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Johannesburg Airport

Customer Reviews

3 star Skytrax Rating
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Queuing Times 12345
Customer rating from 211 reviews
4/10
3 star Skytrax Rating
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6/10

"immigration is very understaffed"

(South Africa)

Verified Review | Johannesburg airport is a good airport for African standards. It is clean, plenty of seating, and good shopping. However, there are 2 problems that I find very annoying every time I use it: on departure, immigration is very understaffed. I travelled on Saturday, the first day of the Easter school holidays at evening peak time. There were only 5 booths staffed (out of 17) by immigration officers, which resulted in having to close the security screening (just before immigration) every 20 minutes because passengers were piling up in front of the booths. Just to make it clear, the airport is not to blame, but the department of Home Affairs is! It has been like this since I moved to South Africa. On arrival, it is a shame that the airport management does not do anything about the crooks and hawkers standing in the arrival hall, trying to rip-off every single tourist. You don't find this in any other airport in South Africa, so why does Johannesburg tolerate it? I witnessed an american couple paying 20 dollars to get their luggage back from a guy that grabbed it as soon as they passed the door!
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitApril 2017
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"chaotic and unorganized airport"

(United States)

This airport is by far the most chaotic and unorganized airport I have experienced. I showed up for my flight back to the U.S. 3 hours in advance, to give myself ample time (or so I thought). The differentiation between Terminals A and B is very confusing. The immigration line was snaked around the airport about .25 mile outside of the barrier. Once you got through you entered yet another line overflowing with people to screen your baggage. People were hopping barriers, skipping lines, pushing forward without regulation. I ended up missing my flight. There was another flight back to the states that night, leaving in a couple hours. They told me I wouldn't have enough time to make it, even though I had already been through all checkpoints. This is because they already unloaded my bag from the flight I was supposed to be on. Fair enough. I raced back to the opposite end of the airport to collect my baggage and no one could tell me where it was. The airport staff during this time was so unhelpful. Each staff member told me conflicting information than the one before. By the time i got my bag, it was too late. I would have to stay in SA another night. I have never been more frustrated in my life. Additionally, the following day there was a random bag just sitting in the middle of the passport line. Everyone just kept walking around it but no one was claiming it as their own. Finally, I reported it. Leaving your luggage attended is the Cardinal rule of airport traveling. The staff member shrugged it off and said whomever left it would come back for it. The entire situation made me feel extremely uncomfortable.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitApril 2017
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
8/10

"we managed everything in time"

(Germany)

Verified Review | Although the layout of OR Tambo Airport is a bit confusing, due to the separation of the domestic and the international terminal, we had a smooth transit. I flew from MUC to CPT return with my family and we had to change planes at JNB with only two hours time. Although immigration/emigration took a bit of time, baggage claim did not take too long and security was quite efficient. So in the end, we managed everything in time and even had time left for duty free shopping at low prices!
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitMarch 2017
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
1/10

"the queues were horrendous"

(United Kingdom)

Verified Review | Our flight landed from Cape Town with a two hour change around before our flight to London Heathrow. We have flow from Johannesburg many times and have never experienced such a shambles as we did on Saturday. The queues were horrendous, from the start of security to boarding. The new security system was slow, the passport control was even slower with hardly any staff on to start with, until people in the queues needed to be boarding planes, then they put a couple more people on. After that at the boarding gate, another queue and no staff actually doing anything. In that two hours we just managed to visit the toilet, not even sit down. What a shambles! It has put us off ever wanting to visit Johannesburg airport ever again.
Experience At AirportDeparture Only
Date VisitFebruary 2017
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages N/A
Airport Staff 12345
no
7/10

"I was pleasantly surprised"

(Zambia)

Verified Review | We only had 1.5 hours to catch our connecting flight from JNB to CPT, and after hearing number of horror stories I was very worried. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Although the immigration queue was moving slowly, there was someone controlling it and we got through it in 30 minutes. In contrast to many reviews, immigration staff were friendly and pleasant to deal with. Once we got through the immigration, we had to collect our luggage and re-check it for the next leg of the journey. Time wasting experience in my opinion, but again no issues. Plain sailing. We easily found our way to domestic departures and we got there just as boarding has started. On the way back exactly same, just managed to get through quicker, with enough spare time to do some Duty Free shopping. To summarise, Johannesburg is NOT a fantastic airport, but I had absolutely no issues to complaint about.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitDecember 2016
Type Of TravellerFamily Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
4/10

"domestic better than international"

(United States)

Verified Review | We had the opportunity of using domestic and international services at Johannesburg Airport, for both arrival and departure. Unlike what most people might have expected, the domestic terminal is in a much better shape than international. The domestic departure area is modern and easy to move around, though shops and restaurant options are limited. Domestic arrival is clean and modern as well, though baggage pickup area can do with some renovation. As for international arrival and departure, you can and will immediately realise this is like a developing airport. Immigration queues were long and slow (not sure why the immigration officers were all looking very unhappy, like they didn't want to be there). The facility was old and poorly laid out. Many ground staff seem more interested in chatting among themselves than assisting passengers. Airlines lounges and waiting lounges were outdated and crowded. There were a number of shops, but most of them seem unattractive. One positive about the airport is the easy and close link between domestic and international gates, so no worry about distance and time for connecting flights.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitDecember 2016
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"very rude staff, long delays"

(United Kingdom)

An awful airport. The organisation and management of travelers is appalling. We arrived from London passing through to Cape Town and experienced a two hour delay at immigration. Long queues of unhappy travellers. The problem seemed to be the use of biometric identification systems that slowed things to a crawl. Clearly the staff didn't know how to use the equipment and they weren't supervised nor helped. A total shambles. We returned from Cape Town on the same route and this time found the security queues totally uncontrolled. Very rude staff, long delays and no queue management resulted I a number of people becoming very bad tempered, not helped by school and sports parties jumping the queues. Overall a city I will not be coming back to. If I take a holiday I expect good management of airports and travelers and this airport is hopeless.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitNovember 2016
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
1/10

"poor queue management"

(United Kingdom)

Arrived from Maputo around 1635 and took 1.5 hours to pass through immigration. Poor queue management and insufficient immigration officers. Rushed to collect bags and cross over to terminal A for onward flight to Heathrow. Check in okay, then faced with 30 minute queue followed by 45 minute queue through passport control. Queues were so long they extended beyond the barriers. In both queues, people were nipping under barriers with no control by staff. Again insufficient staff numbers. Generally a very hot and unpleasant experience. With check in time, that meant 3 hours were spent queuing. All unnecessary if proper management and resources had been in place. Instead of a leisurely transit spent in BA lounge, we just had time to grab a bowl of lukewarm curry and a stale pastry before being called to flight.
Experience At AirportTransit
Date VisitNovember 2016
Type Of TravellerCouple Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no
10/10

"passport control effective and no delays"

(South Africa)

Verified Review | From previous reviews OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg has been receiving very bad ratings. I have used this airport for both domestic and international travel quite extensively this year. Firstly the ease of the train service into the airport works for me. Check in always smooth, passport control effective and no delays. Arrivals once again passport control albeit South African passport side quick. Luggage quick off the plane. I don't understand the negativity or have I been lucky every time. The passengers who give the airport bad rating have clearly never used any other airports in Africa, which I have. To be honest the other African airports are improving quite fast but are still quite far away from what I have experienced at OR Tambo.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitOctober 2016
Type Of TravellerBusiness
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
yes
1/10

"the stations were alarmingly understaffed"

(South Africa)

On 2 October I was due to fly to Zimbabwe on an SAA flight at 10.50 am. I chacked in at 8.40 and had coffee before going to passport control at 9.40, giving myself just under an hour before boarding was due to close at 10.30. At customs, I was met with an extremely long queue with only one official working at all of the 16 desks, as well as a very unhelpful security guard who, when I asked about the possibility of moving to the front of the queue because my flight was boarding, laughed and told me I'd get there eventually. After waiting for nearly 30 minutes to get my passport stamped, I was also stuck in a queue at security for some time. The stations were alarmingly understaffed and the officials that were there were working extremely slowly, almost in a vindictive manner. Once through security, I ran to my gate and arrived at 10.32 - two minutes past boarding time. I had not once heard an announcement to board my flight over the intercom, and neither did the other at least eight passengers that were held up along with me in the queues. Upon arrival at the boarding desk, of which I could see the bus to my flight on the other side, I was completely ignored by the SAA official for ten minutes while I begged to be let through the gate because the bus was still there. The flight was subsequently delayed by almost 25 minutes while the luggage of all of us passengers was unloaded to be removed because we had not boarded the flight. I was then stuck in the airport for a further hour trying to find my way back through Immigrations so that I could leave, because SAA was unable to change my flight or find me another flight. Finally, an official offered to help me get back out of the airport, forcibly took my passport from me and then threatened that I would not leave the airport unless I paid him a "tip". I refused until he gave me back my passport without me paying him but I felt unsafe and extremely dissatisfied with the service of the Immigrations officials as well as the airline officials. If I had a choice I would not fly from this airport, and I would certainly not recommend it to tourists and other visitors.
Experience At AirportArrival and Departure
Date VisitOctober 2016
Type Of TravellerSolo Leisure
Queuing Times 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Signs 12345
Food Beverages 12345
Airport Shopping 12345
Wifi Connectivity 12345
Airport Staff 12345
no