GETTYManchester Airport introduces passport check fast track lane
Airport bosses have launched a fast track border check service for the budget price of £4, although it is not yet clear how long the introductory rate will last, or how much the price will go up by.
Manchester is the third biggest airport in the UK to introduce the fee-based system, allowing passengers to avoid the average 25 minute wait at border control.
Paying for the privilege of a smooth journey is already the norm at other airports, but most charge £10.
The system is already in place at Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick and Edinburgh airports, with some prices as high as £17.50 for a combined inbound and outbound queue jump.
Airport bosses hope the service will allow passengers to “pay to get their time back”.Related articles
Interim managing director Collette Roche told the Manchester Evening News that sales would be restricted to avoid long fast-track queues - and that passengers would only be able to pre-book tickets in advance of arrival.
While passenger groups have welcomed the move, they say current government targets of a maximum 25 minute wait for non-fast tracked passengers is too long.
Neville Duncan, nominated by Which? magazine to represent passengers at Manchester Airport, said: “I’ve no exception if people are willing to pay in advance.
“But I do think Border Force should have better targets generally and they should advertise them clearly. I think the fact 25 minutes is deemed acceptable is an outrage.”
GETTYAirport checks: Passengers regularly face delays at passport control and security checkpoints
It comes as tougher passport checks introduced by Brussels left UK holidaymakers stranded for hours at Europe’s main airports - with many tourists passing out in the "dangerous" queues.
Airlines have blamed a new EU regulation on passport checks for delaying thousands of flights with passengers left stuck in queues of up to four hours.
Some tourists have gone so far as to brand the new, stricter checks as "dangerous”, with many passing out from the scorching heat as they were forced to stand for hours without any water.
The new rules, which started this summer, require each passenger from outside the Schengen area (covering most EU countries) to have their arrival and departure recorded.
Previously British passengers were often waved through with just a cursory glance at the passport.
Aviation analyst Laurie Price has warned flying could get even more stressful after the UK leaves the EU.
Speaking to The Independent, he said: “If we are experiencing problems now, what is going to happen post-Brexit when more rigorous immigration controls and procedures are brought in?
“They will be grafted