Greetings from JNB BA lounge, awaiting to be loaded on the lorry of the air. I transited twice this week via this airport. Two remarquable things are worth mentioning:
11 Jun 2017
- I found what is for me so far the best short haul lounge I’ve visited. And no, this is not BA’s, but rather the one own by Comair, SLOW lounge. Finally a quality place, with good food and service, in a nice environment. Why don’t we have this more often?
- Interestingly, when transiting from an international flight to an international flight at JNB, you have to pass immigration! Once done though, your file mentions you are not allowed to leave the airport. Would someone have an explanation to this weird practice?
Funny as my o/h is there right now.
We have used that lounge and it is terrific but gets unpleasantly crowded at certain times of the day and unfortunately some of its users don’t appear to be aware of the norms of decent behaviour in public, which rather lowers its value for other people.
I wasn’t aware of that rather strange anomaly about transits international to international but thinking it through, I’ve never had cause to make that type of transit there.11 Jun 2017
After posting this had a call from o/h to say she’s in the BA business class lounge at international departures, not the domestic one (obviously) and it’s pretty poor, which matches their whole business class.11 Jun 2017
The South African Slow lounges are owned by FNB Bank and operated for their premium customers as they pass through. Comair/BA did a deal to use these lounges for their premium pax.
The JNB BA First and Business Class lounges are due to be refurbished in the near future due to the restriction on capacity at busy times. There is an urgency in this project due to the increase in passengers with the introduction of the second A380 operation in October.12 Jun 2017
Swissdiver, I was actually going to post on this a few months back but completely forgot. Yes, the lounge really is very impressive – in my opinion it beats the JNB BA Gold lounge hands down. With free spa treatment and a great range of **fresh** food, I found it hard to believe I was just transiting domestically. I’ve attached a pic that I took of the fruit selection (to irritate my wife stuck in the LHR BA lounge)
re: Transiting from International to International. Up until last year, I regularly used to go Zambia > JNB > UK. With often a 10-12 hour layover, I would just go through normal immigration, spend the day with friends in Jo’burg and then go back through immigration in the evening. I never had issues with this.
You must be logged in to access attached files.12 Jun 2017
Yes, the Comair/SLOW lounges are brilliant, I actually think the CPT one is even better than JNB, with a similar food offering, in a bright high-ceilinged space, not to mention the “loo with a view” (of the runway)!
But then the superior shorthaul lounge is in line with the superior shorthaul service on board – a 2-hour domestic flight with hot meals even in Economy Class – would be hard pressed to find that anywhere in Europe…
I’ve also never transferred int-int at JNB – sounds a bit over the top but not unique – most notably the US also requires international transit passengers to clear immigration for varous security reasons. In the US they are mixed with arriving and domestic connecting passengers – but if JNB has a special immigration route for int-int transfers, then it makes sense – at least bureaucratically-speaking – that the immigration permission is specifically for transit only.12 Jun 2017
I have a feeling that because you have a European passport that does not require a visa you were allowed to enter SA and then depart again. I think it also has something to do with arrivals from the neighboring countries (and I assume that is what happened).
If you don’t have visa free entry then you have to remain in Transit, you do not enter SA via the immigration channel. If you have a long stopover you can even book the transit hotel in 6 hour blocks, but airside you remain.12 Jun 2017
@travelsforfun Absolutely correct. The CPT Slow Lounge is the best, with DUR a close second.
I recently spoke to the lady chef at CPT who ventured into the lounge and was really chuffed to be told that their offering is one of the best lounges, food wise, in the airline world. She also said that they start to prepare the food from scratch every morning from 4am…impressive. Def worth being an extra hour early for your flight to enjoy their facilities….one of BA/Comairs better moves! (Don’t tell Cruz-Walsh…!!)12 Jun 2017
For those of you who are not travelling in F or J, may I commend the Bidvest Lounge in Jnb International Departures. Mrs Bluemooner reckons the complimentary curry and rice is as good as anywhere. We gain access as Priority Pass card holders. Also it is adjacent to the VAT reclaim office, so convenient if making a claim.12 Jun 2017
@LP: correct assumption: Zim. That said, I didn’t see any other way that the one I used. Yesterday I actually wanted to go downtown using the Gautrain, but had to change my mind given the huge immigration queue. So I went to the international transfer area to … immigrate anyway, but with a restriction in my file (I could see it at security).12 Jun 2017
For those of you who are not travelling in F or J, may I commend the Bidvest Lounge in Jnb International Departures. Mrs Bluemooner reckons the complimentary curry and rice is as good as anywhere. We gain access as Priority Pass card holders. Also it is adjacent to the VAT reclaim office, so convenient if making a claim.
I’ve not stayed there but have looked in, though my son has used it several times on my (complimentary from my bank) Priority Pass which I never use- one advantage of having the same names! He rates it highly and agrees the food there is very good.12 Jun 2017
@LP: correct assumption: Zim. That said, I didn’t see any other way that the one I used. Yesterday I actually wanted to go downtown using the Gautrain, but had to change my mind given the huge immigration queue. So I went to the international transfer area to … immigrate anyway, but with a restriction in my file (I could see it at security).
The reason I know you can stay air-side SwissDiver, is we had an American employee who’s 90 day permit expired while she was in Botswana. We then booked her Gabarone – JNB – ZRH – BOS, but as we wanted no hassle over the expired permit she stayed air-side in the transit area. I don’t know how she got there, and looking for a map or help there is no information at all, but she managed it and continued her flight onwards without passing South African immigration.12 Jun 2017
The immigration control for passengers transferring between international flights at OR Tambo International may also be for security reasons so that intelligence services are aware of who is passing through Johannesburg.
My experience of immigration at international transfers is that it be woefully understaffed which can mean transfers at ORT can be very tight. Two weeks ago I had an 1hour 45minute connection between the Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt and SA Airlink flight to Maseru. With having to go international immigration (even with a South African passport), transfer security and then a long walk from one of the terminal to the other, there was no time to spare. I made the flight, but my luggage didn’t. The alternative would have been to spend most of the day at ORT until the next flight at 2pm or thereabouts.
Yes, the SLOW lounge is great. However, having experienced the SAA Baobab lounge last Friday night awaiting the LH flight, I could only look longingly over into the BA First lounge. I was fortunate to arrive early in the afternoon and find a seat. By 6.15pm the lounge was completely full.12 Jun 2017
I wouldn’t call it immigration as you don’t enter the country.
There is a check where your passport gets a stamp marked ‘transit’.
I can’t quite see what the point of it is but it always seems quite quick.12 Jun 2017
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