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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)

  • Nigel Thompson says:

    Be grateful guys- here in sunny Birmingham on my last three trips ( over the last three months) none of the three lounges – No 1; Aspire or Aspire South were accepting any card members at all!! So my Lounge Pass, Dragon Pass and Priority Pass were all totally useless. Good job I hadn’t paid (directly) for any of them or I would have been really hacked off.
    But then Birmingham Airport and the running thereof has been a shambolic disgrace for years!

  • John T says:

    You waited for an hour to access a lounge you could not pre-book, had hardly anytime in there before your flight because you had to wait so long, and the food was disappointing.

    What is the point?

    Arrive at the airport later and grab something from Pret in the terminal.

    • Rob says:

      As Rhys points out in an earlier comment, it is also impossible to be served in any of the bars or restaurants at the moment without a substantial wait. Only a small number of pre-covid facilities are open, presumably due to staffing rather than lack of demand.

      Whilst there is a Pret in South, presumably attracted once BA moved across, there isn’t one in North.

      • Jack says:

        I think there is still a Pret in North, in the far left corner at the top of the escalator above the kids play area. It’s small, though. Looking at the maps it’s actually expanded and taken over where yo sushi used to be.

        • Lady London says:

          The Pret in North is at the very far satellite gates aroubd 103-104 or so. It’s quite small, practically no seating, has a limited selection. But better than nothing if you find it open.

          There’s also a bigger Pret which expanded just before Covid. But just like when the M25 is expanded it was rammed before, and still rammed after it was expanded

    • lumma says:

      To be fair, Rhys does work for a website that writes about travel and airlines.

      Review: I turn up 30 minutes before my gate closes and buy a club sandwich from Pret

  • Justin says:

    So this explains why I’ve been unable to book for this coming Saturday morning. With only a priority pass for two courtesy of Amex gold, and four of us travelling, I won’t be paying 40 quid if we manage get to the front of the queue, so Wetherspoons it is!

    • Rob says:

      Remember that Amex Gold switches to four passes per year in a couple of weeks.

    • lumma says:

      You’ll be lucky to get into Spoons at the moment as well. Gatwick South departures is the worst experience I’ve had at a London airport this summer and I’ve flown from both Luton and Stansted.

  • Keith says:

    Don’t know if it’s been covered before, but the Mastercard Travel Experiences app will give you 3 free fast track passes for a range of airports, including Gatwick, per year. It wouldn’t register my Barclaycard avois card when I first got it, but worked with my Curve card.

  • Gordon says:

    Looks similar to the No1 lounge at Gatwick North we used which was included in our PE flight with Tui to PUJ last Wednesday (After many cancellations from BA, Yes BA you get lounge access with Tui PE). But little did we know we were heading into a situation where our hotel (Secrets cap Cana resort and spa) would take a direct impact from Hurricane Fiona, No sleep that night rooms flooded, power cuts, Our top penthouse timber pergola structure collapsed onto the balcony. (Very frightening experience). The hotel was badly damaged so we were evacuated the next day when it was safe to exit the room.
    Thank god there were no serious injuries.
    Praise the staff who could not not leave and spent the night sheltered in the property because they had breakfast prepared for the guests the next morning.
    The Dominicans are resilient 👏🏻

  • Peter says:

    This lounge is crap, can’t believe the article is this positive. If you like this, you should try a Travelodge breakfast buffet, you’d love it!

    • Rhys says:

      …if you read the review properly you’d see that I criticise the food!

      • Peter says:

        Food and drink is in my view the most important aspect. The lounge only has fountain drinks, all the food is the most basic quality. When I was there all the tables where full of dirty plates, which didn’t help, but honestly I would rate this as one of the worst lounges I’ve ever been to.

        • Rhys says:

          Sounds like you need to go to more regional lounges!

          Seriously, the hard product is great. Yes, food not ideal and it was overcrowded – but it those can be fixed then this is an excellent lounge whichever way you slice it.

        • Lady London says:

          TBH It looks like they are only aspiring to the lowish Aspire standards, of which LHR T5 would be a similar example.

          The awfulness of Gatwick airport plus this being the best lounge available, must put a lot of the wealthier leisure travellers in the Gatwicl catchment area off using the airport

  • Mark J says:

    Not tried this one, but my recent experiences of Gatwick N, Luton and Birmingham No.1 Lounges has not been positive. It typically costs me £26 to visit a lounge (£20 PP fee plus £6 booking – essential at the moment). Yesterday I had to queue for 15 mins to get into the BHX lounge, despite prebooking. Food was poor quality and cold. Place was packed with Jet2 customers. Dirty plates everywhere.
    On exiting I walked past the Bottega Prosecco Bar, which was quiet. A glance at the menu showed me I could have had a plate of Eggs Royale with smoked salmon and a bellini or glass of Prosecco for less than the lounge entry cost.
    Obviously if the terminal is rammed it might be a different experience. But I’m really beginning to question the benefit of paid lounges and will probably avoid lounges altogether unless I’m actually travelling Business class and can get in the airline lounge.

  • Ginlover says:

    Going through Gatwick South today and couldn’t pre-book any lounge in the week running up to departure – no capacity at No.1 this morning .. joined the virtual queue and 2 hours still nothing. Went to the Grain store who were suffering from staff shortages but only waited about 10 mins with the staff doing their best to keep the ever growing queue going

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