Step from the noisy, crowded concourse and discover a world of tranquil calm and opulent luxury… join the jet set with a seat in one of Gatwick Airport’s exclusive passenger lounges.
For those of you who are first-time visitors, here’s our guide to Lounging at Gatwick Airport in jet-set luxury – at seriously down-to-earth prices.
Airport lounges – all you need to know
Once the preserve of celebrities and first class passengers, exclusive airport lounges have now been opened up for all to enjoy the high life at seriously down-to-earth prices. From complimentary food and drink, to unlimited Wi-Fi and panoramic views of the runway, airport lounges offer a peaceful retreat from the buffeting and noise of jam-packed public areas.
How do they work?
It’s simple. Book your place, pass through security then dodge the hordes and step into the exclusive lounge up to three hours before your flight takes off. Once in, you can have a snack, hot meal or drink as you sit back and enjoy the stress-busting peace and quiet. Travellers looking for the ultimate pre-flight VIP accoutrement should indulge themselves with a treatment or massage in the No.1 Traveller Lounge at Gatwick’s North Terminal – which has its own spa.
How much for a piece of luxury and calm?
Booking your place in one of Gatwick’s Airport Lounges might provide the ultimate in luxury, but you won’t need a lottery winner’s bank balance to secure a seat. In fact, with prices starting at just £16.00, you’d most likely spend that on snacks and drinks in the terminals’ public areas – whereas they’re free for loungers. Booking in advance will also save you cash – with a supplement of between £2.00 and £5.00 charged for those who pay on the day. You can beat the extra cost by booking right now.
Do you really need an airport lounge?
Research conducted from 2000 travellers for the credit-card insurer CPP revealed that a third of those questioned claimed the stress caused by negotiating a busy airport was equivalent to that of moving house. The same survey also cited less queuing, nicer food, better seating, free snacks and first class amenities as the main improvements that would help improve their airport experience and reduce stress. Luckily, all these points are addressed by airport lounges. We’d say it’s case closed for the defence.
Gatwick Airport Lounges revealed
So, let’s step inside and have a look around our favourite Gatwick Airport lounges and see just what you’ll get for your cash. Here are our top lounges at both the North and South Terminals.
No.1 Traveller Gatwick Airport, North Terminal
Spanning 10,000sq/ft, the cool marble floors and stylish decor offers an opulent space to relax ahead of your flight. The newly refurbished ‘super-lounge’ offers all the VIP touches you’d expect from such a salubrious venue.
Facilities: Guests in the No.1 Traveller Lounge, North Terminal can look forward to the following luxury touches…
|Self-service pantry table||A freshly-prepared dish from the kitchen|
|Fully tended bar||Free, unlimited Wi-Fi|
|Cinema, TVs and games room||Daily newspapers and glossy magazines|
|Family Room||A La Carte menu available†|
|Champagne and cocktails†||Drencher showers|
|Panoramic runway views||Travel spa|
† These extras start from £6.00
Verdict: If you’re looking to ensure your holiday gets off to the best possible start, then securing a seat in the North Terminal’s No.1 Traveller Lounge is your first point of call. Savings on snacks and drinks alone justify the entry fee. Additionally, if you’re looking for that special treat or surprise for a loved-one, then why not splash out on a treatment from theLounge’s spa menu. Luxury personified.
Opening hours: 4.00am to 10.00pm
How much: From £25.00
Book here: Remember to book in advance or you could be hit with a supplement of up to £5.00 per person. Reserve your seat here
My Lounge Gatwick Airport, North Terminal
Billed as the No.1 Traveller Lounge’s relaxed little brother, the My Lounge option offers a relaxed environment without the formality of its older elder siblings. Head to this loft-inspired space and kick back with friends, family and colleagues as you prepare to fly. Simply pass through security and head to lounge up to three hours before you fly. Once in, help yourself to free nibbles and snacks or graze the day away on snacks from the kitchen counter. Alternatively, why not pull yourself a pint of draft beer, mix up a spirit, or pour a glass of chilled white? Soft drinks and hot beverages are also available.
Facilities: Here’s what’s on offer for those who reserve a space in the North Terminal’s My Lounge.
|Loft inspired design||Individual and social seating|
|Nibbles, bites and drinks from the kitchen counter||Family snug with TV|
|Family-friendly||Games area with TV, PlayStation and table football|
|Daily newspapers and lifestyle magazines||Mac workstations|
|Free, unlimited Wi-Fi||Free plug sockets for charging devices|
Verdict: Book now to ensure you’re served a perfectly chilled start to your trip. It’s our recommendation for those travelling with kids – they’ll love the laid back atmosphere and fun facilities. It’s a great option for anyone who’s holidaying on a budget but doesn’t want to scrimp on luxury.
Opening hours: 6.00am to 7.00pm
How much: From £16.00
Book here: Remember to book in advance or you could be hit with a supplement of up to £2.00 per person. Reserve your seat here
No.1 Traveller Gatwick Airport, South Terminal
Escape the seething masses to find your space in this award-winning airport lounge. Sit back and indulge in a complimentary snack from the pantry table, or a warm, free option from the Bistro kitchen. See the full range of what’s on offer by taking a look at the menu. You’ll then be able to wash it all down with gratis beer, wine, spirit or soft drinks from the bar. Complete your airport stress detox by sitting back and enjoying panoramic views of the runway.
Facilities: Here’s what’s on offer for those who reserve a space in the South Terminal’s No.1 Traveller lounge.
|Complimentary items from our self-service pantry table||A freshly-prepared dish from the kitchen|
|Fully tended bar||A La Carte menu available†|
|Champagne & cocktails†||Free, unlimited Wi-Fi|
|Business facilities||Daily international newspapers & glossy magazines|
|TVs||Panoramic runway views|
† These extras start from £6
Verdict: Booking a place in the No.1 Traveller Lounge makes perfect sense. Beating the queues and dodging the crowds is enough to justify the admission fee on its own, but adding in the complimentary snacks, drinks and facilities could actually result in making savings compared with buying sustenance in the airport’s public areas. Ideal for empty nesters and business travellers, alike, but could be a little too formal for those with younger kids.
Opening hours: 4.00am to 10.00pm
How much: From £25.00
Book here: Remember to book in advance or you could be hit with a supplement of up to £5.00 per person. Reserve your seat here.
Tips to VIP your trip from Gatwick Airport
Now that you’ve got a taste for luxury after your trip to the airport lounge – why stop there? Here are some more ways you can add some extra A-list sparkle to your trip from Gatwick Airport.
It’s the Holy Grail of air travellers, but can you really bag yourself a seat in first- or business class cabins? The answer is yes! A poll by Moneysavingexpert found that 16% of its users had been bumped up to a superior class within the past two years.
Loyalty breeds loyalty: First thing that frequent flyers should do is join the airline’s loyalty scheme. Building up points and miles, will put you at an advantage at check-in when the upgrades are handed out.
Dressing to impress: We’ve all heard this not-so-secret tip, but it remains as true as ever. Let’s face it, you’re highly unlikely to bag an upgrade to the spare first class seat next to Lord Sugar if you’ve opted to travel in your favourite baked bean-stained vest and comfy grey jogging pants.
Significant events: Don’t be shy when it comes to letting check-in staff members know you’re travelling on your honeymoon or significant wedding anniversary etc. Just remember to drop it into conversation and not use it as a reason to demand an upgrade. Make sure you carry some documentation to show you’re genuine – check-in staff will be used to dealing chancers using such claims to help get themselves ill-deserved upgrades.
Be first or last to check-in: These are the periods that upgrades are most likely to be dished out. Many airlines will let you check-in up to 24-hours before your flight departs, so heading to the online check-in as soon as the process opens could result in the airline’s back office staff bumping you up a grade if the flight’s full. This will save them having to deal with last-minute problems at the airport – where flight delays can cost thousands.
Likewise, arriving fashionably late could also get you an upgrade. If economy class is full, check-in staff might decide to give you an upgrade to ease the overcrowding in cattle class. Just make sure you apologise profusely for being late and dress in a manner that would just happen to fit in with the well-heeled inhabitants of premium cabins. Don’t risk this if you really need to catch the plane, though, there’s also the chance you could get bumped onto the next flight – however, this could also give you upgrade ammo… read on.
Get bumped: If you’re travelling on a popular route at a busy time – and you have some time to spare – it could be worth mentioning this at check-in. If the flight’s overbooked, staff will look for passengers who can move to later flights – often using upgrades as ‘bump bait’. You’ll probably be able to blag a seat in the airline’s exclusive lounge, too. Just don’t drink too much free ‘hospitality’.
Solo-a-go-go: Flying alone will improve your chances of getting an upgrade. Couples will less chance – and don’t even bother angling for a group upgrade for your pub rugby team.
Smile: Pushy passengers who demand upgrades will not be popular with hard-pressed check-in staff. Remember, upgrades are discretionary and how you act will have a profound effect on your chances of receiving one. Being polite and friendly could just get you bumped up a class. Word of warning, though, please look-up the subtle differences between ‘polite’ and ‘smarmy’.
Don’t taint your airport lounging before you even get to the terminal! Start as you mean to carry on by booking a meet and greet chauffeur to collect your car as you arrive at the airport – leaving you to head straight to the gate. The driver will then transfer your vehicle to a safe, secure compound for the duration of your trip. The chauffeur will then meet you on your return to the UK. It’s the ultimate airport parking service.
Book your Gatwick Airport parking meet and greet service here.
Why let the luxury end when you get on the plane. If you’re travelling in economy class, then make sure you get the best seats available. Choose the right locations and you’ll receive business class-like legroom for free or at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for the real thing. Visit a website such as SeatGuro and check out the seating plan for the type of plane you’ll be travelling in. Then, head online – or visit the airline’s app – as soon as check-in opens and pre-book the relevant seats.
The seats you need to look out for are as follows…
Emergency exit seats: Not surprisingly, these are located next emergency exits and offer everything from a few extra inches to several feet of legroom. However, to meet Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requirements you’ll need to be over 15 and physically fit to sit in these seats.
Bulkhead seats: A bulkhead is a partition in the plane that divides areas of the plane’s structure. Seats facing these bulkheads usually offer additional legroom, however; you might find you’re seated next to parents with a young baby – as bassinet cots are usually fixed to the partitions. Nothing that a good set of headphones won’t deal with, though.
Have you noticed many A-listers carrying their own suitcases? Nope – and you don’t need to either. Instead, have your luggage collected from home and delivered to your hotel. Do this with a great new service called Luggage Mule, which picks up your bags from home and then delivers them direct to your destination hotel. It might be a totally VIP service, but the secret is that in many ‘cases’ it works out cheaper than flying with the luggage yourself. Luggage Mule says it’ll save you £100 on a 25kg suitcase compared with a return trip on RyanAir.
View some more tips here.
Enjoy your lounging and let us know of any new tips you might have.