Despite offering direct flights to numerous destinations worldwide, Cape Town airport has received little attention from airlines in terms of lounges and ground services. British Airways stands out as a notable exception with its large, modern full-service lounge.
Located at the end of the terminal building, the British Airways Lounge serves the airline’s once or twice daily flights to London, as well as other oneworld passengers (though it’s only open around British Airways flight times.)
British Airways Lounge CPT design
Completely remodeled in 2014, the British Airways Lounge at Cape Town International airport features the airline’s latest design created by London-based Giles Miller Studio, with fabrics from UK based Osbourne and Little.
The décor honors the carrier’s DNA. The space boasts the signature features that are the trademark of British Airways Galleries Lounges: the island bar, partitions with blue hues, hardwood floors, and an overall posh living room vibe which will make the airline’s frequent flyers feel right at home. Swanky and bold light fixtures, as well as artwork from South African artists, complete the ensemble.
Only one staple is – fortunately – missing – the old-fashioned English upholstered furniture that used to symbolize British Airways lounges has been phased out in favor of modern designer furniture with power outlets at every seat.
Recently expanded, the British Airways lounge impresses with its spacious layout. At 680 square meters (over 7,000 square feet), the space provides seating for a mere 150 customers, giving patrons a healthy amount of personal space.
The resolutely modern reception area opens onto an elegant central lobby with artwork and a dramatic chandelier. To the left when entering are the bathrooms and showers, while to the right is a seating area with a view on the concourse. Straight ahead is the centerpiece of the design: the vibrant bar area, with a distinctive island bar and wine wall. Beyond is the main dining and seating area, where the buffet is located. The room boasts striking high curved ceilings and a large floor to ceiling window along two walls, which lets plenty of natural light in and features grand views of the tarmac.
The varied seating options include individual chairs with side tables, large communal work and dining tables, and couches. Groups may choose enjoy the comfy booths in the bar area, while solo travelers might favor the slightly secluded zone adjacent to the reception area, or the seats with ottomans by the windows.
Power outlets with South African and European plugs and USB ports are available at every seat. The omission of UK outlets is odd at a lounge that serves flights to London almost exclusively, but adapters are available at the reception desk.
Overall, the British Airways lounge at Cape Town airport is elegant, well designed and extremely spacious. We have just a few minor pet peeves. The air conditioning is weak, and struggles to compete with the Cape Town sun. It can get painfully hot by the windows, and the lounge feels stuffy shortly after opening, though it cools down over time. Also, we could do without the background rock music – we feel that silence or light classical music are generally more appropriate at a business class lounge. Finally, it’s worth noting that British Airways does not offer a First Class lounge or bar at Cape Town airport, so First Class passengers and oneworld Emerald members will mingle with other passengers.
British Airways Lounge CPT amenities
The British Airways lounge features a large buffet and bar area with a trendy wine wall. The island bar boasts a selection of South African wines, including sparkling wine. The latter isn’t a highlight in our opinion, and could benefit from a substitution to a higher end product. Overall, though, the alcoholic beverage selection is solid, with a variety of spirits and liquors available for self-service in the buffet area. Soft drinks, bottled water, tea and espresso are also available.
The buffet spread includes a substantial number of shrink-wrapped snacks, which lacks elegance and class – and the plastic knives don’t help in this regard. On the other hand, there are also two tasty hot entrees such as a curry dish, as well as individual salad plates and good cheeses. Overall, while the buffet won’t earn any awards, the selection is varied and generous enough for a light meal.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is naturally available, though British Airways uses the designated airport provider, which places a cap on connection times and data transfers (in the vicinity of 200 Mb.) We did not notice any issue with regular use over a few hours, and it’s unclear whether the restrictions are actually enforced, but if they are, that would be a serious challenge for travelers in need to make VoIP calls. That’s especially unfortunate at an international departure lounge.
Two lounge features two spacious and well-appointed shower suites. True to their tradition, British Airways offers high end Hans Grohe shower fixtures with multiple massaging jets for a refreshing and invigorating shower experience. Water temperature and pressure are excellent, and the ventilation system is effective. The shower suites come with several towels (though no washcloth) and Elemis product in wall mounted dispensers. Inquire with a reception agent for a key to one of the shower suites.
Other amenities include shared computers and a printer, a selection of newspapers and magazines, as well as a bag storage area.
The service is hit or miss in our experience. The servers are friendly and proactive, but the reception staff doesn’t showcase the best of what British Airways has to offer.
British Airways Lounge CPT bottom line
The British Airways Lounge at Cape Town airport is a treat. The space is fresh, modern, comfortable and well appointed, with plenty of space to work or relax. The showers are a blessing on a sweltering long day prior to a long flight, and the food and beverage selection is quite honorable, though not luxurious.
You may have access to British Airways Lounge as a premium customer of one of the following airlines, or as an elite member of their frequent flyer program. Check the Access rules tab for more details.
Access for eligible customers traveling on any oneworld member airline.
American Airlines (AA) British Airways (BA) Cathay Dragon (KA) Cathay Pacific (CX) Finnair (AY) Iberia (IB) Japan Airlines (JL) LATAM Airlines Brasil (JJ) LATAM Airlines Chile (LA) Malaysia Airlines (MH) Qantas (QF) Qatar Airways (QR) Royal Jordanian (RJ) S7 Airlines (S7) SriLankan (UL)
British Airways Lounge at Cape Town (CPT) welcomes:
- British Airways First passengers (+1 guest)
- British Airways Business Class passengers (Club Europe and Club World) (no guests)
- British Airways Gold Executive Club members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or other oneworld carriers (+1 guest)
- British Airways Gold Executive Silver members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or other oneworld carriers (+1 guest)
- First class passengers departing on a same-day flight operated by a oneworld airline (+1 guest)
- Business class passengers departing on a same-day flight operated by a oneworld airline (no guests)
- oneworld Emerald members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or another oneworld airline (+1 guest)
- oneworld Sapphire members departing on a same-day flight operated by British Airways or another oneworld airline (+1 guest)
- Guests must be departing on a flight operated and marketed by a oneworld airline.
- For connecting passengers, lounge access will be determined on the international long haul ticketed flight (either First of Business Class) regardless of the ticketed class of travel on the international short haul or domestic flight.
- American Airlines and Qantas customers who have purchased a membership in their airline’s lounge network do not have access to British Airways lounges unless their ticket or status qualifies.