The best airline lounge at London Gatwick South Terminal is the British Airways First lounge (for First Class passengers) followed by the British Airways Business Lounge (for Club Europe and Club World passengers). If you’re not traveling on British Airways, you might be flying out of Gatwick’s North Terminal, so we have also reviewed the best lounges in Gatwick North separately.
We also reveal the secret to getting the best deal at luxury hotels, once you get to your destination so that you not only fly but also stay in style.
Why Fly BA From Gatwick
I love the British Airways lounges at Gatwick airport. They make traveling out of this otherwise shabby terminal much more enjoyable. I think the Business lounge for Club Class passengers is better than the British Airways Business Class lounges at Heathrow because it has more natural light and better views of the tarmac and planes and of course the runway in the distance. Of course, the Concorde Room is the best British Airways lounge and can be found at London Heathrow and not at Gatwick.
Why do I prefer the British Airways Business lounge for Club Class passengers in Gatwick? For a start, Gatwick is not a great airport. It is old, and unlike London Heathrow Terminal 5, it is not a great place to hang out if you don’t have lounge access. You see all sorts of holidaymakers in Gatwick, from big families with noisy kids to stag and hen nights with large groups that have picked up a cheap flight on Easyjet or Ryanair.
This is a very different crowd from London Heathrow Terminal 5, which offers designer stores and amazing architecture. Clientelle at London Heathrow have all paid a little bit extra and are all flying British Airways. There are a lot of business travelers that fly internationally and use the terminal. The result is a calmer and more sophisticated atmosphere enhanced by a more modern and innovative airport design.
This means that, while the BA lounges are excellent at London Heathrow, the difference between hanging out in the communal seating areas and shopping vs. having lounge access isn’t so great. Conversely, whichever terminal you fly out from, from Gatwick, the communal (non-lounge) areas can be frenetic and stressful, making the difference between the lounge environment and the main airport much greater.
In Gatwick, if you are stuck on a standard seat waiting for your flight in the main hall, you are likely to feel stressed with the noise and activity around you. This means that having lounge access, be it from booking into Business or First Class, or be it from using your Priority Pass will make your whole airport experience more relaxed.
Get Lounge Access Free
If you are flying out of Gatwick on British Airways in Economy or are flying on an airline like Easyjet or Ryanair, you cannot access the British Airways First or Business lounge but you can buy or use a Priority Pass to access alternative lounges in London Gatwick South Terminal. The best Priority Pass lounge in Gatwick South is the No 1 airport lounge which is fairly good. You will only be able to access the British Airways First lounge or the British Airways Business Lounge if you are flying on BA in First or Business.
At Gatwick South Terminal, you will also be able to access Grain Store Cafe and Lounge (which gets you £15 GBP discount per person off the final bill) as well as the No 1 Lounge with your Priority Pass or via the Lounge Club pass. We have reviewed these lounges below.
You can access Gatwick South Lounges for free with the free (in the first year) American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card, which comes with two Lounge Club passes that could be immediately used at the No 1 Lounge or at the Grain Cafe for £30 GBP of free drinks (including alcohol) and food.
I usually book my flights for free on air miles and American Express Rewards, which convert directly to Avios (along with other airline miles). The free Amex Gold Card is an incredible deal with a huge free bonus of Membership Rewards and even more if you apply through our referral link. You can apply for the UK & US card right here.
How To Get Unlimited Airport Lounge Access
For unlimited airport lounge access, you will need to apply for the Platinum card right here. With my referral link, you will get more Membership Rewards points.
1. British Airways First Lounge At Gatwick
The British Airways First Lounge at Gatwick is the best airport lounge in Gatwick South Terminal, without any doubt. It is a peaceful rest bite away from the busy Terminal. It offers great runways views, loads of natural light, and a better menu than any other airport lounge in Gatwick, and this includes a better menu than the Business Club Lounge at Gatwick South which I have already reviewed with pictures.
In most other ways, it is very similar to the British Airways Business Lounge at Gatwick, with similar seating, identical decor, and the same floor-to-ceiling window offering great views. The main difference is that the First lounge is smaller and more intimate, with a quieter atmosphere and arguably a slightly better view of the planes.
By comparison, the Business lounge partially overlooks an airport road and the top of part of the terminal. The First lounge is at the better end of the building and has uninterrupted views of the planes.
The food is also better in the First than in the Business lounge too. On the worksurfaces, you will almost always find self-serve delicious cakes. The cakes themselves are not unlike those in the Business lounge, but they are put out earlier in the First lounge, and there is more choice. There is a choice of 3 delicious cakes in the First lounge; Victoria Sponge, Chocolate, and Humming Bird.
The food menu in the BA First Lounge at Gatwick South is also more extensive. There is a buffet area that is smaller than the buffet area in the Business lounge, but it is of higher quality than that in the Business lounge. Tasty dishes in silver vats include:
- Honey Roasted Bacon Loin with Parsley cream sauce
- Moroccan Spicy Beef
- Kedgeree Fishcake with Mango Chutney
- Spinach & Mushroom Gnocchi
- Desserts and fresh fruit
- There also tends to be sandwiches on offer too. When I last visited, the choice was between salmon and egg sandwiches, cold ham, chicken and cold salad
What you do get in the First Lounge that you don’t get in the Business Lounge is a la carte hot food bought to your table. The menu I was offered included:
- BA Burger with Aberdeen Angus beef
- Hoisin Duch & Oriental vegetable wrap
- Roasted New Season Cauliflower
- Macaroni Cheese
- Chicken Jalfrezi
Plus Chocolate or Vanilla Ice cream.
There was also a business area within the First lounge with a photocopier and showers, much like those in the Business lounge too. If you have the choice, definitely pick the First rather than the Business lounge. It looks similar but is better in many subtle ways. Both feature in our best British Airways Airport Lounges around the world.
2. British Airways Business Lounge At Gatwick
The British Airways Business lounge for Club passengers at London Gatwick’s South Terminal is an absolute cracker.
If you turn left straight after security, just before the escalators down to the duty-free, access is easy. I get confused and tend to take the long route by walking up a maze of corridors leading up from the ground floor or upper level (next to Dixons) of the shopping area and then continue through more windy corridors, which eventually leads to a rather snazzy reception. The reception staff will then direct you to the First or Business lounge, depending on your flight ticket.
To the right of the reception is the Business or Club lounge for Club Europe and Club World passengers (along with those holding a Gold or Silver British Airways card). To the left is the quieter First lounge for First Class passengers and those holding a Gold British Airways Card.
Once inside the lounge, there is a split-level layout in a large double-height oblong space. In the center is the buffet and above the buffet is a floating level with another coffee area.
To your right, as you enter this airport lounge, there are shower rooms and a business facility with a printer. If you keep walking to the end of the room, there was a kids’ play area with table football and movies before the toilets.
Two sides of the room have double-height floor-to-ceiling glass windows with views across the airport which lets in a huge amount of natural light.
The sitting areas are segmented into sections, which made them quite private and intimate. There is an impressive array of newspapers and magazines – pretty much anything you could wish for – and of course a large food buffet.
My favorite place to sit is right at the end on the high bar-style stools which face the window. The view is over the rooftop of the airport and then out to the planes. It’s nice to face the outdoors and to watch the planes meandering around and parking. There are also convenient power points in this bar stool area for working.
The lunch offering in the Gatwick South British Airways Lounge has an excellent choice including these hot dishes:
- Green Thai chicken (which I am sure I have had at the Galleries Lounge in Heathrow)
- Moroccan Spicy Beef
- Peperonata Penne Pasta
- Rice, baked potatoes and baked beans
There is a table of salad (tomatoes, potato salad, coleslaw, etc.) and a selection of fresh buns, and there is yet another table with some tasty-looking cakes. Drinks on offer include free wine, spirits, beers, coke, juices, water, etc., with crisps and nuts and, of course, a coffee machine with tea and coffee options.
The food offering is very similar to all the other Galleries lounges. The intimate size of the lounge, when compared to the vastness of Heathrow Terminal 5’s North and South lounges, means that it had a nicer feel. I also like the views.
I always choose Heathrow Terminal 5 over Gatwick as I think it is such a stunning airport. Gatwick remains a tatty hotchpotch of buildings skewed towards charter flights. But I really like this airport lounge, and it makes the whole Gatwick transit experience much, much more enjoyable.
3. No 1 Lounge
Styled much like the No 1 Lounge at Gatwick North, this airport lounge is the best and only lounge you will have access to if you are flying with easyJet, if you are flying BA in Economy, or are flying on an airline like Norwegian or Ryanair.
This No 1 Lounge is fairly new, and you can get in by using a Priority Pass which comes free with any American Express Platinum card, or via Lounge Club. You get two free lounge Club entries with American Express Gold cards per anum. You can additionally buy day passes directly on the No 1 Lounge website.
You will find the No 1 lounge upstairs next to Dixons. This is a very large lounge with seating areas, a restaurant, and a bar. The lounging area is nice, with tan and brown leather sofa seats. The cafeteria or restaurant area has dark wood seating and marble top tables, and the bar area is probably the most stylish area with high bar stools.
You can immediately access the buffet area, which offers fruit, olives, nuts cakes, flapjacks, and so forth, and you can self serve yourself coffee and tea from a machine.
As long as you have time, it is worth ordering a freshly prepared meal from the menu. These are very small dishes, but they come quickly, and if you order enough, they will fill you up. If the lounge is particularly busy, there may be a wait for this food.
After 11:00 am, dishes include vegetarian spinach and ricotta pasta shell, which is small, cheesy, and tasty. There is a superfood salad mezze with quinoa which is basically a salad with a pitta type bread, again small but tasty. There is a Lemon Chicken tagine which is a small curry dish, again very tasty plus, there is a caesar salad, a cheese plate, and a cream tea option with scones, clotted cream, and jam.
If you visit the No 1 Lounge in Gatwick South for breakfast, the made-to-order food options are Eggs Benedict or Florentine, beans on toast, and toast on its own.
The “all-day” menu offers bacon rolls or fish finger sandwiches.
While soft drinks are free (there’s no bottled water here, only water out of a spout), Champagne is from £8 GBP a glass, Prosecco is £4 GBP a glass, and there are more expensive brand names that cost more. There is a large selection of alternative alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, but the lack of cans of coke or bottles of water is a disadvantage. Everything comes out of a tap and is virtually flat. This is the one feature I don’t like about this lounge.
The great thing about the No 1 airport lounge is that it gets you away from the madness of the rest of the airport. The atmosphere is much quieter, and the food is very good when it actually comes.
There is also a My Lounge at Gatwick’s South Terminal which is similar to the My Lounge at Gatwick North. My Lounges look a lot like a Starbucks or a Costa. They have wooden floors and walls, and as you enter, there is a counter to your right with numerous coffee machines and fridges containing snacks and canned drinks.
The vibe is funky, with coffee shop music playing in the background, loads of seating, sofas benches, and big tables. While I don’t rate these as highly as the No.1 Traveller Lounges, there are times when No. 1 Traveller lounges get overrun and close their doors to new guests. At this point, My Lounge is a viable alternative.
Within the lounge, expect limited hot food. In the morning, that’s porridge (with a selection of toppings), and in the afternoon, you can enjoy vegetable chili. But you don’t get the open buffet of salads, cakes, etc., like in the No1 Traveller lounge. My Lounge does still offer refuge from the stress of the main shopping hall.
5. Grain Store Cafe
Priority Pass and Lounge Club airport lounge access cards can also be used for free food and drink at Gatwick South in The Grain Store Cafe & Bar.
This is not an airport lounge, it’s a bar, but when you show your Priority Pass or Lounge Club card when you pay your bill, £15 GBP per person will be taken off your bill.
The American Express Platinum Card comes with two free Priority Passcards. Each Priority Pass allows a free guest. This means that if my husband and I eat at the Grain Store with my son, we will get £45 GBP off our bill. If we had 2 kids, we would get £60 GBP off our bill.
As you don’t need to spend more than £15 GBP per person, as there is no minimum spend to get this discount, you are, in effect, eating and drinking for free. You could then ALSO head to the No 1 Lounge if you wanted to.
The FREE (in the first year) American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card comes with two Lounge Club passes that could be immediately used at this bar for £30 GBP of free drinks (including alcohol) and food.
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The new British Airways Business lounge for Club passengers and First lounge is open at London Gatwick’s South Terminal, and it is an absolute cracker. Following a late opening due to electrical teething troubles, the lounge is now fully functional… Read More.
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