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Review: BA’s (temporary) Speedbird Lounge at London Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal

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This is my review of the British Airways temporary Speedbird Lounge in Gatwick Airport’s South terminal.

As I wrote in my companion article to this one, British Airways has not been allowed to open its new Gatwick South lounge complex on safety grounds.  It isn’t clear if this problem will take days or weeks to resolve.

In the meantime, these are your options:

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 and discussed again in my article yesterday.

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

After I left the Clubrooms, I made the 30 second walk to the Speedbird Lounge.

You can tell from the elaborate entrance signage that BA has known for a while that the main lounges were not going to open on time.  It takes a few days to arrange this sort of thing:

Review British Airways Speedbird Lounge Gatwick South

Inside, frankly, it was fine – which is what you would expect, given that BA moved in 8 hours after Virgin Atlantic had departed!  All Virgin signage has gone although these clocks are a giveaway:

Review British Airways Speedbird Lounge Gatwick South

The Speedbird Lounge is a decent sized space.  It was very busy when I arrived but quietened down.  There are also lots of hidden corners where you should be able to find a quiet spot:

Review British Airways Speedbird Lounge Gatwick South


Review British Airways Speedbird Lounge Gatwick South


Review British Airways Speedbird Lounge Gatwick South

Food, when I was there in the morning, was limited.  The ‘envelopes’ you see in the picture below contain three different types of bacon sandwich – plain, with ketchup and with brown sauce.  That’s your lot!   At least you can get a takeaway for the plane in order to avoid the ‘buy on board’ service.

Review British Airways Speedbird Lounge Gatwick South

There was also cereal, fruit, croissants etc along with numerous coffee machines and juice.

Review British Airways Speedbird Lounge Gatwick South

If you’ve got children, there is a decent sized kids room albeit with nothing in it except seating.  I’m not sure if it had more in it in the Virgin days:

Review British Airways Speedbird Lounge Gatwick South

There is also a bar.  I didn’t take any photos but it is in the video below.  There is no self serve alcohol available.

All in all, this is a perfectly satisfactory – albeit not luxurious – lounge that will do the job until the official BA facilities open.  There is certainly no need to arrive at Gatwick excessively early just to visit, however.  I found it substantially poorer than the No 1 Lounge in Gatwick North which BA used as a temporary lounge during 2016, especially in terms of the food offering.

If you have a BA Gold card then you need to decide between here and the Clubrooms.  The food, drink and ambiance is vastly superior in Clubrooms, but the space is small and dark.  It is also designed for groups, so solo travellers will be expected to share a table.

To give you a better impression of what you can expect, here is a short YouTube video of the British Airways (temporary) Speedbird Lounge at Gatwick South.  You can subscribe to our YouTube channel via this page – this is the same link to visit if the video does not automatically appear below.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 2024)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit card.

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £24.  You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (54)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • chris says:

    Had a notice pop up on a an upcoming BA booking to Amsterdam. Something to consider if you are doing back to backs

    British Airways flights from Amsterdam now close 1 hour before departure
    23 January 2017

    The Dutch Military Police recently introduced new measures around the capturing of data from European passports, where 1 in 10 or passports were scanned. This has since changed so that all passports are scanned. The Schengen and Non-Schengen sections of the airport mean that the Non-Schengen part of the terminal effectively becomes a Dutch Border, meaning passengers leaving the Netherlands are recorded when departing as well as when entering. This has increased the queues at the passport control desks, which in turn is causing delays at the Airport Security search. To ensure that passengers have enough time to reach the gate, check-in for all British Airways flights from Amsterdam now close 1 hour before departure. Please ensure you allow plenty of time to reach the gate.

  • Polly says:

    Chris, thought you could sneakily stay airside! Many have done that in the past…or am l,opening a can of worms here!

    • Alan says:

      I’ve found LGW quite bad for that – one time the bus brought us in to the baggage hall and there was no obvious way out apart from main exit and re-entering (I believe there might be some well-hidden corridor that lets you do it but I’m not sure where it is!). For my more recent time you stay airside but then mix with other connecting passengers from non-UK flights and thus have to go through security all over again! As we had a massive connection we just went out through UK Border at that point (having only flown from Edinburgh!) and after a couple of hours went back in through the usual route. Definitely not a particularly well-designed system in my experience!

      • Polly says:

        Alan, l was thinking AMS, actually! In uk def have to go through again, actually. Used to be able to do at dub too! Just hop back on same plane. Staff mildly surprised to me on the return leg

        • Alan says:

          Oops yes, sorry replied the email re your reply but forgot the context of Chris’ comment! B2B would be doable in Edinburgh normally, although occasionally they surprise you and bring you in by bus to a landside area!

  • Adam says:

    I’m in speedbird now. Staff on the entrance said they are getting in the new lounge ‘next week’, but weren’t sure which day exactly. Hopefully on the way back from my two week trip I can see it.

  • BJ says:

    Please find below your personal assistance reply from British Airways.

    If you have any questions after reading our message, don’t hesitate to reply to this email – or if your query is urgent you can telephone our Customer Support team:

    Subject : Could you indicate when the new lounge for club europe passengers will be openin… [Incident: 170128-001362]

    Response By Email (Muthuganesh) (29/01/2017 02.56 AM (GMT))
    Dear Mrs

    Thank you for writing to the Club about your lounge query.

    I would like to inform you that in South Terminal, our fabulous new lounges will be opening in the coming weeks. Until then we would like to invite you to make use of the following lounges:

    We would like to invite customers travelling in our First cabin and Gold card holders to use the No1 Clubrooms lounge as identified on the map overleaf. In addition, all customers eligible for lounge access travelling to New York, Bermuda and Jersey are invited to make use of this lounge.

    We would like to invite all other customers travelling in our Club cabins and Silver card holders to use the Speedbird lounge, a temporary lounge set up for the dedicated use of British Airways customers.

    Please let us know if we can help you with anything else.

    I hope this information is useful to you.

    Kind regards
    British Airways Executive Club

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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