Gatwick South. British Airways Galleries First.

Yesterday, I wrote about my short stay at the Hilton Gatwick South terminal. It was the start of my journey to Fort Lauderdale for a long weekend. Rather embarrassingly, the last time I’d been to London Gatwick was when British Airways were still located in the North Terminal. And still had their lounges open there as well – perhaps a good four or five years ago now. I probably hadn’t flown from the South Terminal for a good twenty years!

I wandered over from the Hilton and in about five minutes was in the British Airways check-in area. I was travelling hand-baggage only and had my boarding pass, but as I was going to the US, the staff needed to check my passport to make sure all was in order.

There was a very lovely and helpful lady there who asked if I’d been here before, and if I knew where the lounges were. I said I wasn’t entirely sure, but she said to go up the escalator, through Fast Track security, and then stay on the upper level. Turn left and follow the little corridor through. Then the entrance to the lounges are between JD Sports and Dixons.

“I see the demographic here hasn’t changed much” to which thankfully she laughed at. 🤭

Her instructions were spot on and it wasn’t long before I was being directed left, to the First side.

Non-descript entrance to the British Airways First Class Lounge at London Gatwick

Inside it wasn’t too busy at all, and was a pretty nice space. Whilst nowhere near the size of the Heathrow Terminal 5 lounge, it seemed pretty well fitted out and of a very similar (and less tatty) design.

The main seating area had a lots of room, and some great views over the apron.

At the far end of the lounge was the work area, with some desks, power sockets and computers. It was empty.

Gatwick First lounge work area

In the middle was the food and drink area, with a number of hot and cold options, a wide selection of spirits and thankfully the Champagne bar. It was well stocked.

There were also a number of individual tables and chairs in this part of the lounge.

Finally, round the corner was a more intimate room, with some fairly bright pinky/red chairs, in a slightly more lowly-lit area.

I had skipped breakfast at the hotel, so decided to order some food from the staff – my favourite of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.

Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs

A huge freshly cooked portion arrived, which polished off with a glass of the champagne.

I only had about thirty minutes in the lounge before it was time to head to my gate, which was a good fifteen minute walk away. By the time I eventually got there, they had announced Group 5 boarding. Unlike Heathrow, there were a number of third party security contractors asking every single passenger some security questions. I arrived at them, just as the BA staff member announced Group 5, so he seemed to give up after asking how long I was staying in the US and then moved on to the next passenger.

Thoughts

It’s a nice lounge. I guess I’m pretty much used to the British Airways product and it was very much in keeping with what they have at Heathrow, just a little more modern and a lot less tatty. There was nice food, good views, the Champagne was chilled and the wi-fi was fast. What more do you need?

Gatwick itself seemed a very different place to Heathrow. There are clearly a lot more leisure passengers yet Fast Track security still worked well, was efficient and the staff pleasant. Nowhere near as convenient as the First Wing at Terminal 5, but still pretty good.

Living where I do, Heathrow will always be more convenient for me personally, however British Airways have done a good job with their lounge, given the constraints of not having a purpose built terminal.

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