Gatwick has a number of lounges you can pay to get into. You can find the list on Gatwick’s website. The direct link is here Gatwick Airport Lounges.
In the South Terminal the No 1 Lounge is used by a number of airlines, and I visited it prior to my Cathay Pacific flight. You can also pre-book your entrance to the lounge, or pay on the door, though this will depend on the lounge having available capacity. Bear in mind also that paying in advance is less expensive, and there are frequently promotions available to gain admittance to the lounge at a reduced fee.
The entrance to the lounge is on the upper floor or the main shopping area. Like the other lounges it is accessed by a doorway between shops – in this case the JD Sports and Dixons outlets. This doorway leads to a reception, and then through to the lounge. If you go straight on you can see the Club Rooms. This is the top tier of lounges offered by No 1 Lounges. You can read more about it here. At the time of writing this costs £40 per person per visit, if pre-booked.
If you turn right, then walk up a gradually ascending grey corridor with a 90 degree turn halfway you then pass through more doors and find the No 1 Lounge. Toilets are to your left, the lounge to your right.
The lounge is one room with a sunken area in the centre where the bar and the buffet dining is located.
This was mid-morning on a Sunday and while there were passengers who had paid to come in, there were others who were there because their airline lacks a lounge at Gatwick. Virgin has its Clubhouse (accessed via a doorway next to WH Smith).
I noticed that there were several areas – tables, booths, with signs on the table marked “reserved”. I asked and these are for groups.
I arrived at around 1040 into the lounge, just as the offerings changed slightly between the morning menu and the afternoon (or all day) one. Before 11000 the menu is pastries, breakfast cereals, yoghurt and fruit salad form the buffet. Made to order are Eggs Benedict, beans on toast and toast. All day is bacon roll and fish finger sandwich. Then after 1100, there are homemade loaf cakes, tray bakes and made to order superfood salad mezze, Caesar salad, lemon chicken tagine and spinach and ricotta pasta shell bake.
Drinks are all complimentary apart from Champagne (£8 glass), prosecco (£4). The Club Rooms – which are a higher tier give you free Champagne, so perhaps the extra money is worth it if you like drinking.
There are beers on tap – London Pale Ale, Curious Brew, Estrella, choices of white and red wine and all the normal drinks made for you at the bar, complimentary – gin and tonic, bloody Mark etc…
There are several areas to place yourself. I went into the Library, which has no children under 12 and was good for working in. There’s a TV area, and then several seating areas and a comfortable bar in the centre. If you walk straight through there are a few seats with high stools looking out onto the taxiway – plane spotters delight.
In fact, all the slightly raised areas have great views onto the taxiway at Gatwick – when I was there several aircraft were queuing including an Emirates A380.
There is free wifi but you have to register to get it – and that’s for every device – that said, it was quick.
The staff were helpful and friendly, especially since they have to answer the same questions all day judging by the time I spent there. The code for the free wifi is on the menus, coffee and tea are available self-serve from the machines, and all drinks are free apart from Champagne and Prosecco. The prices are…. And so on.
Despite the quick turnover of people in there, and their understanding determination to get value for money by consuming as much as possible, the place was kept clean and well stocked – with even the magazines and newspapers reappearing once they had been taken by departing passengers.
No flights are called but there’s a screen where they are all shown.
A good lounge, with a choice of drinks, hot and cold food and good views. Look around for any promotional offers, and definitely book in advance. If you are part of a group, ask to reserve a table.
Book online and it costs £28 per adult and £16 per child aged 2-11.
There’s no entry fee for infants. Surcharges of £7 and £2, for adults and children respectively apply when entry is purchased on arrival.
If you book through No. 1 lounges own website, they also throw in fast track security, which is well worth having if it’s a busy time at the airport, though on the website this is only available until the end of September, 2016.