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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

and

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

and

Review British Airways lounge London Gatwick South Terminal

and

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.

Conclusion

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 (December 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.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

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

    The Galleries brand hasn’t been used on new lounges for ages, long before 2017 when BA moved into the south terminal.

    The first new lounges not to be called Galleries were the two lounge spaces they inherited from bmi in EDI and GLA (BA kept their lounges open until the former bmi lounges were refurbished and then BA moved into those spaces). Other notable refurbs that weren’t called Galleries were JFK and FCO.

  • Swifty says:

    Those lounges are absolutely fine and enjoyable. Cup half full as opposed to leaking is a better look on me I think. The quirky corridors are cute and give an air of mystery and exclusivity.

  • rob keane says:

    That last picture was so good it was used twice.

    • Rob says:

      No! Top picture is Business, bottom is First. They look the same I agree …

      • ChrisC says:

        Check again Rob.

        The very bottom pic is the same one as you posted in the section about the F lounge …

  • AJA says:

    I like the LGW lounges. I have been guested into the First lounge and although it is small I think it’s a very nice space. It is light and airy too.

  • SteveCroydon says:

    So one goes hungry if one doesn’t have a (so called) Smart Phone? Endless technology for the sake of it. Knowing BA’s IT, the App will probably fail and send the order to LHR T5 anyway.

    • Blenz101 says:

      Well it doesn’t fail and it’s been pretty much universally popular having freshly prepared and plated food.

      If you don’t have a phone to order directly you can ask a member of staff.

      • SteveCroydon says:

        The food is freshly prepared, plated and served if one asks a member of staff.
        I wonder how much, time, money and effort went into this project. This management belief that IT is the answer to everything. Some CBA probably showed they would save half a staff member once per millennium!
        PS I worked in real IT for nearly 40 years, a lot of this stuff no is a ruddy waste of time and money.

        • Blenz101 says:

          It was brought in as a result of the pandemic when a communal buffet was not an option. Clearly it will cost more to serve food to the table and keep the app and menus updated than just to empty slop in a tray from somebody back of house.

          • ChrisC says:

            Food wasteage – and therefore costs – go down when you move from a buffet to served food.

          • John says:

            Probably true but I have seen lots of people ordering something and just leaving most of it.

  • FatherOfFour says:

    I’m looking forward to trying these lounges in November. (Well the bus. lounge anyway)

    The only other BA lounge I’ve used was T5 GC North and we struggled to get a seat. It wasn’t the calmness I’d mis sold to MotherOfFour!

    I’d be interested to know if there are plans to bring back twilight check-in / bag drop at LGW. We are staying at Bloc night before and it would make sense to bag drop night before.
    If they do bring back the bag drop, presumably we can just rock up at premium security a couple of hours before departure and get breakfast in the lounge.

    How long does it take a fast walker to walk from the lounge to the furthest gates?

  • ADS says:

    No newspapers – seriously ?

    A few months ago I thought it was ridiculous there weren’t any available in the lounge – but BA are really taking the piss by still not having restarted them.

    On that trip I arrived back into London using Luton airport – and there were plenty of free (decent quality) newspapers in the baggage hall.

    It’s a sad day when Luton airport beats BA lounges.

    • ChrisC says:

      There used to be plenty of free newspapers in the terminal. Not been there so don’t know if that’s still the case.

      Even pre covid the selection was limited in the lounge.

    • Bagoly says:

      They got rid of the FT for the disgraceful reason that the FT ran a critical article.
      Perhaps they have seen critical articles in the other newspapers and so banned those too?!

  • Adam says:

    Used the Gatwick First Lounge on Tuesday and was amazed to find LPGS as the Champagne offering, never seen it there before. Food was mediocre mind you.

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

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