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Review: the No1 Lounge at London Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal

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This is our review of the No1 Lounge at London Gatwick South.

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

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 No1 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 No1 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 No1 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.

No1 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 No1 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 No1 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 No1 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:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

…. and

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

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:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

Food is mainly ‘to order’ but there were a good selection of high quality pastries out:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

Beyond the dining area is the bar, where you also place your food order:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

The lounge has fantastic natural light, with two full length glass walls giving views over the stands and runway:

No 1 Lounge Gatwick Airport South Terminal Review

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 No1 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 No1 Lounges website here.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (December 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.  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 you get 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 (36)

  • Andyb says:

    Agree No1 in the South Terminal need more competition. Tried twice recently – turned away both times as “full”, not able to wait list and couldn’t book in , as have to do day before hand ( was told this ) . Appreciate one was May half term, so potentially busy but other time was around 11am on Tuesday 11th July -not that I would consider a peak time or day..

    Do object to paying an additional fee to enter a lounge, that I will get get some sort of charge/ cost to me via my Priority Passes. Finding it pretty pointless even turning up there. Never had these issues when at North Terminal

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