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O2 opens a FREE airport lounge at Gatwick’s North Terminal for its customers!

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Well, this is a surprise, and a good bit of marketing by O2.

O2 has opened its own airport lounge at Gatwick’s North Terminal. Entry is FREE to O2 mobile customers and anyone else who gets access to O2 Priority. This includes Virgin Media customers, but not Virgin Mobile.

It may be worth spending £1 on an O2 SIM ….. although this article implies that a £10 top-up would be required to activate it.

O2 lounge Gatwick Airport

How it works

The lounge is called the ‘O2 Roam Freely Lounge’.

It is there to promote the fact that O2 is now the only major mobile network that lets you roam freely in the EU, up to 25GB of data usage.

Can Virgin Media customers get access too?

Yes, customers of Virgin Media are eligible to register for O2 Priority, but not (we think) customers of Virgin Mobile.

When is it open?

The lounge is open between 6am and 3pm, seven days per week, until 9th October.

What’s in the lounge?

O2 is promising “comfy seats, free drinks and snacks plus free Wi-Fi. Expect a cinema room courtesy of the legends at Disney+.”

O2 opens a FREE airport lounge at Gatwick's North Terminal

How do I get in?

You MUST pre-book your free visit on this page of the O2 website.

Visits are restricted to 60 minutes.

Can I bring a guest?

You are allowed one guest per O2 Priority account.

More importantly ….. where the heck has O2 got a fully functioning airport lounge from?

Back in October 2021, the Club Aspire lounge in the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport was closed for good – click for our story.

For a lounge that only opened in 2018 following an expensive refurbishment, and in a terminal that was always likely to get close to its pre-covid capacity in Summer 2022, this was unexpected.

There was a reason, of course.

o2 lounge gatwick airport

Club Aspire lounges – as opposed to standard Aspire lounges – are owned by a joint venture between Swissport and Priority Pass-owner Collinson.

The same two partners had recently acquired No1 Lounges, which includes the flagship site in Gatwick North. In fact, it came with three sites in Gatwick North – No1 Lounge, Clubrooms and My Lounge (now the easyJet ‘The Gateway’ lounge).

You can see how four lounges could be seen as overkill and Club Aspire had a poor geographic position. It occupied the bottom level of the Gatwick lounge pavilion.  This was unfortunate, as it meant it was two floors below concourse level and had no views from the main area.  There were windows but they were frosted.

That said, I don’t understand why Club Aspire was closed. Without stating the obvious, it seemed odd for Collinson, owner of Priority Pass, to devalue the perceived value of the product by closing a lounge that it half-owns. Getting to access to the other Priority Pass lounges at Gatwick without paying for a reservation has been very tricky this Summer.

If you want to check out the O2 lounge, you must be a member of the O2 Priority rewards programme and must pre-register your visit here.

I would do it now, even if you aren’t travelling until nearer the end date of 9th October, as the number of daily slots is limited.

Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

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

60,000 points, £200 travel credit 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 Air Lines and Eurostar lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

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 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 (64)

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

  • Bob Khan says:

    Of course I’m flying Gatwick South next month 😢

  • Soloflyer1977 says:

    I recently moved from Vodafone to O2 to keep EU (or actually EU+EEA+CH) roaming and it was also cheaper and comes with Tube Wifi which Vodafone abandoned during the pandemic.
    So far so good. Wifi calling works well – essential for indoor calling. Speeds have been fine across London and some decent deals with O2 priority.

    • S says:

      Similar story here, moving from 3. 8 quid a month sim. Inclusive EU roaming, good value international, decent enough priority reqards, 15GB data doubled to 30GB via the Virgin Media Volt tie-up (which also boosts my home broadband 350 > 500), proper visual voicemail on the iphone and I can add my Apple Watch to the plan (albeit at cost). Happy customer.

  • Adam says:

    I’ve got a 6am slot later this month…. looking forward to grabbing a free coffee and snack 🙂

    • Adam says:

      ps. Is there value in £15 for x3 premium security at 5am on the Friday before the bank holiday? Or is that better used for breakfast once through?

      • Adam says:

        From their website: “We’ve created special Assistance and family lanes in security for departing families. If you’re travelling with young children in pushchairs, our dedicated lanes will give your family extra time and help to get through security. Simply follow the signs for the Assistance and family lanes after you’ve checked in.” – anyone got experience of this? I’m guessing my £15 would be spent better elsewhere

  • ECR says:

    I wonder what happens after 9 October, does it just close or will it become a pay to use lounge.

  • Ben says:

    Maybe when you’re all there you could ask why O2 data is basically useless in and around Gatwick airport. I often have full 4G signal but data is unusable.

    I used to be on Vodafone but switched for free EU data. Deeply regret it.

  • Dr Tom says:

    Might be interesting, review here from an early lounge user:

    “Used it yesterday, was very quiet which was understandabe as only just opened.
    Requested to see passport on entry to check booking.
    Nice lady came and offered drink + snack (I got coke + crisps)
    Some tables with wall outlets.
    A corner with Disney Kids films on.
    A TV on one wall with departure gates/timings.
    Not bad for a freebie but nowhere near the level of hospitality of proper lounges (only black coffee from a large container + only one free drink/pack of crisps)
    I made two bookings for an hour each (our whole household is on O2) but left to get a meal deal from Boots for the plane”


  • Matt says:

    This is a great marketing feature. However, I am currently with o2 and the data speeds in and around Gatwick Airport are unusable – I could not even send a WhatsApp message on my last visit and had to resort to wifi. Perhaps their money could be spent elsewhere?

  • Stephen says:

    Do they offer soft drinks only or is there alcholic drinks as well.

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

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