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Review: No1 Lounge at London Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal

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This is our review of the No1 Lounge at London Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal. This is the terminal used by British Airways – if you are flying with easyJet, it is highly likely that you will be in the North Terminal.

It is part of our series of reviews of airport lounges across the UK. You see all of the reviews here.

Overall, I was impressed, despite the capacity constraints.

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

If you are hoping to visit this lounge with a Priority Pass, your chance of entry without paying £6 to prebook via this link is not great at the moment. In recent weeks, it hasn’t even been possible to book at full price at short notice. Much of the capacity is being purchased in bulk by airlines who do not have their own lounges.

Remember that paying £6 to prebook also gets you free Fast Track Security access. It is a decent deal if you would otherwise have to queue for the main security line.

How to access the No1 Lounge at Gatwick South

As independent lounges, No1 Lounges are open to anyone willing to pay or with a lounge membership card, regardless of which airline you’re flying on.

In my case, I gained entry using the Priority Pass card which comes with my American Express Platinum card.   Amex Platinum comes with two Priority Pass cards, each of which also admits a guest for free, so in theory one Platinum card covers a family of four for unlimited visits.

No1 Lounges often refuse access to Priority Pass guests at peak times because the lounge gets overcrowded.  This has been particularly acute this year, with staffing issues forcing No1 to close the adjacent Clubrooms lounge and the nearby Club Aspire lounge (all three lounges have common ownership).

I did try to pre-book an entry slot for an extra £6 but the lounge had its pre-booking quota, so I tried my luck on the day instead.

I arrived around 9:30am and was told I had to join the online queue, which at that point was around 30 minutes long. In the end, I got a text around an hour later – about 40 minutes before my flight. I only made a passing stop to take some photos and enjoy a quick drink and snack before heading to the gate.

Where to find the No1 Lounge at Gatwick South

The first thing to remember is that you do NOT head down the escalators after you pass through Gatwick security.  There is a doorway to your left which is for anyone who is heading to the British Airways or No1 Lounge, or indeed any of the shops or restaurants on the mezzanine level.  If you go down the escalator, you have to come straight back up again ….

Gatwick South Lounge bypass

The No1 Lounge is down the same corridor you take when you head to the British Airways lounges at Gatwick (British Airways Business lounge review here, British Airways First lounge review here). It is on the same level, whilst you need to head up a floor for the BA lounges.

You’ll see a joint lobby for both No1 and Clubrooms:

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

Inside Gatwick South’s No1 Lounge

Once you’ve been checked in by the lounge staff you head up a small ramp into the lounge. It is not a particularly big lounge but it makes a very good first impression thanks to the huge amount of natural light streaming in from full width windows on two sides:

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

and

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

The flip side is that it is very open plan, with few places to hide out and work, for example. Off to the right you’ll find a few smaller rooms, including a business centre and ‘library’:

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

…. and a couple of booths (with a ‘reserved’ sign on them):

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

The rest of the lounge features a central section with a wrap-around mezzanine level:

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

and

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

and

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

The lounge has its own toilets, although I couldn’t find any showers.

Food and drink at the No1 Lounge Gatwick South

The food offering is spread out across the lounge, rather than in one specific area.

Pastries included croissants, pain au chocolats and muffins, whilst there was also a selection of two basic cereals and bread.

Hot food was limited to just three dishes: potato cubes, bacon and what Americans would call ‘sausage patties,’ which some guests were using to make burgers. This is a substantially reduced offering from pre-pandemic, when you would be given a paper menu on entry which could be exchanged for a hot item delivered to your seat.

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

There is also a selection of yoghurts and fruit available, plus porridge.

A couple of coffee and tea stations are located around the lounge whilst you’ll have to head to the bar for any alcohol. This is at the centre of the lounge, in a triangle shape:

No1 Lounge Gatwick South

House beers, wines etc are free although you’ll have to pay for champagne. Prices start at £8/glass and top out at £50 for a bottle of Veuve Cliquot or Moet.

Verdict – is the No1 Lounge at Gatwick South worth it?

All in all, the No1 Lounge at Gatwick South is an impressive lounge with stylish decor and a fantastic, open-plan design that’s flooded with natural light.

It is a much more pleasant place to spend a morning than the restaurants around the main concourse, which more often than not are dark and dingy with few or no windows.

The food offering was admittedly basic and was better before the pandemic. It doesn’t make it easy to justify the full cash rate which is £34.

The biggest issue, for now, remains the fact that it is difficult to get into the lounge in the first place due to the high level of demand, even at full rate. At the time of writing, for example, I could not book No1 or My Lounge in Gatwick South at full rate for, picking a time at random, 11.30 on Thursday 29th September. Clubrooms and Club Aspire remain closed.

This will hopefully ease somewhat once Clubrooms and the Club Aspire lounge re-open, as the terminal would then have four independent lounges. Rob’s recent review of My Lounge – the only other independent lounge which is currently open in Gatwick South – is here.

If you want to find out more, or pre-book entry for cash, you can do so on the No1 Lounges website here.

Comments (53)

  • Andrew says:

    Hm. We were there at 05:00 one late-July morning and. Had the opposite impression. Yes, it was light and airy but it was nearly completely full. All tables had a reserved sign on (which we, and all other entrants, ignored – it was that or stand). The tables weren’t cleared of crockery and leftover food, the food selection was poor in variety and quality. Overall a very poor experience.

  • lumma says:

    Gatwick South was a mess when I flew from there in August for an 8am flight. Pretty much every bar/restaurant was completely at capacity. No chance of getting into either lounge

  • polly says:

    Only got The Grain Store as an option then, and your £15 allowance, or gold card pass, doesn’t get you much food and drink there. Obviously if you have the Plat PP or HSBC WE Loungekey, then they will run your card through a couple of times. Suggest asking them to run it at the beginning of your meal, and again at the end. That way, you get a decent amount to eat and drink there. That worked for me a few weeks ago. Wish PP would agree another restaurant there, as GS is really very pleasant. Now they’re open longer hours.

  • Xavier says:

    I was in the No 1 Lounge a couple of weeks ago, waiting for a 2105 flight. Was most unpleasantly surprised when i went to the bar at 1945 for one last drink only to be told that the bar had closed at 1930. There was no announcement or warning and the staff were not flexible in the slightest so no more drinks were served. A few mins later we were then informed that the lounge was closing at 2000 and we had to leave. Whilst the lounge itself was nice enough, it is not really helpful for later flights with the current opening hours.

  • John says:

    I recently had access to this lounge via a Turkish airlines flight – apparently the lounge certificate they give you at check-in lets you skip the 30-45 minute queue quoted to those who were walking up.
    I thought the lounge was awful. Staff were not cleaning tables quickly, the food was not edible, and the toilets were constantly full (and as a result not terribly clean, either). It was terribly busy as well – we actually used one of the rooms to the left of the check-in desk, as there was no seating left in the main bit that was reviewed here.
    I had used the lounge previously, pre-pandemic, and it wasn’t great – and I think it’s gone downhill from there.
    Admittedly the rest of the south terminal is equally jammed and dirty, so the lounge does feel like an upgrade on that ‘experience’, but I would not recommend paying money to visit this lounge.

  • Lux says:

    Thanks for the review.

    I think there’s a discussion to be had about whether it is ever worth paying for premium security at Gatwick. In my many trips through pre- and post-covid, I’ve never faced a bad queue in regular security – perhaps five mins max, but normally much less than that. GAL seems to get this right.

  • tony says:

    Those reserved signs used to be a godsend in the “before times” as it would allow family groups to be sat together and avoid the bug bear of a single traveller taking up a table for 4 or 6, but obviously it requires proper management and adequate levels of staffing.

  • Rob H not Rob says:

    I was there last Sunday 1pm (£6 pre book, no waiting). Not busy at all and spent a very relaxing two hours becoming Mr Creosote.

    Curry, hoisin chicken, veg pasta, flatbreads options. Cold salad buffet selection, crackers, cheese, toffee / banana cakes, butter biscuits, plethora of soft drink options, tables cleared regularly.

    What was not to like? Nothing.

    Clearly this lounge experience is time of day dependent.

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