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British Airways’ lounge at OR Tambo gets a first-class upgrade


3 min read

British Airways has opened its refurbished Johannesburg lounge, part of its £6.5 billion customer investment plan.

The lounge, situated on the first floor in international departures, has undergone a significant refurbishment, with the 880mfloor space having been converted into one spacious lounge, with a dedicated boutique dining area for First customers.

The meticulously curated lounge follows a new design concept, which debuted in 2018 and incorporates local design features with the best of British. In this case the British and South African elements blend to deliver a luxurious and contemporary look and feel with warm, welcoming African notes.

The new design means the lounge can comfortably host 247 customers. It offers a modern, lobby bar area for socialising, a brasserie dining area and office space with ample work stations and power outlets. A peaceful, separate area with a mix of elegant armchairs and banquette seating and selection of complementary magazines and newspapers is available for customers who want to relax and recharge ahead of their journey.

Zoned areas enable guests to select their preferred area depending on their mood and requirements. The lighting is specifically tailored for each zone and adjusted to be appropriate for the time of day.

The lobby bar, with its signature lighting, offers an extensive display of spirts, beers and soft drinks and a selection of fine South African wines.

Catering in the onsite kitchen is provided by Food Directions, the same caterer that serves the award-winning SLOW lounges, that are so popular with customers flying on franchise partner British Airways operated by Comair’s domestic and regional services. 

The menu includes hot and cold options including fresh seasonal salads, mezze, local charcuterie and Indezi River cheeses as well as traditional comfort-food favourites such as Cape Malay curry.

The newly introduced First Boutique Dining pairs a pre-flight al-la-carte menu, designed by the in-house chef, with an extensive wine list featuring selections from some of South leading estates.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said: “We’re delighted to present the next step in our significant customer investment with the re-opening of the Johannesburg lounge.

Every detail has been carefully designed and we’ve created a space to meet our customers’ needs – whether they want to relax with a hot meal, work in peace or enjoy a drink at the lobby bar, the lounge will get their travels off to the best start.”

British Airways has this year completed the renovation of its First and Club lounges in New York’s JFK Terminal 7, along with improvements to the customer experience at check-in, which are currently underway. A brand-new contemporary lounge has also been unveiled in San Francisco, with sweeping views of the runways. Further investment is planned with a new British Airways lounge in Geneva, set to open later this year.

The new OR Tambo lounge opens as the airline is investing £6.5 billion for its customers over five years, including the installation of the best-quality Wi-Fi and power in every aircraft seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. This year the airline has also introduced its Club Suite, a new business class seat with direct aisle access.

Jeanette Briedenhann
Jeanette Briedenhann
Jeanette Phillips joined the team in 2016. She developed a passion and love for all things-travel related in her role as travel journalist, a position she held for over seven years. A brief exodus into the corporate marketing sphere proved that there is no better industry than the travel industry. Research and writing are two of Jeanette’s greatest passions, but she is always open to new challenges and different ways of doing things.

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