Yesterday’s successful move from Gatwick’s South Terminal to North was a big occasion for us and we hope you love the new space.
Along with a luxurious new Clubhouse and spa, we’ve unveiled a light and spacious check in area with a giant gold feature wall and an increased number of kiosks, ensuring your journey begins with the smoothest of starts. We fly from Gatwick to a range of leisure destinations – Florida, Vegas, Mexico and a host of Caribbean islands – so we’ve designed it to feel like your holiday begins the moment you step through the doors.
On Tuesday, our last ever flight departed from Gatwick’s South. After waving it goodbye, the teams got to work closing the door on our base of 33 years and taking the shutters off our brand new home in the North.
The day began early with our first arrival into the North Terminal; the VS30 from Barbados which landed at 5.30 a.m. She was delivered safely into the hands of our Turnaround Coordinator to prepare her for her next service.
Meanwhile the first customers began arriving at our bright new check in area. With fourteen kiosks and bag drop desks stretching the width of the terminal, they breezed through the space and on to the Clubhouse, v-room and the gate.
We’re always looking for an opportunity to surprise our customers, and the team had a treat in store for an extra special guest this morning. Mrs North, a customer flying home to Orlando, was met by the team with a surprise upgrade to Premium Economy and an invite to the brand new Clubhouse – where she was met with a cool glass of champagne. After all, it’s only right for someone who shares a name with our new home to have a bit of star treatment! It was her first time flying with Virgin Atlantic too – and we hope she’ll fly with us again soon.
The first departure of the day was the VS29 to Barbados. With Captain Andrew Holden at the controls our first ever customers from the North Terminal pushed back slightly ahead of time.
For the team it was a very special moment and a fantastic achievement. “We’re thrilled to be welcoming our first customers to the North Terminal,” said Sam Pennington, our Head of Operational Change, who’s been working on this move for two and a half years. “Around 60 people across Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays have worked hard to make the move a success and our light, bright new home is testament to their dedication. So many of us have really happy memories of our old base in the South Terminal, and we celebrated some fantastic milestones there, but we’re looking forward to celebrating lots more in the years ahead here in our new home. I can’t wait to hear what our customers think. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s been part of making it happen.”
Opening a new Clubhouse is always a big moment for Virgin Atlantic and something keenly anticipated by those who work in them and use them.
Matt Davies, who designed the new Gatwick Clubhouse explains the thinking behind the look-
“The design principles of the Clubhouse are based on the Gatwick destinations and the start of your holiday. I wanted people who walked into the Clubhouse to think ‘I’m on holiday now’, and to invoke the same feelings as the first morning you wake up on holiday, somewhere new, beautiful and exciting. We’ve created several distinct spaces for the passengers to experience within the the 7200sqft Clubhouse, including two comfortable lounge spaces, a family area, a dedicated brasserie and a spa, all full of intriguing details and features.”
To celebrate the opening we’ve partnered with hip East London cocktail bar White Lyan to produce some bespoke cocktails for our customers.
“White Lyan are one of the most creative bars in the world who do things in a very precise and exciting way,” said Mark Murphy, who is in charge of all food and drink in our Clubhouses. “Because our Gatwick flights all serve leisure destinations and leave in the morning, they’ve created some holiday cocktails designed for early morning service. They are light, refreshing and inspired by some of the classic recipes of White Lyan – the perfect way to start your holiday.”
We also spoke to three of the Gatwick Clubhouse team to ask how the new Clubhouse will delight our customers.
“We see a lot more families and groups in the Gatwick Clubhouse because it is primarily a leisure destination. Heathrow is more tailored to the business traveller. The new space is much larger then our previous Clubhouse in the South Terminal and the comfy seating is laid out to be more suitable for those groups. We now have a pool table, an amazing view and some unique cocktails. We’re all really looking forward to welcoming our regulars here as well as showing off to our new customers”.
The new space is situated next to the Virgin Holidays v-room, across a private floor, meaning you’re really whisked away from the hustle and bustle of the airport. Floor to ceiling windows ensconce the Clubhouse, providing a wealth of natural daylight and sweeping views across the airport.
Whichever class you’re travelling in, we look forward to welcoming you to our new home as you start your well-earned holiday at Gatwick’s North Terminal.