British Airways now using the No 1 Traveller lounge at Gatwick North – feedback?

(EDIT:  BA has confirmed that the terminal switch is delayed with a new target date of 25th January 2017)

In early January, the British Airways lounge complex at Gatwick closed.  This is part of the preparation for the terminal switch which is due to take place in November, with easyJet moving everything to the North terminal and BA moving to Gatwick South.

My thoughts on the Gatwick North lounges have been published here.  I found the British Airways lounges to be pretty awful (see my comments here) and the No 1 Traveller lounge (review) and its sister My Lounge (review) facilities to be pretty good.

No 1 Traveller Gatwick bar 1

When it was announced that BA would be ‘moving in’ with No 1 Traveller for 11 months, I thought it would be an improvement!

The feedback so far on Flyertalk has been mixed, to put it mildly.  I am a little surprised by this.  It seems to come down to the following:

At peak times, the No 1 lounge is now overcrowded.  There are some reports of long waits for food (although, to be honest, not so many that it seems to be a major problem).

British Airways has decided not to issue vouchers for free champagne to First Class and Gold Card ticket holders who would otherwise have been able to get it in the old Galleries First lounge.  No 1 charges £8 per glass.  This is a fair point, although I was surprised that missing champagne had inflamed so many people.

I get a feeling that some of the bad feedback is from people who had never visited the old BA lounge and so were unaware of what was on offer before.  Last time I checked, the BA Gatwick lounge did not have a table football table, for example, unlike No 1.  The No 1 lounge buffet is also substantially better than anything BA offered.

No 1 Traveller Gatwick North

What we can say is that I wouldn’t bother turning up at the No 1 lounge at peak times clutching your Priority Pass card, as your chance of getting in is low.  You can pay £5 in advance to guarantee entrance with a Priority Pass via this website.

Whilst this has not been announced, it seems that BA and No 1 may be taking over the old Delta lounge which is two floors beneath the No 1 lounge, next to the Aspire lounge.  This may be run as a separate facility for BA Gold and First Class ticket holders, although they will struggle to get it up to much of a standard in the time available.

There are also rumours that the move to the South Terminal will be delayed until next Spring, which may account for the Delta lounge conversion.

If you have been in the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick as a BA passenger in the last 2-3 weeks – and I haven’t – do let us know your thoughts via the comments below.

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  1. Guesswho2000 says:

    I’m sitting in there now, seems ok on first inspection, though I never had a huge problem with the old lounge upstairs! No problem getting in (2x flying J, one silver one bronze), much to the apparent annoyance of those in the queue being turned away at the entrance Priority pass or pay to enter customers, I assume). They were telling them about the ability to reserve online, which doesn’t seem to apply to BA cardholders.

  2. My other half and I visited the lounge for a stop-over flying from Edinburgh to Trinidad in First on a 241 last month. Queued at BA desk to be given our entry vouchers and told the BA customer service person (or whatever she was called) that I wasn’t too happy that travelling First we were now using the lounge that I could access with my Priority Pass flying Ryanair and that I had never before when travelling Club, let alone First, been expected to pay for a glass of bubbly.
    Customer service lady said all passengers had been notified (as if that makes it OK!). I said we hadn’t. She said it should have been on MMB. I said show me where, she looked, agreed there was nothing and she then took some pictures of my screen to send to IT.
    Customer service lady offered me 10,000 Avios (partly for this and partly for other issues on the flight down from EDI). Needless to say 3 weeks later nothing has shown up in my account!
    When we got into lounge it took about 10 minutes for me and other half to find a pair of seats so we could actually sit together! And yes there were queues at the bar for drinks and queues for the loo.
    Awful is the only way I can describe the experience – certainly not the “world-class experience for our customers” mentioned in a YouFirst email I received a few days later regarding the matter.
    On the return leg we didn’t bother trying to repeat the experience but instead headed straight for the aspire lounge with our Priority passes. Much better and no queues for the loo!
    Definitely put me off BA First for a very long time.

    • I can see the bubbly thing really annoys some people – and so very easy to rectify for BA.

      You can’t blame No1 – they are just the service provider. All the fault lies with BA.

      How easy would it be to negotiate a price with No1 for Champagne and give First/ Business (say) 2 vouchers?

      Answer: I could run up the vouchers in 5 minutes on my PC, I could agree a price with No1 in 10.

      If I were a BA manager.

      If I actually cared about delivering excellent service.

      Nobody there actually seems to bloody care about retaining high end users.

  3. Reasonable Point says:

    It doesn’t sound as though the No1 Gatwick North lounge can cope with the volume of visitors at peak times, which is a pity as this is reflecting badly on what is actually a good product.

    As for the champagne situation, the last time I was in the BA Galleries lounge in the north terminal, (December last year), the champagne was actually not very good at all. I would even go as far as to say undrinkable, and that unfortunately that has been the case with every one of my last few visits to that lounge. Ever hopeful of an improvement, I will always ask for a glass and take a sip just to see if they’re still serving up the same stuff. Needless to say there hasn’t been any improvement, and it ends up sitting there on the table while I drink something else.

    On that basis, I would at least rather have the option to pay a small amount to have a glass of champagne that is actually worthy of being called champagne, or just have something else altogether.

    However, hopefully when BA have finished the new Galleries lounge in the south terminal they will at least make sure that there is some decent champagne available!

  4. I’m due to be in there next Saturday from about midday for a flight at 15.30 . What is classed as peak time ? Three of us travelling together, one is an 80 year old with walking stick and has special assistance booked ~ what’s the chance of us getting her a seat, and being able to sit with her ? Shame as we took her in LGW BA lounge 2 years ago and it was perfectly ok for a seat, cup of tea and toast.

  5. As a regular user of BA at Gatwick (18 return flights in 12 months ) give me the old BA lounge any day of the week , the number one lounge at Gatwick is the pits in my opinion , having to pay if you want a second item to eat is something BA need to sort out fast , unfortunately we still have a number of flights booked with BA out of Gatwick in the coming weeks but will consider other options for travel later in the year as paying premium prices for a flight with B A and getting the number one lounge at Gatwick north service is not for me , thank you

  6. Noqueueing says:

    Visited this lounge on Tuesday 02.02 early afternoon. It was like a poorly heated sauna – never been to a lounge that was as unpleasantly hot. Very, very crowded. Small queues at the bar, and you could have any beer you wanted as long as it was Budwaiser. I decided to have a glass of water.

    I can see where the positive reviews would come from, though – the interior is nice and if it wasn’t so full it could be an “ok” lounge.

    Had the Asian chicken soup – while taste was ok, the portion was TINY (and I’m not a big eater). The buffet – I honestly don’t understand on what basis people think this is a “big improvement” from BA First lounge! Some tomatoes, potatoes (yes, potatoes), and some kind of salad. Vegetable soup. Wow.

    Personally I never had any issues with the BA First lounge really. I would usually go to the small computer desks right behind reception and start working (or reading Head for Points) in my nice little environment, get whatever drink I wanted WITHOUT queueing and grab some salad.

    For me a lounge is a place to relax, and I definitely didn’t feel relaxed in this overheated, crowded lounge where you queue for drinks. No, even the kids playroom or the movie theatre didn’t make the experience any nicer.

    I won’t go into the champagne discussion – other than to state I fully understand anyone travelling business or first being p***d off at this. Champagne seems to a pretty much standard offering in most business / First lounges, and the Taittinger or Castelnau served in BA First at Gatwick was definitely better than nothing. And you didn’t have to queue for it either.

    • There is no champagne in any of the oneworld / Priority Pass business class lounges at Heathrow T3 – not BA (admittedly if you beg a staff member they will pull out a hidden bottle), not Swissport, not No 1, not Cathay, not American.

      • Well that’s rubbish. They have it in t5 BA club. Hell they even have it in the ba lounge in Seattle and they certainly had it in the galleries club in Gatwick. Race to the bottom continues then

  7. We had the double whammy last weekend – the totally heaving No1 Lounge with insufficient bar staff, the silly champagne rule and actually pretty poor food AND the absolute failure of BA to sort a lounge at Rome airport, despite the fact that all the other One World airlines can use one there! We have written to BA to complain – have to say that the quality of the response was extremely poor and no compensation offered.

  8. Visited all three lounges today (amex pp) out of curiosity, and I will say that I can see why raffles likes it. It is a cool design/ funky touches, the decor is good. Just wish they didn’t keep it at sauna temperature, served food in more than snack size portions and of course gave me champagne. But an OK place to spend a few hours IF it’s not busy. We were lucky, it was quiet, relatively speaking. To the point we could have gone in with priority pass had we not had a BA invite. But I can imagine it is hellish at 7am, this was noon and the morning flights had gone.

    My lounge was also quite funky albeit very small, has some veggie chili and snacks and self serve yellow tail/ magnets on tap. Again would have been nice enough if I hadn’t been intent on lounge hopping, but only because it was dead.

    Aspire was much nicer than I expected, I thought it would have no natural light. But it does, although no views. And was much bigger than I expected. The only food was soup and snacks and the wine was echo falls. I only hung around long enough to take some pictures. But if upstairs was heaving and you just want peace and quiet it would do the job.

    Then we boarded our flight and predictably 9 out of the first ten people asked for champagne and they ran out before the meal service and spent the next three hours apologising. Not impressed ( I do like my bubbles and it is what I signed up for when I booked a ce flight)

    • Good report. Totally pathetic they can’t load more Champagne on board.

      1 litre = 1kg, let’s ignore the glass & cork etc, it’s irrelevant.

      So loading 10 cases of 12 bottles (75cl) of Champagne on board is going to be…

      120 x 750g = 90kg

      90kg is just 3 big suitcases.

      Just a pathetic cost-cutting measure that will upset more people that BA needs to retain.

      Somebody in BA mgt needs to make a stand but nobody bloody cares about delivering good service.

      • Why can’t the stiffs in suits get it?

        People paying for First/ Club expect Champers in the Lounge and on board.

        That’s partly why they paid BA the crazy premium.

        Most of them have bubbly permanently in the blood, crazy business decision to cut off somebody’s blood supply.

        Easy to reverse.

        But some bean counter has said let’s cut a few quid on the cost of Champagne, Lounges & on board, with no regard for the impact on loyalty & repeat sales.

  9. I was in the No. 1 this morning. It was an absolute zoo! People tripping over each other for the buffet. Luckily we had already had breakfast in the Sofitel Lounge which was a picture of tranquility.
    Just a heads up that there is a new policy whereby children are not allowed in
    the Sofitel Lounge in the evenings which impacts any planned happy hour drinks. Instead I asked for extra complimentary vouchers for the Kua Bar at the mezzanine level and they were more than happy to oblige.

  10. Conor McCully says:

    My wife and I gave the No.1 Lounge a spin on Sunday morning (circa 10:30am) prior to our club flight down to Marrakech. I hadn’t been in the BA lounge so can’t compare it to what was there previously.

    It was certainly busy, boarding on full – we had to do a lap to find some free private seating but got there in the end. One chap behind the bar trying his best, you order food (breakfast before 11am / lunch thereafter) and drinks at the bar which are assigned to a table number which you take back to you table. Décor is smart, views are unaspiring, staff trying hard, buffet style food and drinks readily available and in bountiful supply. My only real complaint was queue for the toilets – this makes it clear that there are too many users for which the area has been designed.

    Overall, average to good. Not an amazing experience but not terrible either. (If you want terrible – try the Sala VIP Lounge in Marrakech). Ha! Whilst it satisfied our needs on our sale priced Club Europe flight I would feel somewhat short changed if spending considerable money in Club World and really gutted if flying First. So much so I would reroute to a different airport.

    A few tips from me below:
    – The library area (to the right as you enter) seems more roomy, quiet and has more seating
    – Hot food breakfast stops at 11am (we ordered as soon as we got in so as to avoid any delay)
    – Charging points situated near the seats around the bar
    – Get to the loo even before you need to go, so by the time its time, you are on it 😉


  11. Jimmy Ware says:

    My wife, son and daughter in law together with myself were travelling to Vienna on 22nd January and found that we had to use the No 1 lounge with the BA lounge being closed. How thoroughly disappointed we all were, with both our greeting on arrival, the service and the lounge itself.
    We travel both in first and business, when first is not available, and both of the old lounges were far, far superior to the No 1 lounge.
    On arrival we were greeted by a surly woman who proceeded to ask us if we were bringing in guests, I assume she meant by son and daughter in law, both travelling with us in business, then decided to inform us, that it depended on our ticket class on whether we could use the lounge or not, NEVER before has this happened. Being judged before allowed entry! I think she realised her rather large mistake when 4 business class tickets were produced and my wife gave her a very steely glare, we then proceeded through to what was a coffee type area, immediately accosted by a ‘waiter’ who informed us just as we were settling into comfortable seats that he would show us to an area where we could eat, this turned out to be a small, square table with hard seats!! No waiter service is available, so I decided to visit the bar, where there was only one barman on duty, he was taking food orders along with drink orders, so I knew we were in for a long wait for food. Hmmm, not worth waiting for, the portions are miniscule around 4 bites and it’s gone, again it took 40 minutes for this to arrive. I agree with the above poster, go to the loo first, you may just make one of the 2 cubicles in the ladies or the 2 in the mens. It is definitely a let down, don’t expect anything like the old BA lounges, you will be mightly disappointed.

  12. So, I’m off to Malta for the weekend this morning, am sat in the library area and it’s much better than my RAK flight, possibly because I’m a few hours earlier.

    When I arrived at not long after 6, it was pretty filthy and busy, but a new job lot of staff arrived at 0700 and have taken to tidying up, so it’s much better.

    Interestingly 2 BA managers(?) have just pitched up and are inspecting what’s going on – cleanliness etc..

  13. Was in the LGW N no1 lounge a few weeks back on a Club Europe ticket. I like the style of the lounge better than the old BA offering which looked with. Hot food options far superior. Good selection of quality wines, spirits and beers, all served at the bar (which I prefer). My only gripes were overcrowding and lack of complimentary bubbles. The overcrowding issue must have been forseeable to both BA and No1. It actually appeared to me that BA were using the My Lounge as overspill too. I do think BA should offer vouchers to their customers travelling in premium cabins for free bubbles as it’s something they would have offered if the BA lounges were open. That said, it was a minor gripe because the lounge gin was good and the cabin crew served enough bubbles on-board to make up for it :-)

    • Lucky you, on my flight we had 8 rows of CE, and the crew rather heavily pushed the champers on their first pass through an hour into the flight, such that they had to stop serving it! Apparently 60 bottles onboard, so when they reached 30 (1 per pax) they stopped so they had enough for the return route. Then everyone switched to g&t, so return trip may have run out of that 😉

  14. Mark Hicks says:

    Flew to Edinburgh – had an hour before departure… 15 minute q to get in with the No.1 lounge staff all on temp passes struggling with the system – then 5 mins to log a guest in with me … To find the place rammed to the rafters … Great service at the bar to place an order for food to be told it’s a 30min wait for a bacon roll – not the most challenging of breakfast items … Tables full of dirty crockery, people moaning all over the place … Would rather pay now for the My Lounge which was empty than the hassle of the this offering . Sat 6th Feb – 9ish

  15. We flew from Gatwick on 15th Feb at 0825 and used the My Lounge with our Club Europe tickets. We found it fine, quiet and were happy with that. We never bothered entering the No 1 lounge due to the above comments, so cannot comment on that lounge, but as an alternative, you could try the My Lounge maybe?

    Food was good, drinks in good supply and although we have not travelled like this before, so may be easily pleased, we were happy with it. Thanks for the heads up on the No 1 Lounge though..

  16. No 1 lounge is terrible. BA should be ashamed. Not enough toilets, waiting 15 mins for a coffee, 40 mins for a terrible bacon roll and even the Diet Coke on tap is undrinkable. I mention people complain about the old terraces lounge, well sorry but a million times better than No 1!!!

    • No 1 was totally fine before it was overrun by BA passengers …. in the same way that the BA lounges would have been a nightmare if No 1 had been shut and all the passengers sent up there!

    • It’s a real shame as No1 does a great job normally, they are normally excellent. Sounds like they took on the BA relief business & can’t cope.

      If I were in charge I would be making a lot of changes, why can’t No1 mgt & BA mgt see this?

      Start the self pour service same as old BA to relieve barhops.

      Recruit more barstaff & cleaners.

      Limit numbers to what is manageable.

      Probably increase prices.