Things To Do When You’re Stuck At The Airport

If you consider yourself an avid traveller then chances are you probably already know all too well that no matter how attentively you may have planned your travel itinerary, every now and then you are likely to find yourself hitting an unexpected hiccup in your plans. More often than not, this is the case when flights are delayed or cancelled by an airline for one or other reason. Fortunately, if you ever find yourself stuck due to a delayed flight at Johannesburg Airport, there are plenty of things to do to keep yourself occupied while you wait.

O.R Tambo International Airport, also commonly referred to as Johannesburg Airport, is Africa’s largest airport servicing hundreds of thousands of passengers every month. As the flagship airport in  Airports Company South Africa’s network, Johannesburg Airport is more than just a pick-up and drop-off set of terminal buildings. It is a world-class hub of facilities and activities for passengers making their way through the airport, those wondering what to do while waiting for a connecting flight from Johannesburg, and even for the diligent early birds looking to pass the time as they wait for their departure.


O.R Tambo International Airport Has Many Amenities

Whatever your reason for needing to take your mind off the clock, here are some things to do when stuck at Johannesburg Airport:

Grab a bite and a bevvy

There are plenty of cafes and restaurants at O.R Tambo Airport. From family friendly eateries to fast food favourites. Whatever your palette or craving, you are sure to find a spot either landside or airside to grab a bite while you pass the time.

Shop ‘til you drop

From souvenirs to last-minute gifts and things you’ll probably only find at Johannesburg Airport, if you have never been to the Big Five Duty Free, then brace yourself for a shopping experience like no other. Located in the duty-free mall, Big Five Duty Free stores bring the best local and international products to passengers travelling through the airport in both the international departures and arrivals terminals. You can also make use of their online portal to purchase goods ahead of time and collect them when you arrive at the airport.

johannesburg airport

Lounge About

If you’re not looking to spend more money and simply wish to get through the wait in a comfortable, quiet seated area that offers food, drinks and WiFi, then visiting one of the lounges located across the terminal buildings is for you. Johannesburg Airport has 5 premium lounges as well as 2 slow lounges allowing passengers to escape the crowds. It is worth noting that not everyone has access to these lounges. So, it is recommended that you pre-book your lounge experience and ensure that your chosen lounge is not only open amidst COVID-19 concerns, but also that you qualify to access these lounges.

slow lounge at O.R Tambo Airport

Business as usual

Johannesburg Airport also offers a range of business facilities and services that allow for anyone to maximize and capitalise on the time spent between cities and even countries. Meaning you can conduct business as usual while at the airport by taking advantage of facilities such as The Premier Conference Centre. Located in the domestic terminal, the centre offers a convenient environment for meetings, conferences and seminars. Paired with that, Airport Online also allows you to stay connected by giving you internet access within the terminal buildings.

Take a nap and a shower

If you are going to be spending more than a few hours stuck at the Johannesburg airport then perhaps a good nap, workout and even a warm shower is what you may need. The InterContinental Hotel at O.R Tambo International Airport is located opposite the international arrivals hall and is the perfect spot to recoup and refresh. The award-winning 4-star hotel is a stylish and convenient break away from the hustle and bustle of airport activity and offers a host of services and facilities to help you pass the time.

InterContinental Hotel at O.R Tambo International Airport


Treat yourself to a relaxing massage to get rid of all the tension you’re building up just thinking about that delayed flight. Located on the international airside of O.R Tambo, Letsema offers a unique African massage service combining Shiatsu and other massage therapies to give you 20 minutes of uninterrupted calm.

Take it all in

And if none of these activities float your boat, then perhaps a more laid-back approach to handling your delayed flight at O.R Tambo International Airport may just do the trick. There are two incredible viewing decks at the Johannesburg airport, allowing passengers and the public alike to take a peek over the main runway and admire some of the world’s most incredible aircrafts. This is a great way to relax or entertain the kids while you wait.

Johannesburg airport viewing deck

It’s not often that you will have to deal with a late flight at O.R Tambo International Airport but on the rare occasion that you do find yourself stuck at the airport, you will certainly not be hard-pressed to find things to do while you wait.

Please note all information in this article is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change without notice

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