Dear OR Tambo... What the heck is going on?

Hi Tambs.

I see you are making headlines again, what did you do now?

This letter is actually long overdue. You’ve been on my mind for quite a while now, but I got busy and you had your hands full with multiple multi-million rand drug busts (congratulations by the way), a bomb threat, a guinea-fowl related emergency landing and to top it all off you got nominated as one of the leading African airports in the World Travel Awards! Well done buddy, I’m so proud.

But on that note, I think we should have a chat.

The headlines are telling me that you are flirting with the World Travel Awards and getting a face lift but at the same time I’m reading big words like absenteeism. You know me; I like to make sure I understand big words, so I turned to the wisdom of Master Google. He said that it means “regularly staying away from work without good reason”. Eish buddy, that’s bad. I’m quite worried about your absenteeism, the rand is weak, tourists are stepping on your welcome mat and you are busy with refurbishments.  

Tambs, in the spirit of refurbishments, do you mind if I give you some pointers to make your abode a bit more user-friendly? I don’t know what your plans are for the future, but hear me out and maybe tell papa ACSA too?


Travellers need wi-fi buddy. I know you have a connection that is always on, but 30 minutes of wi-fi in this day and age is not enough - and I’m not even talking about the difficulty of registering for that connection when you arrive without a local or international sim card.

Rate your Service
Your posters in the bathroom offers me the opportunity to rate your service. In Singapore I saw the same posters – the paper was a little bit thicker and I could rate the service on a scale of smiley faces from happy to sad on some kind of touch-screen-poster; ah those Asians and their fancy inventions. Your poster is telling me to send an SMS and then you charge me R2 for that SMS. Tambs, come on. That’s not cool. Insert emoji: sad face.


You are the only airport with bathroom butlers greeting guests with“welcome to my office”. That is just brilliant and unique, don’t change that.

Tambs, I think your porters need a bit of training or even some of that absenteeism (might be cheaper). They should read their audience; pushing a trolley or wheelie bag is not that difficult but we appreciate the gesture. It would be so kind if they could let us through without blocking the way, we’ll call on them if we need help.

Viewing Deck
I was so excited to visit your viewing deck for the first time when I got back from Singapore where they had a butterfly garden in the airport, I kid you not, in the airport! So I imagined you had a big screen with some lovely tourism ad, maybe a plant, a water feature and some nice chairs but when I got there it was just an open space. I saw a statue of Mr Oliver Tambo  there (so cool that you are named after him) and he just stared into the nothingness of the viewing deck. He gave some airport workers the stink eye after they left their rubbish on the floor. I was quite shocked too; the bin was literally five steps away from them.


Now Tambs, I know this is not totally part of your family, but please tell the in-laws that they should include some refreshment in their Sandton to OR Tambo Airport train ticket. The ticket from Sandton to O.R Tambo Airport is R142, the ticket from Sandton to Rhodesfield is R37. Math has never been my strong point, but surely I’m missing out on some pap and wors when I pay R105 for the last kilometer to O.R Tambo Airport? It is not even a full kilometer. Anyway Tambs, that’s just my suggestions. I know you are one of the busiest airports in Africa so you should probably put this letter away and get back to work now.

It was a good chat, buddy. Good luck with the refurbishments and don’t misplace the welcome mat. Hope to see you soon again and please send my regards to the family.

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