29 Nov British Airways gives their lounge a first-class upgrade
Having just flown to the UK, I am all about promoting the lounges on offer as a great quality lounge with good food and comfy seating can make a world of difference to your trip and whether you enjoy your layover or not.
Having said that, British Airways has just opened its newly refurbished Johannesburg lounge at OR Thambo, as part of its £6.5 billion customer investment plan.
The lounge is situated on the first floor in international departures and has recently undergone a significant refurbishment, with the 880m2 floor space been converted into one spacious lounge, with a boutique dining area for First customers. To be honest, if I was paying for a first-class ticket, I would also want to be treated like royalty from check-in, to carousel.
The carefully curated lounge follows a new design concept, which incorporates local design features with the best of British. Here you will see both British and South African elements blend to deliver a luxurious and contemporary look and feel with warm, welcoming African notes. Local architects from a company called Paragon helped bring this concept to life.
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 armchairs and banquette seating and a selection of complimentary magazines and newspapers are available for customers who want to relax and recharge ahead of their journey.
The devil is in the details, which is why 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 spirits, 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.”
Visiting New York?
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.
Truth be told, I usually only fly Emirates, however, after having read about this update, I may be open to flying BA to my next destination.
The lounge is available to customers travelling in First and Club World as well as Executive Club Gold and Silver card holders and oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members.