British Airways has announced that its First Class lounge at London Gatwick will close from 3pm each day from Monday 13 April 2015.
The lounge is one of two provided by BA at London Gatwick. The other being a Terraces lounge for Silver Executive Club cardholders and passengers travelling on flexible UK domestic tickets, and in Club Europe and Club World.
Patronage of the lounge has declined over a number of years. BA moved routes such as Dallas Fort Worth and Houston to London Heathrow many years ago. American Airlines withdrew from the airport after the 2008 Open Skies treaty removed restrictions on what routes BA and American could operate from London Heathrow.
Alternatively, passengers have the option of flying to another nearby BA destination from London Gatwick (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote), or via Iberia’s hub in Madrid. Passengers are also entitled to a full refund.
Other direct flights from London Gatwick to Gran Canaria are available from easyJet, Norwegian and Thomas Cook.
Some good news for British Airways passengers at London Gatwick. The airline has announced that, from the start of the Summer 2014 season on 30 March 2014, it will increase the frequency of flights on the following routes:
Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) increases from 2 to 3 flights a week
Antigua increases from 5 to 6 flights a week
Kingston increases from 3 to 4 flights a week
St Lucia increases from 6 to 7 flights a week
Orlando increases from 10 to 13 flights a week
The increase in frequency has been enabled by the addition of one more Boeing 777 aircraft, taking the number of Boeing 777s stationed at London Gatwick to 10. This is itself something of an achievement for BA at London Gatwick bearing in mind the number of slots that now need occupying at Heathrow.
It is a little disappointing that BA has not chosen to use the extra capacity to launch a new route, particularly to the East where BA has previously expressed the potential for growth in long-haul leisure routes from London Gatwick. However, there is a logic in adding frequencies to routes not served by daily flights to increase the number of outbound/inbound options for passengers.
Of note is the increase in flights to Orlando, which increase once again to 13 weekly and has historically been something of a stronghold for Virgin Atlantic. It is also interesting to note there has been no increase in flights from London Gatwick to Las Vegas which remain at thrice weekly, and complemented by daily flights from London Heathrow.
Hopefully the trend of steady growth in BA’s long-haul leisure operation at Gatwick is one that will continue.