London Gatwick’s North Terminal features a large number of airlines who have lounges, but since such a significant proportion of the flights leaving the terminal are from EasyJet, what are the options for a lounge experience if you’d prefer spending cash on that instead of on the flight experience?
No1 Lounge at Gatwick Airport
No1 Lounge at Gatwick’s North Terminal is a large lounge on the 2nd floor, the second lounge you see upon passing the WH Smith just after security.
Upon entry and getting your pass checked you turn left and walk up a slight rise to the entrance to the lounge proper. Skirting the (admittedly well stocked) bar, we headed into the main section of the lounge.
This corner was a large open lounge area with open booths along the periphery and leather couches in the middle of the room. Small tables and chairs dotted around the room and each couch style seat offered dual power points just below the seat cushion: handy for recharging. Weirdly enough, the lounge windows face back towards the terminal, with only an oblique view out across the runway.
In the far corner is the kitchen where the plates and cutlery are returned for washing. Unfortunately, either due to the enthusiasm of the staff or a quirk of the acoustics, the clattering of the dirty dishes and cutlery reverberates through the lounge and we end up having to move because it’s so distracting.
Back near the bar there’s another door beside the entrance which heads towards what’s deemed The Library where children are not allowed. We’re tempted to head in that direction where there are slightly more intimate seating arrangements, but there doesn’t seem to be any air-con through there and temperature is through the roof.
If we tried to work there we’d end up nodding off and missing our flight. The good news is the windows there do overlook the tarmac – at least there’s something to look at! Also in the Library is a board room with cool top hat light shades.
It’s glass all round though so must be an absolute pressure cooker with the lack of air-con. The Library generally feels more like a Private Members Club rather than a lounge – refined relaxation being the vibe.
Back out in the main area, theres another sub-area beside the bar with a big screen TV showing the news, but the loudness of the conversation of the guys at the bar makes that a non-starter also. We end up shuffling along the benches away from the corner with the clattering dishes and find ourselves under a withering soft breeze of relatively cool air.
We’re just congratulating ourselves for picking the perfect spot when Amanda Holden (Britain’s Got Talent) comes in with her coterie. Sigh. To be fair they aren’t incredibly noisy, but their sporadic shrieks of laughter do compete with the loud lads stories of the guys at the pub for top distraction.
No1 Lounge Food
Anyways, onto the food. There’s a good spread of hot food: macaroni and cheese, a potato and coconut curry, a spicy sausage casserole and mushroom rice – pretty much something for everyone. The cold food offerings are good also, with coleslaw, salad and mixed vegetables in sufficient quantities.
And for afters? Fruit, chocolate brownies and some sort of a fruit slice. Nice. There are also a few jars with snacks in them and we fill a little dish with the chilli nuts and rice crackers combo. OMG: the chilli is a bit on the hot side – I finished eating them ten minutes ago and am still feeling the burn!
If the bar doesn’t appeal, you can wash down your chosen meal with a wide range of self serve drinks ranging from a soda fountain, through to bottles of various juices and a pair of coffee machines.
Beyond the food the lounge just kept going with a restaurant area cordoned off. The view from that must have been the most dire – you were literally looking out at the wall of the building opposite – maybe 20 metres away.
So was it worth it?
Yeah I think so. It’s a weird combination, having to choose between having a relatively calm but stifling hot area or some sort of air-con and a constant barrage of pub noise, loud laughter and clattering dishes. But let’s face it, it’s better than waiting out in the main confines of Gatwick on uncomfortable seating and trying to navigate the dodgy internet.