Spending long hours at the airport can be frustrating, but long waits are made infinitely easier with airport lounges. Airport Lounges offer one a comfortable sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the airport as well as snacks and drinks. We visited two lounges at OR Tambo International Airport.
Our sojourns at OR Tambo International Airport are usually very brief. We rush to the airport with just enough time to check in, go through the necessary procedures and maybe sit for a very few minutes making last-minute phone calls and switching to SMS roaming before we have to board. On our most recent trip to Hong Kong and China , we decided to leave for the airport a bit earlier in order to experience the Bidvest Premier Lounge and the Slow Lounge. On checking in we were told that our flight was delayed so we had a lot more time available to spend at the lounges, something I was quite happy about.
We went to the Bidvest Premier International Departure lounge first. They swiped our cards at the entrance and advised us to be aware of our boarding times as they don't make flight announcements. The seating area was comfortable, and there was free wi-fi available. The rest rooms included shower facilities and towels were available at reception. Reading material on hand included a selection of newspapers and mostly business magazines. We helped ourselves to hot soup at the refreshment station which also had a selection of food (although not many vegetarian options) as well as hot and cold drinks.
After spending some time at the Bidvest Premier lounge, we went to the SLOW lounge. Their tagline is “SLOW lounge - The lounge for extremely busy people". The SLOW lounge had everything the Bidvest lounge had and more. One can relax on the loungers overlook the tarmac or take advantage of the other facilities. A big plus for me was that the Amani spa on-site offered free 15-20 minute massages to SLOW lounge patrons, something I definitely took advantage of.
The food spread included a wide variety of delicacies including finger foods and desserts and the friendly chefs offered to whip up even more delicious dishes for us.
There are two private dens. If you are lucky enough to get an unoccupied one, you can fall off to sleep watching your own private TV there. Just be sure not to miss your flight though. It is so comfortable that this is a strong possibility. There are also work zones where you can plug in your electronic devices and work ...or play using the free wi-fi. A bookshelf with a wide variety of books and magazines is there for those who prefer to read.
The SLOW Lounge is exclusive to qualifying British Airways and Comair customers, qualifying FNB clients, and qualifying RMB Private Bank clients. We had complimentary access due to an FNB promotion but do confirm entrance fees with them before you enter as their entrance criteria change often. Visit their website for more information.
The Bidvest Premier lounges are available to several more cardholders. Visit their website for more information
If you have complimentary access or if cost is not an issue, then by all means, go to the SLOW Lounge. If you are not a qualifying customer then go to the Bidvest Lounge. But one thing is certain - long waits at the airport are definitely much more bearable in an exclusive airport lounge!
After writing this post, we have returned to the SLOW Lounge many times dues to our airline loyalty benefits. The structure has changed a bit. There are more benefits available in the afternoons than in the mornings, when only a smaller section of the lounge is open to guests.