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My review of the new British Airways lounges at Gatwick Airport South Terminal (Part 1)

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This is my review of the new British Airways lounges at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal.

This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK.  You see all of the reviews here.

Following a false start two weeks ago, when I went over to see the new BA operation at Gatwick only to find the new lounges closed, I finally got to take a look last Saturday.

In general, I was impressed – more so by the Business lounge than the First lounge.  It is definitely ‘evolution’ not ‘revolution’ though.  If you are familiar with the Galleries lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5, the only radical new thing is this:

Molly Burgess

… which is a welcome improvement!

Getting to the British Airways lounges at Gatwick

…. is a faff, and the airport tries to make it even harder.  When you come through security, there are escalators taking you down.  Do not go down the escalators.  It is a trick!

The escalators drop you in the duty free shop, through which you have to do a snake-like walk to reach the departure area. At this point you need to go back UP another escalator to get to the lounges.  Don’t do it.

Instead, to your left immediately before the down escalators after security, is a passageway.  It is marked as the wheelchair route to the lounges.  Take it.  You will realise that you were very close to the lounges all the time!  That’s two minutes of drinking time saved.

A tiny corridor in between two shops leads you to the No 1 Lounge, No 1 Clubrooms and the BA lounges.  Whilst the No 1 facilities are on the same level as the upper level shops, BA passengers then need to head down another corridor, take a lift and then go down yet another corridor!  It is important that you leave the lounge in good time to get to your gate, which will take longer than it would in Terminal 5.

Click on any of the images to enlarge:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

The British Airways Business Lounge at Gatwick

There are two reception desks as you enter.  The First lounge is off to your left whilst the Business lounge is off to your right.

(The ‘Galleries’ branding is not being used at Gatwick.  I don’t know why as the furnishings are identical to other Galleries lounges.)

The lounge is effectively a long thin space, with exceptional views over the tarmac from the left hand side (once you are half-way in) and the far end.  There is also a mezzanine.

To break up the space, BA has installed a giant wine wall about half way down, roughly where the windows begin.  The area of the lounge before the wine wall was almost deserted when I was there.  This isn’t surprising, given that it has no natural light.  Everyone was congregating in the areas where you could see out of the windows.

You can see what I mean here:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

and here:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

and here:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

Once you get beyond this point, the lounge suddenly brightens up due to the fantastic floor to ceiling windows:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

What is impressive about the lounge is the number of different seating arrangement available.  If you want a private booth for two, there are some by the entrance.  If you want to sit in a small group, you can do that.  If you want to sit in larger group, there are spaces for that too.  I think everyone will find something to suit their personal style.

Power sockets

There aren’t any.  The reason the lounge was late opening was due to failed electricial safety checks.  In order to get it open, BA has blocked up the charging panels which are built into every table.  Even the wall sockets do not work.

When we were there, someone – staff or customer – had pulled up an area of carpeting to reveal two underfloor sockets.  Those were working.  Fundamentally, though, do not turn up here hoping to charge your mobile device.

For children

There is a small kids playroom available.  It is bigger than the one in Galleries North at Terminal 5 which is a bit of a joke as regular users know.  I couldn’t get a picture – apart from the football table shot at the top of the page – because it was being heavily used.

The big secret – the mezzanine

The new British Airways lounges at Gatwick South have a secret – a mezzanine floor.

Well, it isn’t really a secret, given that this big staircase is in the middle of the room:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

However, the area was totally, completely deserted when I went up.  If you want privacy, this is the place to be:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

No food is available but there is a coffee machine.  There is a great view down to the lower level:

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

In Part 2 of this review of the new British Airways Gatwick lounges I will look at the First lounge and the food on offer in both lounges.  You can read that by clicking here.

I also shot this video of the lounge (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.

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Comments (41)

  • Mike says:

    Does anyone know if the chaos at Gatwick North No 1 lounge has eased now that BA have moved to South Terminal. I have tried to get into North No 1 on several occasions in past year with Priority Pass and refused due to overcrowding with BA passengers. Passing through in 2 weeks time and any info appreciated.

    • Philip says:

      @Mike, we always make a reservation for the No 1 lounge in South Terminal.

      OK, it costs £5pp, but it means you don’t suffer the ignominy of being refused entry with your PP.

      Moreover it (currently) also gives you access to the Premium Gatwick (fast track) security line.

      • Mark says:

        just pre order glass of champagne for £6, saves paying £5 for nothing. If you purchase any additional items then they wave the £5 fee.

    • Lady London says:

      I’ve got in there every week for past 4 weeks at peak times. Recommend the brownies and chicken Caesar salad without the chicken. Never caught the lamb stew when featured as it was always sold out.

    • Sussex bantam says:

      I was in there Tuesday this week around midday. Virtually empty. Fish finger sandwich hasn’t improved though.

  • Philip says:

    Thanks for the “pro tip” about avoiding the duty free !!!

  • Sarah says:

    I had a nice visit to the business lounge on Sunday, and had spotted the deserted mezz pic on instagram so headed up there for a very pleasant few hours. I was stupidly early for the airport and the staff were nice about checking me in etc. Lounge was very busy but I didn’t have any trouble getting a quiet seat, champagne on request etc. Staff were really friendly and I found it much more relaxing than the T5 lounge. The food was better too!

  • Will says:

    Completely off topic anyone tried buying Hilton gift cards in order to trigger the Amex £50 credit?

    • the real harry1 says:

      no but nearly 100% certain not to trigger

      do report back, though 🙂

      • will says:

        Have we figured out if it’s cumulative spend? If it is then I have a card which is almost there and I’ll use the gift card to push me over.

        If not I’ll go for a fresh card with £250.

  • Mark says:

    Can’t believe they’ve not sorted the power problem.