If you’ve got an easyJet flight from Gatwick coming up in the next three months you may want to check what fare you booked. The airline has just announced that it is offering free lounge access to all FLEXIfare customers.
It appears to be a genuine service upgrade, albeit for a limited time only until the end of November.
The offer is available for new and existing bookings. You can get up to three hours’ access.
easyJet already has a lounge at Gatwick
The move doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. Almost a year ago, in October 2021, easyJet unveiled its first airport lounge, called ‘The Gateway Lounge’. This was a joint venture between the airline and No1 Lounges and rebranded an existing My Lounge facility at Gatwick North
Whilst the lounge was easyJet branded, it did not offer free access to any customers – not even easyJet Plus members, the paid loyalty scheme. Instead, you could pay £18.50 (now £18.99).
It would have been odd, however, to rebrand a lounge without the intention of bundling it into certain fares for free. Eleven months later and easyJet is ready to do just that – albeit as part of what appears to be a trial, given the three month offer period.
Is easyJet’s Gateway Lounge any good?
We don’t know. With BA now domiciled at Gatwick South it’s rare that any of us make it to the North Terminal.
That said, the Gateway Lounge appears to be a simple rebrand of the existing My Lounge, which we last reviewed in 2016 here.
My Lounge is the ‘budget’ lounge brand from No1 Lounges (now owned by Swissport and Collinson). In general, they feature industrial-chic decor and a more basic food and drinks offering. Typically you can expect a small buffet and some basic self-serve alcohol, including spirits.
Here is how easyJet describes the lounge:
“Look forward to nibbles and light bites from the hot and cold menu – just help yourself to a bit of what you fancy and bring a bit of your holiday to your table.
Take advantage of some delicious breakfast options including a hot breakfast grill, brunch and all day eggs.”
It also claims there is a dress code ….
“The dress code is smart-casual – tracksuits, sports kit and bare shoulders aren’t recommended. If you like being comfy on the plane you’re welcome to get changed just before you leave the lounge.”
…. although I’d be shocked if this is enforced.
The Gateway Lounge is currently open from 4am until 4pm daily.
What is easyJet’s FLEXIfare?
Lounge access is only free if you book one of easyJet’s FLEXIfares.
This is what easyJet calls its bundled offering, with a large cabin bag, 23kg checked luggage, Up Front seat, easyJet Plus bag drop, priority security, speedy boarding, an in-flight food and drinks voucher and free flight and route changes within 1 day of the original booking.
It is as close as easyJet gets to business class. Together with the free lounge access it pretty much covers everything you’d get from a British Airways Club Europe flight, albeit you’d have to forego your Avios and tier points.
I did a quick price comparison on a one-way flight from Gatwick to Amsterdam in November. Here’s how easyJet priced them up:
- The cheapest flight-only fare on the day was £26.99
- FLEXIfare was £120.99 flat fee that day
Whilst that sounds like a big jump, and it is, remember that you are mostly paying for the freedom to change your flight timings. You can even change your destination. An equivalent fully-flexible ticket on British Airways costs upwards of £450.
FLEXIfares are mostly aimed at the business market, where the flexibility to change your flight timings and date at short notice is essential. It is not really aimed at holidaymakers.
If you aren’t travelling on a FLEXIfare you can still use the lounge, although you have to pay for it. You can book it in advance via the Holiday Extras website here, with prices starting at £22.99 – it should be £18.99 if booked along with your easyJet ticket.
Although just a trial, adding free lounge access to its FLEXIfares is a genuine improvement to its offering and will close the gap with British Airways, particularly for anyone travelling on business who needs the flexibility to make last-minute flight changes.
We will have to wait and see if easyJet extends the deal beyond 30th November. It’s not clear if this is a one-off promotion or simply a trial before it is rolled out long-term.
Let’s see if Rob or I eventually make it over to the North Terminal to review the lounge over the next few months.
The easyJet homepage is here. This offer isn’t on the home page but will appear if you try to book a ticket from London Gatwick.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (December 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £24. 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £24 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.