Get £15 of free food + drink per person at Gatwick Airport (South Terminal)
As airlines continue to adopt a ‘buy on board’ approach, people are giving more thought to food and drink in the airport before they board their flights.
Lounge access is often a useful solution. Except for places like Gatwick Airport. Want to use the No1 Lounge at Gatwick during a busy period? You can basically forget about it.
But your lounge access pass isn’t completely useless at Gatwick – there is an alternative:
Grain Store is located in Gatwick’s South Terminal and you can get £15 of credit per eligible visitor just by presenting your Priority Pass or LoungeKey card.
But you can do far better than just a £15 of free credit.
The American Express Platinum Card comes with a Priority Pass that allows the cardholder and a guest unlimited visits to any of their 1,100+ lounges worldwide. Amex Platinum cardholders are also entitled to one free Platinum supplementary card on their account. This comes with its own Priority Pass.
As each guest is entitled to £15 of free credit, this would give a family of four a full £60 to spend at Grain Store!
My review of Gatwick Premium Security
Last summer, I asked for your input as to whether Gatwick Premium Security (and Gatwick Premium Passport Control) were just a money-spinner for the airport, or actually worth purchasing. Feedback was good and so I decided, when making one of my admittedly infrequent trips to Gatwick to give Premium Security a go.
Ahead of the busy summer travel period, I wanted to give this review another airing. I’ve made some minor edits for clarification.
Who can access Gatwick Premium Security
Premium Security is available at both Gatwick North and South terminals between 04:00 and 20:45.
You can pre-book access for £5 per adult (or less via promotional offers) via this link on Gatwick website. Children under 5 are free.
Per the British Airways website, access is also available daily between 05:30 – 14:00 and 16:30 – 21:30 for:
- Anyone travelling in First, Club World and Club Europe
- Executive Club Gold and Silver Members (plus one guest)
- oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members (plus one guest)
If you have elite status with another airline or are travelling in a premium cabin, you may also be able to access Premium Security on a complimentary basis.
How to book Gatwick Premium Security
Following a prompt from a reader in the comments section, I downloaded the myGatwick app to see whether there were any special offers available. I’ve covered the benefits of the myGatwick discount program in the past.
I logged in, added my flight details and found a 20% discount available on Premium Security. For the record, the same discount was available when I logged in via the desktop site (see below).
This brought the cost down to £4 per adult. You are asked to pre-select a 30-minute slot when booking.
Note: the Gatwick website will not allow you to purchase Premium Security (or any ‘extras’) within four hours of your flight – something that almost caught me out on the day.
I can’t imagine that they would turn you away if you turn up before/after your pre-booked slot, but I suppose it could happen. As it turned out, I simply flashed my booking confirmation email at the person manning the entrance and was waved through – there was no mention of the fact that I had arrived earlier than my pre-booked slot.
What is Gatwick Premium Security like?
You follow the signs for Departures as if you were heading to regular security. As you approach Departures, you’ll see a section off to the left bearing the Premium Gatwick signage.
If you haven’t pre-booked online, there is the option to pay £5 ‘on the door’. I’m not sure if this option is always available or if they restrict entry to pre-bookings if things are particularly busy.
You then proceed through a separate channel to a dedicated security lane.
In an ideal world, regular security would have been far busier on the day of my review, allowing me to properly assess the advantages of purchasing Premium Security.
Instead, it was pretty quiet, as the photo below shows:
I was through Premium Security in under two minutes. I’m told that even at busy times, the waiting time at Premium Security is still considerably shorter than the regular queues.
One thing to note: the Premium Security section is situated next to some sort of family security zone and they ‘feed out’ side by side. This has the potential to detract slightly from the more relaxed experience through to duty-free – and I say that as someone with two kids!
Which other UK airports offer a fast-track security service?
Heathrow also offers a Fast Track security service that is available at all terminals.
You need to purchase this at least a day before travel – which will be frustrating for some last-minute travellers. At £12.50 per person, it’s also much more expensive than Gatwick Premium Security.
The one upside is that you can earn Heathrow Rewards points (convertible to Avios, Virgin miles etc) on your purchase.
You can find more info on the Heathrow Fast service here.
The Luton Airport website seems to offer a Priority Lane to the Security Hall but no actual Fast Track Security service as such.
I can’t offer much firsthand info on other paid Fast Track security experiences at other UK airports. Feel free to add your experiences in the comments section.
The regular security lanes were relatively deserted on the day of my visit so it was hard to gauge just how much of a time-saver Premium Security is. I know we do have a number of readers who use it regularly and are big fans. On a busy day, Premium Security may help you retain your sanity. I’d certainly have no issues paying for it again, especially if travelling during peak times.
Have you paid for a Fast Track Service at Gatwick or any other UK airport – was it worth it?
Header image credit: Mohd Syis Zulkipli / Shutterstock.com