South African Premium Lounge Baobab Review Johannesburg Airport (JNB)

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The South African Premium Lounge (Baobab) is located at the end of all the shopping options of Johannesburg Airport. It is split into a Platinum Lounge and a Premium Lounge. The Premium Lounge is a Star Alliance Gold lounge. I was a legitimate South African Business Class ticket holder, but the Platinum Lounge was off limits. South African Airways does not have a first class, so who gets to go into the Platinum Lounge?

The lounge would be my ‘home’ for more than 24 hours and so I could see it shaping up over time. It gets crowded 2-3 hours before major US international departures. South African has a few flights to Asia and Australia, but the bulk of passengers (or all of us who had gotten the cheap Aegean Star Alliance Gold status) seem to come with the US flights.

The lounge has a full bar and several food and dessert buffets. There are varying food options – usually salads, a pasta dish and chicken. For dessert there are sweet options and cheeses as well as an espresso maker. You can also ask the bartender to make you a fresh espresso. I found the quality of food and drinks OK. If it reminds you of plane food, then you are probably right, since it seems the exact same catering.

The view towards the runway is excellent!

The internet is generally slow and capped in South Africa, much to my surprise. Internet speeds in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia are fast, but South Africa still has caps on WiFi usage – even the lounge WiFi has a cap on data usage!! It also was really slow – reading a blog or news site would work, but it was hard for me to do any online work, let alone upload 100MB of pictures (as I usually do for each review post).

I feel that the lounge is comparable to the Senator lounges at Frankfurt Airport. They give off a quality vibe without being exclusive at all. It is a good place to be for an hour or two, but not the 8 hours I had to spend there.

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3 / 5 stars