show that on average, an unprepared passenger who has to then unzip zips, undo buttons, take off hats, gloves and untie a scarf at the metal detector, rather than in the queue, add more than a minute per person to the security processing time. This doesn’t sound much but multiply it by thousands of passengers and it soon adds up.
The airport is also asking passengers to take careful consideration about what they put in their hand-luggage before they get to the airport to avoid Christmas presents being confiscated. Many popular stocking fillers actually breach security regulations, typically because they contain liquids, and passengers may be asked to leave items behind if they are not compliant.
Items confiscated are often Christmas presents intended for family and friends. Manchester Airport is urging passengers to carefully consider what they are packing and into which bag – or face having to throw them away.
Most confiscated items include perfume, aftershave, make-up and bottles of champagne, which are prohibited under the liquid restrictions rule.
More unusual items that are not allowed in hand luggage include cranberry sauce, brandy butter and snow globes; all of which must be checked into the hold. This is because the usual rules apply about not having liquids in your hand luggage more than 100ml each, and in a clear re-sealable bag.
Christmas crackers are also an area of confusion. For the vast majority of airlines, they are strictly prohibited from hand baggage, although some do allow one box per passenger to be carried in hand baggage. The decision is down to your individual airline, so please check with them before you fly.
Tricia Williams, Chief Operating Officer for Manchester Airport, said: “Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for the airport and always one of the most special, with people jetting in and out to see loved ones. To ensure everyone has as smooth a journey as possible we’ve created some handy tips for passengers and I urge everyone to be mindful of what they can and cannot carry through security.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all customers who have travelled through Manchester this year and all colleagues for their hard work throughout 2017.”
Gift-wrapped presents also cause issues; because if a bag requires a full search, security officers have to unwrap the present to inspect what is concealed beneath the festive wrapping paper.