Kids play at Manchester Airport


Manchester Airport has geared up for Summer and the arrival of thousands of younger travellers by opening not one but three new children’s play areas and they are all free.

Two soft play areas are located in Terminal’s 1 and 2 airside. The third play area is a wooden activity area that has been installed in the Runway Visitor Park.

The two soft play zones are the brainchild of Airport employees Susan Dean and Paul Emblow, who both have small children and wanted to improve the facilities whilst waiting for flights at the airport. Manchester Airport has a scheme that allows any member of staff to come up with ideas to improve the customer’s journey called ‘Customer First’. In this scheme staff members can apply for funding to make their idea a reality.

Julie Armstrong, Manchester Airport’s Director of Customer Services, said: “We know how stressful it can be keeping children occupied whilst you are waiting to board a plane so having a free play area should keep them busy and parents more relaxed. We want holidays to start at the airport so having a safe, stimulating and interactive place for youngsters to play is one way we can help.

“I would like to congratulate Susan and Paul for their hard work that has already paid off with feedback from parents saying how much easier it is to entertain children here. The ethos behind ‘Customer First’ is to get staff members involved in coming up with ideas and developing them to the end to help make the customer’s journey easier through Manchester Airport.”

The project took just under a month to complete at a cost of over 20k, which came from Customer First funding. The duo worked with Soft Brick Company based in Warrington to choose the range of funky colours and textures. There are now plans for a soft play area to be installed in Terminal 3.

The third play area is a wooden activity area that has been installed in the Runway Visitor Park, which is set to be a real hit amongst the Park’s younger visitors. The new facility, which includes a birds nest swing, agility climbing frame and log trail, has been constructed in a prime spot between Ringways Restaurant and the runways, so that parents can sit at the picnic benches and watch the aircraft while keeping a close eye on their children.

Other child-friendly services that the Airport offers include free fast lane through security if you have a child in a pushchair, a wide range of restaurants and cafes offering kids meals and kids packs, Terminal’s 1 and 2 Escape lounges both have children facilities; in Terminal 1 there is a scaletrix, Wii and Playstation 3.

For children on the Autistic spectrum there is a free guide called ‘Airport Awareness’ that explains the process of going through the airport which can be downloaded from the airport website or copies posted out on request from

In Terminal 1 the play area is suitable for under three years of age and is located next to Gate 21. In Terminal 2 the soft play area has a section suitable for under three years of age and an adventure play area for ages three to eight years of age, located next to Caffe Nero.

Published on: 21/07/2011 10:36:21