The South African Airways Arrivals Lounge at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo international airport offers South African Airways’ premium and select elite passengers arriving on international flights the ability to shower and enjoy breakfast on the ground, ahead of their day at work.
Arrivals lounges are especially convenient for customers who need to go straight to work from the airport, or whose hotel may not let them check in early in the morning. They also give passengers the option to skip breakfast onboard in order to maximize sleep time.
To reach the lounge, pick up your bags and exit immigration and customs, then watch for signs to the lounge and take the elevator to the upper level. Do not go through the automatic door on the lower level, or you’ll exit the secure arrivals area and (in theory) will not allowed to get back in.
Design and amenities
Physically, the South African Airways Arrivals Lounge is a rather simple space, but with interesting architectural features such as the curved walls lined with hardwoods. The cozy room has just enough space for a reception desk and a small dining and seating area with a breakfast buffet. The club lacks windows and daylight – which, while unfortunate, is hardly an issue for a lounge that is meant for short stays.
Breakfast is also a simple affair. The selection includes yoghurt, toast, cereal, and one hot option such as oatmeal or scrambled eggs. There’s also the odd potato chips for those who aren’t quite on the local time zone yet. Drinks wise, espresso and tea are offered, in addition to excellent fresh fruit juices.
While the spread should satisfy all basic need, note that it’s a far cry from South African Airways’ luxurious offering at their new VIA domestic departure lounge, so if you’re connecting on to a domestic flight, enjoy a shower, then make your way to the domestic lounge for breakfast.
The shower suites are the highlight of the lounge. The four elegant and surprisingly spacious rooms feature plenty of space to change, a toilet, and a rain shower. The water temperature and pressure are excellent, as is ventilation – which isn’t always the case at all airports. Towels are provided (although there is no washcloth) as well as bath products in wall-mounted dispensers.
Pressing service is available. Note the “cupboard” with a double door, open the inside door, hang your shirt or pants, then lock the door and use the intercom to request the service. An attendant will pick up your clothes through the outside door, and return your freshly pressed items while you shower.
Note that there are only four shower suites, so there may be a wait. If you’re connecting on South African Airways, you may use the showers at the VIA Domestic lounge, or one of the various pay-in lounges in the departures area, as an alternative.
Other amenities include a bag storage area, a small business center with shared computers, and a selection of newspapers and magazines. There is also a small smoking room.
South African Airways Arrivals Lounge JNB bottom line
Overall, the South African Airways Arrivals Lounge at Johannesburg international airport is a convenient and well-appointed lounge. The shower suites are elegant and spacious, while the breakfast area is simple but functional and the buffet meets all basic needs.
The ability to shower upon arrival from a long flight is a luxurious perk that most airlines overlook. South African Airways shines in this regard, with their own Arrivals Lounge in Johannesburg and access to the United Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow.
Note that while the South African Airways Arrivals Lounge opens as early as 4am, it closes shortly after noon. In the afternoon, the Ses’fikile lounge immediately across is available for a fee.
You may have access to South African Airways Arrivals 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 the following Star Alliance member airlines only.
South African Air (SA)
The South African Airways Arrivals Lounge at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo international airport welcomes South African Airways Business Class passengers, Voyager Lifetime Platinum, Platinum and Gold card holders arriving on a same day South African Airways international or regional flight.
The Arrivals Lounge is not a Star Alliance Gold lounge. Passengers holding Star Alliance Gold status or arriving on code-share flight or other Star Alliance airlines may not use this facility.
Guests are not permitted.