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Review: the new My Lounge at London Gatwick’s South Terminal

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This is my review of the new My Lounge at London Gatwick’s South Terminal.

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

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.

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

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:

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

and

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

and

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

and

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

Interestingly, there is an outdoor terrace – although smoking is banned:

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

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:

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

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:

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

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:

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

The hot food items were frittata bites, Boston beans and bacon bits:

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

and

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

and

Review My Lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

Conclusion

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.

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Comments

  1. As an aside I saw a thread on Flyertalk that Norwegian have quietly removed lounge access on the lowest premium fares, only including for flex

    Presume this is part of their cost cutting as with their enlarged cabins at Gatwick this would have have been running up a significant bill!

  2. premium security in the UK is generally a waste of time and certainly not worth paying for because the staff direct non-premium passengers to the same queue “when it’s not busy”. This means you end up queuing behind families and people who are not regular travellers who take longer to unpack their things, forget to remove liquids, try to blag their way through with bottles of drink etc.
    Much better are countries like japan where the premium security is quite separate and no non-premium passengers ever go near it. They have the premium check in and premium security separated from the regular check-in area and then direct access into the lounge after premium security.

    • Same with Dublin…you could easily walk past the fast track sign there..

    • Err, not at Gatwick S, and not at LHR 2 or 3 (can’t remember T5 as I use F wing)

    • Graham Walsh says:

      T5 is mostly ok. The odd time it is busy with muppets that can’t follow simple instructions. Not sure how they got out of bed and to the airport at times.

    • Gatwick is segregated to an extent – not sure if they push people across but they were not on Thursday. In Barcelona on Friday it was TOTALLY separate and a major relief, the main queue was HUGE.

      • planeconcorde says:

        I have been at Gatwick South Terminal premium security where I have seen people redirected from the main queue to the premium security machines. There are barrier lanes in place for this to happen after the boarding card scanner.

        • And when I have been there and appeared in the proirity queue I was directed straight to the tray area as were others behind me with normal queue held until the priority queue had cleared.

        • Lady London says:

          Had that at LHR T5 too. It seems to work well.

          I really don’t mind if non-premium are directed to the premium lane if the regular line is very overcrowded and there are no premium pax in the premium lane at the time!

    • Manchester. Premium security line. An exercise in stupidity. It would have to be a very very good price to ever get me through Manchester again.

    • Edinburgh Fast Track is now completely separate from the regular lines (opened in Dec).

      The design is very poor as you have to carry your trays to the scanner. It’s fine if you have contents of a shoulder bag, much less so if you have a cabin suitcase. Hopefully they have done something to improve it after initial opening.

  3. OT, no bits: Is anyone else having problems with Amex Offers not showing?

    • Spurs Debs says:

      On mobile app on phone my keep disappearing.
      I haven’t checked today. That’s on both my cards.

    • Seen this regularly recently on both cards.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Mine have not been there for days in either web or app.

      • I had a Gett taxi email confirmation literally 5 mins ago from the school run so all seems ok regardless.

    • johnny_c-l says:

      Mine have disappeared too; happened when I added a new card to the account on Friday.

      Also had an offer confirmation email came through from one I redeemed back in December!

    • Yes, going and coming. Seems they have problem at the moment.

      • On the subject of this, I had to cancel a Platinum card and have it replaced due to fraudulent activity and now I have 0 available offers and 0 saved offers. Is the consensus that this is just a glitch and my previously saved offers will still work? I called AMEX and they assured me that my saved offers would re-appear soon but it’s been a week now and there are 2 saved offers that I really want to use in the next few days.

        I really won’t be happy if the 2 offers don’t work because when combined they are worth £350 of statement credits (£200 off £600 travel and £150 off £750 bathstore)…

  4. TheThunderer says:

    O/t but no BITS today. I have been looking to trip the Virgin trains offer ‘spend £400 cumulatively, get £80 back’ offer which turned up on my Amex SPG in November. I have spent over £400 but the offer hasn’t triggered – the problem is several of my purchases on virgintrains.co.uk have turned up on the Amex card as purchases on trainline.com. 100% I booked on virgintrains.co.uk. I have online chatted to Amex who suggested I speak to Virgin and ask them to rebook. I’ve emailed Virgin, but they won’t recognise their own booking numbers or the transaction numbers. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Cheers TheThunderer

    • I suspect the trainline transactions are for flows not priced by VTWC – i.e. where all or the main part of the journey is on another TOC?

      • That shouldn’t make a difference as every TOC has to sell each others tickets and they earn commission on the sales. As thetrainline provides the booking engine for Virgin it’s perhaps a misconfiguration.

        • I was thinking maybe it redirects to a trainline back-end if you aren’t booking a ticket whose price is set by VTWC

  5. OT but falls into the ‘first look’ category. I stayed in the Lincoln Plaza recently which is a recently opened hotel in Canary Wharf. It’s part of Hilton’s new Curio collection. Curio is a brand for hotels that want the marketing value of being part of the Hilton network but want to have their own identity (so there’s no Curio or Hilton logos outside).

    The hotel is not fully open yet (work on the front, which should be complete this week meant having to go through a different entrance) but all the bars and restaurants are open. The leisure facilities should be open in a few months. You’re told about this when booking.

    There’s a Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen (like in the Hilton T5), a nice cocktail bar and another restaurant and bar. Breakfast is a la carte. I didn’t ask their policy but although I had to sign a receipt as a diamond it did not appear on my bill.

    There’s also a grocery store that sells a range of items. It had an interesting range of beers here so I bought some for the train. It stocked high end items that you’d not get in a usual store but if you wanted something more normal Tesco is round the corner!

    Prices are good at the moment as the hotel is still quiet. I think overall it’s a nice hotel. I used to live in Canary Wharf until recently so I’ve had no need to try the Hilton there so cant directly compare but this hotel was definitely nicer than a typical Hilton, although it doesn’t have an executive lounge.

    Any questions I’ll try and answer although I didn’t think to take pictures.

  6. James67 says:

    OT – I am about to cancel my Amex Platinum as have triggered the welcome bonus. I’m getting the Eurostar in 2 weeks, is it worth keeping the card for the Business Premier Lounge, and can I use Business Premier checkin and security if I keep the card?

    • Genghis says:

      Card is just viewed to get in lounge. No access to BP security though (need CB or BP ticket).

      • James67 says:

        Do they not swipe it then to check validity like they would with a PP?

        • Not for me, glanced at the card so casually it could have been one I’d printed.

        • How are they going to swipe it? They don’t sell access to Eurostar lounges so they don’t have card readers or any sort of payment terminals.

          The only thing I’ve heard is that some lounge staff are now looking on the back to see where the card was issued and are refusing Australian etc Platinum cards, which they are allowed to do.

  7. As usual Gatwick does the wrong thing. Before improving lounges the airport should resolve the mess that is arrival. Up hill and down dale from plane to baggage reclaim. Buses, narrow corridors, few lifts or escalators, crowds…. This is 2019 and Gatwick presents itself as a serious alternative to a new runway at Heathrow! Do they even know how it feels to pass through the airport? And I have not mentioned navigating tickets to platform in the train station…

    • Whereas at LHR T5 of course you simply have to take a train to Immigration, wait an hour for your (priority) luggage to arrive, and then wait another 10 minutes for a tube.

    • Perhaps you could suggest to the airlines using Gatwick that they add £10 to every ticket sold to fund these gate improvements? You know the lounge exists to make money right?

    • Were you arriving on a Domestic?

      It’s pretty shocking, narrow stairs, outdoors, standing in the rain. London City isn’t much better for stairs either.

      Gatwick Station is really easy. Tap your Credit Card or Oyster Card and use any service towards London except Gatwick Express (which is a fairly pointless service anyway).

      • You pay by Oyster and contactless on Gatwick Express if you really want to take it.

        Domestic arrivals will be improved sooner or later (supposedly this year)

        • Wonder if they’ll finally implement connections and stop forcing you out then back in security again.

  8. I’m surprised at the comment about there being so few DragonPass members. Barclays Bank offers it on their standard bank account with the Travel Pack+, as well NatWest, Clydesdale and a few other UK banks. They also sell membership on Groupon from time to time (tho it’s not promoted as much as Priority Pass). However the reviews of Gatwick lounges are awful on DragonPass, it’s nigh-on impossible to gain access.

  9. GeoffGeoff says:

    Dragonpass is also available if you sign up to the travel plus pack with a Barclays current account. It’s a bundle of annual travel insurance, RAC membership and the lounge card with 6 visits per year and additional visits for £15 each, all for a monthly fee of £18 from memory. A good deal if you can benefit from all 3 elements.

    • Yes, we’ve covered this occasionally in the past. Insurance is well regarded for being comprehensive.

      The fact that Plaza Premium T5 went from permanently empty to permanently rammed when NatWest adopted DragonPass is all you need to know, however.

      • Lady London says:

        Speaking of T5 Lounges, I honestly gave the Aspire Lounge at T5 a good try on 2 different days of the Christmas break.

        Basically I think it’s a waste of a Priority Pass usage. Even if you don;t have to pay for your Priority Pass visits.

        Rammed both times at times there was no particular reason for it to be rammed, spectacularly low quality of food, no variety in the food. Basically the cheapest possible option you’d feed to your teenage children if they needed fuelling in carbs not feeding nutritionally. No protein whatsoever in any of the hot dishes on the buffet. Not even any cheese anywhere near the pasta dishes. some very small wrapped pieces of cheese in the cool counter next to the buffet. desserts pretty non-existent. some sort of machine-made cake both times in little squares.

        Drinks – well beer and not much else. Soft drinks not by the bottle or can – all from dispensing guns or coca cola-type dispensers.

        Showers are available but for a very chunky additional fee.

        For an official on-the-door price of about £40 I just felt the Aspire lounge was cheaping out.
        Staff very efficient however, at clearing tables whilst people were still sitting there. Buffet constantly maintained even though most of the food was pretty cold on the so-called “hot” buffet both visits.

        I’d feel more comfortable sitting in noisy Pret and paying for what I want instead. I do have a Dragonpass and used it once for Plaza Premium. Despite it being crowded it was on a different level to the Aspire offering. While still not up to a good Asian airline lounge, it was excellently run and did deliver an element of quality in the environment and to some extent, the food and bev.

        If I didn;t know how bad the slop in the BA lounges at T5 is, and how poor the table clearing and how rickety the bathroom builds are, I’d almost miss the BA lounges.

        In future I’ll be paying for Plaza Premium as my lounge in T5 even though it will effectively cost me cold hard cash. I’d love another 3rd-party lounge there, I think Mylounge would fit.

        • Lady London says:

          Sorry for grump ! I was just so disappointed. I’d really hoped the Aspire lounge would add up to a worthwhile alternative to Plaza Premium in T5. But it just doesn’t.

        • Curious says:

          Does a flash of Amex Plat still get you into Plaza Premium T5 ?

        • Agree it’s rubbish – they don’t participate in Aspire awards programme either! EDI one far better. Plaza Premium generally my lounge of choice even though I’ve got BA Galleries access with status.

        • Lady London says:

          +1 on the EDI Aspire lounge @Alan. Very nice staff and quite decent food, nice environment a bit like mylounge. would happily use the BA lounge at EDI too if it’s the same as it used to be.

          • Was worried I might not get in today with the No 1 Lounge being shut for Jan but thankfully a Tues lunchtime was a quiet time and got in no issue!

  10. Couldn’t cope with eating yoghurt with a wooden spoon! If your lounge experience is for unlimited alcohol then you will enjoy this, otherwise avoid!

    • It’s just a horrible experience.

      Only way to make it passible is to leave the wooden spoon to soak in the yoghurt or other dessert whilst you are eating the rest of the food.

      Leaving it soaking in a cup of boiling sugared water for 5 minutes works too.

      • Lady London says:

        Good tip. thank you. that will help with the odd sandwich bar in town that gives wooden spoons too!

    • It was a bit odd, I must say, although not unpleasant – just weird.

      Metal cutlery impacts the way you taste food so you might even like the idea of doing a taste test with a wooden spoon!

  11. Charlie T. says:

    Any suggestions on best pay-to-enter lounge in Gatwick South for a family of four (kids are 1 and 3 so child friendliness key)?

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