This is my review of the new British Airways lounges at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal.
Following a false start two weeks ago, when I went over to see the new BA operation at Gatwick only to find the new lounges closed, I finally got to take a look last Saturday.
In general, I was impressed – more so by the Business lounge than the First lounge. It is definitely ‘evolution’ not ‘revolution’ though. If you are familiar with the Galleries lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5, the only radical new thing is this:
… which is a welcome improvement!
…. is a faff, and the airport tries to make it even harder. When you come through security, there are escalators taking you down. Do not go down the escalators. It is a trick!
The escalators drop you in the duty free shop, through which you have to do a snake-like walk to reach the departure area. At this point you need to go back UP another escalator to get to the lounges. Don’t do it.
Instead, to your left immediately before the down escalators after security, is a passageway. It is marked as the wheelchair route to the lounges. Take it. You will realise that you were very close to the lounges all the time! That’s two minutes of drinking time saved.
A tiny corridor in between two shops leads you to the No 1 Lounge, No 1 Clubrooms and the BA lounges. Whilst the No 1 facilities are on the same level as the upper level shops, BA passengers then need to head down another corridor, take a lift and then go down yet another corridor! It is important that you leave the lounge in good time to get to your gate, which will take longer than it would in Terminal 5.
Click on any of the images to enlarge:
The Business Lounge
There are two reception desks as you enter. The First lounge is off to your left whilst the Business lounge is off to your right.
(The ‘Galleries’ branding is not being used at Gatwick. I don’t know why as the furnishings are identical to other Galleries lounges.)
The lounge is effectively a long thin space, with exceptional views over the tarmac from the left hand side (once you are half-way in) and the far end. There is also a mezzanine.
To break up the space, BA has installed a giant wine wall about half way down, roughly where the windows begin. The area of the lounge before the wine wall was almost deserted when I was there. This isn’t surprising, given that it has no natural light. Everyone was congregating in the areas where you could see out of the windows.
You can see what I mean here:
Once you get beyond this point, the lounge suddenly brightens up due to the fantastic floor to ceiling windows:
What is impressive about the lounge is the number of different seating arrangement available. If you want a private booth for two, there are some by the entrance. If you want to sit in a small group, you can do that. If you want to sit in larger group, there are spaces for that too. I think everyone will find something to suit their personal style.
There aren’t any. The reason the lounge was late opening was due to failed electricial safety checks. In order to get it open, BA has blocked up the charging panels which are built into every table. Even the wall sockets do not work.
When we were there, someone – staff or customer – had pulled up an area of carpeting to reveal two underfloor sockets. Those were working. Fundamentally, though, do not turn up here hoping to charge your mobile device.
There is a small kids playroom available. It is bigger than the one in Galleries North at Terminal 5 which is a bit of a joke as regular users know. I couldn’t get a picture – apart from the football table shot at the top of the page – because it was being heavily used.
The big secret – the mezzanine
The new British Airways lounges at Gatwick South have a secret – a mezzanine floor.
Well, it isn’t really a secret, given that this big staircase is in the middle of the room:
However, the area was totally, completely deserted when I went up. If you want privacy, this is the place to be:
No food is available but there is a coffee machine. There is a great view down to the lower level:
In Part 2 of this review of the new British Airways Gatwick lounges I will look at the First lounge and the food on offer in both lounges. You can read that by clicking here.
I also shot this video of the lounge (Business side only):
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