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Review: back in the First Class Lounge at London City Airport (and you thought it didn’t have one)

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This is our follow-up review of the First Class Lounge at London City Airport.

You may not know that London City Airport has two lounges tucked away in the private jet terminal (‘Jet Centre’) next door.  The Business Class Lounge costs £35 and is a standard airport lounge experience, requiring you to head back to the main building for departures.  The First Class Lounge lets you use a private security line and be driven to your aircraft.

Anika reviewed the First Class Lounge here.  I finally got to try it on Friday.  For clarity, I paid for my wife and myself but I did not have to pay for my children due to our relationship with the Jet Centre team.  It was money well spent to avoid City’s departure areas on the Friday night of half term – last time we used City on a Friday we all had to sit on the floor.

It was a genuinely civilised experience.  It isn’t flash (don’t come here looking for Johnnie Walker Blue or Dom Perignon) but there was never more than one other group in the lounge for the time we were there.  They even let my kids – but not the parents – put on hi-viz vests and have a look inside one of the private jets parked up.

London City Airport First Class Lounge

When it was time to go we went through the private security channel and were driven to the steps of our BA plane, which was very cool.  Note that BA’s JFK flight is excluded due to the extra security rules for US departures.

Is this a cheap experience?  No, not at £95 per person.  Is it ‘worth it’?  Well, there are different definitions of ‘worth it’, of course.  It helps if you’re a bit of a lounge / aviation geek.  It’s a no-brainer if you charge your work by the hour and can fit something in before you fly.  Put it this way … I’d rather pay £95 for this and fly in Economy (which we did) than pay for Club Europe and have to use the standard City Airport procedures.

My only caveat is that, if you have checked luggage, you need to drop it in the main terminal as usual which is a bit of a pain.  The Jet Centre team will pick you up from the airport bus stop afterwards.  It is FAR smoother if you are on hand baggage only as you can then head directly to the Jet Centre and avoid the main building.

Anika’s full review of London City’s First Class Lounge is here.  Anika also did a 60-second video which is on YouTube here.

One lounge photo is above.  A full set are on our Instagram page (I couldn’t photograph the car or the security set-up.)  You can book the lounge here – it MUST be done in advance so that your passport details can be cleared.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (July 2024)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit 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 1,500 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £24.  You get four 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 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.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (104)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • BJ says:

    OT: Hilton Aberdeen TECA opening soon. Has spa, leisure facilities, business lounge and airport shuttle. Yet more very cheap weekend nights to flip during promotions 🙂

  • Munch says:

    OT I’m looking for advice on the following Virgin Atlantic booking.

    Currently I have enough points for two return tickets MAN to JFK and two vouchers from my Virgin credit card to upgrade each leg to premium. The points are spread across two accounts -mine and the wife. I’m also looking to book a 3rd seat using my £200 off Amex offer also in Premium.
    My preferred route is to book my wife and daughter using the points and myself using the Amex offer so I collect additional points to my account for the paid flight.
    Is it possible to book using points from my account for my daughter although I will be flying on a paid ticket via Amex? If so I assume I would need to call Virgin after the paid flight is complete to confirm my seat so we all fly together?
    This way I will maximise the offer and receive additional miles and tier points for the paid flight.

  • Down the Back says:

    How do you move Avios from Iberia to BA ? Searched on here and tried all 3 methods outlined by Rob previously, 1) Log into Iberia will only let you move from BA to Iberia, 2) Log into BA, will only let you move from BA to Iberia, 3) Open an Avios account, not possible, will only let me open an airline account, Iberia, BA, Aer Club, Meridiana or Vueling.

    How do you now get your Iberia points into your BA account ?



    • Peter K says:

      You open an Aer Lingus account or Veuling and it can be used on the “hosting” website. Then use combine my avios from Iberia to the based account you have just opened and then from there to BA.

      • Down the Back says:

        Thanks Peter, very straight forward and I now have an Aer Club Account as well 🙂


  • Waddle says:

    Quite OT:
    Not sure if anyone will be able to answer this. Will I still be able to keep the HSBC Premier World Elite CC if I suddenly lose Premier status with the bank? Just wondering if the eligibility criterium is for applying or holding.

    • Peter K says:

      So you’re wondering Waddle happen? 😉

    • Qwerty Bertie says:

      You’ll be able to keep it, same as with Premier mortgages. You won’t be able to churn it though.

    • Rob says:

      No. But someone who dropped off the Premier criteria told me yesterday that he was allowed to keep it if he opened a HSBC broking account (£40 fee) and bought 1 share through it.

      • Qwerty Bertie says:

        Is that “no” from experience or supposition based on some wording you’ve seen? My wife has temporarily lost the status due to movement of savings, and there was no change with either her Premier mortgage product or her ordinary Premier card. They did amend her sole current account to an Advance though. I’d therefore be amazed if they downgraded the WE card, especially as it has an annual fee paid in advance, unlike her card.

        • Rob says:

          It was based on people losing Premier fairly consistently and I assumed the card would go too. Or perhaps HSBC is so keen for the £195 that they turn a blind eye?

  • Qwerty Bertie says:

    Given most of the reported experiences I’ve seen on here, this is not a good card to churn because users have struggled to get both lots of 40k points without paying the 2nd year’s fee. A few have said they managed it, albeit with considerable hassle on the telephone, but they seem to be the minority.

    My own experience is positive. I not only managed to get the 40k points for £12k spend without the 2nd year’s fee, I also managed to get the points wells before the anniversary. It did involve phoning them, but I wouldn’t describe it as hassle. I was just polite and friendly, and requested what I wanted rather than demanding it. I never once referred to terms & conditions either.

  • Alex Sm says:

    Did anyone stay at Pullman next to Brussels Midi? Any good?

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