Manchester airport has been criticised by Travel Counsellors founder David Speakman for introducing a £50 ‘passenger escort service’.

Speakman asked on his Twitter feed: “Is navigating the airport too complex that this service is needed?”

The airport responded to the Bolton-based agency boss, saying: “It’s an optional premium service brought in due to passenger request (sic).”

The ‘Friendly Guides’ are being introduced to help people around the airport.

Passengers will be met at check-in and taken through security to boarding their aircraft.

The airport confirmed that the service will cost £50 for up to four passengers departing and £40 for up to four passengers arriving. Up to six passengers can be accommodated within one group for an additional £5 per person and the service must be booked in advance.

Many other airports currently offer a similar service at a cost of more than £100, Manchester airport claims. The Friendly Guide will be an existing member of staff so will also have the relevant knowledge required to help efficiently.

The Friendly Guides initiative will be trialled for the next two weeks in Terminal 2 and expanding to all terminals for the summer.

Manchester airport customer service director Tricia Williams said: “The purpose of this service is to take the stress out of travelling. The ‘Friendly Guide’ will be your dedicated guide to meet you at your point of arrival, whether that be at a car park, bus stop, taxi drop off or the train station and take you to your check-in desk before fast-tracking you through security.”

She added: “We recognised from feedback that some passengers who drop off relatives are not familiar with the airport and that this small gesture would be greatly appreciated.

“With this service, people can relax safe in the knowledge that their relatives have been looked after from the moment they’ve arrived at Manchester airport and be told the moment their family member is on the correct flight.”