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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. Brighton Belle says:

    I tried no1 at Gatwick South Sunday afternoon. The terminal was pretty empty. The guy in front of me flashed his credit card at the No1 lounge computer and was given entry. Right behind him my Priority Pass got the “we’re full” response just as 6 people left.

    no1 are really only going to let you in if you pay them money. Priority Pass keep telling the fib you can access the lounge. … well in all probability you can’t. My last 6 attempts have been rejections.

    • flyforfun says:

      I got rejected at T3 LHR 3 times out of 4. The one time I had my partner with me I prebooked access and we got in without them saying they were full!!!

      At LGW I’ve prebooked only because of the premium access to security, although the regular line looked pretty fast anyway.

    • This makes no sense though, let’s be honest. If they let you in they get probably £10-12 from Priority Pass. A lounge is a fixed cost business with very low variable (the food and drink you consumer will cost them a couple of quid at most). Only an idiot wouldn’t let in as many people as possible.

    • Lady London says:

      Is that just at Gatwick South? I have never had a problem getting in at Gatwick North No. 1. Have I just been lucky?

    • Lady London says:

      Did you not take the credit Priority Pass offer and go to the Grain Store?
      I have no reason to fly out of Gatwick South right now, but I’m very keen to try it as it’s much recommended.

  2. Brighton Belle says:

    One method to get a second Amex card is to appeal to a manager and ask to move half the credit limit from the existing card to the new application. Amex risk is not changed and you get the new card. A mate has done this several times.

    • Thanks will give this a go, only thing to check would be if they would track the referral from my inital application or would process it as a new referral-less application.

      • Brighton Belle says:

        My mate always gets his points which is why does it. If the refused application was driven off a referral and then Amex accept it you are probably ok.

  3. R.e. Priority Pass / Dragon Pass

    I travelled through LGW S yesterday. After presenting my Priority Pass at No 1 Lounge, I got turned away as it was busy and told to try again in half an hour. So popped across to try my £15 credit at the Grain Store. The very nice chap welcoming people at the desk out front confirmed I would get credit with the Priority Pass but then, with a penetrating gaze, asked if I had a DragonPass, as my Priority Pass card would not work if I had a DragonPass.

    I was on autopilot having had no breakfast, so simply said I didn’t have a DragonPass (I don’t), and was welcomed in with open arms, fed breakfast and coffee and charged nothing. But only later did the questions begin to thrum in my head. Was he lying? Or did he misspeak? Or is there an unspoken protocol about the DragonPass nullifying Priority Pass visits at the Grain Store? And if there is, how would they check?

    I should have gone back and asked probing questions for the hungry minds at Head For Points but I was late for the flight so I didn’t. Maybe I will next time I pass through. Or maybe you will, dear HfP reader.

    • I’d interpret that as meaning either
      1 – They’ve had people ask if they get credit for PP, but subsequently turn out to actually have Dragon Pass instead (not as well) as PP
      2 – The 2 schemes both allow you £15 credit, but you can’t use both on one visit

    • Priority pass is the one you get with AMEX platinum right? Presumably the ones you get with the Gold card aren’t eligible for use at the Grain Store and, given other posts above, are unlikely to get you in to a lounge and are, therefore, completely useless?

      • Lounge Club (Amex Gold) is valid at Grain Store and will be valid at Club Aspire when it opens (plus No 1 if you can get it or pay the £5).

        • Lady London says:

          or, rewritten based on HfP reader feedback, (plus No 1 if you pay the £5) 🙂

  4. Barry Shooter says:

    Paid to use MyLounge en route ro Madeira very early on 27th December. Thought the food only adequate and completely spoilt by the cardboard plates and wooden cutlery.
    Travelled BA economy and thought the MandS food offerings pretty poor too.
    Stayed at Reid’s Palace in Funchal. Wow what a superb experience.
    Paid £5 each for Gatwick Premium UK Passport Control for our return. What a unique service – straight through – bypassing the queue and no faffing with the egates

  5. funkypigeon says:

    OT: Thanks to those that helped the other day with using the Amex 2-4-1 voucher.

    I am trying to assemble the following trip:

    GLA – LHR – HND in First (stay for 8 days) (777)
    NRT – HKG (Cathay Pacific in Business) (stay 4 days) (option of 777, A330 or A321)
    HKG – LHR – GLA in Premium Economy (A320).

    Using the 2-4-1 voucher from GLA-LHR-HND and returning HKG-LHR-GLA. Is this possible? The NRT-HKG segment would be booked just using Avios.

    This comes to a combined 202,000 Avios and around £1100 taxes/fees. A direct return to Tokyo would be around £1400.

    I have never been to either of these destinations before. Do you think the length of time in each is enough? I would ideally like to visit elsewhere in Japan but wonder about lugging the suitcases! Ideally I would like to go to Tokyo on the 787 but those flights are quite limited

    Thank you for any advice on the above.

    • 8 days might be a bit much for Tokyo, could you look at doing a trip to Osaka or Kyoto while you’re there? 4 days is fine for Hong Kong, that would give you time to do the main sites (HK Island one day, Kowloon one day, outlying island, maybe Lantau or Lamma one day). You’ll have a full day the day you leave as the flights are very late. You’ll need to book this on the phone as it’s open jaw but that’s not really a problem.

      Narita is a long way out of Tokyo but Cathay fly Haneda too which is much easier to get to if timings work and flights are available. I found searching for NRT-HKG and HND-HKG returned more availability than TYO-HKG. There’s a mix of regional and long haul A330/777 aircraft on HKG-TYO; regional is 2-3-2 recliner seats (like US Domestic First), long haul is proper 1-2-1 flat beds. The A321 – presumably Cathay Dragon – will be 2+2 recliners. Have a look at seat configuration maps or use Google flights; that will tell you if it’s recliner or flat bed at the moment. If times and availability match, flat-bed would be my preference. They do have a bit of a reputation for aircraft swaps so nothing is guaranteed.

      • funkypigeon says:

        Thank you for the advice. Tokyo to Hong Kong is tempting as I would like to try out Cathay Pacific and it isn’t much Avios either! Taxes are also low. It might be a tad unrealistic though as perhaps it would be better to spent all of the time in Tokyo.

        • Cathay business is very good. We did J on a long haul 777 from HKG-NRT and F back from HND-HKG last spring. Be sure to check the “Avios and money” option on redemptions as they were good value when I booked. J was 20k Avios plus the taxes, or 11k Avios and an extra £75 cash. Here you are “buying” Avios for 0.83p which you would struggle to lose on.

    • Agree with Stu. If this is your first time to either, I’d try and spend some time in Kyoto or Osaka (Kyoto is my preferred!). The Shinkansens are expensive but very easy to use. When I to Japan, I did Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo all on the trains and luggage was easy.

      • Japan domestic flights are also cheap using Avios but choose the airports carefully

      • funkypigeon says:

        How much time in total would you say, if I wanted to get a flavour for the country? How much roughly are the Shinkansens?

    • Genghis says:

      For Japan, research the “Takkyubin” luggage forwarding services.

      If you’ve never been to Japan before, I’d recommend maximising your time there (you can route through HKG for future SE Asian trips). I’d recommend only a few days in Tokyo before getting out to see the rest of the country.

      Best part of Japan is Kyushu but not many tourists venture there.

      If you tell us what you like, happy to advise on sights / restaurants / food etc.

      • +1 for Takkyubin, we took 2 cases and flipped flopped them as we travelled always forwarding one 2 stops ahead. Fabulous service.

        • New Card says:

          + another 1 for takkyubin. Beats hauling large suitcases around train stations hands down.

      • funkypigeon says:

        Hi Genghis,

        Thanks for taking the time to reply to me – I appreciate it.

        It’s just been a dream to go to Japan. I liked the idea of visiting Tokyo and do want to visit the other places too but worried about shifting between hotels with luggage. I will definitely look into what you recommend with the luggage transfers.

        I want to feel like I have done Japan properly. It will be a while before I can afford to go back. I envisaged going to Tokyo and Kyoto but I am open to visiting other places. I even thought would staying in a capsule hotel – just to say I’ve done it (for one night only!!!).

        I do like historical sights and museums. I love my pour over coffee which is Japanese influenced with the Kalita wave and Hario V60!

        Separately, it has also been a dream to fly first class. I am £900 away from earning the Amex 2-4-1 voucher and I have 198,000 Avios points. My local airport is Glasgow, if that helps. I am not really keen on the B777 as have watched Youtube videos and think they look dated? I may never fly first class again so want the best experience. I don’t necessarily need to fly F coming back – CW or even PE would be okay. I have only ever flew Economy. I suppose I want the best experience I can possibly get. I am a teacher, so largely bound by school holidays – however there are some flights on the 3/4th July (Off Peak) but it’s on the B777.

        If I want to do Japan ‘properly’ how much time should I spend there? Thanks again for your advice. I am flexible to the exact route I take, but am largely limited to BA (because of the 2-4-1 voucher) and my 198,000 Avios (unlikely to increase substantially anytime soon).

        Best wishes,

        Shaun.

        • The First seat is much the same between 777, 747 and A380. I’d rank them A380>777>747. The 787 F seat is different and have not yet flown on that so can’t offer an opinion.

          I do think there’s a lot of over-thinking out there on which is the best aircraft and best seats in the cabin. My view is that if you’re not used to flying first, they are all pretty good options and such a vast step up from economy it’s not worth worrying about the differences too much.

        • Genghis says:

          Hi Shaun,

          I wouldn’t be too worried about moving between hotels with luggage. The public transport system in Japan is excellent but does at times get busy. Have a read of this now rather dated website: https://www.onebag.com/. I read it a number of years ago and put into practice a number of ideas. I now travel hand luggage everywhere whether it’s a trip of a few days or three weeks.

          Last time I went to Japan was in September for work, both on the 77W out in J and back in F to HND. I hate the J cabin as it lacks storage space and is a proper dormitory but F isn’t bad – it’s just not the best aircraft for F. I managed a day in Hakone.

          Based on what you’ve said, my advice for you would be to fry the 789 in F to NRT and then return on the 788 from Osaka, spending as long as you can: a few days in Tokyo, one or two days in Hakone to experience onsen and see Mt Fuji then onto the Kansai area: Himeji castle, Nara temples and pagodas, Kyoto temples, walks etc and a night at a template in Koya-san.

          To save cash, it might be worth looking at doing a Hakone day trip from Tokyo (buy the Hakone free pass from Shinjuku and travel on the Odakyu line) and then fly to Osaka Itami (avios flights). However, this way you’d miss the full experience of the Shinkansen. As such, look at a weekly JR rail pass.

          Food in Japan IME is always of high quality. Some is expensive, some less so. If on a budget seek out ramen and katsudon rather than kaiseki. Lunch set menus can be very good value.

          Once you’ve got your itinerary more firmed up, happy to advise on specifics.

        • funkypigeon says:

          Thanks again, Genghis. I like what you’ve recommended. For some reason it won’t let me reply to your comment above. How would I look for availability from Osaka to Heathrow? Can’t seem to find it on BA redemption finder or BA’s website?

        • funkypigeon says:

          Thanks Stu N. I might just be over thinking it a bit! Is there a way to check the aircraft using the BA code e.g. BA0028 to see how old the plane is, for example?

        • ankomonkey says:

          @Genghis – Odakyu Line out of Shinjuku – legendary knowledge 🙂 Never thought the mighty Odakyu Line would manage a mention of HfP!

        • Genghis says:

          @ankomonkey 🙂 it was only a few months ago I rode it. And reading and remembering kanji helps – “small rice terrace express”

        • Genghis says:

          rice field even!

        • A dummy booking is the easiest way to work out what is scheduled to fly a route on any given day.

          Hong Kong has been 1×777-300 and 1x A380 a day for years but the aircraft operating BA27/28 and BA31/32 changes seasonally.

          Other Asian routes are mostly 777s with a few 787s in there.

  6. OT: Relative newbie to this, but had a strange answer from BA which I was hoping to check.

    – I want to fly Heathrow to Toronto return, and need to book this in economy because it’s all my employer will refund.
    – It’s only £150 extra (ticket cost) to upgrade the return leg to premium with cash, and then there’s availability to upgrade to business with Avios.
    – When I called BA to find out if this was possible they said the cash upgrade would be fee-free if done within the first 24 hours of booking, but that the Avios upgrade would trigger a £150 fee (rather than the £35 I was expecting) as “you’re only allowed one change to the ticket”.

    Does this sound right? I’ve called back to reconfirm it and just keep getting passed around departments who don’t seem to know.

    Thanks in advance!

    • You sure the extra charge isnt higher APD for the biz class seat instead of Economy APD ?

      • No APD on the Toronto to London leg which is the leg the OP wants to upgrade.

        The £150 charge for the UUA from WTP to Cl. sounds like additional BA surcharges (not taxes) rather than the change fee.

        • Thanks so much for the replies. I was told it was purely a fee to change, with surcharges extra. It does seem really odd, and doesn’t tally with what I’ve read elsewhere. Surely upgrading shouldn’t count as rebooking.

        • Lady London says:

          Wow. Surely there can’t be any more British Airways greed.

          Even if APD did apply, and it doesn’t because it’s the return leg that doesn’t start in the UK that OP wants to upgrade, then the actual charge from the government for APD is pretty much the same across Premium Economy, Business and First. Any jump in APD would have been already paid with the move from Y to PY. After that, APD itself should make no contribution to any more money demanded by British Airways. So what else can this £150 increase be except for carrier greed charge by BA?

          Maybe the devaluation we spent the last 9 months of last year all waiting to be announced, has been stealthily done by BA increasing all the cash charges already? and without any announcement at all?

        • Memesweeper says:

          Remember all your expenses are tax deductible on a business trip, even if your employer doesn’t reimburse you. You’ll need to do a tax return to recover the money though.

    • Lady London says:

      PS practically speaking, I’d start again and HUACA and do the whole thing in one go on the phone.

  7. NCOT (Not Completely Off-Topic)
    I took advantage of the Iberia Business promotion advertised on HfP in October to buy a CE return from Gatwick to Barcelona 1-4 Jan 2019. Check-in at GTW was a bit messy but we managed and got us some pleasant time in the N1 Lounge Gatwick South.

    Now for the OT part: neither leg of our trip has been credited to our BAEC accounts. I did as was explained in the article: booked on Iberia.com without logging as an IB+ member, entered BAEC account numbers, received the confirmation with IB flight number and BAEC accounts.
    I tried submitted a claim on ba.com with the ‘flight partner’ method (since we received an IB flight number although it was operated by BA), but it was denied after 2 days without explanation. Today I tried the BA claim instead, but their validation process returned the IB flight numbers again and indicated ‘partner flight’, which suggest they won’t take it into account as a BA claim – I haven’t received any claim receipt email anyway.

    Do I need to contact BAEC?

    Thanks

    • You can also PM BAMissingAvios on Flyertalk

    • One of the few flights I have had fail to post was an IB codeshare on BA – a phone call to BAEC got this sorted out. My BAEC number was on the boarding pass but I think there’s a bit of an issue with these posting automatically. If that fails, try BAMissingAvios route. Hopefully you won’t need to resort to dealing with Iberia…

  8. funkypigeon says:

    Thanks again, Genghis. I like what you’ve recommended. For some reason it won’t let me reply to your comment above. How would I look for availability from Osaka to Heathrow? Can’t seem to find it on BA redemption finder or BA’s website?

    • Genghis says:

      BA search function doesn’t let you find availability for new routes. Go to the booking page instead to see availability.

  9. @ Genghis
    I really appreciate all you comments here 🙂 Adding a tip to all as I’ve been few times to Japan now: avoid Easter as I found that showa day leads to golden week. So it will be very crowded!
    This year I will do LHR-MAD-NRT HKG-LHR, I’m planning now a Kyushu itinerary for 7 days and then I’m down to Vietnam for relaxing and then HKG just for 2 nights so I can that cheap avios flight back

    • Genghis says:

      I’m happy to help. You can probably tell I love the place. I lived in Fukuoka for a couple of years so happy to offer tips on Kyushu once you’ve pulled together your itinerary.

  10. They now have these wood knifes and forks where I work and everyone hates them. Those cardboard trays are such a waste. Some small China plates would be much better.

  11. OT: when using a Virgin 241, can one use points to obtain two economy returns and then use more points to upgrade to business or upper?

    • Meant: obtaining a economy return plus one using 241. And then upgrade both with extra points?

      • Lady London says:

        Never used one but wouldn’t you only have to pay points for one upgrade? and the 241 taking care of the other one?

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