Review: Is the new, FREE, O2 Roam Freely Lounge at Gatwick North any good?
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This is our review of the O2 Roam Freely lounge at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal.
You may remember we wrote about the pop-up O2 Roam Freely Lounge at Gatwick Airport following a surprise announcement last week.
It is a smart marketing move by O2, who presumably got a good rate on the former (but almost brand new) Club Aspire lounge which closed in 2021.
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.
You MUST pre-book your free visit on this page of the O2 website. Visits are restricted to 60 minutes.
Helen, a long-time friend of HfP, has written this mini-review for us after she visited the lounge with her family this week. Over to Helen:
How to book
Booking the Roam Freely lounge via the O2 app is a very simple process. All you have to do is specify the hour you wish to use the lounge and number of people joining you. You can bring one guest per O2 Priority account, plus your kids.
The lounge is open 6am – 3pm.
Where is the O2 Roam Freely Lounge?
You will find it airside with the other lounges on the 1st floor, accessible by lift or stairs.
At the desk, you provide your name and booking reference and are issued with wristbands for adults and one voucher per person (including children). These can be exchanged for a drink and snack at the bar.
Inside the O2 Roam Freely Lounge
As it was the first week of operation, everything was recently refurbished with brand new furniture, albeit more at the IKEA end of the spectrum. You can’t complain for a free lounge, though:
Some tables included charging points. There is a a good amount of natural light although not particularly exciting views.
The area includes high and low tables, a deckchair area where selfies and check-ins are welcome and a manned bar. There is a room off the the main area with beanbags where Disney films are screened on a loop:
There are toilets (no showers) including a disabled toilet and baby change facilities.
There are plenty of departure information screens, so you won’t miss your flight.
Free drinks vouchers
In exchange for the vouchers issued to each person you can have a drink and small snack. The drink selection was quite limited but with some decent options including Brewdog IPA, Peroni or prosecco.
Soft drink options were limited to diet or regular Coke or orange juice plus Nespresso coffee machine options.
In terms of snacks you had to choose from either crisps or a packet of biscuits. There was also a self service water cooler. Service was at the bar and staff were happy to bring the drinks to your table if required.
The lounge wasn’t busy when we visited at 11am, with plenty of free tables. Staff were very friendly with a warm welcome and explanation of the drinks vouchers at reception.
The bar team offered some extra snack items for the children and gave possibly the most heavy pour of prosecco I’ve ever seen / enjoyed!
If your hour is up and the lounge is busy, you need to leave after your allotted time. I was advised that this wasn’t enforced during quieter times, although you are somewhat limited by the number of drinks vouchers issued.
Given it was free of charge, this was an excellent lounge to spend a hour prior to departure and currently very quiet unlike many of the paid options.
Whilst you can’t expect a full meal or large drink selection, the O2 Roam Freely lounge offers a quieter space to relax and would be particularly good for families with the Disney TV room option. I was told it was busy during early mornings with some queues but towards mid morning it gets much quieter as per our experience.
The lounge remains open until the 9th October, unless O2 chooses to extend it. You can find out more, and prebook, here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2023)
Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit card.
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.
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
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.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard
A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.