Birmingham Airport Busy Times: How big are the queues today?

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Birmingham and Manchester Airport have been in the news a lot recently for persistent issues with queues and staffing issues.

There have been continued problems with travellers being able to check-in luggage in a timely manner and also with massive security queues.

The big concern for many is that the bag check-in opens just three hours before the flight, but there are often long queues to check-in, then more long queues for security. For some unfortunate passengers, this has led to missed flights. If you miss the flight due to these queues, there is little to no recourse as it is classed as your fault. The only option is to try and get a rebooking if you are within 2 hours of the missed flight. However, many, if not most, airlines will charge a significant admin fee for this, and you don’t know if the next flight will even have seats.

Things don’t seem to improve when you return, either. Yesterday, there was reported “carnage” at Birmingham airport, with some people claiming hours-long waits for bags.

Bank Holiday & Jubilee weekend

With it being half tern and the Jubilee weekend, airports are likely to be under significant pressure this weekend and queues are almost guaranteed.

In my previous post about Manchester Airport, I tried to theorise ways to predict how bad the queues were. But I had mixed results.

Twitter is reporting long queues this morning

While I have grown to hate social media in recent years, you can still rely on it for live information from furious customers.

At 5:30 am on Wednesday 31st May, there has already been at least one person posting pictures of the extensive queue for departures.

One unfortunate traveller was in the security queue two hours before the flight and missed it.

However, another traveller reported that the Jet2 luggage drop was well organised and they got through security quickly. It's just the other side that's rammed.

Your best bet is to search for Birmingham Airport and then filter by the latest Tweets.

Birmingham airport estimated security waiting times

One of the few things Manchester airport has done right recently is implementing a basic system of reporting estimated security waiting times.

As I write this on Tuesday morning, it looks very busy with 60-minute security times in both T1 and T2. I rarely see them report longer than 30 mins.

Sadly, Birmingham Airport hasn’t implemented such a feature.

Google popular times and live data

With my Manchester post, I had hoped that using the popular times feature within Google would provide some sort of idea of how busy the airport may be at a particular time.

For a normal week, this might work to give you a rough idea. For example, mornings are a lot busier than evenings, and you can work out what might be the busiest days.

Beyond that, it is not of much use. The current situation does not represent previous trends.

Adding in half term and the Jubilee, you might as week forget about it.

Currently, it is reporting that the airport is busier than usual, and the little red line indicates that it is busier now than it would be for the entirety of the day.

Flight Times

Again, I had previously theorised that you could look at the historical flights to see if there were regular delays which could indicate persistent problems.

During my trip to Porto, that theory was a massive failure; my flight was delayed two hours.

All I learned was that flights later in the day are much more likely to get delayed because there is a knock-on effect with the incoming flights throughout the day.

Overall Advice

For the Jubilee week, my best advice would be to assume the absolute worst-case scenario.

If you are on a short trip, I’d try and avoid using checked-in luggage, even if you paid for it (that’s what we did). It is a variable you can cut out that will save you stressing.

Unfortunately, with live times and Twitter, it only provides information on the current situation, which is often too late if you are planning to set off early in the morning.

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