Back in the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South (for BA and Norwegian passengers)

This is our review of the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South.

On Monday, Anika will be reviewing her recent flight to New York in Norwegian Premium.  Given that it is a similar price to British Airways World Traveller Plus, we wanted to see if it measured up.

If you fly Norwegian Premium, you will be allowed to use the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South (the official website is here).

This is also the lounge you will be using if you are flying on British Airways from Gatwick but do not have access to the brand new official British Airways lounge complex, which I reviewed here.

As it happens, Anika wrote a review of this lounge just after it opened last year, so there was little point getting her to write about it again.  I was in Gatwick South two weeks ago on the way to Amsterdam, however, and I thought I would take a look myself.  The last time I was in this lounge was literally when it was a building site and No 1 let me have a sneak peak.

Overall, I was impressed.

The first thing to remember is that, when you pass through Gatwick security, do NOT head down the escalators.  There is a doorway to your left which is for anyone who is heading to the British Airways or No 1 Lounge, or indeed any of the shops or restaurants on the mezzanine level.  If you go down the escalator, you have to come straight back up again ….

I gained entry using the Priority Pass card which comes with my American Express Platinum card.   Amex Platinum comes with 2 Priority Pass cards, each of which also admits a guest for free, so in theory one Platinum card covers a family of four for unlimited visits.

No 1 Lounges often refuse access to Priority Pass guests at peak times because the lounge gets overcrowded.  This situation will only get worse as Norwegian adds more and more services, because No 1 has to assume that all Norwegian Premium customers will turn up and reduce capacity accordingly.

I arrived around 9.30am and got in immediately, although the staff said that they had been turning people away not long before.  I was offered an upgrade to the Clubrooms, which I reviewed here, but turned it down.   I would have headed to the main lounge even if I had been offered Clubrooms for free – whilst impressive, for a solo traveller it is a bit like sitting in a quiet pub on your own.

(Note that you can pay a £5 reservation fee for No 1 to guarantee that you get in with your Priority Pass or similar lounge access card.  This is the page of the No 1 website you need.  Until 31st August, paying the £5 fee will also let you use the Premium security channel at Gatwick.)

This lounge seemed more open plan than other No 1 Lounge facilities that I have visited.  This is not necessarily a good thing because it had fewer of the ‘cosy corners’ where you might want to hide out.

This is the main dining area which is the first thing you come to on entering:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

and

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

To your left are a couple of computers and a surprisingly decent selection of magazines.  They actually appeared to have been chosen on the grounds of quality rather than who was willing to pay the most to get in:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

Food is mainly ‘to order’ but there were a good selection of high quality pastries out:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

Beyond the dining area is the bar, where you also place your food order:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

The lounge has fantastic natural light, with two full length glass walls giving views over the stands and runway:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

I ordered a bacon sandwich (free) which arrived promptly and was of higher quality than the chewy version offered by British Airways, although I admit that I have a soft spot for those too!  (In fact, I walked out of Galleries First in Terminal 5 a couple of weeks ago because they only do bacon sandwiches to order and I was pressed for time, so down the corridor I went ….)

Whilst not pictured, the lounge also has a small sports TV area and a library / quiet area which open onto the main area.  The lounge has its own toilets – I can’t remember if they have showers.

All in all, the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South is an impressive lounge with high quality food options.  My only disappointment is that it is a bit too open plan for my tastes, but that is just a personal view.

If you want to find out more, or pre-book entry for cash, you can do so on the No 1 Lounges website here.

Or, of course, if you’re flying Norwegian Premium you’ll get in for free.  And on Monday you’ll discover what that is like.

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Comments

  1. We’re flying BA Friday 11th August and looking to use the free passes from our gold reward card for access at 8am, should we prebook? It’s for 2 adults and 1 child, so will be using the two free passes and paying £15 for the child aged 8.

    Would we need to pay per person? And is it worth £30 altogether?

    Planning on using my husbands free passes on the way out and mine at the Orlando lounge on the way back then we’ll be cancelling his card ready to churn so would like to get use out of the passes.

    • You would not have got in at 8am on the Wed I was there but there is less business travel on a Friday morning.

      Plan B is to get £30 of credit at The Grain Store restaurant which would mean not paying anything for the little ‘un.

      • Thanks, I did have that as my plan B so think we’ll stick with that and hope that we get into the lounge without having to pay.

      • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

        Does anyone know if my with and I go to the Grain Store together, both with the Amex Platinum Priority Pass, would they let us charge two people on each card for £60 credit?

        • the real harry1 says:

          someone’s got to take one for the team 🙂

        • One of our folks on here recently didnthatbwithntheir son, and got around £27 worth of f and b with their one PP card. So yes it seems they treat it the same as if two guests go intomthenlounge on one PP. but always worth checking with them before deciding. Quite nice in there too, we were there in May.

        • Nate1309 says:

          Yes, 100% possible. Last time I was there charged 2 people to my card and 1 on my wife’s. £45 credit for the two of us.

      • Lady London says:

        Not sure what,’s going on with PP they are showing quite a few airports which offer specific amount credit at restaurants/bars within the terminal. Great for now, but wondering this might lead to some kind of capping regarding regular lounges.

    • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

      I thought with the gold card you always had to pay for guests, even if you still have both of your passes left. My understanding was that you’d need to use one pass each at Gatwick and then another one each in Orlando. Otherwise you’ll end up paying £30 (two guests) both in Gatwick and in Orlando and end up with one pass left each. May be wrong though.

      • Think Emma says they both have a gold card, so they have two passes each, but would have to pay for the kid to enter the lounges as a guest. But the grain store suggestion is much better for them in LGW as f and b credit of £30.

        • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

          What I mean is that with the Gold card guests are never free.

          “Planning on using my husbands free passes on the way out and mine at the Orlando lounge…”

          This would lead to each visit costing 1 free use and two £15 guest charges.

          If instead they use both of the passes in London and both passes in Orlando then they get what they want, i.e.

          Emma uses her card in London, Mr Emma uses his card and takes the child as a guest. Total cost £15, one visit used each.

          Mr Emma uses his card in London, Emma uses her card and takes the child as a guest. Total cost £15, one visit used each.

          That way all four free visits are used up and £30 is charged for the child.

        • No, the way Emma proposes is fine too:
          Mr Emma uses one of his passes for himself, one for Emma, pays for child
          Way back, Emma uses one for herself, one for Mr Emma, pays for child

          You can either use the vouchers for two visits for one person or one visit for two people.

          Either way I’d imagine Grainstore use on the way out still better value!

        • the real harry1 says:

          yep Lounge Pass = 2 can get in on 1 card

  2. I agree this place is a bit of a barn. Last time I was there PP holders were being turned away. I’m going to have to use the North No 1 lounge soon as am not flying BA – I’ll suck up the £5 reservation fee. Seems that the glass of champagne for £7 “trick” is no longer available on the site?

    • Genghis says:

      As a datapoint I’ve never been turned away from No1 north, flying at all different days and times

      • Klaus-Peter Dudas says:

        It used to be packed when BA was using and I saw people get turned away or queue for ages but with BA gone it should be a lot better.

        • Lady London says:

          It’s still packed at peak times. To the point of being borderline unpleasant, food orders normally very quick get forgotten, having to jostle to get to the bar, etc.

      • Unfortunately No1 have a monopoly at LGW South since the Servisair/Aspire Lounge closed, and seem quite keen to charge an extra £5 to access a ‘full’ lounge. If the lounge really is full then it would be quite an unpleasant xperience and not worth paying even £5 for. At LGW North they have competition from Aspire, so if they were to routinely turn customers away there they will just go to Aspire.

        • True. The day I saw them turning PP holders away at South the lounge was not full. It was busy but no way full.

        • ….. but if they are assuming 50 Norwegian passengers will arrive in the next hour then they can’t let you in.

  3. Colin JE says:

    Rob, what’s the story behind pre-booking at Gatwick No1 no longer having Fast Track access after 31 August? Is this the same at other airports? Gatwick South’s Fast Track is pretty poor. It’s been closed twice when I’ve booked to use it.
    I must admit I often book a lounge space to get Fast Track, even if I might not use the lounge, so if it was withdrawn elsewhere this would be sadly missed.

    • Now BA is in South I doubt Fast Track would ever be shut.

      That end date keeps getting moved back. I feel that one side is not willing to commit to a longer deal.

      • Simon Schus says:

        The last extension was end of May, and was extended to the end of August. The extension was made mid-May, and it has been extended in this way multiple times before. I know this having bought lounge access for a few friends when travelling to see us.

        After the £7 champagne option was removed from the website, one used to be able to order champagne by calling them up directly. However, I have no idea if that option still exists.

        • Colin JE says:

          Thanks guys. Fingers crossed that No1 will keep extending FastTrack, or better still that it remains permanent.

  4. “This is also the lounge you will be using if you are flying on British Airways from Gatwick but do not have access to the brand new official British Airways lounge complex”

    Sorry, can someone explain this to me? Thanks.

    • I see – it’s about paying. I’ve got Silver status, and couldn’t understand why I might not be able to get in, which is how I read the sentence.

  5. Mark Priest says:

    Travelling Virgin from LHR to JFK in a couple of weeks and then back from MIA.

    Only Premium so no club access. Have various lounge access so what are my best options?

    • gumshoe says:

      First, try the VS Clubhouse. They sometimes let PE passengers pay to enter (about £65 IIRC). But it’s not guaranteed and if they’re expecting a busy day they’ll say no.

      Failing that LHR T3 has an Aspire lounge and a No.1 lounge, both of which are pay-to-enter.

      At MIA the contract lounge VS uses is awful. I would recommend arriving as late as you possibly dare and not bothering with a lounge at all.

      • I agree with all of that. You are missing nothing with the lounge VA use at MIA. Dire. ASPIRE IN T3 Was much better than anticipated.

      • the real harry1 says:

        Aspire & No1 @ T3 are both good – both reviewed here on HfP – I’d say No1 is better for space & light & areas to chill out – though Aspire has some useful pods & better choice of free food if you are hungry – neither has self pour, though F&B is good in both

        you can’t really go wrong whichever you choose

  6. Mark Priest says:

    Thanks Gumshoe

    Have Priority Pass so will try the Aspire and Amercan F

  7. Simon Schus says:

    Also, one thing I only found out yesterday – but I’m sure others may know.

    The American (Airlines) flagship lounge in JFK has been refurbished, and is now letting OneWorld Sapphire customers enter irrespective of their class of service, and destination; e.g. BA Silver should be able to enter the AA Flagship Lounge in Terminal 8 even on an AA domestic flight such as JFK-BOS. Previously, the AA Flagship Lounge was treated as a First class lounge and only let OneWorld Emerald members enter. I think that they might be trying to differentiate their Admirals Club and their Flagship Lounges somewhat, as the only restriction to the above seems to be when OneWorld Sapphire membership is achieved in the AAdvantage program and that passenger is flying on a domestic itinerary. I know that the AAdvantage restriction has been around for years prior, but the addition of OneWorld Sapphire to the Flagship lounge is new – this could be positive in the short-term, though I wonder if there are changes afoot to Admirals Club access rules by no longer considering them to be ‘lounges’ under the OneWorld program. Perhaps, perhaps not. The main thing for the short-term is that the Flagship lounge in JFK available, and this will expand as more of the US Flagship reopen after renovation.

    Details here: https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/clubs/flagship-lounge.jsp (and a few blogs too)

    • Simon Schus says:

      (I have a ORY-JFK-BOS trip coming up with BA OpenSkies and AA that this will be fun for).

    • Yes, a lot of coverage on OMAAT about this – good for Sapphires although a bit of a deval for BA Gold/Emerald given the marked increase in busyness compared to before. Still a big step up from the usual AAdmirals Club lounges though!

  8. No showers… I’ve asked.

  9. Agree No1 in the South Terminal need more competition. Tried twice recently – turned away both times as “full”, not able to wait list and couldn’t book in , as have to do day before hand ( was told this ) . Appreciate one was May half term, so potentially busy but other time was around 11am on Tuesday 11th July -not that I would consider a peak time or day..

    Do object to paying an additional fee to enter a lounge, that I will get get some sort of charge/ cost to me via my Priority Passes. Finding it pretty pointless even turning up there. Never had these issues when at North Terminal