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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?

Emirates Lounge Gatwick Airport

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:

Emirates Lounge Gatwick water fountain

(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.

Emirates Lounge Gatwick shower

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.

Emirates Lounge Gatwick alcohol

The wines appeared to be ~£15 a bottle, though I heard some complaints from customers with a more sophisticated palate than my own. 

Emirates Lounge Gatwick champagne

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.

Emirates Lounge Gatwick buffet

and

Emirates Lounge Gatwick food

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.

Emirates Lounge Gatwick mains

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. 

Emirates Lounge Gatwick dessert

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.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 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

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) 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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

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 – 20,000 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 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 (21)

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

  • 1ATL says:

    “This is our review of the Emirates lounge at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal”

    Makes for enlightening reading that Emirates should setup a lounge at thr South when they’ve been operating out of North since 1988. Has something significant changed or is this a just a weekend inaccuracy?

  • ChrisC says:

    Were the people complaining about the wines complaining that they are bad or complaining based on some notional price point which makes them think wines below that are bad and those above are better no matter the taste?

    • Mike says:

      I never break £10 retail price and am never disappointed

      • Thegasman says:

        Nothing wrong with that if you’re happy but when you do the maths on the percentage of sale price available for the wine vs costs like bottling, shipping, duty & VAT then there’s a huge jump between the £7 & £15 level.

        Price doesn’t necessarily equal quality but below £10 it’s impossible to produce anything but industrial wine. It will taste consistent from year to year but will be lacking any character from the vineyard, vintage or winemaker. £50 vs £100 vs £1,000/bottle is splitting hairs & branding though.

    • Ian says:

      Exactly and I would be very happy with either Laurent Perrier or Louis Roederer champagne!

  • A says:

    Gosh haven’t we become very snobbish on the shower front..I was expecting to see a picture with a hose and a bucket!

  • AlisonV says:

    I’ve always been irritated by Emirates refusing me access to their Gatwick lounge on the return leg of my frequent flights between the UK (Inverness) and Australia, despite my being at Platinum
    FF level.
    This was due to my needing to use the low cost carrier EasyJet for the domestic leg LGW-INV.

    • lumma says:

      But you wouldn’t get lounge access anywhere in similar circumstances. For example, fly long haul business (or have OW Sapphire or above) into Madrid and you’d get lounge access if you flew back to the UK on Iberia or BA. You wouldn’t get lounge access if you fly back on a non Oneworld carrier.

    • Sam says:

      Unless you’re on an interline ticket airlines are under circumstance to grant you access to a departure lounge for an arriving flight. The fact that you are just arrived from an Emirates flight and then have access to the airside and the front door of the emirates lounge is purely by coincidence. Imagine there wasn’t an emirates lounge at Gatwick you would not demand for a lounge access offered by emirates, neither do they have to offer you one.

  • Lux says:

    The footprint is somewhat smaller than London, the central core takes up quite a lot of space.

    It used to be necessary to go over the bridge to the satellite terminal to board, but when it now uses the main building where the domestic gates used to be. The gates were reconfigured. There were rumours of plans to create a boarding gate straight from the lounge – there’s planing permission online – but I don’t know whether it’s happened. I guess, given the layout of the terminal would make it impossible from the lounge.

    • Lux says:

      The rejig is in the red box here; the lounge is about where lines from 558 and 53 would intersect.

  • Dan says:

    Is there a heathrow emirates lounge review?

  • Richie says:

    Good to see mushy peas are available to go with the fish and chips.

  • Frankie says:

    Was that one big steak for one person? Great review. Thanks Stuart.

    • Stuart says:

      The steak was individual cooked and portioned fillets, yes. Probably the best part of the lounge in my view as I prefer to eat in the lounge and skip the meal on these kind of short overnight flights.

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

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