No More Executive Club Lounge in Gatwick North Terminal
BA will be moving all of its flights out of Gatwick to the airport’s South Terminal by the end of this year, and as of January 2016, will be ceasing operation of their Executive Club Lounge in the North Terminal. They are offering their guests use of the No. 1 Lounge as an alternative.
We took advantage of the No. 1 Lounge on our way out to Marrakech, and whilst it wasn’t awful, it didn’t have the exclusive feel of a normal BA lounge.
Let’s back-track a bit. No. 1 Lounges offer you the opportunity to buy your way into a lounge at the airport. You see this sort of thing quite regularly appearing on Groupon and the like. The trouble is, it’s not really that expensive (£28 for adults, £16 for children if booked in advance), and you could therefore be flying Sleazy-Jet to Malaga and get yourself into a lounge.
The whole point of BA’s Executive Club is to reward their most valued customers which a level of service ‘normal’ or occasional travellers can’t get access to. As such, in my experience, the BA lounges are generally excellent – and they do indeed feel exclusive, offering a safe haven from the madness of the departure terminal beyond. The No. 1 Lounge didn’t have quite this feel to it. The Library area, which is restricted to adults only, probably came the closest.
We weren’t travelling at a particularly busy time (Sunday morning in March), but it was already extremely busy, and I have heard stories of the lounge having to operate a one-in-one-out system when it is full to capacity at peak times. The self service area was limited to soft drinks and pastries, and any alcohol was served over the bar – but even this operated a queue system, such that at busy times, you couldn’t just take a seat at the bar and get served. I expect the bar service is an effort to control consumption and avoiding people paying their entrance fee and trying to offset the cost against their alcohol consumption.
Service was generally quite poor, with the drinks station running out of glassware, and the jams looking like someone had dropped a hand grenade in the marmalade. The toilets were not kept clean, with one cubicle containing a Boots carrier bag tied in the corner. To add insult to injury, each cubicle contained a powerful hand drier which would then circulate all of the assorted detritus around you as you dried your hands. Lovely.
Again, the No. 1 Lounge isn’t awful, and is still a far better alternative to camping out in the terminal, but as a BA Executive Club member myself, it left a bit to be desired.