Wow: Delta Bans Employees From Sky Clubs

Wow: Delta Bans Employees From Sky Clubs

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Delta Air Lines has been having serious issues with its Sky Clubs being overcrowded, to the point that there are consistently lines to get into select lounges during peak times. To deal with this crowding, the airline is making radical changes to its airport lounge access policy as of February 2023.

In addition to what we already knew, the airline is now adding a further restriction on access, which might just be the most controversial yet.

Delta restricts lounge access for employees

As reported by @xJonNYC, Delta’s newest airport lounge access restriction involves employees. As of February 2, 2023:

  • Delta Sky Clubs won’t be accessible by any customer or employee using non-revenue travel passes, including leisure and company business
  • This applies to all employees and leaders of Delta and its subsidiaries, other airline employees, as well as retirees and registered pass riders
  • The employee discount on Delta Sky Club memberships is also discontinued
Delta’s latest policy change impacts employees

Just to be clear, while Delta employees can travel in business class on a space available basis, those tickets don’t ordinarily come with lounge access. Rather this would impact Delta employees who have a Sky Club membership. In the past Delta has even incentivized employees to become Sky Club members for their own travels, by offering them discounted memberships.

Here’s how this decision was described in a memo to employees:

“While we understand this may be disappointing, know that this decision was not made lightly. We are sure you’ll agree that delivering an elevated experience to our most loyal customers must be our priority. When we put our customers first and ensure that they have the best experience, they will continue to prefer Delta’s premium products and services — which ultimately benefits all of us.”

https://twitter.com/xJonNYC/status/1613311839302991874

This is a bold move on Delta’s part

Delta has added quite a few restrictions to Sky Club access, but this one is perhaps the most surprising. Delta is an airline very much focused on both the customer experience and on taking care of its employees, so that’s a pretty delicate balance in the context of lounge crowding.

While Delta employees get unlimited space available travel in premium cabins, that travel doesn’t ordinarily offer lounge access. Rather this would impact everyone from a Delta sales manager who travels every week and may have a Sky Club membership, to a retired employee who may have bought a lifetime Sky Club membership years ago, and uses it when they travel on their benefits.

I’d be curious to know just how many Delta employees currently use Sky Clubs. Is the number significant enough that it’s worth making this change and leaving a bad taste in the mouth of many Delta employees?

Delta is restricting lounge access for employees

Bottom line

Delta’s Sky Club access changes aren’t just impacting external customers, but also Delta employees. As of February 2023, Delta will no longer allow anyone traveling with non-revenue tickets to use Sky Clubs, even if they have a membership.

It really is amazing how much more restrictive airport lounge memberships have become. Back in the day you could use a Sky Club regardless of which airline you were flying and for as long as you wanted, while now you can’t even use it as an employee when traveling on a flight.

What do you make of these latest Sky Club access changes?

Conversations (145)
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  1. TheRampGuy Guest

    This move is billed as being strictly about certain stations where the clubs remained serially overcrowded. Think PHL, MIA, LGA and BOS. But, I would have preferred to see those stations embargoed instead of the whole network being shut out. It's ridiculous. From what I've heard, Delta has also had a raft of low and mid-level executives doing remote work and using the clubs as a catered workspace. I applaud them barring corporate employees on-duty...

    This move is billed as being strictly about certain stations where the clubs remained serially overcrowded. Think PHL, MIA, LGA and BOS. But, I would have preferred to see those stations embargoed instead of the whole network being shut out. It's ridiculous. From what I've heard, Delta has also had a raft of low and mid-level executives doing remote work and using the clubs as a catered workspace. I applaud them barring corporate employees on-duty who come in daily and stay for hours from abusing the space and the bar and the buffets, but for the average non-rev like me who only travels for leisure a couple times a month, this is a really depressing bummer. I use the ORD Sky Club as a non-rev via my Amex Platinum card and it's never been more than 25% full since the newly-renovated space was opened. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Amex has to pay Delta a fee every time a cardholder swipes their card at the club, so I'm suspicious that some of this is pushback from American Express having to pay out access fees for travelers who have ways of using the clubs more often than revenue travelers. Either way, I'd like to see paid access restored for the benefit of the leisure traveling non-revs and their families who work hard to keep Delta great. It's not like they've been getting in for free, anyway.

  2. Sof kuri Guest

    Completely ridiculous they are taking the employees away from the lounges, we work har and pay a lot of money for the amex card fee. To have the access when we want to travel and relax…… I guess delta will loose a lot of customers since amex will cancel their Buss it with them too…..

  3. J.B. Guest

    Delta created this monster as they push you to get a Reserve AMEX card, and those who pay 550.00 for it should have the benefit, it’s the same as buying the membership. Being made to wait when you have status and paid for a membership is tacky.

    This is just another notch in the recent medallion changes they are making and honestly it makes me rethink my loyalty to Delta.

  4. Joseph Guest

    And this also includes if the employee has the American Express credit cards that allow access into the Sky Club.....so they are paying for a benefit they can't use, and the fees on those cards aren't cheap.

  5. JetSetFly Guest

    I have to think that Delta knows exactly what they are doing here. They must have a break down # of non-rev using the club, people entering the club because of plat Amex, and people wHo purchased first class ticket using the club. They obviously know doing this will piss off their non-rev employees…. With that said, they are certainly not going to restrict people who paid cash for their F tickets or Amex Plat...

    I have to think that Delta knows exactly what they are doing here. They must have a break down # of non-rev using the club, people entering the club because of plat Amex, and people wHo purchased first class ticket using the club. They obviously know doing this will piss off their non-rev employees…. With that said, they are certainly not going to restrict people who paid cash for their F tickets or Amex Plat members since Marx is giving them lots of money. So the only people left to cut is non-revs to solve the crowding issue. It’s a no brainer.

    1. AtlGuy Guest

      You’d be shocked how little leadership does know. Word has it that non-rev visits account for barely 2% of all annual visits to a club, so this does nothing to solve overcrowding.

      There’s a reason no numbers are given in the release and that’s because leadership doesn’t know how to pull data and they’re scared to standup to Amex.

  6. N/A Guest

    When you say that employees that are upset are there for open bar is a very negative comment. I and several others don’t drink alcohol at all. I don’t think that this is a good business decision. Your employees should feel that they are valued and shouldn’t feel they are not as valuable and make them feel they are lesser cause they are a non rev. If they pay for a membership that should allow...

    When you say that employees that are upset are there for open bar is a very negative comment. I and several others don’t drink alcohol at all. I don’t think that this is a good business decision. Your employees should feel that they are valued and shouldn’t feel they are not as valuable and make them feel they are lesser cause they are a non rev. If they pay for a membership that should allow the access. I can see raising the cost and no discount, but completely take them away from the club in all cause they are non rev says what you feel about the employees that work so hard for the company.

    1. Na Guest

      Exactly. I’ve been in many sky clubs and never had a drop of “free” alcohol. We were all promised the same thing and pay the same yearly fee but we get banned by our ow n company. Amex has been inundated with calls for cancellations of the card that gave us access.

  7. Jay Guest

    As a former Delta employee, I don't take issue with this. As a current platinum AMEX card holder, I can appreciate it, especially since I have a paid ticket, not flying standby. A large portion of Deltas revenue (over 50%) comes from credit cards, so it makes sense to make changes. The people that are being impacted the most don't have confirmed- paid for seats. Want to solve the problem, pay for your seat instead...

    As a former Delta employee, I don't take issue with this. As a current platinum AMEX card holder, I can appreciate it, especially since I have a paid ticket, not flying standby. A large portion of Deltas revenue (over 50%) comes from credit cards, so it makes sense to make changes. The people that are being impacted the most don't have confirmed- paid for seats. Want to solve the problem, pay for your seat instead of flying non rev. If you want to fly non rev and use a lounge, try Priority Pass instead.

    1. JimATL Guest

      I worked for DL in the 1990s. We were forbidden to apply for Crown Room membership. In fact, when non-revving, we were expected to let revenue pax deplane first to get them off the plane faster! My how attitudes have changed!

    2. Gary Guest

      First class doesn't have access already. You have to travel in delta one for access. Amex is almost every patron. This will do nothing to the over crowding and lines.

  8. Mark G Guest

    After reading the comments it’s seems like there is a significant number of parents of delta employees who will be impacted.

  9. Steven E Guest

    I don’t know of many carriers that permit employees entry into their “premium lounges” If their boarding pass shows non- rev ticket then I agree

    1. Na Guest

      We pay the same yearly fee that a paid ticket does. So unfair to their employees

  10. Tom Guest

    As a retired employee at Delta, I must say that my friends and former colleagues who are hyperventilating the loudest, are the ones who view it not so much as lounge, but rather an “open-bar”.

  11. Debbie Guest

    I agree, most other employers provide a employee lunch room. Perhaps this is something that Delta could explore. Now what I don’t agree with, is Delta not honoring the previous terms agreed to when the Sky Club Passes were purchased. The access could terminate once those passes expire. I’m not an employee, but I purchased a pass in 2022, which expires on Aug. 2023. So will I also be barred?

    1. Gary Guest

      As of Dec 31st 2022, unless you're a medallion flyer. You won't be able to purchase or renew a skyclub membership.

  12. RAW Guest

    This is a very poor decision by management. Really a slap in the fact to those employees that make Delta what it is. It's not all employees that enter its only those that have "paid" just like everyone else to use the lounge either thru their paid membership or thru their annual fee to Amex plat. as all others which is expensive so I don't think the crowding has much to do about non revs....

    This is a very poor decision by management. Really a slap in the fact to those employees that make Delta what it is. It's not all employees that enter its only those that have "paid" just like everyone else to use the lounge either thru their paid membership or thru their annual fee to Amex plat. as all others which is expensive so I don't think the crowding has much to do about non revs.

    The issue of the lines is not really the overcrowding that's few and far as I've never experienced a line of just a few people infront that's normal and if anything its usually mostly in JFK where all the press focuses on the lines and then calls it countrywide overcrowding issue when that's just not the case. The issue is the logistics in entering the lounge that's the prob. Cause pax start to have a conversation with the check in agent about their flight asking about upgrades, changing their flight, asking about other things etc. This is what causes the line to form cause the agent is tied up talking to the pax. What the check in agent should be is just an entry/exit person and Delta should have a diff station or desk to answer pax questions/concerns away from the entrance. This will eliminate the pile up and the lines at the entrance,

    IMO this is really isolating and a disservice to the many great men and woman that make up Delta and whomever made this unwise decision should really reconsider and retract this policy. Not to mention they didn't even get a chance to test out how their other new policy would work to reduce "overcrowding" before piggybacking this new policy which would be more detrimental to employee moral. Really disappointing Delta

    1. Richard Guest

      I hope there will be a time when this decision is reversed. This is the Kindest employer I've ever worked for so I am sure it was a hard decision to make. But our customers will always come first. I'm not happy about it, but I understand. Delta still does more for its customers and employees than other carriers.

  13. James P. Hester, MA, CADC, CISM Guest

    As a retired DAL, Inc. employee,I think it SUX! Listen to this, I have a DAL, Inc. Pass to The Crown Room, "clubs" which you call them! I was given it as part of some Promotion by Delta when an employee! I am Retired for 21 Years now on a measly Pension, and have never ever used it, but, who knows, one day, I might have wanted to! I slaved for that Airline on freezing...

    As a retired DAL, Inc. employee,I think it SUX! Listen to this, I have a DAL, Inc. Pass to The Crown Room, "clubs" which you call them! I was given it as part of some Promotion by Delta when an employee! I am Retired for 21 Years now on a measly Pension, and have never ever used it, but, who knows, one day, I might have wanted to! I slaved for that Airline on freezing bitter cold nights at ORD and sweltering 100 degree days at ORD! I took the most unimaginable abuse from the traveling Public, and smiled for them! I retired and had three major surgeries witin one year from the physical abuse to my body from that company always working short of help! And now, another perk is taken away, and I have a list of them! I was forced to "retire early" as result of business downturn after 911 being told if I did not take the package offered, I would most likely be "Laid Off"! Then, when Delta filed for Bankruptcy (never happened while I was there), they took away the offered benefits in that Retirement Package from us Employees who made that airline The Largest Airline in the Free World and consistently the Best Airline in the world! In 21 years retired, they have never given us one single Cost of Living raise in our Pensions! And, now, they are going to take away one tiny little "perk" that costs them NOTHING as it's just space they are taking away! There is NO Corporate Gratitude when it comes to Delta Air Lines, Inc. and their retired Employees! You know what, I would NOT change a single thing because those Employees that I worked with were some of the finest people to ever walk this planet! We are all so disappointed in the way we have been treated, and it is time someone said so! I was on their Emergency Response Team and their CISM Team at no expense to them on a completely Voluntary Basis. I would work overtime and only got paid in Comp Time which was completely Illegal in The State of Illinois! Sweat and blood for that company for years, and they are offended by our presence in one of their "priveledged spaces"? Pound salt, Delta! Been wanting to say that for a loooooong time! jph

  14. Jack Guest

    To clarify, Delta employees (and other pass riders) flying non-rev on personal business NEVER take an airline seat from a paying customer. Their seats are assigned only after all upgrades and revenue-generating seats are assigned, including Basic Economy Standby. We only get on the plane if there’s an otherwise empty seat (industry-wide employee perk). Why not apply a similar approach to Sky Club access for non-revs who have paid the appropriate annual fee to Delta...

    To clarify, Delta employees (and other pass riders) flying non-rev on personal business NEVER take an airline seat from a paying customer. Their seats are assigned only after all upgrades and revenue-generating seats are assigned, including Basic Economy Standby. We only get on the plane if there’s an otherwise empty seat (industry-wide employee perk). Why not apply a similar approach to Sky Club access for non-revs who have paid the appropriate annual fee to Delta or Amex … let us in only if the Club has room (e.g. 80% capacity - pick a number)? We could check our Delta apps to see if there’s room.

  15. GM Guest

    The instant the Amex Platinum loses Delta Sky Club, I ditch the card. It's not worth the steadily rising price without club access. It's went from $450/year 10+ years ago to $699/year now.

  16. John Guest

    I had a platinum Card which allowed me access for a fee, whether I travelled rev or Montevideo and last year got the cool metal “747 Reserve card” which has a very high annual fee for my travels. I am going to request that fee back and cancel the card if DL makes this a permanent thing. DL makes a lot of $$ from their High Dollar AMEX co-branded cards.

  17. John H Guest

    Jesus, GOOD. Sky club should be for premium paying passengers, not a place for employees to hang out

    1. Alex Guest

      Hey John a non rev here , employees don't hang out. We come to the lounge and just mind our business like everyone else. We use the lounge to relax after a long day of work and serving people like you John.

    2. Kj Guest

      It also shouldn’t be treated as a day care center. Unsupervised kids running around in their pajamas, babies screaming. Maybe put a restriction on kids in there? I mean , weren’t the clubs set up for the “business “ traveler? Gotta be frustrating trying to get things done when babies are screaming and kids are taking all the prime spots

  18. Brian Guest

    Just joined three months ago with a $ 600 a year Amex card. I travel nonrev . Have a daughter who is pilot.
    This is absolute bullshit.
    Will be turning in my card demanding full refund from Amex.

    1. Mark G Guest

      The sense of entitlement that comes with a free airline ticket.

  19. 1981 Guest

    It's overcrowded due to pretty much everyone being eligible for lounge access if they have an AMEX. I saw this coming five years ago especially in ATL where they have AMEX representatives in every terminal. Exclusivity doesn't exist anymore.

  20. Paul marks Guest

    Sucks we as employees made delta what it is this is the thanks we get

  21. Dar Guest

    This sounds just like any company cutting a perk that they once had, whether that br reducing a 401k match from 6% to 3% or switching healthcare companies and gutting the benefits to save money.

    I wonder if a more gentle approach would have been non-revs without a confirmed seat. Or do all non-revs get their seats assigned at the gate? If that's true then on could argue non-revs don't really have "tickets" like...

    This sounds just like any company cutting a perk that they once had, whether that br reducing a 401k match from 6% to 3% or switching healthcare companies and gutting the benefits to save money.

    I wonder if a more gentle approach would have been non-revs without a confirmed seat. Or do all non-revs get their seats assigned at the gate? If that's true then on could argue non-revs don't really have "tickets" like normal people?

    Lots of assumptions in my post tho so grain of salt

  22. Al Guest

    Surely that's what staff rest areas are for? I can't recall seeing staff in lounges (apart from those serving or manning the desks!) in BA, LH, SQ, KL, AF, QR, etc lounges?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Just like non-revs, they are supposed to blend in.
      So they actually did the perfect job of blending in.

    2. Ben Guest

      It's not for employees during work hours, it's for employees that are flying using their travel benefits. They would appear to be just somebody travelling, because they are just somebody travelling.

  23. Emily_K New Member

    I can’t help but think that this is a direct result of Delta not building extra-premium lounges, like United Polaris Lounges and American Flagship Lounges. At United the Polaris Lounge is off-limits to all employees, even those traveling on a paid company business ticket (like international pilot deadheads). This leaves the United Club open for employees to visit with an Explorer day pass, paid day pass, annual membership (such as through the Club card), or...

    I can’t help but think that this is a direct result of Delta not building extra-premium lounges, like United Polaris Lounges and American Flagship Lounges. At United the Polaris Lounge is off-limits to all employees, even those traveling on a paid company business ticket (like international pilot deadheads). This leaves the United Club open for employees to visit with an Explorer day pass, paid day pass, annual membership (such as through the Club card), or with a confirmed Polaris boarding pass. Meanwhile at Delta, its most premium customers and the credit card holders are vying for the same space.

  24. Dave Guest

    The biggest employee group affected here are the pilots and some flight attendants who have AMEX Platinum cards. Delta was not just allowing employees into the lounges. Employees had to have either the Amex Platinum Card, which has a significant annual membership fee. Sky Club Membership, which employees also had to pay a fee. Or a Delta Reserve Amex card, which also has a significant annual fee. Delta employees have to pay or have a...

    The biggest employee group affected here are the pilots and some flight attendants who have AMEX Platinum cards. Delta was not just allowing employees into the lounges. Employees had to have either the Amex Platinum Card, which has a significant annual membership fee. Sky Club Membership, which employees also had to pay a fee. Or a Delta Reserve Amex card, which also has a significant annual fee. Delta employees have to pay or have a membership just like every other traveler. Delta was not just allowing employee access to the lounges. This is a huge slap in the face to employees. A very large number of employees that have the Amex cards have or are currently in the process of canceling their cards. Why pay for a card that offers benefits that you can’t use? Amex can’t be happy about the number of cancellations. And why on earth would Delta do this now, as Delta pilots are about to vote on a new contract?

  25. Josh Guest

    Shameful…..way to take care of your most valued people, your employees who keep your company running.

    Bean Counters win yet again!

    1. Mark Guest

      As a DM, that spends over $25k a year with Delta, they are removing my access to the lounge as a choice benefits. People with butts in the seat keep the aircraft flying...so good job by alienating your most frequent flyers

    2. John Guest

      You can still get lounge access as one of your choice benefits.

    3. Mark Guest

      This year yes. Next year I'd need to use all 3 Diamond choice benefits for an executive membership. I travel alone 99.999% of the time, why do I need an executive membership? Also, I can bring 2 guests in with executive, individual is no guests...what causes more overcrowding?

    4. Eskimo Guest

      @Mark

      Until you outspend Amex, which is around $7 billion a year, Delta is not really alienating their most important customer.

      As a fellow frequent flyer, Diamond has been diluted and devalued a lot to a point that they are taking us for granted. GUC works better as a SuperRUC than a true GUC unless you pay for PS. Which DL has diluted the experience but overcharging even more already.

      After 2MM Lifetime Gold won't...

      @Mark

      Until you outspend Amex, which is around $7 billion a year, Delta is not really alienating their most important customer.

      As a fellow frequent flyer, Diamond has been diluted and devalued a lot to a point that they are taking us for granted. GUC works better as a SuperRUC than a true GUC unless you pay for PS. Which DL has diluted the experience but overcharging even more already.

      After 2MM Lifetime Gold won't get SkyClub access on international flights anymore, nor ANY lifetime milestones. Meanwhile a status matched ITA Elite+ on Basic Economy can enjoy SkyClub.

      This has reached a point that it's more realistic to view SkyClubs as more like Centurion lounge operated by Delta.

  26. Anthony Joseph Guest

    Why bother with domestic lounge access. Once you get in, the food and drink amenities such.
    As for Amex Centurion access restrictions, this the straw that breaks the camel's back. I am dropping the renewal of my Amex Platinum after having it for 20+ years. Can't even use 75% of "benefits", particularly the "$200 travel for incidentals" . But I held onto it due to the centurion lounge access. But now having being denied...

    Why bother with domestic lounge access. Once you get in, the food and drink amenities such.
    As for Amex Centurion access restrictions, this the straw that breaks the camel's back. I am dropping the renewal of my Amex Platinum after having it for 20+ years. Can't even use 75% of "benefits", particularly the "$200 travel for incidentals" . But I held onto it due to the centurion lounge access. But now having being denied entry or having to eait more than 34 mins and unannounced closures (SEA is closed the past couple of weeks).

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      This post has nothing to do with Amex Centurion lounges.

      Or did you just want to give us an unrelated whine?

    2. Al Guest

      You have an amazingly cheap deal for cards in the US, I don't know what you're complaining about!

  27. Joe Guest

    Simple economics. The law of Supply and Demand is just as powerful as the law of gravity. When demand outstrips supply, you either increase the supply (more Sky Clubs) or decrease the demand. That will look like increasing prices for Sky Club membership cards and Amex. So, $550 Delta Reserve card doesn't bother most Delta Travelers? Great! How about a $750 Delta Reserve or Sky Club membership?

    1. Donna Diamond

      Joe - Agree. You can buy a lot of (much better) food and drinks in the terminal for $750.

    2. Gregg Guest

      Disagree. I'd spend way more if I had to pay for my drinks.

  28. Joe Guest

    To clear up one innacurracy in the article, there are some occassions where employees are booked confirmed in Delta One. The most common is pilots who are deadheading internationally (must be an ocean crossing, i.e. US to Europe, Asia, deep South America, or Hawaii) are guaranteed Delta One as confirmed seats. Not space available. That positive space Delta One seat assignment got you into the SkyClub. The seat is still guaranteed after 2/3 but will...

    To clear up one innacurracy in the article, there are some occassions where employees are booked confirmed in Delta One. The most common is pilots who are deadheading internationally (must be an ocean crossing, i.e. US to Europe, Asia, deep South America, or Hawaii) are guaranteed Delta One as confirmed seats. Not space available. That positive space Delta One seat assignment got you into the SkyClub. The seat is still guaranteed after 2/3 but will no longer allow SkyClub access.

    1. Gregg Guest

      Ridiculous. They should ride in the back like everyone else. Pilots are so damned spoiled.

    2. John.S Guest

      Depends on the circumstance. Sometimes that flight is considered as part of the rest period (ie said Pilot has to fly the plane back to the US off a short turnaround time of 2-3 hours). Do you really want them to have been sitting in Economy and not well rested?

  29. KW Guest

    And then airlines such as Delta complain as to why it is so hard to hire and retain staff…..

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      I doubt very seriously that anyone makes a career or even 3-5 year job decision based on the ability to use an airline lounge to fly standby.
      Delta pilots are set to start voting on a contract that will make them the highest paid in the US and there are supposedly a series of raises for DL's non-pilot personnel which are not unionized.
      High pay and benefits is still a big draw for...

      I doubt very seriously that anyone makes a career or even 3-5 year job decision based on the ability to use an airline lounge to fly standby.
      Delta pilots are set to start voting on a contract that will make them the highest paid in the US and there are supposedly a series of raises for DL's non-pilot personnel which are not unionized.
      High pay and benefits is still a big draw for any job.
      US airline employees including at Delta still have the most generous travel benefits in the world including the ability to fly in premium cabins when there are available seats.
      I read plenty of social media posts from airline employees that have racked up millions of miles, many in premium cabins, seeing the world.

    2. Steven L. Gold

      I doubt very seriously KW meant that this was literally the one dealbreaker, rather than this action being demonstrative of the general attitudes that the folks upstairs have towards employees.

    3. DLPTATL Diamond

      This reminds of me of working at the mall during high school and having to park at the far end of the lot so that paying customers would have a shorter walk. I don't think this is Delta's sign to their employees that they don't value them, only that they're prioritizing passenger satisfaction.

    4. Yiannis1 Guest

      Employees who are non rev DO NOT earn miles on those tickets. So check your fact. Perhaps over the years with credit card spend they racked up miles. Just like you do. Likewise, suddenly, what do people know about the flight benefits unless they are an employee or, a family member or guest authorized such?!

    5. John Guest

      No, would be more like you're not allowed to park there at all.

    6. FlyerDon New Member

      It’s about 2,500 miles from JFK to LAX. You would have to fly that route 400 times to reach one million miles. If you have a 25 year career with an airline you would have to fly 2,500 miles 16 times per year for 25 years to reach just one million miles. I really don’t believe too many full time employees are doing what they claim on social media. And if by chance they are, I guarantee they aren’t doing it in business or first class.

  30. CB Guest

    This is a very shrewd move on DL's part, and should have happened quite a while ago, though I think they are going way too far. Allowing employees holding Amex Plat cards access on standby listings is one thing (it's ripe with abuse, I can attest to this back in the day when I was non-revving on them). But to deny employees holding a paid membership is another thing. I don't think they should be...

    This is a very shrewd move on DL's part, and should have happened quite a while ago, though I think they are going way too far. Allowing employees holding Amex Plat cards access on standby listings is one thing (it's ripe with abuse, I can attest to this back in the day when I was non-revving on them). But to deny employees holding a paid membership is another thing. I don't think they should be going for an all-out ban on employee use, especially since it's probably easier to track a member vs. an Amex cardholder when determining if the employee is using the benefit properly, as intended.

    You can't even begin to imagine the backlash DL will be getting from employees on this...alot more hold Amex Plat than you might think.

  31. David Guest

    This will affect those employees who pay the Platinum Amex membership. I can see a few card cancellations coming their way if this stands. Perhaps neither Delta nor Amex cares.

  32. Mike Guest

    I dont think throwing employees out of the lounge is the answer. Maybe they should have put in a clause like when the club is filled to capacity, 90%, 80%, etc.

  33. Donna Diamond

    I had no idea the access policy for DL lounges was so liberal which could explain some of the overcrowding. The quality has dropped off and price keeps going up. Lounge memberships are a poor value proposition for all but the most frequent flyers and even those can’t be happy in the current environment.

  34. Afred Guest

    Well customers come first. They are the ones spend the current bucks. Discounts and club membership doesn't keep airline bills and staff salary. It's a move in the right direction.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      And credit card customers are customers.

  35. Tortuga Diamond

    My beef is with them removing access for retirees with lifetime club memberships. That's just low. I mean, how many people could this even be?

    We all know what the problem is, and the problem is people like me -- Delta-loyal (or -loyal adjacent) people who carry Amex Plats due in part to lounge access, regardless of cabin class, being a stated benefit.

    1. J bauer Guest

      Understand original Lifetime, memberships, are excluded from being restricted from going into the club. 360 members,

  36. Mike Guest

    ALOT of employees had the amex card to use DL lounges while non reving, this is a huge blow.

  37. Bgriff Guest

    I don't know exact numbers but I imagine a lot of Delta employees have Amex cards that give them lounge access, especially the ones that make a point to use their flight benefits regularly (like anyone who may have to travel on company business often). After all Delta gets paid per Amex swipe into the Sky Club, so they were happy to encourage this to bring in extra $$$, until the crowding got out of hand.

  38. Jeffrey Chang Guest

    Unless the passengers can use the crew lounges, I don't see how this a big deal.

    1. Jim Guest

      The crew lounges are not really lounges, more breakrooms in the bowels of the airport below you. They are breakrooms at best. This also includes all non crew including every ticket counter, gate, and ramp agent

    2. No one cares Guest

      I can guarantee you that no passenger would ever want to spend time in the employee’s lounge. There’s a few benches and tables along with some dirty microwaves and refrigerators. Employees can only access the Sky Club if you have the Amex Plat card and if you have a ticket to travel.

    3. Scott Guest

      I fly nonrev twice a month as a companion to an airline member. I can now no longer get access. Bummer

  39. Dad Guest

    As a parent of a Delta employee, I fly non-rev about 2x/month and use my NR seat request + Amex Platinum to get into Sky Lounges; most of the lounges I use seldom have a line. As others have suggested, I think a better compromise would be to deny entry to non-revs if/when the lounge is full but us in when there is space-available.

    1. Steve Diamond

      That creates confusion and could lead to a rather combative front desk experience if you have two delta employees arguing with each other holding up the line and causing a bad experience for PAID customers.

      If you arent paying for your flight you dont get lounge access, i feel like points enthusiast like us and airline employees dont understand that we come second, the paid customer is the primary focus.

  40. Mark Guest

    Good. Also, employees flying non-rev should not get upgrades (First or D1) over paying customers, especially when using a GUC.

    1. Jim Guest

      Employees do not. All medallion upgrades get processed before any employee even gets a seat. If not enough nonrev passengers are listed, then those seats stay empty

    2. Taylor Guest

      Employees flying non-rev already don’t get upgrades over revenue customers. This scenario exists only in your imagination.

    3. CHRIS Guest

      They absolutely do.....and you know it. The gate agents ALWAYS take care of them. Are they supposed to? If course not but we both know they do.

    4. Joe Guest

      That's hilarious. I must be doing something wrong for the past 30 years as a Delta employee. Have never been "taken care of" in that way by a gate agent. HAVE been left at the gate along with my family many many times as the flight was full.

    5. Roger Guest

      They actually don't. Every flight gets audited to see if the upgrades were processed according to the logic that is policy.

    6. Gregg Guest

      Oh please. Shenanigans happen all the time.

    7. Michael Guest

      If you believe this. No one risks losing their job to accommodate a non revenue passenger- no one.

    8. Mark Guest

      MSP-HNL and back, 2 in uniform pilots got last two D1 seats, and neither were the relief pilot.

    9. Eskimo Guest

      @Mark

      How do you know they were not deadheads?

      Fact is, if those 2 in uniform pilots are indeed deadheading.
      1. They already have (unassigned) seats in D1, not really the last two (unassigned) you saw.
      2. They could actually bump you off this flight. AKA, they will always get to go before you even if the entire flight is filled with Diamond paying for D1 or using GUC.

      To your original point...

      @Mark

      How do you know they were not deadheads?

      Fact is, if those 2 in uniform pilots are indeed deadheading.
      1. They already have (unassigned) seats in D1, not really the last two (unassigned) you saw.
      2. They could actually bump you off this flight. AKA, they will always get to go before you even if the entire flight is filled with Diamond paying for D1 or using GUC.

      To your original point of using GUC,
      The case which most paying elites hate non-rev is (mostly on international) when there is an empty seat in front and the airline lets it go empty or give them to standby non-revs while DYKWIA is stuck in coach.
      But you fail to realize if the flight is oversold, you will get that empty seat, and standbys can waive goodbye to you from the terminal.

  41. Never In Doubt Guest

    Feb 1 (New AMEX guest rules) & Feb 2 (Delta) are going to be big days for blog comment (and IRL?) whining.

    My popcorn is ready!

  42. Kevin Huff Guest

    The clubs are not that nice anyway..and the kind of people in them is gross.. Amex holders can get it to them..and some pretty low life people have Amex cards..just saying

  43. Mark Guest

    Misleading clickbait headline - this is about employees on non rev travel not employees in general. They can still fly revenue using money or miles like anyone else and access Skyclub that way.

  44. Carlos Guest

    This will curb abuse by current and former employees and significantly help with overcrowding at the clubs. Good move by Delta.

    1. Jim Guest

      I am telling you right now, employees were not overcrowding the clubs. The problem is how many people have the AMEX cards with access. Employees were already turned away when clubs were busy so this will do virtually nothing for overcrowding

    2. Steve Diamond

      Its better than nothing, even if the lounge has 100 people inside and only 4 are non-revs then this at least creates one open table for PAID customers. Does it fix overcrowding no but it makes it slightly better and not slightly worse. How is it a bad business decision for any business to improve the experience for PAID customers.

    3. TM Guest

      Because Delta isn't going to solve Sky Club crowding by freeing up one table at a time. They're creating a massive stir by explicitly telling employees that their dollars don't spend the same way as non-employees, and the 4 seats they manage to free up will be immediately backfilled by new cardholder accounts with lounge access. It's also a bad business decision to alienate your employees, especially if that alienation doesn't solve the problem.

    4. Michael Guest

      Blame game. You will see shortly this policy change will have ZERO affect on overcrowding.

    5. Josh Guest

      Employees holding Skyclub memberships ARE paid customers. Free membership is not an employee benefit. You aren’t getting into the Skyclub flying on a domestic flight without having paid for the access somehow. Neither are they.

    6. Tony Guest

      I am telling you right now, I agree

    7. Gregg Guest

      How the heck do you know??? They'd likely not make a change that has no impact!

  45. Jamal Guest

    I imagine that the biggest impact this will have is in Atlanta. I’ve heard that the lines to get into SkyClubs at that airport specifically are horrendously long. I imagine that there’s an over representation of Delta employees in ATL as compared to other airports and this policy seems to be specifically aimed at them.

    1. DLPTATL Guest

      @Jamal - I'm ATL based and fly nearly every week. I've only had to wait in line once, and as a Diamond they had a special line. I ended up waiting <5minutes. Delta has expanded a club at ATL in 2022 and AmEx is working on a Centurion Lounge so hopeful that this continues.

      My experiences at JFK and LGA are a different story, where I've had to wait in multiple lines longer than...

      @Jamal - I'm ATL based and fly nearly every week. I've only had to wait in line once, and as a Diamond they had a special line. I ended up waiting <5minutes. Delta has expanded a club at ATL in 2022 and AmEx is working on a Centurion Lounge so hopeful that this continues.

      My experiences at JFK and LGA are a different story, where I've had to wait in multiple lines longer than 10 minutes. Having said that I've still always been able to gain entry. At JFK they added carts for sparkling wine over the holidays and had employees working to seat arriving guests so they could find spots more quickly. Delta's trying, it's just leisure demand is so much higher than ever before.

    2. Kenneth Jones Guest

      This company has declared war on its most valuable asset-its employees. Despise this place and our ‘leaders’ more every single day.

  46. Craig Guest

    This is absolutely ridiculous and will not move the needle on crowded clubs. It will create a lot of ill will however with employees. It is their club and their rules but seems very short sighted and unnecessary.

  47. PT Guest

    Surprised it took them this long. Employee embargo should have been the very first thing done to try and address crowding.

  48. Marshall Jackson Guest

    When I left American Airlines in 2004, employees below the Managing Director level could not join the Admirals Club. If I recall correctly, the company comped membership to VP's and up, but MD's could buy it if they wanted. For everyone else, an employee's spouse could, at one time, be a member, and in turn buy their employee spouse a spousal membership. This was changed to the spouse could be a member but only guest...

    When I left American Airlines in 2004, employees below the Managing Director level could not join the Admirals Club. If I recall correctly, the company comped membership to VP's and up, but MD's could buy it if they wanted. For everyone else, an employee's spouse could, at one time, be a member, and in turn buy their employee spouse a spousal membership. This was changed to the spouse could be a member but only guest in their employee spouse. This changed after the merger. I'm agnostic on this decision by Delta, just sharing that it's not unprecedented. They should refund any employees who purchased memberships though.

  49. MC Guest

    Simple workaround for nonrevs with Amex anyway. Get into the terminal on a standby pass, on the walk to the skyclub book a fully refundable confirmed ticket, use that to get into the sky club, and then refund the ticket immediately. Amex Platinum is the real problem

    1. JP Guest

      Amex platinum is why most of these lounges exist. I'm not disagreeing that it is a "problem" but it's kinda like a "gift horse" or "golden goose." Someone has to pay for it.

    2. JustMe Guest

      We cannot hold a confirmed seat on any day we travel NRSA. We would have our benefits revoked.

    3. Levi Diamond

      And the COC governing the paid ticket specifically says that buying a ticket to access the lounge with no intention of flying is a no-no. A customer who occasionally does it is probably going to get away with it (and if DL notices it, there's not likely to be much of a consequence), much like hidden-city ticketing or similar. But an employee, where there's real consequences (e.g. revocation of travel benefits)? Not a great idea.

  50. T- Guest

    Good. I’m shocked to know employees were using the lounges anyway. That’s crazy. Delta employs tens of thousands of workers. This is a good start. I will still fly Delta regardless of their lounges being full.

    1. Myb Guest

      It's not free. We pay the same amount and have Amex cards which comes with access

    2. Jim Guest

      It was the same rules as passengers. You had to buy a membership or have a qualifying amex card. Most employees did not have a membership and this will do virtually nothing for the crowding issue

    3. Gregg Guest

      That's just (innacurate) speculation Jim

  51. Tony Guest

    Very disappointing in DL for treating there employees like they would want to be treated. Hope its temporary and American express goes after them for this.

    1. Scammers Stink Guest

      Are you kidding? American Express continues to market their Platinum Card to airline employees from all airlines and asks them to pay the full price and then denies them access into the lounge if they do not have seat assignments on their boarding passes which airline employees almost enever have until boarding begins.

      Amex probably told Delata to do this. This not only screws over airline customers but stranded passengers like the Southwest had a...

      Are you kidding? American Express continues to market their Platinum Card to airline employees from all airlines and asks them to pay the full price and then denies them access into the lounge if they do not have seat assignments on their boarding passes which airline employees almost enever have until boarding begins.

      Amex probably told Delata to do this. This not only screws over airline customers but stranded passengers like the Southwest had a few weeks ago. Imagine being stuck at the airport for days.

      Amex stinks and I hope they go out of business. Not Delta, just Amex. They can make whatever rules they want but they are a bunch of scammers if they solicit business with no intention of offering the full product to some customers.

      And I reached out to one of their execs, and she had a probably the most inane person from a call center contact me os her representative. They do not even care how they look when their employees call on behalf of execs.

      They can stick their preapps where the sun don't shine.

  52. Eskimo Guest

    Probably take Amex a few days to fill up the extra space taken from the number of employee who lost access.

    Problem solved for a week.

  53. Jim Guest

    NGL, every time I see "Delta" in the news these days, I'm more and more tempted to try United's status match challenge...

  54. Justin Guest

    As long as employees can access on paid tickets I don’t think this is overly controversial. I recognize im not directly impacted though.

    1. Jim Guest

      It is extremely controversial inside. Everyone is talking about it and no one is happy or understanding. Mostly due to the ruling and partially due to how the memo was phrased. A rumor going around is that this was done to give back to us later when the union push gets strong enough

  55. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    Delta needs to wake up and smell the coffee. None of the changes it has made to Sky Club access in the past couple of years has worked at all. This won't work either. Delta needs to stop letting AmEx platinum cardholders have unlimited access. Period. At DTW, 75% of the customers in the Sky Clubs are getting access through a credit card, according to Sky Club agents.

    1. John T Guest

      Agree. Amex has flooded the market - and regretfully the Centurion lounges are even more congested. About as relaxing as a walk through Time Square - rather find the airport lost and found and sit on the floor there

    2. Mark S. Guest

      Delta's continuing changes to the Sky Club requirements is ridiculous... I've been an Executive & Medallian member for years.....not anymore
      As mentioned it seems that the real issue started the Amex Platinum access started..(even without Medallian status.)
      I have the Delta Amex Platinum card but WILL NOT use this option.....
      As usual follow the MONEY...what kind of a kick back is Amex paying for this benefit?
      My opinion is that is...

      Delta's continuing changes to the Sky Club requirements is ridiculous... I've been an Executive & Medallian member for years.....not anymore
      As mentioned it seems that the real issue started the Amex Platinum access started..(even without Medallian status.)
      I have the Delta Amex Platinum card but WILL NOT use this option.....
      As usual follow the MONEY...what kind of a kick back is Amex paying for this benefit?
      My opinion is that is a pure thing profit generator and not a travel benefit for loyal customers...
      My last few visits to the Sky Clubs were dismal food selections and one drink do not justify a $50 visit..or $150 for executive membership...

    3. Jamal Allen Guest

      Based on the fact Delta has not significantly changed access for Amex cardholders, that Amex contract must be huge revenue win for Delta.

    4. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      According to View from the Wing today, 50% of Delta's revenue is from American Express.

    5. Never In Doubt Guest

      “ and regretfully the Centurion lounges are even more congested”

      20 days until February 1!

      My popcorn is ready!

    6. Kelly Guest

      Airlines make more money on their co- brand credit card revenue then they do on fare revenue. This is why Amex cardholders will get priority in the lounges.

  56. Jason Guest

    Not a surprise. When I worked for AA we couldnt have a membership to the Admirals Club and enter on space available tickets.

    1. Jim Guest

      When did you work for them? I’ve had my membership for 5+ years

  57. John T Guest

    How does this JonNYC guy know all this inside info? Does he work for American in New York? He leaks info all the time. Surely AA can work out who he is??

    1. Eskimo Guest

      They leaked it themselves.

      When will people learn, information and news can be manipulated. That's how you spread propaganda.
      Controlled leak is one of the oldest trick.

      How do you think Harry manages to sell his Spare.

  58. Sean M. Diamond

    Until at least the late 1990s, Delta did not permit anyone who was an immediate family member of any airline employee (not just Delta employees, but any airline worldwide) to even become a Crown Room Club member. You actually had to attest to this when you filled out your CRC application form. Around 1999, it was revised so that you could be a member but could only use the CRC if traveling on a revenue...

    Until at least the late 1990s, Delta did not permit anyone who was an immediate family member of any airline employee (not just Delta employees, but any airline worldwide) to even become a Crown Room Club member. You actually had to attest to this when you filled out your CRC application form. Around 1999, it was revised so that you could be a member but could only use the CRC if traveling on a revenue ticket (ie. not if on non-revenue tickets or if not traveling that day). I remember taking a Delta employee friend into a CRC as a guest around 2001 (we were both flying on revenue tickets that day on another airline) and it was his first time actually visiting one.

    1. John Guest

      @Sean M

      CRC.....[drools]

  59. Tim Dunn Diamond

    VFTW has the actual memo from DL, not just from an " industry watchdog"
    And given that Delta has cut Sky Club access for multiple other groups of Sky Club users, it isn't a surprise that non-revenue travel would get cut.
    A reader on VFTW also says that there will also now be a charge for the Amex Platinum card Sky Club users. If so, THAT is what will fix the overcrowding issue...

    VFTW has the actual memo from DL, not just from an " industry watchdog"
    And given that Delta has cut Sky Club access for multiple other groups of Sky Club users, it isn't a surprise that non-revenue travel would get cut.
    A reader on VFTW also says that there will also now be a charge for the Amex Platinum card Sky Club users. If so, THAT is what will fix the overcrowding issue and DL simply had to pull the perk for its employees in order to not make it look hypocritical.
    And I too would like to know the number of DL employees and pass riders using Sky Clubs but I doubt if pulling them will be enough to move the needle although a certain pilot chat forum is lit up with comments from DL pilots that somehow don't realize that DL has cut access to alot of other groups before it got to employees.

    Finally, VFTW also reports that DL itself, not Amex, will refund the Amex card membership fees for DL employees that choose to cancel their cards because of the loss of access to lounges - which is the primary reason why an airline employee would have any airline sponsored credit card.

    1. jks Guest

      I think the other reader got confused and was referring to the new fees to bring in guests to the Amex lounge. Haven’t seen anything that says Amex cardholders will have to pay to get into delta lounges.

    2. MaxPower Guest

      Nice that you're finally acknowledging the overcrowding and "line to get in" issue, Tim. A short month ago, you were going off on an angry rant toward blog owners for daring to even mention this "non-issue"

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      NOWHERE did I say that overcrowding issue in this post.
      I have said that I have not had any lines getting into a SC.
      It's Delta's job to decide who can and cannot use their Clubs and I don't think what they did was necessary but they clearly see a bigger picture than I do.

      I still think they will reinstate the ability for DL employees to purchase access in the future for...

      NOWHERE did I say that overcrowding issue in this post.
      I have said that I have not had any lines getting into a SC.
      It's Delta's job to decide who can and cannot use their Clubs and I don't think what they did was necessary but they clearly see a bigger picture than I do.

      I still think they will reinstate the ability for DL employees to purchase access in the future for non-revenue just because DL and Amex oversold card access and they will fix that.
      and, as many have noted, for years, most airline employees could not use airline lounges at all

    4. MaxPower Guest

      Oh. So there is still no overcrowding problem...? But Delta has just lost their minds trying to fix something that doesn't exist? lol. you are a funny guy, I'll give you that.

    5. IndyDelt Guest

      Do you know if they are also going to refund the cost for employees that have remaining time on their SC memberships? This number might be low but if I bought a full membership in January to use throughout the year and then this was announced I'd be pretty upset.

    6. Tim Dunn Diamond

      VFTW says that DL itself and not Amex will reimburse the membership fee for Amex cards for employees that cannot be used
      VFTW did not specifically address paid or mileage based memberships directly to the SC but I would imagine they would do that also.
      There are clearly some DL employees that are bent out of shape on this. I'm not sure how big the problem is but the whole notion of a...

      VFTW says that DL itself and not Amex will reimburse the membership fee for Amex cards for employees that cannot be used
      VFTW did not specifically address paid or mileage based memberships directly to the SC but I would imagine they would do that also.
      There are clearly some DL employees that are bent out of shape on this. I'm not sure how big the problem is but the whole notion of a large number of employees spending time in lounges grates on many of the same customers that DL said could not use SCs - and there were multiple groups of those customers.

  60. Grey Diamond

    The whole thing just reeks of poor leadership. They oversold the spaces and now they are taking the spaces away from people like elite members and employees. (who are overall important to the company in the long run)
    It just sends a very clear message that Delta is a company which puts the customers of a third company (American Express) who have no interest in Delta ahead of Delta's own customers and employees. And that seems like very short term thinking to me...

    1. Rubondese Guest

      Actual elite (high value) members are those with money to spend, thus buy a membership. Somebody who makes it to a status tier by way of cheap fares is not a high value customer.

    2. Airplane Guy Guest

      You obviously have ZERO understanding of business. Delta, a shareholder company, makes more $$ from credit card relationships than flying. The AmEx relationship brings more money than your 2 flights on DL every year. Of course the Amex cardholders get in before you and employees. You must be a Liberal CNN devotee.

    3. Jeff Guest

      I agree with what you said. I've heard in the past that the Amex relationship with DL is worth several billion a year.

    4. Old Man Guest

      I have great credit but not a lot of $$ so I regularly fly Delta non-rev (parent of DL empl.) and use that boarding pass + AmEx Plat to use Sky Clubs; seldom use AmEx lounges because they don't exist at most airports I use. The price of the Amex card is about the same as Sky Club membership. AmEx Plat has additional benefits that I use, but access to Sky Clubs was my primary...

      I have great credit but not a lot of $$ so I regularly fly Delta non-rev (parent of DL empl.) and use that boarding pass + AmEx Plat to use Sky Clubs; seldom use AmEx lounges because they don't exist at most airports I use. The price of the Amex card is about the same as Sky Club membership. AmEx Plat has additional benefits that I use, but access to Sky Clubs was my primary reason for considering either option. Now that I will no longer be able to use Sky Clubs, I will most likely let my AmEx Plat expire and AmEx & DL will lose my tiny piece of their revenue. Time to renew my Global Entry before that (and other) AmEx benefits go away. Nothing good lasts forever, I guess.

    5. Gregg Guest

      Hey Airplane Guy

      This is a travel blog, not a place for your right wing rants.

      Please NO politics.

    6. Tony Guest

      They are actually losing money for not admitting non rev guests. Amex still pays delta everytime one goes in.

    7. Donato Guest

      I speak as a AMEX Plat. I am cognizant of the crowding of course. Some have suggested eliminating the AMEX Plat use of the lounges. I appreciate that that would be an effective way tp ameliorate the crowding but this comes with costs. There obviously is a high level agreement between DL and AMEX.
      Aside from that my preferred airline is DL, especially since AA stopped Plat lounge access. I would venture that most...

      I speak as a AMEX Plat. I am cognizant of the crowding of course. Some have suggested eliminating the AMEX Plat use of the lounges. I appreciate that that would be an effective way tp ameliorate the crowding but this comes with costs. There obviously is a high level agreement between DL and AMEX.
      Aside from that my preferred airline is DL, especially since AA stopped Plat lounge access. I would venture that most AMEX Plat members are partial to DL and this is a huge number of potential rev passengers to eliminate.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Taylor Guest

Employees flying non-rev already don’t get upgrades over revenue customers. This scenario exists only in your imagination.

6
Jim Guest

I am telling you right now, employees were not overcrowding the clubs. The problem is how many people have the AMEX cards with access. Employees were already turned away when clubs were busy so this will do virtually nothing for overcrowding

6
Marshall Jackson Guest

When I left American Airlines in 2004, employees below the Managing Director level could not join the Admirals Club. If I recall correctly, the company comped membership to VP's and up, but MD's could buy it if they wanted. For everyone else, an employee's spouse could, at one time, be a member, and in turn buy their employee spouse a spousal membership. This was changed to the spouse could be a member but only guest in their employee spouse. This changed after the merger. I'm agnostic on this decision by Delta, just sharing that it's not unprecedented. They should refund any employees who purchased memberships though.

5
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