Manchester Airport Guide
at Manchester Airport

Car Hire Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport is a major international airport handling over eighteen million passengers per year, and is situated only 14 km (8.6 miles) from central Manchester.  It is also located nearby a number of important cities and towns, such as Bolton and Rochdale in the north, Sheffield to the south-east, Macclesfield to the south, and Pemberton to the west.  Although traveling in Manchester is relatively easy by bus or tram, many passengers arriving at the airport like to have a rented car to travel in Manchester, and to explore the nearby areas.  For this purpose, there are many quality car hire companies at Manchester Airport.

The airport consists of three terminal buildings, named Terminal 1,2 and 3.  Terminal 1 and 2 are connected by the Skyline moving walkway, which also provides access to The Station, Manchester Airport’s integrated transport system.  Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 are connected by a short external walkway, but renovations will soon be completed to make this a covered walkway.  All the terminals handle domestic and international flights from various airline companies, and which terminal you will be using depends on your airline company.  The car rental counters of the car hire companies can be found in the arrivals area of all the terminals.  Their operating hours may vary between the terminals, therefore it is wise to confirm your company’s schedule before finalizing your travel arrangements.  The car hire companies of Europcar, Sixt, Avis, National, Alamo, Hertz, Budget, Thrifty, Enterprise and Auto Europa are available. 

The airport is only a 20 minute drive from Manchester city center, and is well connected by the major M56 motorway.  There are also other smaller roads leading north, to Wythenshawe, and east, to Heald Green.  The A538 can be taken to reach the local towns of Altrincham and Wilmslow.  A little further away, drivers can reach Liverpool in 40 minutes (55 km), or Leeds in less than an hour (80 km).  All persons renting a vehicle are warned to stay within the speed limits of Manchester.  These are set at 48 km/h or 30 mph in urban areas, 97 km/h or 60 mph on the open roads, and 113 km/h or 70 mph on the motorways and highways. 

The car hire companies all offer a comprehensive website whereby customers can reserve their vehicle in advance of their flight to the airport.  It is often recommended to make an advanced booking in order to ensure your ideal vehicle’s availability, however, it is also possible to hire a vehicle directly from the rental counters at Manchester Airport.  If you are unsure of which company to use, you could also search for a comparison website on the internet.  One of these websites will display the rates and details for all the popular car hire companies on one page, enabling you to make an easier decision.  The companies’ websites also display all the vehicles which are available as well as pictures of example vehicles and their general seating and luggage capacities.  Another reason why you should hire a vehicle in advance is that you may need to reserve extra equipment as well.  It is essential for parents of young children to ensure that they have a baby safety seat, or child booster seat for older children, available for their journey.  It may also be necessary to hire a satellite navigation system if you are unfamiliar with the area in which you will be driving.  The GPS units offered by the various car hire companies are state-of-the-art pieces of technology, with color touch-screens and easy to use interfaces.  They will provide precise directions to any location, and will also be able to show your precise location at any time.  Another useful feature is that they are pre-programmed with thousands of points of interest, making it easy for you to find the nearest gas station, hotel, restaurant, pharmacy, shopping center etc.  Certain car hire companies, for example Sixt, even offer a satellite navigation system which is included in your car rental rates.

The vehicles of the car hire companies are usually divided into various car categories, and when renting a vehicle, one of these categories will be selected, rather than a vehicle by its specific make and model.  However, companies such as Budget and Hertz offer a range of vehicles which can be reserved by make and model.  Budget has this option for their Street Fleet vehicles, and Hertz has three categories from which customers can choose their exact choice.  These three categories are Hertz’s Fun, Prestige and Green Collections, whereby the Green Collection is a range of environmentally friendly vehicles.  Europcar and Budget also offer a selection of vehicles which are considered to be friendly to our environment. 

Most car hire companies require the primary renter to be at least 23 years of age.  All drivers listed on the rental agreement must show a valid drivers license when collecting their vehicle, and they should also have a major credit card in their name for payment of the rental.  Cash, checks and debit cards are not usually accepted as payment methods.  A drivers license must have been held by the renter in his/her country of residence for at least one year prior to the rental, and a foreign driver may be required to have an International Driving Permit as well.  However, this does not usually apply to drivers from Canada, New Zealand or the United States.  Younger drivers, between the ages of 23 and 25 may pay a higher rental rate than usual, and may also not be permitted to rent from certain vehicle categories.  These categories usually contain larger or specialty type vehicles. 

Further rental details can be obtained from your chosen car hire company. Additional airport enquiries can also be made at any of the information desks located in the Arrival areas of the terminal buildings.  

Related Information
Alamo ManchesterAuto Europe Manchester
Avis ManchesterBudget Manchester
Europcar ManchesterHertz Manchester
National ManchesterSixt Manchester
Thrifty Manchester