On our way back to NY from Copenhagen, we had a stopover at Gatwick South Terminal for 5 hours. The South Terminal is small and dated and also serves as a hub for British Airways at Gatwick Airport. The terminal has two levels with the usual shops and fast food restaurants…nothing particularly outstanding. There is a small Harrods’s gift shop at the terminal for last minute British gifts. The terminal itself is overcrowded. When I was there in March, it was hard to find a seat anywhere. Luckily for me, I had access to the No. 1 Lounge at the terminal. Besides the No. 1 Lounge, there is only a British Airways Lounge, thus making both venues busy like the terminal.
The No 1 Lounge’s entrance is on the second floor and located between Dixons and JD Sports. I walked through a nondescript entrance that resembled a service entrance to another set of double doors where I was greeted with a representative who was tougher than a NYC bouncer. Apparently the lounge was full around noon so I was asked to come back in 30 minutes. I did not realized at the time that you can make a reservation through No1lounges.com and get the premium security lane access. Since there are only two lounges at Gatwick, I highly recommend this option. After putting my name down, I waited at nearby until the minute hand on the clock ticked pass 20 minutes and attempted to go into the lounge again. Luckily, the bouncer, aka representative, let me in.
Upon entering, I was impressed by the spacious interiors and modern aesthetics. There are many different seating arrangements for work and rest and even separate rooms such as a reading room and a TV room showing the latest soccer match. The lounge was not as crowded as the representative made it out to be, so I guess that is also the reason why they restrict access. After settling onto a comfy couch by the window, I ordered lunch from the a la cart menu. This lounge has made-to-order food that ensures freshness. The portions are small and can vary depending on the dish. Each guest is allowed 1 made-to-order selection. I had a lamb hotpot and my friend ordered a Caesar salad. I think these were the best in terms of portion size and taste. The food was better than your run-of-the-mill airport meal. There are drinks stations and dessert and snack options for guests, as well as a full alcohol bar where each guest can order 1 free drink. In addition, there are plenty of fashion magazines and newspapers that I was allowed to take with me.
However, there are some negatives to this lounge. Electrical outlets are sparse and only appear to be in certain area. I ended up using my travel charger as there were no outlets around the sofa areas. There are two areas with screens showing flight information. Beyond that, you must keep track of your boarding time. The boarding time for our flight to NY was 1.5 hours earlier than what I had anticipated and I almost missed my boarding time. Additionally, I had a hard time connecting to their free Wi-Fi and the server was nice enough to give me the password for the other networks. Besides those minor issues, I would not hesitate to visit the No. 1 Lounge at Gatwick again, especially on a long layover. The experience was overall very enjoyable and a good way to unwind before the next long flight.
Author: Chau Hoang
Featured Photo: Tripadvisor