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!):
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!
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.
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.
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
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:
A separate article on Thursday covers the Speedbird Lounge.
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