This is my review of the new My Lounge at London Gatwick’s South Terminal.
The ‘third party lounge’ situation at BA’s Gatwick hub – the South Terminal – has been a mess for some time. A victim of its own success, so many airlines have contracted space for their own premium passengers in the No 1 Lounge Gatwick South (reviewed here) and its sister Clubrooms operation that it is very difficult to get in at peak periods using a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card.
(What you can do is pay £5 to reserve a spot in the No 1 Lounge via this website. This also allows you to use Premium Security at Gatwick so is arguably not bad value.)
Last year we exclusively revealed some news. The old Virgin Atlantic lounge – unused since Virgin Atlantic switched to the North Terminal – was being split into two. Half is being used to create a Club Aspire lounge, due to open shortly. The other half was used to create My Lounge Gatwick South.
Before you get too excited …. you CANNOT access My Lounge using Priority Pass or Lounge Club cards. There are only three ways to get in:
- Fly Norwegian Premium on a Premium Flex ticket, as this is now the designated Norwegian lounge, or another airline which has a contract with My Lounge
- Pay – the best deal is this Virgin Atlantic offer at £15 with 400 Flying Club miles thrown in (the standard price is £24 booked in advance)
- Use a DragonPass lounge club card, of which NatWest Black is the biggest UK issuer
I am guessing, as Club Aspire and Priority Pass share a parent, that they are deliberately excluding MyLounge from the programme. This would also explain why the Plaza Premium lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5 is not in Priority Pass, to ‘protect’ the Club Aspire lounge.
Inside My Lounge Gatwick South
My Lounge is the first lounge you come to after exiting Gatwick South’s security channel. Don’t go down the escalator – take the opening to your left which is clearly signed ‘Lounges’, as all of the lounges are on the upper level.
Because My Lounge occupies the back half of the old Virgin lounge, a new entrance route has had to be created. If you look in this photo, you will see a green sign to the far left next to the sunglasses shop. This was the way into the Virgin lounge and will be the Club Aspire entrance. To get to My Lounge, you head down the main corridor shown.
The space is broken out into various zones. The ‘hipster’ vibe pioneered at the original My Lounge in Gatwick North has been carried over, and some of the furnishings are identical. Here are some general shots:
Interestingly, there is an outdoor terrace – although smoking is banned:
There are lots of windows although you can’t see any active runways. The picture below shows the view towards the British Airways lounge complex:
In general, it is a look I like. It is very similar to our WeWork office.
I didn’t see any newspapers but there was a table with magazines on it – Golf, Grazia, Red, Time and The Sunday Times Travel Magazine (which I should have picked up, as we’re mentioned this month).
Food and drink
The food and drink on offer was surprisingly decent. There is no cooked to order hot food here but no-one will starve.
The big problem for me is their obsession with not providing plates. You need to put your food into these cardboard boxes – which probably can’t be recycled as they are lined to prevent the box getting soggy – and eat with wooden cutlery. See below:
There is nothing environmentally friendly about this and it doesn’t even fit in with the ‘hipster’ vibe. Trust me, go into any Hackney or Shoreditch cafe and you will still be offered metal cutlery and ceramic plates however bearded the proprietor.
Here are some random buffet shots:
The hot food items were frittata bites, Boston beans and bacon bits:
I like the My Lounge concept and I think this lounge works well. The variety of seating, the outdoor terrace and the games room are good touches.
On the basis that few Head for Points readers have DragonPass, the question is “should you pay the £24 advance booking fee?”. I’m not sure it’s that good, although if you hit the sprits you’ll get full value.
I got in by booking the Virgin Atlantic offer – £15 with 400 Flying Club miles on top. I consider this a good deal. You also get to use the Premium Security channel at Gatwick South if you book in advance, which was TOTALLY empty at 7.30am on a Thursday. If you value the 400 miles at £4, a net £11 cost for Premium Security and access to My Lounge is worth it.
The big question is how it will compare to Club Aspire when that lounge opens in a few weeks. I will try to take an early look and let you know.
The main My Lounge Gatwick South website is here.