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Review of 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 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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 Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

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

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

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

Additional lounge visits are charged at £20.  You get two 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 30,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

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

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network.  Guests are charged at £20 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.

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.

  • Jason says:

    Rather than “BA knowing the lounge wasn’t going to open”, I suspect the Virgin lounge was the contingency plan. And the signs and arrangements would have been put in place for that.

    It probably came down to a final decision on D minus 1.

  • Clive says:

    Given how many people don’t eat any meat, or red meat, or bacon… having only bacon sandwiches is pretty bad.

    • Rob says:

      It was actually the most ‘British’ BA thing I’ve seen in years. How can a choice of bacon roll, bacon roll with brown sauce or bacon roll with ketchup – served in a paper bag – not be enough to satisfy every true red-blooded Englishman?! It is even white bread, not ‘that dodgy brown stuff’. Throw in a bowl of bran flakes and muesli ‘for the ladies’, as they have as the pictures show, and I think they believe they’ve covered all the bases. Serve with a side dish of your complimentary BA Daily Mail. When you’ve finished, dont forget to visit the ‘King of Trainers’ shop opposite ….

      • Alan says:

        Haha I’m sure Farage would be delighted #BrexitAirways 😛

      • Cate says:

        Hmnnn sorry but cereals left out in the open on display does not appeal. Also, putting condiments on another person’s food is in (and forgive the pun) bad taste.

      • Lady London says:

        Oooh soooo Gatwick …

        I’ll bet they think they’ve got the ex-Gatwick holiday market served perfectly 🙂

  • Russell Evans says:

    I’m in here now. It’s actually alright. Glass #3 of the Prosecco at 07.15am not bad going. Disappointed to not be trying the new facilities but have let my feelings be known when they text me asking for feedback

  • Ben says:

    Rob i find the lounge situation (or lack thereof) at gatwick so confusing. There either arent enough lounges, or the lounges arent big enough. Which is it?
    Is there just no room for more lounges or to expand current ones? Surely they could add another floor to a part of a terminal to provide a lot more space like most airports would do?

    It would be great if you could do a post summarising the lounges at gatwick and who (in summary) has access. Or if such a post exists, please update in light of current changes.

    • Rob says:

      When this mess settles down, all you have is:

      No 1 – Priority Pass, Lounge Club, pay
      No 1 Clubrooms – cash only ( designed for family groups) or for those airlines who block out a room for their passengers
      BA Galleries

      It will be interesting to see if Aspire, Plaza Premium etc take over the old Virgin space once BA vacates.

      • Ben says:

        But surely this isnt sufficient for an airport the size of gatwick? Ive been turned away from the No 1 lounge with PP at Gatwick multiple times, including 10am on a Tuesday in early December – if that isnt an off-peak time i dont know what is!
        What do EK, CX, TAP, TK and the other full service airlines at Gatwick use?

        • Rob says:

          Emirates has a lounge. Most of the rest use No 1 / Clubrooms.

          • Kevin says:

            For Loungekey members it’s the No1 Lounge as well.
            In the North terminal there’s the choice of No1, Aspire and My Lounge so fewer options for now.

        • John says:

          CX will probably continue to use No1 with BA as an additional option

          You can also use No1 with IB (Express) for now, but I expect they will force you to use BA once it opens

  • Waribai says:

    Enjoying the tales of the BA lounge at LGW. Slightly OT, I’m BA silver so is my partner. Is there anyway our 4 year old daughter can accompany us through the Premium security channel?

    • Rob says:

      No problem. I would even do it if I was travelling with 4-5 mates, to be honest, in the same way I would take them all to a Club check-in desk.

      • Waribai says:

        Thanks. The reason I asked though was I believe the premium channel at Gatwick is based on bar code recognition. I wondered if a jobsworth might turn us back ?!

    • will says:

      I was travelling as a Gold through T5 with 3 other non status holders and was encouraged by staff to take the whole group to the fast lane.

  • DS says:

    OT – The Heathrow Rewards /Etihad 2500 points offer is back

    enter promo code EGAPR17 before 31 December 2017. 2,500 points will be awarded when £150 or more of qualifying expenditure is made….

  • EL says:

    When travelling from GLA or EDI to T5 you don’t need to go thru security again but always did with LGW North. Is it same with South terminal?

  • rams1981 says:

    OT 2 for 1.
    Interestingly Jo’burg to London has availability even now 355 days out. First time that;s been the case since I’ve been checking. It’s a Monday flight which may be why.

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

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