I love having a quiet place to go when waiting for a flight. There’s nothing worse than having to sit for a couple of hours at a crowded gate and being forced to pay for overpriced airport food. I refuse to do it, and I suggest you all should too!
Lanseria International Airport (HLA) is the smaller and less frequented airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. Most of the budget domestic airlines fly out of here, leaving the bigger flights for O.R Tambo International (JNB).
The Bidvest Premier Lounge might be the smallest lounge I’ve ever been in. There’s one main room that holds about 40 people, but realistically it probably holds 15-20 comfortably. It’s located upstairs before security, but the airport is quiet enough that passing through security quickly should not be an issue.
You can get into the lounge a variety of ways. Cash rates are R252 (~$22 USD) per person for domestic travelers and R413 (~$35 USD) for international travelers. The best way to get in however, is by being a Priority Pass holder. This will enable you and one guest access for free. The easiest (and cheapest) way to get a Priority Pass is by holding a credit card with membership included. Our personal favorite is the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Priority Pass website says that you’ll only be allowed in within two hours of your departure time, but we got in four hours earlier due to a delay and nobody said anything. This may depend on who you encounter at the front desk though.
Although it’s small, it has just about everything you would need while you wait for your flight. There were some magazines and newspapers for leisure, as well as the local news playing on the TVs.
There’s a couple hot food options. In our case it was bbq chicken skewers and meatballs, both of which were surprisingly good. There were a few different salad options, some small pre-made sandwiches, and a selection of fresh fruits and pastries.
They had a variety of soft drink options, including my new favorite cream soda : Sparletta. The alcohol selection wasn’t bad either. There were ten different beers to choose from and a selection of mid range liquors and wines. Even at some of the nicest lounges we’ve been to, I don’t think I’ve seen that big of a beer selection before.
There’s a smoking room, but the room is a bit of a waste because there’s also an outdoor area with a smoking section attached to it. That, and the outdoor area is perfect for watching the planes take off and land so that’s an added bonus. In my opinion they could use the smoking room for something better, like a small conference room.
Overall, while it’s small, the lounge will get the job done in a pinch. If you have a Priority Pass membership it’s a no brainer to utilize it. If you don’t, I would consider purchasing a day pass as a domestic traveler, but the price for an international traveler was a little steep in my opinion to make it worth you while. Then again, you can’t put a dollar sign on peace of mind.
Have you been to the Bidvest Premier Lounge at HLA? What did you think?
What’s your favorite lounge around the world? Tell us in the comments below!