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Review: the British Airways Business Class lounge at London Gatwick’s South Terminal

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This is my review of the British Airways Business Class Club lounge at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal.

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

Five years after the lounge complex first opened, and two years after the entire South Terminal was closed due to the pandemic, British Airways is back at Gatwick South and with a new short haul operation flying alongside its long haul leisure routes.

Very little has changed in the lounges.  The BA First Class lounge at Gatwick (review here) is open, before you ask, although I never really liked it and indeed spent yesterday in the main lounge.

If you are familiar with the Galleries lounges in Heathrow Terminal 5, the only radical thing is this:

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

…. although as it’s in the Kids Zone you will probably need to be accompanied by a small person in order to use it!

Getting to the British Airways lounges at Gatwick

…. is a faff, and the airport tries to make it even harder.  When you come through security, there are escalators taking you down.  Do not go down the escalators.  It is a trick.

The escalators drop you in the duty free shop, through which you have to do a snake-like walk to reach the departure area. At this point you need to go back UP another escalator to get to the lounges.  Don’t do it.

Instead, to your left immediately before the down escalators after security, is a passageway. Take it.  You will realise that you were very close to the lounges all the time.  That’s two minutes of drinking time saved.

You come out next to Club Aspire and My Lounge. You need to walk across to the other side of the mezzanine floor where a tiny corridor in between two shops leads you to the No1 Lounge, No1 Clubrooms and the BA lounges.

Whilst the No1 facilities are on the same level as the mezzanine, BA passengers then need to head down another corridor, take a lift and then go down yet another corridor.  It is important that you leave the lounge in good time to get to your gate, which will take longer than it would in Terminal 5.

It wasn’t exactly busy on the first day of short haul operations with only four BA flights on top of the long haul ones. Here is the view looking down onto the main level, where the gates are, from the mezzanine:

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

A lot of shops hadn’t bothered to reopen although I assume more will do so as Easter approaches.

The British Airways Business Lounge at Gatwick

There are two reception desks as you enter.  The First lounge is off to your left whilst the Business lounge is off to your right.

Let’s start with the far larger, and nicer, Business Lounge.

The ‘Galleries’ branding is not being used at Gatwick.  I don’t know why as the furnishings are identical to other Galleries lounges.

The lounge is effectively a long thin space, with exceptional views over the tarmac from the left hand side (once you are half-way in) and the far end.  There is also a mezzanine.

To break up the space, BA has installed a giant wine wall about half way down, roughly where the windows begin. Whilst the whole lounge was empty when I was there, this initial area before the wine wall has always been very quiet to the lack of natural light and the distance from the buffet – albeit that is less of an issue as the online ordering system has been retained.

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

This is followed by another little used area by a secondary coffee station:

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

If you want a cosy nook, the top end also has a couple of booths:

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

and a business centre which is so tucked away I imagine 90% of lounge visitors don’t even know it exists:

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

Let the light flood in ….

Once you get beyond this point, the lounge suddenly brightens up due to the fantastic floor to ceiling windows.

You’ll need to take my word for that, however, as it was dark when I was there!

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal


Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal


Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal


Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

and (these solo seats have an internal view):

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

What is impressive about the lounge is the number of different seating arrangements available. I think everyone will find something to suit their personal style and the size of their group.

For children

There is a small kids playroom available, as per the photo at the top of this article. The photo makes the room look sparser than it is, as there were some other bits and pieces behind me.

The big secret – the mezzanine

The new British Airways lounges at Gatwick South have a secret – a mezzanine floor.

Well, it isn’t really a secret, given that there is a big staircase on the lower level:

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

It was closed when I was there because, ironically, it was being prepared for a press party which our very own Rhys Jones was attending three hours later. It will be open usually.

Here is a picture taken from a previous visit – you can tell because there are newspapers available. Guests today may wonder why BA considers newspapers to be a health risk when, between the lounge and your gate, you will pass around five identical displays dishing out free newspapers and magazines …..

Review British Airways business and first lounge, Gatwick Airport South terminal

No food is available but there was, and probably still is, a coffee machine.

Food and drink in the British Airways Business lounge 

The breakfast offering in the Business lounge will be very familiar to anyone who has used Galleries Club at Heathrow recently.

The selection is pretty much identical, as are the coffee machines and layout.

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

British Airways has now moved to a hybrid ordering system:

  • ‘proper’ food must be ordered from your seat, via your mobile phone, using the QR code system
  • drinks must be made yourself
  • a small amount of food (croissants etc) is available to pick up yourself
Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

It’s not ideal as, assuming you do want a drink, you have to get up and move around anyway so it doesn’t save any time versus the old buffet system. The food I ordered was delivered very quickly but, of course, I was virtually the only guest at the time. As usual, the hot food ordered off the menu was done well.


British Airways did an excellent good job back in 2017 with its new lounges in London Gatwick’s South Terminal.

Whilst it isn’t the easiest place to find, it is a lovely space and the designers have done a good job in creating different styles of seating to serve the varying needs of travellers.

The food and drink is on a par with Heathrow and, given that Gatwick tends to play second fiddle to Heathrow, that is as good as you could have expected. If I’m honest, I prefer the Business Class lounge at Gatwick to Galleries Club at Heathrow.

The South Terminal experience as a whole is now much improved.  BA passengers no longer need to take the monorail from the train station to Gatwick North, security was efficient – with a dedicated premium channel – and the lounges are impressive. Even the quality of the shops seems to have improved in the five years since British Airways moved in.

It’s also worth noting that Gatwick now has dedicated World Traveller Plus check-in desks. This service improvement has not yet rolled out at Heathrow.

Remember that if you have a British Airways Executive Club Gold card you can use the British Airways First Class lounge at Gatwick which we reviewed here.

If you have access to British Airways lounges, it is worth giving Gatwick another look if you are on a route served by both of the major London airports.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (November 2022)

As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable 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 Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

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

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

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 £20.  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.

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 (39)

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

  • ChrisBCN says:

    Was always a much nicer experience than Heathrow!

  • Jon says:

    Ham hock and poached egg breakfast is surely enough of a reason to use the First lounge? Nice tip on the duty free bypass — I’ve been through LGW also many times and had no idea

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      There used to be clear signage to show that there was a route to the lounges that avoided going downstairs (and therefore the forced walk through the shops). In fact I’d recommend that route even if you didn’t have lounge access.

  • Panda Mick says:

    There’s a trick for the north terminal too: Instead of heading to the middle after security, which takes you through duty free, head to the right and “special services” I think, which completely bypasses duty free.

    I only know this because it was so early when I passed through on monday, Duty Free wasn’t open and you had to walk through the “special services*” route anyway!

    * I am sure it’s NOT called “special services”: It was 4am, and I’d not yet had coffee!

    • ChrisBCN says:

      This is a good tip! I already knew about South, I feel like we need a crowdsourced list of these…

  • aseftel says:

    Is Grain Store reopening?

  • Andrew J says:

    Must be a first to see the word ‘great’ in a headline about BA lounges! I would say they are adequate – Cathay and Qantas lounges at T3 are great lounges, the VS Clubhouse is a great lounge – but the LGW BA lounges are just quieter and slightly less worn out versions of the LHR BA lounges which makes them slightly more enjoyable.

    • Rob says:

      The difference being that your Gatwick flight ticket has probably cost you £29 each way.

      • Andrew J says:

        So it’s a case of these lounges being great value rather than great quality?

        • Rich says:

          Andrew, I’m with Rob, the BA LGW lounge is a great lounge. It has a far superior feel to it than the T5 equivalents (although I like T5B when quiet too).

          I am pleased it has reopened in what is yet another positive sign of the world inching back towards normality.

        • Rob says:

          You’re not comparing like with like are you? I think the Northern Lights lounge in Aberdeen is fantastic but it wouldn’t pass muster for use by a long haul carrier.

          • Andrew J says:

            And yet BA fly long haul from LGW. But we’ll agree to disagree – I don’t feel it’s a great lounge – it’s just the bar is pretty low for BA lounges, so anything other than terrible feels great.

  • Peter K says:

    Was there definitely a dedicated fast track security? In the past staff were at pains to point out it wasn’t and that is was just a less busy passageway to get to the front of the queue to join normal security.

    • ChrisC says:

      Premium security is a separate entrance and security scanners than to the normal line.

      Given that people,can pay to use this line it needs to me more than just putting you at the front of the queue.

    • John says:

      It can be a dedicated queue but sometimes they let normals into it if it’s empty, and also if the closest lanes of the normal side are free they can send you over from the premium side (but if this happens premium wouldn’t have saved you any time anyway)

  • ChrisC says:

    The monorail to / from North is hardly a huge imposition.

    Not sure why people make an issue of it especially as BA pax used it for years when they flew from North before they moved to South in 2017.

  • Mikeact says:

    +1 It’s been no problem for me for many years

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

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