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My review of the new British Airways lounges at Gatwick Airport South Terminal (Part 2)

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This part 2 of my review of the new British Airways lounges at Gatwick Airport.  Part 1 can be found here.

Inside the British Airways First Class lounge at Gatwick

The First lounge can be accessed by British Airways Gold members, and oneworld equivalent members, as well as ticketed First Class passengers.

To be honest, I wasn’t hugely impressed.  In fact, I wandered in by mistake and I thought I was still in the Business lounge.

(How did I wander in by mistake?  There is a doorway connecting the Business and First lounges.  During my stay it was permanently propped open so staff could carry trays in and out, so you could just wander in.  I am BA Gold so I would have been allowed in anyway, but we ended up in the Business lounge as they – correctly – would not allow my (Silver) wife and daughter in with me and my son.)

The furnishings are identical to the Business lounge.  The First area is also relatively small and I suspect, at certain times, it will be more crowded than the Business lounge.

What is different?  Well, you get the boardroom:

British Airways First Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

You get champagne (but this is also available on request in the Business lounge, I believe):

British Airways First Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

You get premium spirits (BA is still offering Johnnie Walker Blue):

British Airways First Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

You get a cooked breakfast – scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon etc:

British Airways First Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

You get a couple of Tracy Emin drawings:

British Airways First Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

You get an equally good view of the airport:

British Airways First Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

And that’s it.  The seating is identical to the Business lounge:

At some point, ‘cooked to order’ food will be available as it is in Galleries First at Heathrow.  This is not yet available due to the on-going electrical issues.

Food and drink in the British Airways Business lounge 

The breakfast offering in the Business lounge will be very familiar to anyone who has used Galleries Club at Heathrow.

The selection is pretty much identical, as are the coffee machines and the equipment used to store the food.

You have bacon rolls and omelette rolls:

British Airways Business Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

You have coffee:

British Airways Business Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

You have pastries:

British Airways Business Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

You have a wide selection of spirits:

British Airways Business Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

You have the usual wine selection:

British Airways Business Class lounge Gatwick Airport review

It was all perfectly fine.  However …. I have a bit of a problem with British Airways only offering a proper breakfast in the First lounge.  It wouldn’t be a major strain to also offer scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon in the Business lounge.  The First lounge would still have its ‘cooked to order’ menu as a differentiator and we’re not talking budget-busting costs here.

Now that cooked breakfasts in Eurotraveller are a thing of the past, adding such food back to the Business lounge menu would be welcome.

Conclusion

British Airways has done a good job with the new lounges in London Gatwick’s South Terminal.

Whilst it isn’t the easiest place to find, it is a lovely space and the designers have done a good job in creating different style of seating to serve the varying needs of travellers.

The food and drink is on a par with Heathrow and, given that Gatwick tends to play second fiddle to Heathrow, that is as good as you could have expected.

The South Terminal experience as a whole is now much improved.  BA passengers no longer need to take the monorail from the train station, security seems more efficient than the North Terminal – with a proper premium security lane – and the lounges are impressive.

The only downside is the shopping, which is still more easyJet than British Airways.  I’d personally like to see ‘King of Trainers’ and the like replaced by something more upmarket, although there is a Harrods concession and a Hugo Boss to pass the time.  I imagine that the retail offer will mature as existing leases expire.

If you want to see more of the new lounges, here is a short video (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.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (June 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three 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. The card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 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 a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

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 (65)

  • Mark says:

    I think King of trainers is more akin to the budget offerings of BA now days. It’s not like they’re a premium carrier anymore. They might like to think they are but they’re not. Far from it in fact!

  • Sue says:

    Not sure if Jo Malone have a shop in the South but I will be a bit fed up if there is no hand/arm massage and the opportunity to buy JM tax free any more. Arriving transatlantic early morning to have a pleasant massage made the wait for connecting flight more bearable.

  • Robert says:

    “The only downside is the shopping, which is still more easyJet than British Airways” A comment that shows this site is now a little behind the times.

    • Callum says:

      There’s always been a vaguely snobby undertone in this hobby, I can’t see BA going downmarket affecting that.

      • Rob says:

        Fundamentally, if you had no interest in any of the trappings of business or first class travel you wouldn’t be reading it …..

        • Callum says:

          There’s a difference between having no interest in premium travel and not liking snobby remarks about stores being for the “EasyJet crowd” and having to hide non-premier credit cards from dates or others in the supermarket queue out of embarrassment… As I said before, it’s an attitude problem not an objection to wealth.

          I always assumed they were just trivial off-the-cuff remarks, seems I may be wrong.

          Not that I’m demanding change of course – your readership no doubt love that attitude.

          • Rob says:

            These are pure factual statements. Gatwick had already started kicking out a lot of shops and restaurants from South over the last year. Frankie & Benny’s is being replaced by a funky new upmarket restaurant, for example. We all know what sort of shops were in North (50% BA, 50% Easy passengers). As South is – factual statement – more downmarket than North was, you have to assume that it will improve to at least the level of North. Whether it surpasses the level of North is a different question but one we will know the answer to within a year.

          • Callum says:

            Those are not “pure factual statements” – they’re loaded with judgement. A pure factual statement would be along the lines of “changing to stores targeting a more wealthy clientele”. I’m sure if you applied the same concept to an individual instead of a group, you’d see just how judgemental it is.

            I fully accept I have a chip on my shoulder with regards to this so perhaps seem unreasonable though!

    • Rob says:

      I suggest you are out of touch with the BA demographic (as is BA …..) Not met a single person in our ludicrously expensive ski hotel this week who flew anything except BA despite the myriad of options.

      PS. Hi to the woman who recognised me 🙂

      • Alan says:

        Unless you fly from EDI of course, hardly anyone with skis/boots heading to BA – everyone on Jet2 and easyJet to GVA! The RFS devaluation and hassle of LHR transfers has pushed most folk onto the direct carriers.

        I enjoyed the irony of No 1 Lounge being mobbed given it is located in the former BA EDI Lounge 😉

  • Seb says:

    Gold member and Weekly commuter for the last 2 years on gatwick-schipol , I agree with the description in the article. Not impressed with the first lounge, very similar to business. I actually had to start in the business lounge as the first only opens at 7am and I have always been arriving at 6.30am to have my cooked breakfast in the lounge…. I had to go with a bacon roll! And then checked out the first lounge for 10mins before going to the gate . Only positive would be more power sockets.
    Apparently lots of complaints for the opening time, even the staff was complaining and hope the decision will change… according to them , the rule is the first lounge opens 3h before the first flight that has first class…
    I already regret the club room and its very good service…

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