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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 (June 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four 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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

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

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 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 30,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

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 (104)

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

  • Ant says:

    OT: we are flying from Singapore T2 on Malaysian Airline flying Economy but have BA Silver,
    and from KL on BA Business
    what are the best lounge to visit? Thanks

  • rams1981 says:

    OT if I have a non-refundable train ticket booked I can no longer make, can I claim this through insurance?

  • James says:

    OT When transferring avios from Membership Rewards to BA Executive Club, I understand that the name has to match on both accounts but does the registered address need to match?

  • Paul Stevens says:

    OT: Eurostar from Amsterdam to London has a stopover in Brussels. Are you allowed out of the station or are you kept in a pen? Also, aside from buying two tickets (Amsterdam to Brussels, Brussels to London) is there anyway to increase the stopover time?

  • BSI1978 says:

    Group of 9 of us travelling to Seville soon for a birthday celebration, of the group 4 are silver. Keen to start the trip in the best way so does anyone know if there are any circumstances where BA allow an additional guest into their lounges?

    Think I know the answer but worth posing


  • marcw says:

    Personally, I would arrive just in time for boarding/check-in in LCY, with quick check in and security lines. With hand luggage only, I usually arrive 30 min before scheduled departure.

    Everything else is a waste of money/time.

    That’s the advantage of using LCY: small, quick and efficient. There’s really no point going there too early. Spend your money and time somewhere else – £95 per person is a lot of booze.

  • Nigel W says:

    On a completely different note, I have just been resent a new Lloyds Avios Amex and Mastercard today with a 03/22 expiry. What on earth is going on? I thought it was meant to be completely shutting down next month?!

    • Rob says:

      It is. The replacement card is automatic, it will still be closed in a few weeks.

      • Alan says:

        Has anyone received a letter yet? Nothing for me and into my new year next month so hopefully should manage another voucher in time.

      • S says:

        this is news to me. What happened to getting several months notice before closure?

        • rob says:

          Is there any value in waiting for the card to be forecefully closed or just cancelling it very shortly anyway? I suppose it ties in with amount spent in relation to card years voucher.

        • BJ says:

          Any idea what will happen to those who have spent towards their next viucher; will they get voucher anyway without hitting target?

    • Brian W says:

      No letters for me x two Lloyds accounts.

  • krys_k says:

    Travel to Berlin a few times a year for work. Personally I much prefer the former East and Alexanderplatz is is my go to area. Sure the hotels aren’t the big splash that they are in the former West but I love the area. Stay at H4.

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

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