OR Tambo International Airport

Agents are fielding calls from business- and first-class passengers complaining that none of the premium-class lounges at OR Tambo international departures have reopened.

Johannesburg-based ITC, Rene Toner, said she was receiving mixed communications from the airlines about whether the various premium-class lounges had reopened but Acsa had confirmed to her that they were still closed.

“I think it is very cheeky of airlines to continue charging the amounts that they do for business- and first-class flights when not all of the facilities have reopened,” said Rene, who is advising her premium clients not to go to the airport too early at present.

A representative from Bidvest confirmed to Travel News that while its domestic lounges were open, the international lounges would remain closed until further notice.

Spokesperson for the SAA business rescue practitioners, Louise Brugman, said the SAA lounges would stay closed until further notice.

A notice on Comair’s SLOW Lounge website also advises eligible passengers that the lounges are temporarily closed. Comair is currently not operating due to being in business rescue since earlier this year.

Chair of Barsa, Carla da Silva, said in the interim, while the lounges were closed, passengers could head to any of the numerous coffee shops that had reopened.

Virgin Atlantic head of Middle East, Africa and India, Liezl Gericke, said while the carrier was ready to welcome passengers back on board, following the airline’s reinstatement of the Johannesburg- London Heathrow route this month, its Clubhouse in Johannesburg would remain temporarily closed.

“We have taken multiple measures to enhance our health and safety, on the ground and on board. This is to ensure our customers feel both safe and confident to fly. Our customers will still be able to enjoy a gradually expanding food and beverage service, whilst we continue to ensure services limit interaction and are prepared in a COVID-safe, monitored environment. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience,” said Liezl.

“We will continue to monitor demand for lounge service and, until then, we offer Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class passengers meal vouchers to use at the airport,” she added.