My review of the new British Airways lounges at Gatwick South (Part 1)

This is my review of the new British Airways lounges at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You see all of the reviews here.

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:

British Airways lounge Gatwick South childrens room

… which is a welcome improvement!

Getting there

…. 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:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

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:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

and here:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

and here:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

Once you get beyond this point, the lounge suddenly brightens up due to the fantastic floor to ceiling windows:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

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.

Power sockets

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.

For children

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:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

However, the area was totally, completely deserted when I went up.  If you want privacy, this is the place to be:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

No food is available but there is a coffee machine.  There is a great view down to the lower level:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

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):

 

If you cannot see the video, click here to visit our YouTube channel and watch it from there.  You can also subscribe to our channel from that page.

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Review of the Executive Lounge at Cardiff Airport
My review of the new British Airways lounges at Gatwick South (Part 2)
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Comments

  1. The “British Airways Lounge” branding is in use in Glasgow too – perhaps Galleries and Terraces are being gradually phased out?

    • Yep that’s my understanding too – same as in Singapore and the other new lounges – the branding is just British Airways Lounge.

  2. FYI the upstairs walkway from security through to the upper level of the departures lounge (the route you describe to get to the ba lounges) is now marked with signage that’s fairly clear for both the ba lounges and clubrooms. I walked through tonight and noticed it.

  3. What are the entry requirements?

  4. Nice tips, appreciate you running this, particularly as we’ve got 4+ hours in there next week enroute to the Rangali.

    “That’s two minutes of drinking time saved.”

    #HeadForPints :)

    • Anon – I’m heading over there in December with my wife for three nights? Any tips? Thanks

      • Sorry, I don’t know your wife

        • … very funny :-)

        • Walked right in to that one. Well played

          • Assuming you’ve seen my review (click on my username)

            3 nights, hmmm.

            Use points and stay for min of 5 nights (5th night free)…. Also no resort taxes that way.

            The Seaplanes at $560 each get better value the longer you stay.

            Ensure your Gold or higher for Free breakfast afternoon tea, sandwiches cakes and free drinks @ happy hour.

            Snorkel.

            Sunsets.

            Sleep.

  5. So Rob which would you choose, here or No1? Flying Cathay in a couple of weeks and they stick you in there. Don’t know if that will continue with a OW lounge available.

    • Not been in No 1 since it moved and got bigger, Anika did the review on here. No 1 may be better for food but apart from that you won’t go wrong with the BA space.

  6. Thank you Rob for an excellent report (as usual).

  7. the real harry1 says:

    When do gates actually close these days? At T3 LHR this Xmas – knowing that check-in closes 45 mins before flight for Europe so there should be at least 15 mins from that allowed to get to the gate – I was heavily testing the new Plaza Premium with my son & keeping an eye on the flight info for ‘boarding’ to pop up. Then I glanced at my ticket & it said ‘Gate closes @ [35 mins before flight scheduled departure] and we were already into that. ‘Boarding’ still hadn’t popped up but of course I panicked, grabbed everyone and legged it to the gate, only to hang around for another 15 mins before boarding started – ABSOLUTELY well into the ‘Gate closes’ time on the ticket.

    If the BA lounges are an extra 5 mins from the gates, do people run a serious risk of getting denied boarding by cutting it fine?

    • There’s no Plaza Premium in T3. The contract lounges are No.1 and Club Aspire.

      I normally aim to get there before the ‘gate closes’ time even if the screens haven’t said boarding yet unless a delay is specified. Exceptions in airports where you can see the boarding from the lounge.

      • the real harry1 says:

        can’t believe my short term memory is so wonky :) yep that’s where we were, just opened a few weeks before

      • Michael Jennings says:

        At Gatwick, the screens say “Gate Closes: 14:55” or whatever time, and then at that time they switch to “Gate Closed”. There are no checks as to whether the gate has actually closed, though, and the gate is often still open for a few (or many) minutes after that. I have on several occasions boarded well after the gate has closed according to the indicator boards. This is most annoying.

        If running late, one should always go to the gate anyway, regardless of what the indicator boards say. This is true for any airport, but it is particularly true of Gatwick.

    • I’ve never had a gate at T3 or T5 close at 20 minutes to scheduled departure time, which is what I think it says on the BA app. I try to arrive at T-20, usually there is still a queue, sometimes there is no queue but I am never last on

  8. Andrew Knight says:

    Rob
    Thanks for this helpful review – useful for those of us who have a choice between LHR and LGW.
    Perhaps for a future article you could share a clever way of gaining bonus Avios through shopping at King of Trainers ? :)

  9. Does anyone know if the chaos at Gatwick North No 1 lounge has eased now that BA have moved to South Terminal. I have tried to get into North No 1 on several occasions in past year with Priority Pass and refused due to overcrowding with BA passengers. Passing through in 2 weeks time and any info appreciated.

    • @Mike, we always make a reservation for the No 1 lounge in South Terminal.

      OK, it costs £5pp, but it means you don’t suffer the ignominy of being refused entry with your PP.

      Moreover it (currently) also gives you access to the Premium Gatwick (fast track) security line.

      • just pre order glass of champagne for £6, saves paying £5 for nothing. If you purchase any additional items then they wave the £5 fee.

    • Lady London says:

      I’ve got in there every week for past 4 weeks at peak times. Recommend the brownies and chicken Caesar salad without the chicken. Never caught the lamb stew when featured as it was always sold out.

    • Sussex bantam says:

      I was in there Tuesday this week around midday. Virtually empty. Fish finger sandwich hasn’t improved though.

  10. Thanks for the “pro tip” about avoiding the duty free !!!

  11. I had a nice visit to the business lounge on Sunday, and had spotted the deserted mezz pic on instagram so headed up there for a very pleasant few hours. I was stupidly early for the airport and the staff were nice about checking me in etc. Lounge was very busy but I didn’t have any trouble getting a quiet seat, champagne on request etc. Staff were really friendly and I found it much more relaxing than the T5 lounge. The food was better too!

  12. Completely off topic anyone tried buying Hilton gift cards via https://hiltongiftcard.co.uk/GiftCards.aspx
    in order to trigger the Amex £50 credit?

    • the real harry1 says:

      no but nearly 100% certain not to trigger

      do report back, though :)

      • Have we figured out if it’s cumulative spend? If it is then I have a card which is almost there and I’ll use the gift card to push me over.

        If not I’ll go for a fresh card with £250.

  13. Can’t believe they’ve not sorted the power problem.