This part 2 of my review of the new British Airways lounges at Gatwick Airport. Part 1 can be found here.
Inside the First Class lounge
The First lounge can be accessed by British Airways Gold members, and oneworld equivalent members, as well as ticketed First Class passengers.
To be honest, I wasn’t hugely impressed. In fact, I wandered in by mistake and I thought I was still in the Business lounge.
(How did I wander in by mistake? There is a doorway connecting the Business and First lounges. During my stay it was permanently propped open so staff could carry trays in and out, so you could just wander in. I am BA Gold so I would have been allowed in anyway, but we ended up in the Business lounge as they – correctly – would not allow my (Silver) wife and daughter in with me and my son.)
The furnishings are identical to the Business lounge. The First area is also relatively small and I suspect, at certain times, it will be more crowded than the Business lounge.
What is different? Well, you get the boardroom:
You get champagne (but this is also available on request in the Business lounge, I believe):
You get premium spirits (BA is still offering Johnnie Walker Blue):
You get a cooked breakfast – scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon etc:
You get a couple of Tracy Emin drawings:
You get an equally good view of the airport:
And that’s it. The seating is identical to the Business lounge:
At some point, ‘cooked to order’ food will be available as it is in Galleries First at Heathrow. This is not yet available due to the on-going electrical issues.
Food and drink in the Business lounge
The breakfast offering in the Business lounge will be very familiar to anyone who has used Galleries Club at Heathrow.
The selection is pretty much identical, as are the coffee machines and the equipment used to store the food.
You have bacon rolls and omelette rolls:
You have coffee:
You have pastries:
You have a wide selection of spirits:
You have the usual wine selection:
It was all perfectly fine. However …. I have a bit of a problem with British Airways only offering a proper breakfast in the First lounge. It wouldn’t be a major strain to also offer scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon in the Business lounge. The First lounge would still have its ‘cooked to order’ menu as a differentiator and we’re not talking budget-busting costs here.
Now that cooked breakfasts in Eurotraveller are a thing of the past, adding such food back to the Business lounge menu would be welcome.
British Airways has done a good job with the new lounges in Gatwick South. Whilst it isn’t the easiest place to find, it is a lovely space and the designers have done a good job in creating different style of seating to serve the varying needs of travellers.
The food and drink is on a par with Heathrow and, given that Gatwick tends to play second fiddle to Heathrow, that is as good as you could have expected.
The South Terminal experience as a whole is now much improved. BA passengers no longer need to take the monorail from the train station, security seems more efficient than the North Terminal – with a proper premium security lane – and the lounges are impressive.
The only downside is the shopping, which is still more easyJet than British Airways. I’d personally like to see ‘King of Trainers’ and the like replaced by something more upmarket, although there is a Harrods concession and a Hugo Boss to pass the time. I imagine that the retail offer will mature as existing leases expire.
If you want to see more of the new lounges, here is a short video (Business side only):
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