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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Lyell Tweed

I flew out of Manchester Airport to Malaga - and I found some calm amid the mayhem

When I returned to Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1 today with a bag to check in I was expecting the worst. With the airport boss quitting yesterday after daily pictures and stories of mayhem, I was not hopeful in having a smooth journey to Malaga in the south of Spain.

What ended up happening was a pleasant surprise to say the least. I arrived by taxi to Terminal 1 around 6.15am this morning fully expecting to step out of the car in the drop off area and straight into the back of a queue.

The taxi driver said I was already his sixth drop off at the airport of the morning, with one getting there at 2am to try and beat the queues. He described seeing the queues stretching to the car park in recent days as ‘crazy’ and shared my relief at there not being one present this morning.

READ MORE: Baggage handler apologises to Manchester Airport passengers over luggage delays

I went straight downstairs to check my bag in before being informed it would need to be checked in the main terminal. I went up expecting to see similar scenes as I and many others had witnessed yesterday, with panic all around, but there was a distinct sense of calm in the air.

It felt as if everyone had breathed a sigh of relief. In fact, a number of people in getting to the airport extra-early to beat the expected queues were now too early to check in.

Around 7am I met a man who could not check in to his flight to the Isle of Man at 10.50am as the gate wouldn’t open for nearly two hours, and a family who were restless waiting there even earlier for a flight to Tel Aviv. They had all mentally prepared themselves for standing in a long line for security.

Staff in all sectors of the airport were once again fantastic. They offered everyone who needed it support and were generous in doing so.

Left luggage in the baggage reclaim hall in Terminal 2 at Manchester Airport earlier this week (UGC/MEN)

The wait for getting through security was shorter than I have ever experienced before - both pre and post-Covid - and I was quickly on my way into the departures lounge. A full English and a coffee and it’s as if the recent months of ‘chaos’ at Manchester Airport had just been a dream.

However, a member of the security staff had told me Wednesday’s are traditionally quieter due to being ‘in the middle of the week’. And it can’t possibly be that the airport is now fully staffed.

Come the weekend and the long queues will inevitably return. But, it was invaluable to see that it’s not all doom and gloom at our city’s gateway to the world.

A new permanent boss is needed and the staff that were let go as a result of Covid lockdowns still need to be replaced if trust is to be regained in the airport again but the people working on the ground are still doing the city proud. I just hope families travelling in the coming weeks and in the Summer can have a similar experience.

I landed in Malaga, got some momentary fresh air and a bit of Costa del Sol, and circled straight back to departures for the return home. Within minutes of picking up my bag of the carousel it was heading onto a plane to Manchester.

I sat for lunch and to write the first half of my journey before heading for the 17.45 to Manchester. This flight was not as busy as the first and I happily took in the view of the sunny Spanish mountains out of my window.

It was a smooth flight with a nice man to speak to beside me and the mood was good. But, as soon as we landed an announcement was made to stay in our seats as the terminal was ‘very busy’ and a slot was not free for us yet.

Straight away the mood lowered and chat of how long it would take to collect cabin bags filled the cabin. Surprisingly though, we were on our way soon enough, with a bit of a queue through border control and into baggage reclaim.

Baggage reclaim is where most of my worry lay throughout this trip. ‘Malaga - baggage completed’, nothing to worry about apparently. I picked up my bag and was on my way. An exceedingly normal journey too and from Manchester Airport Terminal 1 today.

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