easyJet is opening its first airport lounge in London Gatwick today. Sort of.
This comes hot on the heels of the announcement yesterday that the Club Aspire Lounge at Gatwick North has closed for good.
It is NOT taking over the former Club Aspire space. Instead, easyJet is using the rebranded My Lounge in Gatwick North. This is part of the No1 Lounge collection and now belongs to the Swissport/Collinson Airport Dimensions joint venture.
The My Lounge brand is the budget-friendly lounge offering by No1 and in the past has often been bookable for less than £20. You can read our most recent review (from 2016!) here.
Introducing The Gateway
The ‘new’ lounge is called ‘The Gateway by easyJet and No1 Lounges’ so it is clearly not a full takeover by easyJet.
It is open from 6am to 6pm daily.
This appears to be more of a rebrand of My Lounge than anything else. Studying the photograph above, little appears to have changed except for the new name (printed on easyJet orange) and a model of an easyJet plane.
The industrial-chic decor appears untouched with the same bright yellow chairs around a large boardroom table.
You will find it at the entrance to the main lounge ‘pavilion’ at Gatwick North. The main No1 Lounge entrance is a few feet ahead of you, and the (now ex-) Club Aspire is in the basement down the stairs.
Who is The Gateway for?
Despite being easyJet branded, easyJet will not be offering its passengers free access – not even easyJet Plus members, the paid loyalty scheme.
Here are the official rules from the press release:
“Opening on 21 October, the new lounge can be booked in advance through easyJet’s exclusive partnership with Holiday Extras or customers can simply book in on the day of travel. A range of one, two and three hour packages are available with prices starting from just £18.50.
All passengers travelling through London Gatwick Airport North Terminal can book to use the lounge regardless of airline or travel ticket class. They can also arrive without a booking and present their easyJet boarding pass on entry to the lounge.”
That sounds as if the lounge is open to all but that anyone who turns up on the day and wants to pay cash will have to prove they are flying easyJet, which seems like an odd requirement.
Priority Pass cardholders will still be allowed in. The lounge is now listed on the Priority Pass website as The Gateway – but no mention is made of having to show an easyJet boarding pass. This means that the lounge will seemingly accept walk-up Priority Pass cardholders but not walk-up cash guests.
You can buy access in advance for cash, irrespective of the airline you are flying with. You can book via this page of the No1 Lounges website. The price is £32. This is steep, to be honest, given that the lounge is quite small – the photo above shows the entire space. At that price level I would be looking at No1 or Plaza Premium (the old Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse) instead.
Note that, if you are flying easyJet, Holiday Extras lets you book a shorter 1-hour visit for £18.50 or a 2-hour visit for £24. Longer stays cost the same £32 as booking via No1.
Promotion, so far, is a little odd
easyJet seems to be struggling with how to market the lounge.
It isn’t mentioned on the easyJet home page. Anyone interested in booking a lounge is directed to a third party company, Holiday Extras, who can book it for you as part of their general ‘add ons’ along with car parking etc.
Holiday Extras offers a huge number of lounges for easyJet customers, however. Even at Gatwick North, The Gateway is advertised alongside No1, Clubrooms (still closed) and the new Plaza Premium lounge.
To many travellers, having a branded lounge – even a paid one – will be seen as a positive. easyJet needs to take ownership of this, promoting it ahead of other options and selling access directly. Sending customers to Holiday Extras to book, when passengers could book directly with No1, is odd. Passengers will believe that easyJet is running the lounge and for better or worse it will reflect on the airline.
This announcement by easyJet seems to be more of a marketing opportunity than anything else, with no apparent changes to the lounge itself or what is on offer.
It’s not clear what the motive is behind easyJet’s decision to co-brand the lounge, especially given that it is still pay-per-use. Perhaps, longer term, it is hoping it can bundle lounge access with easyJet Plus membership or offer it during the booking process.
Whatever the logic, from today, My Lounge has become The Gateway. We will try to take a look in the coming weeks.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (January 2022)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge 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 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it 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 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
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.