If you were ever to be stuck between flights and forced to spend a night at an airport, Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International is apparently where you’d want to be.
This is according to travellers website sleepinginairports.net’s 2014 Best Airports in Africa survey.
The survey asks travellers to vote for their best airports based on their overall experience of comfort, convenience, cleanliness and customer service.
While OR Tambo International is hardly a surprising choice – given that it’s the primary transit hub linking sub-Saharan Africa to the rest of the continent and globe – it recently underwent major refurbishment for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and offers services and facilities parallel to some of the world’s best.
With a couple of premium pay-per-use lounges, free Wi-Fi for 45 minutes per email address, shower facilities and a relatively quiet environment, OR Tambo has earned favour among travellers.
“A nice airport to get some sleep in after you’ve checked in. The area inside the international departures is a ‘silent zone’ so there are no annoying tannoys. Always clean and tidy, but very limited smoking. Enough shops to keep you entertained. But be warned the prices are much higher that outside the airport. A much better airport to sleep in than Skiphol in Amsterdam,” one traveller commented.
Cape Town International and the King Shaka International Airport in Durban were voted second- and third-best African airports respectively.
Algeria’s Algiers Houari Boumediene International comes in fourth, while Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa-Bole International Airport was voted the fifth-best airport on the continent.
According to travellers, you wouldn’t want to find yourself in transit at Sudan’s Khartoum International Airport, Kinshasa N’djili International Airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Tripoli International Airport in Libya – voted among the three worst airports on the continent.
This trio is closely by the Dar es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport in Tanzania and the Luanda Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport in Angola.
Travellers generally complained of dirty floors and bathrooms, regular requests for bribes, “lack of air conditioning in sweltering climates”, limited but expensive restaurant options and “questionably-effective security processes”.
From a global perspective, Singapore’s Changi International Airport was voted best airport in the world – its 18th consecutive top-place ranking.
“Travellers praised the airport for its overall soothing ambience, its intuitive layout and friendly staff,” the website says.
The airport boasts themed gardens, 800 mobile charging points, TV lounges and movie theatres, spas, a swimming pool and gym, free Singapore city tours and even a four-storey slide. There are also dedicated rest and relaxation zones allocated around the airport.
The Seoul Incheon International Airport in South Korea comes in second place, followed by the Helsinki International Airport in Finland, Munich International Airport in Germany and the Vancouver International Airport in Canada were voted third-, fourth- and fifth-best airports in the world respectively.