Farce as new BA Gatwick South lounge remains closed due to failed ‘life safety’ test

Wednesday was the day that British Airways moved its Gatwick operations over to the South Terminal.

The good news is that check in seemed to be working fine when I was there, with no sign of delays.  To be honest, using a bit of wood to separate the Club World and First Class check-in desks is not the most elegant solution but it does the job (and, in truth, it looks better than my photo suggests!):

British Airways Gatwick South terminal

What I didn’t like is that BA has taken over the ‘A-C’ desk area.  It is quite a walk from the train station to those desks, and you have to pass the huge number of Thomson, Norwegian etc desks on the way.  More annoyingly, once you’ve dropped your bag, you need to double-back on yourself to take the escalator up to departures.  Anyone with just hand baggage doesn’t need to go anywhere near the BA check-in area.

Security was also swift.  The Premium line merges into the front of the standard line, so there should not be any chance of finding that the main line is quicker!

British Airways Gatwick South terminal

The bad news is that the British Airways Gatwick South lounges have failed their ‘life safety’ electrical tests and have not been allowed to open.  A staff member told me that this was apparently known a few days ago but the news was not released.  There is no timetable yet for their opening.

No 1 Clubrooms Gatwick South

A number of contingency plans are in place:

First and Gold passengers on all flights and premium ticketed passengers on the Bermuda, New York and Jersey services are using the Gatwick South No 1 Clubrooms which I reviewed here.  I should warn you, however, that they were already restricting access due to overcrowding when I was there and I had to use my press clout to get in.

No 1 Clubrooms Gatwick South

All other eligible passengers are using the old Virgin Atlantic lounge in Gatwick South which has been renamed Speedbird Lounge but otherwise is as Virgin left it last night!

There is also the very impressive new No 1 Lounge which Anika reviewed here and which, if you have a Priority Pass, may be a better bet

No 1 Clubrooms Gatwick South

As my tour of the BA Gatwick South lounge wasn’t going to happen, I ended up in the Clubrooms.  This is an impressive facility when used for small groups, which is its intended purpose, but is not ideal for business travellers as there is no solo seating.

The food and drink remains excellent, however, with Eggs Royale and champagne promptly delivered to my table:

No 1 Clubrooms Gatwick South

A separate article on Thursday covers the Speedbird Lounge.

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Comments

  1. Stuart F says:

    It’s quite remarkable that BA have taken over the Virgin Clubhouse and managed to turn what used to be an elegant haven into something resembling a school canteen in just 12 hours. I can’t put my finger on exactly what’s wrong with it but the loss of the spa equipment and all the self-service bits cluttering up the surfaces don’t help.

  2. We recently tried to get into the Number 1 lounge at Gatwick North with Priority Pass but they were not letting any more in as they were up to capacity, however were letting all BA passengers in!
    They suggested we should have booked ( which comes with a £5 charge per person)
    Never had to book before, now I know why

    • If you pre-order glasses of champagne for £6, they waive the £5 charge, so you can get bubbly for only £1 extra

      • Or you pay £6 for a glass of champagne that you don’t really want?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Guess its potentially turned away vs £6 for a glass of Champagne, you may not want, but guaranteed to get in.

          If you have PP you might want to book additional paid people in via Avios offer (£20 plus 750 Avios) rather than pay £15 through PP.

          Do need to book each person separately and make sure they check you in at the desk so you get the Avios though

  3. Putting BA alongside the charter operators is very apt but how awkward that their passengers have to walk past airlines offering better quality of service to find them hidden at the end of the terminal. There was a time you would have be proud to fly BA now it seems you need to hide the fact.

  4. I await with interest but not much optimism as I travel through Gatwick on Sunday. I remember the South terminal being built as my father was on the New Towns Commission and based in Crawley at the time. My first flight was from there in 1964 . So I wonder how much is stil there. I have watched the North Terminal being transformed during this last 15 months into a spectacular stylish welcoming experience for low cost airlines.while BA have still been using it. So will my expectations be met as I use the South on Sunday, will the BA First Lounge be open. Will I finally get a glass of complimentary Champagne after a year or more’s abuse from staff at No 1 Club or Clubrooms lounge at the North. Not too optimistic!!!!

  5. Why such a downer on BA on here? Reasons for not opening might not be down to BA. Personally always prefer to fly BA if I can and take roughly 25 a year of all types and destinations.

  6. OT sorry but there isn’t a “bits” article today.
    IHG Accelerate.
    Has anyone else’s dashboard broken, I went to check progress but instead of all the tasks i have to complete it says “complete all offers to get 2 free nights” which is what the very first accelerate offer was about 18 months ago.
    I am using the link that was given on this site, as trying to get there from “my offers” has never worked for the 2017 accelerate.

    • Mine says that too. Probably just some website error as I received an email overnight reminding me to complete my original offer

    • Yep lots of reports of it being broken on the FT Accelerate thread today. Was working well yesterday and (after a week) had correctly shown how I was getting on with the targets. Hopefully be back to working order soon!

      • My points activity list in the Manage Your Account section is still not working – received an email back today from them giving me a pin reset – duh! There is nothing wrong with my pin – they just didn’t read the problem properly – so another email off to them explaining it again!

      • Thanks. It’s now changed to “Andy, Unfortunately we are experiencing technical difficulties. Please check back later. Thank you!” so at least they’re aware. Didn’t think of looking on flyertalk for hotel info!

  7. Morning all.
    I have just left the Clubrooms lounge and the BA host informed me that new BA lounges will be opening TODAY (4th feb).

    Pity, I actually really like Clubrooms!