Are there Birmingham Airport queues today? Advice on fast track security, airport lounges, parking and more

Here is the latest travel advice from Birmingham Airport

With Covid travel restrictions scrapped in March many people have been looking forward to flying off overseas on holiday once more. But long queues at Birmingham Airport in recent days and weeks have affected thousands of travel plans.

Birmingham Airport has admitted that it is still training up staff after being forced to lose 43% of its workers during the pandemic which has led to issues after the government fully lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions with no prior warning on March 18th this year.

Sign up to our BirminghamWorld Today newsletter

On Tuesday, June 21, some passengers expressed their frustration after being stuck in long security queues stretching outside Birmingham Airport.

But the issue had eased by Wednesday (22 June) morning, with many holidaymakers saying they got through security in good time and efficiently.

On Thursday morning (23 June), some passengers said they had to wait in long security queues on social media.

Friday, May 27 was the airport’s busiest day since August 29 - with 21,000 passengers flying to destinations around the world. A total of 147,200 passengers flew out from Birmingham Airport over the Jubilee bank holiday, with the airport admitting its staffing levels are 15% below where it would like them to be - and admitting that issues could persist throughout the summer to Autumn.

The airport began a recruitment drive in November with the aim of increasing numbers of key roles, including security officers. On Friday (June 10) it announced that it has now hired the optimum level of staff and are currently training its new recruits.

Meanwhile fast-track security bookings have been halted due to high demand - bookings are being honoured for people who had previously made the rervations. They airport has advised these are reopening from September - and they are reviewing the situation daily.

Here are some of the latest social media posts from travellers today (Thursday, June 23).

On Wednesday, 23 June, a spokesman for the airport, said: ““Almost half of the 16,300 customers booked to depart BHX today (Wed June 22) were airborne before 0900 after going through our pre-flight security screening.

“A big ‘thank you’ to customers who present compliant baggage at our x-ray scanners - with all liquids, gels, pastes and electrical items removed. That helps keep everyone moving. And it helps our security officers keep everyone safe.”

Last week, a spokesperson for Birmingham Airport, said: “Almost half of the 19,700 customers booked to depart BHX today (Mon June 13) were airborne before 0900 after going through our pre-flight security screening.

“A big ‘thank you’ to customers who present compliant baggage at our x-ray scanners - with all liquids, gels, pastes and electrical items removed.

“Our recruitment is on schedule as we recover from Covid. We have hired the additional security officers we need. Once trained and vetted, they are being deployed.”

On Friday a Birmingham Airport spokesman said: “As well as 20,000 customers booked to fly out of BHX today (Friday June 10), we had two additional departures slotted into our busy dawn take-off schedule after these flights, including one from another airport, were postponed yesterday.

“As a result, our security queues were longer this morning but managed and constantly moving. Customers, including those due to fly yesterday, got away successfully.”

The airport also updated its advice on how to help keep queues to a minumum over the Jubilee bank holiday, saying:

  • Please help us help you keep queues moving by removing all liquids, pastes, gels, laptops, vapes, lighters, tablets, game consoles from your bags before the x-ray scanners.
  • Our top tip for a swift run through our security screening is to take 2 mins to remove all liquids, pastes, gels and electrical items from your bag before the x-ray scanners. better that 2 mins than an extra 30 getting your bag searched and rescreened
  • please help us help you by:
    • arriving at your airline desks when advised by your airline
    • presenting compliant baggage (liquids & electrical items removed) at the X-ray scanners
    • re-packing bags, after security, in repacking areas
  • Anyone catching a flight - arrive at BHX at the time their airline advises.
Passengers at Birmingham Airport

Why is there more risk of queues at airports now?

The UK government’s major changes to Covid travel rules came into effect on Friday 18 March, and travellers no longer have to fill out “complicated” passenger locator forms, which should also speed up the airport check-in process.

And with spring now upon us, many people are preparing to head abroad via Birmingham. There has been serious disruption at other airports, including Manchester. The airports were forced to lay staff off during the pandemic and are now having to recruit and train new staff, which is also affecting security queues.

Birmingham Airport admitted it has had issues with staff shortages.

In a statement issued to BirminghamWorld in April, Al Titterington, Terminal Operations Director for Birmingham Airport, said: “The recent lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions is leading to a dramatic upsurge in customers and, in some instances, long queues.

“The cause of the problem is this: having spent the past two years running at about 30% of pre-pandemic volumes, we reduced staff numbers accordingly. Now we have a sudden return of people wanting to fly but we don’t yet have the right numbers of security officers to check everyone through as quickly as we or they would like at peak times.

“We’re working to fix this. We’ve been running a big recruitment drive since January. We’re currently hiring and training more security officers every month until we’re up speed.”

Advice on the customer support section of the Birmingham Airport website, reads: “All passengers are encouraged to arrive at the terminal in line with the check-in opening times for their flight.

“Please ensure you allow sufficient time to pass through security.  For those that have checked-in online please ensure you adhere to the check-in times of your airline and leave plenty of time to clear the security search area.”

You can also check the security queue time from your boarding check point, as well information on flight delays on the Birmingham Airport website, here.

When should I arrive at Birmingham Airport?

Generally, check-in for long haul flights (flights between 6-12 hours) will open approximately four hours before departure.

For short haul services (flights between less than 6 hours), desks will normally open at around two to three hours before departure.

Passengers are advised to check with the airline directly if they wish to confirm precise check-in opening times.

Advice on the customer support section of the Birmingham Airport website says passengers ‘must ensure they allow ample time for the check-in, security and boarding process, and keep a close eye on flight information screens throughout the airport for flight updates and boarding times’.

Birmingham Airport

You can find this by checking the individual airline’s website and searching for your route.

You can also speed up the process by checking in online in advance on your airline’s website or on their app.

Some airlines - including Jet2 - are offering twilight bag drop services at Birmingham Airport, so you can drop off check-in luggage the evening before to smooth the process on the day, but not all airlines do this - you need to check on your airline’s website baggage page in advance for details.

Travelling only with carry-on luggage can speed up your passage through airport - as long as your hand baggage complies with your airline’s size policies and you are not carrying any forbidden items such as liquids over 100ml - see the Government website here for an overview of these items.

Make sure your contact details on your airline booking are up to date too, so your airline can try to alert you to any significant changes or known disruption.

To check which terminals your flight departs from and arrives into, visit the Birmingham Airport website, here.

Can I buy fast-track security passes for Birmingham Airport?

The Express Lane is a separate lane through security at Birmingham Airport, designed to enable passengers to pass through the security area more quickly.

But it is currently not available as the airport has suspended it due to high demand. Previous bookings are being honoured. Birmingham Airport has advised that it is due to reopen in September for the winter season.

When it is available you can pre-book Express Lane security for £4, here.

If you’re travelling with children, under 5’s go free.

When available the service also lets you buy Premium Fast Track vouchers, which can only be pre–booked online for a cost of £5 per person, and must be purchased at least 24 hours prior to their arrival at Birmingham Airport.

The service allows passengers upon arrival to skip the long general queues and gain faster access to Passport Control at the UK Border Force checkpoint by using the separate designated lane.

Emirates Lounge, Birmingham Airport

How much is it to park at Birmingham Airport?

The cheapest and most convenient way to park at Birmingham Airport is to use the online pre-book service, which guarantees you a spot at one of the pre-bookable car parks.

Bur for those who prefer to turn up on the day there are also a wide range of options for parking that range from very short stops for dropping off passengers in the Premium Set Down, through to long-term parking at the off-site car park.

We’ve had a look at the current prices.

Premium Set Down

0-5 minutes: £5

15 - 20 minutes: £8

20 -25 minutes: £13

30 -35 minutes: £18

35 - 40 minutes: £23

40 - 45 minutes: £33

45 - 50 minutes: £38

50 - 55 minutes: £43

55 - 60 minutes: £48

Each extra 15 minutes thereafter: £5.00

Drop Off car park

0 - 20 minutes: Free

20 - 25 minutes: £1

25 - 30 minutes : £3

30 - 35 minutes: £5

35 - 40 minutes: £10

40 - 45 minutes: £15

45 - 50 minutes: £20

Each extra 5 minutes thereafter: $5

Car Park 1, 2 and 3

Up to 1 hour: £6.50

Up to 2 hours : £13

Up to 3 hours: £19.50

Up to 4 hours: £26

Up to 24 hours: £29

Over 1 day (per day): £49

(Pre-book overstays are charged at £18.00 per day or part thereof.)

Car Park 4

Up to 1 hour: £6.50

Up to 2 hours: £13

Up to 3 hours: £19.50

Up to 4 hours: £26

Up to 24 hours: £48

Up to 2 days: £96

Per day thereafter: £32

Car Park 5

Up to 1 hour: £6.50

Up to 2 hours: £13

Up to 3 hours: £19.50

Up to 4 hours: £26

Up to 24 hours: £46

Up to 2 days: £69

Up to 3 days:£93

Per day thereafter: £10.00

Car Park 7

Up to 3 hours: £4.50

Up to 6 hours: £9Up to 9 hours: £13.50

Up to 12 hours: £18

Up to 1 day: £37

Up to 2 days: £44

Per day thereafter: £9.50

(Pre-book overstays are charged at £10.00 per day or part thereof)

Elmdon Hotel Short Stay

Up to 15 minutes: Free

Up to 3 hours: £4.20

Up to 6 hours: £8.40

Up to 9 hours: £12.60

Up to 12 hours: £16.80

Up to 1 day: £35

Per day thereafter: £9

Coach Parking

Up to 30 minutes: £5

Up to 1 hour: £10

Per hour thereafter: £5

To get a quote on long-term off-site parking, visit the website, here.

Are there lounges at the airport and can I book them?

Birmingham Airport has several lounges which are available to book. These include Aspire, No.1, Clubrooms, and Emirates.

Aspire Lounge offers free and unlimted wif-fi, runway views, complimentary food and drinks and more. Costs are from £25.99 for an adult. Click here for more info.

Emirates Lounge is for First Class travellers, Business Class or Skywards Gold members. It offers fresh food, full bar service, shower facilities and chauffeur service. For more info go to: Emirates Lounge

No 1 Lounge offers hot and cold dishes, fully tended bar and runway views. It costs from £29.50 for one adult. More details at: No1 Lounge

Clubrooms offers à la carte menus, award-winning wines & runway views, but it is currently closed. For more information go to: Clubrooms

Are there hotels at the airport?

There are indeed. There are a number of places to stay for passengers, including, Ibis, Novotel, Hilton Garden Inn and a Travelodge.

Check the full list here.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.