Review: the Emirates lounge at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal
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This is our review of the Emirates lounge at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal.
This is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK. You see all of the reviews here.
None of us on the HfP team were likely to pass through the Emirates lounge at Gatwick anytime soon so when reader Stuart offered to write up his experience on a recent trip we were happy to take it.
Emirates will often build a lounge in places where other airlines would not bother (eg Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester). Size is rarely a problem either – in Dubai, the Business and First Class lounges each occupy an entire floor of the main Emirates terminal.
That said, it is often hard to get excited about them. Will Gatwick prove any different?
Over to Stuart:
“The Emirates lounge at Gatwick is, in theory, a hybrid business and first class lounge. I say in theory because my flight was a 2-class A380 with no first class. As a result, the lounge was effectively a business class lounge the evening I was there, and I couldn’t see any obvious first class facilities that were closed.
The lounge itself has a fairly unexciting aesthetic, lifted only by a feature fountain. There is otherwise not much variety in terms of colours, design or seating choices.
There was, however, plenty of capacity:
(HfP note – this lounge looks huge, given that Emirates only has two daily flights out of Gatwick and arguably they will be carrying fewer premium passengers than the Heathrow services. From the look of this picture it is bigger than the Emirates Heathrow lounge which has to deal with six daily flights.)
The bathrooms were tidy without having the classiness of the Heathrow Cathay lounges or Qantas lounge. The shower was the low-point – you’d have to be a little desperate to bother with it.
With an open-plan design, you’re never in any doubt as to how big the lounge is or how generic it feels. For a business class lounge this is acceptable – less so for first class.
The drinks were mid-range at best. Champagne was self-pour Laurent Perrier or Rodier but the spirits were fairly basic. If you look at this from the perspective of a business class lounge, of course, it isn’t a bad selection.
The wines appeared to be ~£15 a bottle, though I heard some complaints from customers with a more sophisticated palate than my own.
The food offering is strictly a buffet affair, with (in my view) variable quality. The starters from the chilled counter were fairly bland, not helped by being at straight-from-the-fridge temperature.
The mains were significantly better. You won’t get a fillet steak in the British Airways Galleries First lounge, let alone Galleries Club, and there was a good choice as you can see in the pictures.
Unfortunately for desert it was back to the chilled counter which was a shame. I’m not sure anyone really wants their bramley apple crumble with custard served cold.
Overall, the Emirates lounge at Gatwick Airport is good by the standards of airline branded business class lounges. The aesthetic is fine, albeit unexciting. The food varies but there are good quality main courses with decent proteins. If you’ve been to the (massive!) Emirates business class lounge in Dubai you’ll be familiar with the look and feel.
As a first class lounge this would probably disappoint – but let’s not over-state that point. There are plenty of BA outstation lounges that serve first class passengers with a significantly worse offering than this. Those used to Galleries Club will be very happy. If you’re hoping for a Qantas level of combined business / first quality then you’ll be a bit disappointed.
The Emirates website shows the current opening hours as 09:35 – 13:35. You can pay for access but the $120 cost (click here) – which assumes you are an Emirates Skywards member, as this is the discounted rate – makes absolutely no sense.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (March 2023)
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
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
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.