I was on an 8am British Airways flight from Gatwick Airport out to Latin America. With a 2-hour commute to the airport, that made for an early start! The majority of my flights out of the UK depart from Heathrow’s terminal 5. I was interested to see how the British Airways’ departures and lounge experiences varied between two of London ’s biggest and busiest airports.
I was dropped off at 6am and made my way to the check-in desks. British Airways have their own dedicated business class check-in at Gatwick. I took full advantage of the extra baggage allowance offered to British Airways Executive Club silver card holders (OneWorld Sapphire), a must in the industry I work in.
Unlike at Heathrow there was no queue; I found myself checked in and at fast track security within minutes.
Once through I made my way to the British Airways Club lounge, which can be found nestled away between JD Sports and Dixons. So far my experience had been very positive. It took me less than 15 minutes from being dropped off to get to the lounge. An impressive start!
You might think this was purely because of the early hour. However I’ve never experienced such a swift and seamless departures’ procedure at Heathrow at any time.
I was warmly welcomed at the reception desk where I turned right into the business class or club lounge. Left takes you to the first-class lounge where, for this flight, sadly I was ineligible.
The Low Down
The lounge opens at 5.15am and an hour later, when I arrived, there were plenty of travellers enjoying the facilities on offer.
The lounge was stylish, spacious, and modern with exclusive Osborne and Little designed fabric and contemporary lighting. I was pleased to see that although quite busy, there was plenty of seating available
This is something I don’t always find at Heathrow’s Club lounges, which more resemble this picture!
The Gatwick British Airways lounge had an array of different seating available. Ranging from armchairs, to sofas divided into smaller separate seating areas with low level tables, which I liked. In the end I went for a high table and stool combination in the bar area.
There were two reasons behind my choice. Firstly, I find this combination of seating easier to work on. I’m not a fan of slumping over the laptop to work, so the high table and stool gave me a comfortable position to do a few emails and double check my schedule for the week ahead.
The Important Elements
Secondly, being in the bar area I’m closer to the drinks. It’s also a great place to people watch – another favourite pastime of the seasoned traveller. One issue with the high table and stools though, was that there were no power sockets nearby.
In fact, I noticed a definite lack of power outlets in general seating areas around the lounge. There were some but not enough. Certainly not ideal if you want to give your laptop and iPad a quick charge before take-off.
Keeping Hunger at Bay
There was a good selection of refreshments on offer to eat from the self-service buffet. You could indulge in a selection of fantastic looking pastries, fresh fruit, cereals, and yogurt. Also available were warm bacon or omelette rolls.
I went for the bacon roll with a splash of tabasco. The bread was still warm and the bacon cooked to perfection, crispy enough but not so much it resembled a piece of old shoe leather. Delicious!!
Whetting the Whistle
The options were almost endless when it came to the drink selection. Whether you fancied a coffee, specialist tea, or something a little stronger to calm those nerves or get the blood pumping! The lounge had everything you could want. A fully stocked bar, boasting an impressive selection of quality wines, spirits and beers, was a welcome addition.
Another difference I noticed was that, unlike Heathrow, there was Champagne readily available and on display. You have to specifically ask for Champagne in the Heathrow lounges. I decided that even though it was still early, with a 12 hour flight ahead of me, a glass of Champagne was not only acceptable but also very much needed!
What the Business Traveller Needs
One thing essential in any business lounge is good quality internet access. Unlike the wifi at Heathrow, the signal strength at Gatwick was excellent.
I have found it increasingly frustrating at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 that, due in part to the seemingly huge number of users, the wifi is sketchy and seems to drop out more regularly than my nan has hot dinners! No such problems at Gatwick, once I was on, I stayed on.
There was also a business area with printers, desktop computers, and worktops with charging points. If you prefer a more formal area to spread out and do some work, this area would be perfect.
I felt relaxed and ready for the long flight out to Latin America that awaited me, after my visit to Gatwick’s British Airways Club lounge.
If you want to read about first class travel on British Airways here’s a post that will you might enjoy.
Expert Traveller Recommends…
The British Airways Club Lounge at Gatwick is comfortable and well appointed for leisure and business travellers. Make sure you find a place with power when you choose your seating area, so that you can recharge devices before you board.
I enjoyed this very solid lounge offering from British Airways. It was certainly much less chaotic and more relaxing than any of their Club Lounges at Heathrow. So, if you are passing through Gatwick on a British Airways or OneWorld Alliance flight, this lounge is well worth a visit.
In fact, we recommend taking flight options that leave from Gatwick over other London airports if you are a OneWorld Frequent Flyer.