Douala Airport and the MTN Business Lounge are so comical that you may have to ask yourself if you are the only one who has lost their marbles.
Douala Airport is hectic at check-in (with the typically bossy, borderline rude Cameroonian attitude), but then deserted after immigration. There are two huge walkways that lead to the gates (like at Honolulu Airport) but there are no flights and the gates and jet bridges are rusting away in the rain. There is a souvenir shop, a duty-free shop and a coffee/tea maker in these long halls, but it feels like a surreal hospital with never-ending walkways.
But do not despair – Douala Airport’s MTN Business Lounge is waiting for you! The
friendly rude lounge attendant pointed wordlessly to my boarding pass and started filling out a long form for my lounge access (I was on a South African flight bound for Libreville). It wasn’t entirely clear if she was considering granting me entrance or actually OK with it; it took her a while for her to then wordlessly motion me inside.
The lounge looks like a construction site – there are buckets of water everywhere that collect the rain (or condensation) coming from the ceiling. The ceiling is coming out, swollen from the water. This water intrusion has also disabled the lighting in a good part of the lounge. I can’t remember seeing a lounge that was this decrepit at first glance. Nobody else seemed perturbed by the ceiling coming down – neither the lounge attendants nor other guests seemed bothered in any way.
However, there was WiFi and to my surprise it wasn’t that slow, initially coming in at 3 Mbit and slowing down later.
The various fridges seemed like they hadn’t been cleaned in a generation but, amazingly, had 15 different beers, spirits and sodas on offer. In fact, I’ll be hard-pressed to remember such a good drinks collection in an airport lounge.
At first there was a lounge attendant taking drinks orders but they soon disappeared into the (former) ‘kids zone’ and left the lounge to self-service.
There was even food in the lounge, in another (dirty) fridge that held fresh pineapple and some sandwiches.
Naturally, there were no boarding announcements, but the South African gate was right next to the lounge.
In conclusion, this lounge feels like it has just come out of a civil war and started operations and the rude lounge attendants seemed to be more concerned with how much they despise their jobs than anything else. Nevertheless, I was amazed with the drinks and food on offer, and the internet speed beats many lounges across the world. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
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