Manchester Airport shares its tips on the dos and don'ts of airport parking

Every day tens of thousands of passengers fly into and out of Manchester Airport, and many of them travel to and from the airport by car.

That’s why we have a range of car parks – both close to the terminals and further away – as well as drop-off and meet and greet services. There are also reputable third-party parking services local to the airport.

It means that whatever your budget and circumstances, there should be an option for you - but it also means it’s important to plan in advance because just turning up on the day may mean that there isn’t capacity for your car or that you have to pay more.  

Here are our top tips to make sure parking at the airport doesn’t add any stress to your trip.

Make sure you park at the right terminal

Terminals 1 and 3 at Manchester are only a short distance from one another, but Terminal 2 is further away – up to a 20-minute walk from Terminal 3 – and it may be too far to carry heavy suitcases. Don’t inconvenience yourself by parking at a different terminal to the one you’re flying from.

Book in advance to secure the best price

Advanced bookings help the airport manage parking capacity, so this is strongly encouraged - and you could secure a sizeable discount if you book in advance of your journey. This advice even applies if you get to the day of your flight and haven’t booked yet – you could still make a substantial saving by reserving a space.

Do you need to be dropped off at the door? Consider the free drop-off area if not.

It is still possible to drop passengers off for free at Manchester Airport – just not on the terminal forecourt. A drop-off area is available in Thorley Lane opposite JetParks 1, completely free of charge, with five-minute bus shuttles running regularly to each of the airport’s three terminals. Passengers are encouraged to use this option to reduce traffic congestion on the terminal forecourts and around the airport site.

Don’t overstay if you’re dropping off at the door, and don’t pick-up in drop-off areas - use short stay car parks instead

There is a time limit of 10 minutes in the forecourt drop-off areas, and an overstay charge of £25 applies if you remain for longer – this is to avoid bottlenecking of vehicles trying to access the forecourt, bringing traffic to a standstill. You must also avoid leaving your vehicle unattended within a forecourt area.

Picking passengers up on the forecourt is not allowed and subject to a £100 charge, as the time it takes passengers to pass through Arrivals can vary and would often result in drivers overstaying the 10-minute limit. If you’re picking someone up, you should use one of the short-stay car parks instead, located next to each terminal.

If booking with a third party, make sure they’re reputable

Manchester Airport has a range of official car parking products, with options to suit a range of budgets, from drop-and-go valet parking next to the terminal, to a more economical park-and-ride service at JetParks.

In addition to the airport’s official car parks, there are a number of third-party parking operators near the airport site, also offering drop-and-go or park-and-ride services. Many of these businesses are legitimate and reputable, but police have recently taken action against rogue operators who leave customers’ vehicles in unsecured locations, damage them, or drive them while the owners are away.

If you plan to use a third-party service, do your research before handing over your keys. Use government-accredited schemes like Park Mark to identify an operator who has committed to trading fairly.

Make sure your electric vehicle is charged

If you’re leaving an electric vehicle at the airport while you go on holiday, make sure that the battery has enough charge to get you home when you get back. Don’t leave it fully charged, though, as that can shorten the battery’s lifespan. You should check the manufacturer’s guidance for your make and model of vehicle.

Bear in mind that your battery is still powering some navigational and anti-theft systems even when your car is turned off, so the battery’s charge will likely drop by a few per cent while you’re away.

If you’re leaving your car with the airport’s Drop & Go service and you typically use a digital car key, make sure you leave the physical key with Drop & Go reception, so that the valet driver can park your car and retrieve it for you when you return.

Consider public transport

An alternative to car journeys, Manchester Airport has a wide range of public transport options available, which can be affordable, accessible, reliable, and sustainable. The airport is accessible by bus, coach, tram, and train via the dedicated station onsite. Passengers are encouraged to consider a more sustainable transport option when heading to or from Manchester Airport, to reduce the environmental impact, reduce travel time, and decrease the amount of traffic on the road network.