This is our review of the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South.
This is the lounge you will be using if you are flying on British Airways from Gatwick but do not have access to the brand new official British Airways lounge complex, which I reviewed here.
Anika wrote a review of the new No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South just after it opened last year. I was in Gatwick South two weeks ago on the way to Amsterdam, however, and I thought I would take a look for myself. The last time I was in this lounge was literally when it was a building site and No 1 let me have a sneak peak.
Overall, I was impressed.
The first thing to remember is that, when you pass through Gatwick security, do NOT head down the escalators. There is a doorway to your left which is for anyone who is heading to the British Airways or No 1 Lounge, or indeed any of the shops or restaurants on the mezzanine level. If you go down the escalator, you have to come straight back up again ….
I gained entry using the Priority Pass card which comes with my American Express Platinum card. Amex Platinum comes with 2 Priority Pass cards, each of which also admits a guest for free, so in theory one Platinum card covers a family of four for unlimited visits.
No 1 Lounges often refuse access to Priority Pass guests at peak times because the lounge gets overcrowded. This situation will only get worse as Norwegian adds more and more services, because No 1 has to assume that all Norwegian Premium customers will turn up and reduce capacity accordingly.
I arrived around 9.30am and got in immediately, although the staff said that they had been turning people away not long before. I was offered an upgrade to the Clubrooms, which I reviewed here, but turned it down. I would have headed to the main lounge even if I had been offered Clubrooms for free – whilst impressive, for a solo traveller it is a bit like sitting in a quiet pub on your own.
(Note that you can pay a £5 reservation fee for No 1 to guarantee that you get in with your Priority Pass or similar lounge access card. This is the page of the No 1 website you need. Until 31st August, paying the £5 fee will also let you use the Premium security channel at Gatwick.)
This lounge seemed more open plan than other No 1 Lounge facilities that I have visited. This is not necessarily a good thing because it had fewer of the ‘cosy corners’ where you might want to hide out.
This is the main dining area which is the first thing you come to on entering:
To your left are a couple of computers and a surprisingly decent selection of magazines. They actually appeared to have been chosen on the grounds of quality rather than who was willing to pay the most to get in:
Food is mainly ‘to order’ but there were a good selection of high quality pastries out:
Beyond the dining area is the bar, where you also place your food order:
The lounge has fantastic natural light, with two full length glass walls giving views over the stands and runway:
I ordered a bacon sandwich (free) which arrived promptly and was of higher quality than the chewy version offered by British Airways, although I admit that I have a soft spot for those too. In fact, I walked out of Galleries First in Terminal 5 a couple of weeks ago because they only do bacon sandwiches to order and I was pressed for time, so down the corridor I went.
Whilst not pictured, the lounge also has a small sports TV area and a library / quiet area which open onto the main area. The lounge has its own toilets – I can’t remember if they have showers.
All in all, the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick South is an impressive lounge with high quality food options. My only disappointment is that it is a bit too open plan for my tastes, but that is just a personal view.
If you want to find out more, or pre-book entry for cash, you can do so on the No 1 Lounges website here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (April 2021)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge 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.
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 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.