The South African Airways Premium Lounge in Johannesburg is actually quite nice and was a very pleasant place for me to spend four hours between flights. With good coffee, a wide selection of food, and comfortable seating, it proved to be a very productive time for me.
South African Airways Premium Lounge Johannesburg Review
Location + Hours + Access
The lounge is located in the International terminal (A) above the duty free area. It is open from 4:30am until the last flight departs from Monday – Friday and from 5:30am until the last flight departs on Saturdays and Sundays.
This lounge is open to:
- SAA Voyager Elite Members
- Lifetime Platinum (three guests)
- Platinum (two guests)
- Gold (one guest)
- Silver (no guest)
- Star Alliance Gold members (one guest)
- SAA Business Class passengers (no guests)
- SAA co-branded credit car holders (no guests)
When you enter the lounge, you’ll be turning right. The smaller but posher Platinum Lounge is to the left and reserved exclusively for SAA Voyager Platinum members.
This is not a Priority Pass lounge.
In terms of seating…there’s a lot of it. The lounge seemed to stretch on and on with frequent alcoves for seating. I found a seat by the window and enjoyed some spectacular tarmac views during my stay.
Food + Drinks
I was genuinely impressed by the spread of food and drink available in the lounge. Most of all, I was happy that a barista offered delicious coffee drinks made-to-order using Blacksmith beans.
If you prefer inferior coffee, an automatic machine is also available along with pastries and orange juice:
Beyond the coffee, the lounge offers a full bar service, buffet filled with hot and cold dishes, and a wide selection of sweets and fruit.
Do note my visit was in March 2020 and food and beverage service may be scaled back due to the pandemic.
Restrooms + Showers
Shower suites are available upon request (ask reception) while restrooms are spacious and feature a full-time attendant to keep it clean.
When Ben from One Mile at a Time visited this lounge in 2016, he ended up leaving because the internet was so bad. Thankfully, the internet issue has been resolved and it worked very well for me over my four hours stay.
The most popular area in the lounge was the smoking room. It took over an hour for it to empty out so I could get the picture below.
A kid’s play area did not have many toys, play sets, or other distractions, but did have brightly-painted walls.
This lounge worked out very nicely for my extended layover. Good coffee plus functioning wi-fi helped to pass the time very quickly. I look forward to returning (and maybe one day seeing the Platinum side of the lounge). This is one of the better lounges in JNB.
How would you review the South African Airways Premium Lounge in Johannesburg?
This story is part of my An African Adventure As The World Shut Down trip report.
WTF !! SAA is out of business. ???
I suspect they will never die.
Thanks for your review of this lounge. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been there, and I agree with your positive assessment, especially the coffee. Hopefully it, and SAA in some form, will survive. It’s definitely my favorite lounge in Africa. Although my daughter just spent some time in the new Cloud Nine lounge in Addis Ababa, and that sounds very nice, also. Especially in comparison to the old one there. Back to JNB – the one glaring shortcoming at that lounge in the past has been the shortage of electrical outlets. Like you said, lots of places to sit. But not many have outlets nearby. Did you notice if that has changed, along with the improved wifi?
I found an outlet by the window, but outlets do remain limited.
I had not heard about the new Cloud 9 lounge in ADD. Indeed, the old one was atrocious.
I think Royal Air Maroc also has a decent lounge in CMN…good coffee as well.
The new lounge in Addis is not a patch on this, although infinitely better than the old ones.
The trick to getting an outlet at the SAA Lounge is to go to the “entertainment room” (the one with the multi-coloured vases on the wall that Matthew pictured). There are plenty of spare outlets there and even a few extension cables! It also tends to be quieter and with less foot traffic.
I’d be very surprised if the lounge survives the cuts at SAA mk2. ACSA rents for that space is extremely high and there are multiple third party operators who were very keen to take it over.
Apparently the experience varies significantly with time of visit. Two of us were there one year ago in the evening and hardly recognized the lounge from your photos; we had a much less pleasant visit.
We first visited the Aspire lounge as business class passengers on LX. We found that lounge to be awful – very crowded and hot. After 5 minutes, we departed for the SAA Premium Lounge assuming it just had to be better than the Aspire lounge. Perhaps it was marginally better; at least the A/C worked better.
During our evening visit, the Premium lounge was very crowded and we walked around for a few minutes to find two seats together. The chafing dishes were mostly empty or nearly so. Cold food displays looked “picked over”. It was fairly easy to get a beverage from the bartender. Overall it was a very disappointing experience.
On our inbound trip from JNB to CPT, we visited the SAA domestic lounge in JNB in the afternoon, and that was a better experience – much less crowded and adequate snacks
I spent many hours in this lounge, usually in transit between Sin and Gru. It’s not bad. The views of the gates and taxi ways are superb. I enjoy the mix of food, including the chicken livers and rice. The cold beer is always enjoyable. While it’s not the fanciest and the showers and furniture could use an upgrade, it was always a pleasant enough place to spend a few hours in between flights. It’s much better than the domestic SAA lounge but not as nice as the lounge SQ uses at JNB.