Gatwick Airport is one of my least favourite airports, however the only direct flight from the UK to Albania departs from this airport. I have horrific memories of long queues at security, bottlenecks and a lack of relaxation space, so the prospect of starting my holiday here was not appealing.
The No1 Traveller Lounge to the rescue
We decided to avoid the madness and check out the No1 Traveller Lounge. You can find it tucked away on the mezzanine level of the terminal, a welcome respite from the chaos of the terminal.
For £30 (or £16 for children), you can enjoy three hours in the lounge. I recommend pre-booking to avoid disappointment, and also because you receive security fast-track passes, which means your holiday begins that little bit sooner.
Checking in is painless, with multiple terminals set up around a central island. You are then free to find a table of your choice in either the lounge or dining areas.
There’s a reasonable selection of foods including vegetable lasagna, salmon, salads and couscous. Orders are placed at the bar although I think it would be better if this was table service (see Doncaster Sheffield lounge review).
The food was delivered quickly and tasted reasonable, albeit the portions were a little on the small side. Thankfully you can help yourself to nibbles, including crisps, nuts and brownies, which seemed to delight our chaps.
All drink orders also have to be placed at the bar and this is my biggest gripe with paid lounges. If you have ever flown business and had lounge access, then you will be used to self serve drinks. This avoids lengthy queues, so I was a little disappointed with this aspect of the lounge.
When we arrived, there were crowds around the bar and only one server who most definitely did not deliver ‘service with a smile‘. Glasses of wine were served small, meaning frequent trips, although as the lounge emptied the service massively improved.
Of all the lounges I’ve been to, this is however probably my favourite paid lounge. It has panoramic views from all vantages and was far from crowded (unlike the Aspire Lounge in Heathrow T5). It has good seating for those wishing to work, with well placed plugs and desks, plus it has a lovely comfy lounging area and a practical eating area. It’s not huge but the numbers entering are restricted and if you are lucky, you may even be able to snag your own little private booth.
What do you think?
Maybe you have visited the lounge and I would love to know what you think. Feel free to let us know in the comments below.