The height of comfort

Tuesday, 5 March 2019
Your journey

Avoid unnecessary turbulence at the beginning of a well-deserved break by travelling by train to Birmingham International station for Birmingham Airport in less than two stress-free hours.

Birmingham Airport is one of the busiest transport hubs for UK and international flights outside of London, welcoming almost 13 million passengers in 2017. That’s a lot of excited passengers with bulky suitcases, having last-minute panics about where they put their passports. Thankfully, you can travel in comfort by train to the airport from as far away as the centre of London in a chug under two hours, giving you plenty of time to catch up on social media, emails or dive into an eBook.

Birmingham International Station
There are currently 21 stations with direct services to Birmingham International for Birmingham Airport and the NEC. From the north, there are four trains an hour from Birmingham New Street with calling points at Adderley Park, Stechford, Lea Hall and Marston Green. Journey time is approximately 15 minutes and a day single costs £3.90.

From the south, there are three trains an hour from London Euston with calling points at Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton, Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Canley, Tile Hill, Berkswell and Hampton-In-Arden. If you can plan ahead and travel savvy outside of peak hours, a day single costs from just £7. Journey time is approximately two hours.

Generous overhead luggage bins accommodate more than 30 carry-on suitcases per carriage, but larger and heavier bags will need to be left in vestibules to prevent potential injury if something falls in transit. Depending on the carriage seating layout, you might be able to slide larger suitcases snugly into the triangular spaces between back-to-back seats.

Train to Birmingham Airport
Arriving into the station with Resorts World Birmingham visible in the distance, follow signs for the exit. At the top of stairs and escalators from the platforms, there are - thankfully - two wide luggage gates for passengers with suitcases to exit. There is nothing worse than gliding through a narrow ticket barrier with baggage in tow, only to be brought to a humiliating standstill by the piercing scream of an alarm behind you. Something is trapped in the jaws of the gate - namely, your worldly belongings and now everyone is staring at you with pity in their eyes.

Just the start we all want for a well-deserved break. Turn left for the Air-Rail Link monorail system, which provides free transfer to the main airport building. A large digital screen positioned overhead ticks down to the arrival of the next service and two fat arrows beneath the timer helpfully indicate which platform the next train will pull into.

Birmingham Airport AirRail Link
The service operates automatically between the hours of 5am and 9pm but if you have a flight outside these hours, between 3.30am and 5am or 9pm and 12.30am, you will need to summon a train by pushing a green button emblazoned with the word DEMAND on a nearby panel. Each train comprises two self-contained carriages (you can’t walk between them) with priority seating at each end of the car for weary legs and plenty of space to manoeuvre suitcases away from the closing doors as instructed.

If you’re using the monorail to the airport in the morning, the sun rises behind the train so the rear carriage will be warmer for the 100 seconds it takes to reach the Departures lounge, accompanied by a jaunty orchestral jingle when the train first moves off.

Frankie and Bennys Birmingham Airport
Depending on how tight your schedule is, you may want to grab a bite to eat or a quick drink before you check in. On the same level as the monorail, you will find All Bar One, Burger King and a Frankie & Bennys which promises to bring your food within 15 minutes if you are in a hurry (make sure to let your server know).

There is also a Game Deck room of arcade machines, not that you will have any stress to alleviate after your train journey to Birmingham International, and a Ritazza coffee shop. Downstairs is another coffee shop and a bureau de change.