Report: Delta May Cut Sky Club Access For SkyMiles Elites

Report: Delta May Cut Sky Club Access For SkyMiles Elites

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Delta Sky Clubs are having some major crowding issues, to the point that there are often long lines outside of the clubs to get in. The situation has gotten so bad that Delta has introduced priority lanes for lounge entry, so that the airline can prioritize the guests who get access.

While it remains to be seen if this is implemented, it looks like Delta could be announcing a major new lounge access restriction soon.

SkyMiles Medallion members may lose Sky Club access

The Airline Observer newsletter, written by Brian Sumers (who is generally very reliable and well connected), reports that Delta is planning on cutting lounge access for SkyMiles Medallion members.

Specifically, SkyTeam Elite Plus members receive Delta Sky Club access when traveling same day on an international SkyTeam flight, even if traveling in economy. Sumers reports that Delta is preparing to cut Sky Club access for Delta SkyMiles elite members traveling in economy.

If this change were to be implemented, Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members, would no longer receive Sky Club access purely on account of having elite status. The change could be announced as early as this week, unless the airline postpones these plans.

Interestingly Delta would only be applying this change initially to its own elite members, and not to SkyTeam Elite Plus members with other airlines. That’s because applying these rules to members of other programs would go more directly against SkyTeam lounge access policies, while airlines can apply restrictions more easily to their own members.

As Sumers describes this, Delta doesn’t like the bad publicity it’s getting for Sky Club crowding issues, which is causing this drastic measure. The airline has long been trying to position itself as being the premium US airline, and the Sky Club crowding issue has created a negative impression among many premium flyers.

Delta may add major Sky Club access restrictions

My take on these rumored Sky Club access cuts

Delta has tried to add restrictions on Sky Club access to curb crowding, but seemingly nothing has helped significantly. Delta cutting lounge access for elite members traveling internationally in economy would no doubt be the most drastic change yet.

Delta has a simple problem, and it’s not an easy one to solve — the demand for Sky Clubs is greater than capacity. The airline is growing Sky Clubs as much as it can, but there’s only so much capacity you can add at crowded airports.

The obvious change that would solve Sky Club crowding would be to eliminate access with credit cards, particularly for those with Amex Platinums. However, that’s also something Delta simply isn’t going to do, since this is a huge source of revenue for the airline. The partnership between American Express and Delta is worth billions of dollars to the airline annually.

So at this point Delta executives are trying to figure out what changes they can make that don’t involve cutting lounge access with credit cards, and which will get the airline in the least trouble among premium customers. Clearly the airline has decided that cutting lounge access for international economy is the best option at this point.

Personally, I’m not convinced this would put a big dent in the crowding issue. Sure, maybe it will reduce lounge crowding marginally, but I don’t think it’ll make a material difference. After all, what percentage of Delta elite members in international economy have some other Sky Club access method, whether it’s a membership or an Amex Platinum?

I’m curious to see if this gets implemented, because it would set quite a precedent.

Delta would set quite a precedent here

Bottom line

Delta Sky Clubs continue to have major crowding issues, and it would appear that Delta is preparing to introduce some further measures to curb lounge crowding. Specifically, Delta is allegedly considering cutting Sky Club access for SkyMiles Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion travelers in international economy.

Since the airline isn’t going to touch its credit card lounge access policy, I suppose these are the next group of customers that Delta may care least about when it comes to lounge access.

What do you make of these alleged Delta Sky Club access cuts?

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  1. TTanin Guest

    Platinum medallion at Delta and now making switch to star alliance. They matched elite status already. I fly 4 international trips a year. I charge about 70K on AMex a year for business use. DElta will loose all of that over this stupid change. I regret few times paying more to fly with a skyteam partner over other alliances. They have shown they have no loyalty to their platinum medallions.

  2. Bob Ross Guest

    I received a notice today that I could continue my use of SkyClub based upon AmEx Platinum and AmEx SkyMiles Platinum but I will incur a $50 charge.
    SkyClub access was one of the driving reasons for paying the exorbitant fees to AmEx for both cards.
    I will seriously consider converting my AmEx Platinum back to a green card.
    As a side note I recently flew internationally first class that involved a...

    I received a notice today that I could continue my use of SkyClub based upon AmEx Platinum and AmEx SkyMiles Platinum but I will incur a $50 charge.
    SkyClub access was one of the driving reasons for paying the exorbitant fees to AmEx for both cards.
    I will seriously consider converting my AmEx Platinum back to a green card.
    As a side note I recently flew internationally first class that involved a 5 hour layover at JFK. That SkyClub was the worst of any I have ever visited. Very crowded and the bathrooms were nasty. A very disappointing experience.

    1. Jay Guest

      I was under the impression that Amex Plat people can still get in, they just have to now pay for guests. (something I've been wanting them to do for eons). I'm sick of ppl bringing their entire family into lounges. These USED to be a place for business travelers/frequent flyers to get work done and/or relax before a flight without having to deal with screaming babies and loud people in teh terminal. But now? they...

      I was under the impression that Amex Plat people can still get in, they just have to now pay for guests. (something I've been wanting them to do for eons). I'm sick of ppl bringing their entire family into lounges. These USED to be a place for business travelers/frequent flyers to get work done and/or relax before a flight without having to deal with screaming babies and loud people in teh terminal. But now? they opened up access to any and everyone out of greed and they've completely ruined the lounge experience for people who actually travel. This move is wrong though--I agree with Lucky here. The place to "cut" access is the credit card holders because they arguably make up the most of the foot traffic in lounges and are more often the ones that don't seem to know how lounge etiquette works.

  3. CMunlin Guest

    I just received an email from Delta saying the changes. The price for membership is going up significantly for executive from $845 to $1,495. Individual membership is going to $695 Guest fees are going to $50 from $39. Only those with medallion status will be allowed to buy or renew membership. You will only have access to the club if you have membership and medallion status no longer medallion status only. For international travel Diamond,...

    I just received an email from Delta saying the changes. The price for membership is going up significantly for executive from $845 to $1,495. Individual membership is going to $695 Guest fees are going to $50 from $39. Only those with medallion status will be allowed to buy or renew membership. You will only have access to the club if you have membership and medallion status no longer medallion status only. For international travel Diamond, Platinum, Gold status not flying Premium Select or Delta One will not have club access. I just renewed my executive membership and I’m glad I did, that pricing at renewal is going to kill me though.

  4. Jeffb Guest

    Paid 80 dollars for two with medallion status and UT was like a zoo inside. No seats. Not worth it.

  5. Liss Guest

    Definitely cannot cut the credit card users as there would be no reason to pay the steep yearly fees.

  6. John17055 Guest

    Maybe expand the clubs

  7. Josh Guest

    The obvious answer is to embrace it and actually make Skyclub cool like any other in demand club, “yes there’s a line to get into our awesome exclusive club”.

    “Yes there’s a wait, because it’s THAT premium”.

    “Yes people are willing to wait an hour just to hang out for 30 mins”

    Why? Because upon entry you get X Y Z and the vibe is always cool.

    There’s a dress code, no you can’t...

    The obvious answer is to embrace it and actually make Skyclub cool like any other in demand club, “yes there’s a line to get into our awesome exclusive club”.

    “Yes there’s a wait, because it’s THAT premium”.

    “Yes people are willing to wait an hour just to hang out for 30 mins”

    Why? Because upon entry you get X Y Z and the vibe is always cool.

    There’s a dress code, no you can’t enter in your pajamas and your flats. No your workout clothes are not acceptable attire etc

    Then have another set of criteria to prioritize the most wanted clientele.

    1. Jay Guest

      God I'd love this....sorta

  8. iamhere Guest

    Then it gives less of a reason to be elite with Delta and will show who they care more about

  9. Pete 2 Million Guest

    Stop allowing the day passes. I'm sure there's revenue on that but is it worth disenfranchising the business traveler ?

  10. John Blake Guest

    I'm glad they took my $500 for the year for club access!!!

  11. shza Guest

    I would think that eliminating free annual passes (as an option) for Diamond members would have a bigger effect than this. Diamonds might not like it, but it's not like there's some other US carrier they could switch to to regain that benefit -- as United and American don't provide it to IKs/Exec Plats (United gives nothing; American gives the option for a pack of one-day passes).

    1. Nathan Guest

      I think you will find that many, if not most, of us Diamonds also have the Amex Platinum Card (or the Reserve).

  12. Kevin Guest

    This is like complaining about traffic when you’re sitting in traffic. You are the traffic. This is an inconvenience that will eventually fix itself, just like a booked up restaurant or a sold out show, you go somewhere else. I recently walked up to the SkyClub in LA and there was a line. We didn’t want to wait, so we went to another one and there was a short wait. We both looked at each...

    This is like complaining about traffic when you’re sitting in traffic. You are the traffic. This is an inconvenience that will eventually fix itself, just like a booked up restaurant or a sold out show, you go somewhere else. I recently walked up to the SkyClub in LA and there was a line. We didn’t want to wait, so we went to another one and there was a short wait. We both looked at each other and said, “I’m good. Let’s go to the gate.” I appreciate that Delta is trying to minimize the lines, but the lines annd overcrowding aren’t going anywhere until people stop wanting inside.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      It's not that all of a sudden more people decided to go inside. Rather, it's that Delta sold access via American Express without first expanding the lounges. They should have expanded these lounges back in 2019 prior to the AmEx deal's extension. Delta is very lucky that most of 2020 and 2021 were write-offs in terms of customers wanting to use the lounges.

    2. JP Guest

      2019? AMEX Platinum and Reserve both had club access prior to the deal extension.

      Delta is the only one to know the true mix but we can speculate that the following:
      - Delta One is likely flat to up a few percent due to increase in seat count
      - Club access via membership is likely flat
      - Delta Diamonds could be higher due to 2 years of rollover mileages that moved...

      2019? AMEX Platinum and Reserve both had club access prior to the deal extension.

      Delta is the only one to know the true mix but we can speculate that the following:
      - Delta One is likely flat to up a few percent due to increase in seat count
      - Club access via membership is likely flat
      - Delta Diamonds could be higher due to 2 years of rollover mileages that moved Platinum's -> Diamond
      - Increase in AMEX sign-ups for Platinum and Reserve cards

      The last two items are likely the most controllable in the short-term if contract terms allow. Eliminate Diamonds getting a free membership or through selection; make Platinum and Reserve access to 2-4 passes per year + 1 guest. It won't completely free up the lounges but will likely do enough to ease the waitlist to 0 like in prior years.

  13. Clyde Guest

    As always screw those who put the most money in the pockets of the airlines. The ones who ride in the back of the plane.

    1. Harry Guest

      I respectfully disagree. Since deregulation, the front of the plane pays a lot more per square foot than in the back, IMO. Why do you think everyone is trying to get up there for "free" on upgrades or CC gained status? Otherwise out-of-pocket would cost too much per square foot.

    2. Lune Gold

      But it's the demand for economy seats that allows them to utilize the larger planes required for a good business / 1st class experience. If they only had 8 first class passengers, they'd have no choice but to stick them in a tiny regional jet. Because there is no plane that's as wide as a 777 but only 20 feet long.

      The truth is, all the classes balance each other out: economy pax benefit from...

      But it's the demand for economy seats that allows them to utilize the larger planes required for a good business / 1st class experience. If they only had 8 first class passengers, they'd have no choice but to stick them in a tiny regional jet. Because there is no plane that's as wide as a 777 but only 20 feet long.

      The truth is, all the classes balance each other out: economy pax benefit from the higher class fares subsidizing their cost partially, while the higher classes benefit from economy filling the rest of the plane.

      Which one is more important? Well, we know that all-business class airlines have been tried before and generally failed (La Compagnie between JFK-CDG is the only one I know that still exists). If business class was so profitable and economy seats were nothing but a drag on profits, then all-business class airlines would be thriving.

      In contrast, there are lots of all-economy airlines doing quite well, often more profitable than the full service airlines. So, I think that answers the question of which group of passengers is more important for profitable operations! :-)

  14. Eskimo Guest

    Greedy Delta is punishing their loyal flyers. They literally sold STE+ spaces to Amex.

    It would be interesting to find out how Delta actually mistakenly punish eligible STE+ by denying access. And I'm calling out the infamous LAX dragons.

    1. Lee Guest

      The same way that Virgin has categorized its LHR lounge as a first class lounge. By doing so, SkyTeam elites will not have access. But, then, we see other airlines maintain certain proprietary lounges that exclude alliance elite members. BA and Qatar to name two.

  15. JP Guest

    If you look at the groups in the clubs:
    -Delta One bookings
    - Delta Diamonds (annual choice, no restrictions)
    - Actual paid membership
    - Amex Delta Reserve Card (it is the purpose of the card)
    - Amex Platinum Card (see note below)

    Then the options to reduce the # of club users could be:
    - Create D1 lounges (in-progress) and only allow D1 passengers in the lounge; no first...

    If you look at the groups in the clubs:
    -Delta One bookings
    - Delta Diamonds (annual choice, no restrictions)
    - Actual paid membership
    - Amex Delta Reserve Card (it is the purpose of the card)
    - Amex Platinum Card (see note below)

    Then the options to reduce the # of club users could be:
    - Create D1 lounges (in-progress) and only allow D1 passengers in the lounge; no first class
    - Remove annual choice option for Diamonds; have the pay for membership or get a co-branded card... This will ruffle some feathers but will ensure those in the lounge are some how paying for the card
    - AMEX Reserve; leave as is - the purpose of the card
    - AMEX Platinum; limit to 2 uses per year.

  16. Robert Guest

    All I can say is those of us who've spent factually a million +/- dollars flying a few million miles on Delta over 30-40 years, as well as any who've done so over shorter periods, have earned the right to Crown Room access. As today's business priorities evolve the customer seems increasingly left behind.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Enjoy your earned Crown Room. It's been the Sky Club for 13 or 14 years.

    2. Harry Guest

      I'm with you. Go back to props out of ATL. Million miler which means nothing. Delta is not alone in this world. It's what can you do for me NOW that counts. Actually makes loyalty nothing and frankly, I'm use to it now and go where it benefits ME!

  17. Lee Guest

    There is simply too much gimme, gimme, gimme going on.

    - Delta One bookings
    - Delta Diamonds (annual choice, no restrictions)
    - Actual paid membership
    - Amex Delta Reserve Card (it is the purpose of the card)
    - Amex Platinum Card (see note below)
    - No one else, not even SkyTeam elites, not even paid

    Note that Virgin has designated its LHR lounge as a first class lounge and not...

    There is simply too much gimme, gimme, gimme going on.

    - Delta One bookings
    - Delta Diamonds (annual choice, no restrictions)
    - Actual paid membership
    - Amex Delta Reserve Card (it is the purpose of the card)
    - Amex Platinum Card (see note below)
    - No one else, not even SkyTeam elites, not even paid

    Note that Virgin has designated its LHR lounge as a first class lounge and not a business class lounge, thus excluding SkyTeam elites. Virgin does have one-on-one agreements with other airlines to provide access.

    The common complaint is about Amex Platinum Card holders. Understand two things. First, it is simply a different form of paid access to SkyClubs but it is paid access nonetheless. Second, the Delta Reserve Card provides a different form of paid access to Amex lounges but it is paid access nonetheless.

    Grab and go is an excellent suggestion.

    1. Joseph Story Guest

      Gimme Gimme Gimme a lounge after midnight.

    2. BigTee Guest

      Some boring weekend I've got to make my first flight on SK. Did ABBA fly SK? At least I'd have *A lounge access and earn *A points.

    3. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      I'd like to know Virgin Atlantic can legally get away with calling its lounge a first-class lounge when Virgin's Upper Class is marketed and sold as a business-class product. Considering Delta owns a significant minority share of Virgin, I hope this isn't a sign -- as some have speculated -- that Delta One will be rebranded international first-class.

  18. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    Again, what this tells me is that Delta's new Delta One business-class lounges have been slowed. Perhaps Delta doesn't see international business-class reservations for 2023 where they should be at this point. Why would you consider this change if you were about to open Delta One lounges?

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      i don't recall Delta ever saying that either the JFK or LAX D1 lounge would be ready by the summer of 2023, esp. the JFK lounge which is where the greatest crowding problem exists.
      Given that DL's international operation is the largest at JFK other than ATL, this is targeted to addressing the problem before the summer of 2023.
      They know who is getting in and for what reasons. They are clearly prioritizing...

      i don't recall Delta ever saying that either the JFK or LAX D1 lounge would be ready by the summer of 2023, esp. the JFK lounge which is where the greatest crowding problem exists.
      Given that DL's international operation is the largest at JFK other than ATL, this is targeted to addressing the problem before the summer of 2023.
      They know who is getting in and for what reasons. They are clearly prioritizing the value of customers by revenue - no different than what revenue management does for any other aspect of the operation.

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      So, the Delta gold or platinum (50,000 to 75,000 MQMs per year) sitting in comfort-plus from BOS to LHR isn't of value to revenue management but an AmEx platinum cardholder who flies once or twice a year is of value? That's illogical.

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      neither you or I have the numbers but the math undoubtedly does favor the Amex cardholder.
      And, if we were talking Premium Select, the math would be quite different. The sellup from regular economy to comfort plus is not that high.

    4. Eskimo Guest

      Sounds very logical to me.
      You've mistaken the Amex cardholders as the customer when in fact Amex is the customer and you are just a bargaining chip.

    5. Mike Guest

      Delta has only talked about plans for LAX and JFK and neither are imminent.

      Plus, even if LAX and JFK Delta One lounges were open today, it doesn't relieve the pressure on all the other clubs at ATL, MSP, SEA, etc.

  19. beachmouse Member

    “ After all, what percentage of Delta elite members in international economy have some other Sky Club access method, whether it’s a membership or an Amex Platinum?”

    I don’t really. I’m a middle class value flyer and the AmEx SkyMiles Platinum is a better redeemable miles earning card than the SkyMiles Reserve is. And for $39- the cost of a day pass, I’d rather have a nice light meal at One Flew South (I don’t...

    “ After all, what percentage of Delta elite members in international economy have some other Sky Club access method, whether it’s a membership or an Amex Platinum?”

    I don’t really. I’m a middle class value flyer and the AmEx SkyMiles Platinum is a better redeemable miles earning card than the SkyMiles Reserve is. And for $39- the cost of a day pass, I’d rather have a nice light meal at One Flew South (I don’t drink alcohol) than random average finger food in a Sky Club. I will say that the Sky Club bathrooms are nicer than what you get in the rest of an airport but otherwise I just don’t see the value in paying the annual fee for an AmEx Platinum or SkyMiles Reserve card for lounge access.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Arguably, the biggest value of the Delta-branded American Express Reserve card is domestic upgrades. The card is a tiebreaker if, all things else being equal, you are fighting for the last seat in first-class with another customer of equal elite status. That's obviously an everyday occurrence at the big hubs.

    2. beachmouse Member

      My trips are usually somewhere in the U,T,X, V fare bucket range anyways, so the upgrade list has to roll pretty far down under criteria 2 before you start getting into the criteria 3 tiebreaker with the Reserve card. And a fair amount of my domestic travel is all flight segments below first class meal threshold and while I’ll certainly never turn an upgrade down, I have a hard time getting too excited about first...

      My trips are usually somewhere in the U,T,X, V fare bucket range anyways, so the upgrade list has to roll pretty far down under criteria 2 before you start getting into the criteria 3 tiebreaker with the Reserve card. And a fair amount of my domestic travel is all flight segments below first class meal threshold and while I’ll certainly never turn an upgrade down, I have a hard time getting too excited about first class on the 48 minute wheels up to down VPS-ATL hop.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      Tie breaker isn't really needed when there are 12 Diamonds ahead of you on the list fighting for the last seat.

    4. Harry Guest

      The upgrade tie breaker is how much you paid for your ticket. I would say it bumps status. And if you do have the Reserve card, I would say you might be at the top of the list if paid like at the last minute coach price. Experienced too many times and I'm nothing but a lifetime silver via million miler.

  20. Red Guest

    This upcoming year will be my last as a delta elite. Completely anecdotal, but in my experience customer service has declined substantially since covid on Delta. I've even gotten better customer service flying on United in economy class than I have on delta one since covid. This along with elite benefits being continuously removed while elite status becomes simultaneously harder to obtain, has made me want to go fly with another airline.

  21. John Guest

    I can see this change making a difference at gateway cities in the late afternoon and early evening. I think infrequent economy travelers are more likely to get to the airport very early and camp in the Skyclub for hours. This may be their one big trip a year. When they arrive long before the evening rush, there’s no line to get in, so they get access. Premium customers arriving closer to departure are the ones more likely to be turned away.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Well, Delta has been telling international passengers to arrive 3-4 hours before their flight for most of the last year!

    2. Clemson Guest

      How are infrequent economy travelers having status to begin with?

    3. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      It's not that hard to get silver or gold if you have the credit card and fly one or two international trips every year.

    4. Lune Gold

      I like how everyone keeps trying to blame the guy taking 1 flight a year with his family and not the road warrior taking 50 trips a year!
      Let's do the math. Let's say that dastardly economy traveler gets to the club 4 hours before his departure with his spouse and 2 children. That's 4 people spending 4 hours apiece 1 time per year = 16 person/hours spent in the club annually.

      In contrast,...

      I like how everyone keeps trying to blame the guy taking 1 flight a year with his family and not the road warrior taking 50 trips a year!
      Let's do the math. Let's say that dastardly economy traveler gets to the club 4 hours before his departure with his spouse and 2 children. That's 4 people spending 4 hours apiece 1 time per year = 16 person/hours spent in the club annually.

      In contrast, the innocent, suffering road warrior arrives 1 hour before his flight, by himself. For 50 trips. That's 1 person x 1 hour x 50 trips = 50 person/hours spent in the club annually.

      Now who's responsible for overcrowding in the club?

  22. Harry Guest

    Simple solution: Let AA DFW cater the DL lounges. My guess in less than a week, no more crowding issues.

  23. JW in GA Guest

    I think a couple posts are on this already as is United and Capital One. I suspect many folks, like myself, enjoy popping into a lounge to grab a coffee and continental food (rarely do I get alcohol). I have also taken to grabbing Shake Shack and a quiet corner/gate in ATL pre-flight instead of going into a crowded SkyClub with meh food.

    So why not get creative and include grab n go offerings that...

    I think a couple posts are on this already as is United and Capital One. I suspect many folks, like myself, enjoy popping into a lounge to grab a coffee and continental food (rarely do I get alcohol). I have also taken to grabbing Shake Shack and a quiet corner/gate in ATL pre-flight instead of going into a crowded SkyClub with meh food.

    So why not get creative and include grab n go offerings that do not require waiting in line and/or work with restaurants to provide a benefit that doesn't require square footage which is at a premium as noted by others.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Air Canada also has the grab-and-go concept at Toronto.

      At the height of the pandemic in 2020 and early 2021, some or all of the Sky Clubs had pre-made food in carry-out wraps and containers. It actually worked well.

      I actually thought the food was of a higher quality, too. You certainly eliminated the risk of food poisoning and cross-contamination caused by open-air food sitting on the buffet for prolonged periods of time.

  24. Levi Diamond

    We can deduce from the prioritize First Class pax change that the Amex deal probably has a proviso along the lines of: Amex Platinum/Delta Reserve holders must be admitted on the same terms as lounge members with the same FF status would be when traveling on the same flight in the same class.

    The more effective thing is probably to just say that a Basic Economy ticket precludes entry to the SkyClub unless a $39...

    We can deduce from the prioritize First Class pax change that the Amex deal probably has a proviso along the lines of: Amex Platinum/Delta Reserve holders must be admitted on the same terms as lounge members with the same FF status would be when traveling on the same flight in the same class.

    The more effective thing is probably to just say that a Basic Economy ticket precludes entry to the SkyClub unless a $39 per person admission fee is paid (and you otherwise would have access to the SkyClub had you been on an economy ticket), probably with other STE+ having lounge access on international itineraries.

    I'd have to think that Basic Economy shorthaul flyers, especially since that often entails families, is the bigger contributor to lounge crowding than GMs and PMs flying long haul Y.

    1. GUWonder Guest

      Families aren’t crowding up the DL lounges as much as adults traveling either alone or otherwise without children.

    2. BigTee Guest

      What I mind are the leisure adults with toddlers, strollers, babies, carryons and so on setting up camp and occupying space along the laptop counter with all the convenient stools and countertop and outlets for laptop business work. Also, they tend to set up camp in or adjacent to the alcoholic beverages area.
      "Business" class or lounge is such a misnomer. Such has been my experience in 2022. If an airline lounge cared about...

      What I mind are the leisure adults with toddlers, strollers, babies, carryons and so on setting up camp and occupying space along the laptop counter with all the convenient stools and countertop and outlets for laptop business work. Also, they tend to set up camp in or adjacent to the alcoholic beverages area.
      "Business" class or lounge is such a misnomer. Such has been my experience in 2022. If an airline lounge cared about its business passengers, it would at least rope off some area for laptop work (for example the *A lounge at IAD has a velvet-roped-off booth and table for First Class guests.)
      Obviously, serious businessmen and businesswomen fly private jet, in the minds of airline beancounters.

  25. D3kingg Guest

    You need to be ticketed and confirmed in paid First or business class to use a airport lounge or have a credit card with an annual fee of $600 And up .

    Elite status and mileage reward tickets do not count. Lounges should be the exact opposite of crowded. Less than half full.

    Maybe $99 day passes.

    I’ve been a medallion member for 25 years I’m leaving Delta. Alright Ed don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  26. Gugs815 Guest

    En route to MSP this morning and I’ll be arriving just in time to walk to my gate and board. Not even worth it to head to the lounge for a free coffee/pastry. Even when the new lounge opens here it won’t do much to ease the congestion.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      The Delta executives building airport lounges should talk to highway engineers. Science has proven that expanding highways by adding lanes does not eliminate traffic and congestion. The only solution that effectively works is taking cars off the road. Delta can build new lounges or expand the size of Sky Clubs all it wants, but that's not going to help.

  27. Klaus Guest

    @FNT Delta Diamond:
    If you are the owner of a road and are collecting toll (or airline fare) for using it, then adding lanes (or expanding lounge space) does very well make sense.

    Besides, I do not think that your example is applicable for lounges. I do not think that adding additional lounges would result in more travelers becoming Delta Elites and more travelers using the lounge.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      You're absolutely wrong. People avoid the lounges now because they view them as overcrowded. Or they're denied admission because of a line, the 3-hour rule, whatever. Increasing the size of the lounge only brings in the customers who aren't presently using them. It makes them overcrowded. It also makes Delta sell more memberships and issue more lounge-admitting credit cards to pay off the cost of the new or expanded lounges.

      I was at ORD last...

      You're absolutely wrong. People avoid the lounges now because they view them as overcrowded. Or they're denied admission because of a line, the 3-hour rule, whatever. Increasing the size of the lounge only brings in the customers who aren't presently using them. It makes them overcrowded. It also makes Delta sell more memberships and issue more lounge-admitting credit cards to pay off the cost of the new or expanded lounges.

      I was at ORD last week. I couldn't believe how full that brand new Sky Club is. And ORD isn't a Delta hub!

    2. GUWonder Guest

      More lounges make buying “network” lounge access more attractive and/or more easily justifiable for more travelers. As Amex Centurion lounges spread, the attractiveness of getting Amex Plat cards for Amex lounge access also grew. It could be sort of the same dynamic for airline lounges when the lounge owner/operator provides an equal or superior value offering to the alternatives (if any).

      “Build it, and they will come.” “Build it more, and more will come.” That...

      More lounges make buying “network” lounge access more attractive and/or more easily justifiable for more travelers. As Amex Centurion lounges spread, the attractiveness of getting Amex Plat cards for Amex lounge access also grew. It could be sort of the same dynamic for airline lounges when the lounge owner/operator provides an equal or superior value offering to the alternatives (if any).

      “Build it, and they will come.” “Build it more, and more will come.” That or it becomes a vehicle for price hikes.

      While I don’t like argument by analogy, de-congesting stretches of a commute/popular route act as an invitation to use the road more than would otherwise be the case, even if bottlenecks remain a problem at times or get moved elsewhere into the road system.

  28. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    All of the Sky Club access changes are the same as adding lanes to the overcrowded highways in Los Angeles. It never actually eases congestion. The only solution is having fewer cars on the road or, in this case, fewer customers with access to the lounge.

    While Delta shouldn't remove access for elites flying economy, I also believe they could re-categorize their elite structure. I'm not sure gold should receive Sky Team status. Maybe...

    All of the Sky Club access changes are the same as adding lanes to the overcrowded highways in Los Angeles. It never actually eases congestion. The only solution is having fewer cars on the road or, in this case, fewer customers with access to the lounge.

    While Delta shouldn't remove access for elites flying economy, I also believe they could re-categorize their elite structure. I'm not sure gold should receive Sky Team status. Maybe limit gold lounge access to four times per year. Any gold flying international more than four times per year is going to be pretty close to platinum anyways.

    At the same time, I think this is brilliant because, if implemented, it will generate more income for Delta and American Express as golds and platinums will buy the Delta Reserve card for access. Maybe that's the real goal of Delta.

    On a separate note, I wonder if this is an early sign that Delta's rollout of business-class Delta One lounges in 2023 is being delayed. Maybe due to the economy? Why would you change lounge access rules now if you're about to launch Delta One lounges?

    1. Eve Guest

      Not sure how rooting for corporates by saying “I think this is brilliant because, if implemented, it will generate more income for Delta and American Express as golds and platinums will buy the Delta Reserve card for access” is good, while it completely throws black paint on pax who have earned there status by just flying or do not have access to credit cards, they are minor but they exist.

      This is not consumer friendly...

      Not sure how rooting for corporates by saying “I think this is brilliant because, if implemented, it will generate more income for Delta and American Express as golds and platinums will buy the Delta Reserve card for access” is good, while it completely throws black paint on pax who have earned there status by just flying or do not have access to credit cards, they are minor but they exist.

      This is not consumer friendly at all. It just will push society more towards debts.

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      The real solution is actually AmEx going back to charge cards. Revolving credit cards is bad for consumers and just pushes them toward debt. I bet the number of Sky Club customers would drop overnight if AmEx only issued charge cards.

  29. Jim Guest

    Might be just the impetus I need to reconsider my choice of air carriers...

  30. Endre Guest

    Well, they basically give away ff status through co-branded cc for free. And then wonder why their lounges are crowded?

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @Endre

      People flying economy class with elite status getting lounge access. That is so hilarious.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      That's right. Flying on Paid First Class ticket will always guarantee you a lounge access.

      ;)

  31. Anthony Diamond

    If this happens, I think there needs to be context regarding Delta Gold (and Platinum) status. Through a combination of the 2021 and 2022 MQM rollovers (which were incredibly generous), the ability to earn MQM via credit card spending (Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve cards), the ability to waive the MQD spending requirement with credit card spending, and the ability to earn MQM on award redemptions, Delta has made it *much* easier to earn and...

    If this happens, I think there needs to be context regarding Delta Gold (and Platinum) status. Through a combination of the 2021 and 2022 MQM rollovers (which were incredibly generous), the ability to earn MQM via credit card spending (Delta Platinum and Delta Reserve cards), the ability to waive the MQD spending requirement with credit card spending, and the ability to earn MQM on award redemptions, Delta has made it *much* easier to earn and retain Gold and Platinum status the past few years. This, likely combined with more travel than Delta expected, resulted in a swelling of Gold/Platinum status ranks that will last a few years at a minimum (again, with rollover and Delta spending playing a big role).

    So you have a big increase in Gold and Platinum elites. Delta seems to not want to do these things:
    1) Remove SkyClub access for Amex Platinum/Delta Reserve
    2) Change the elite earnings structure of the Delta branded cards (MQD waiver, MQM bonuses for spend thresholds)
    3) Get rid of rollover MQM

    Given this, the proposed change is really the most logical step. I doubt it will have a big impact, so after that they go on to the next solution.

  32. Andy Diamond

    This would basically end the benefits of SkyTeam in the US. If think about making this step, they should leave SkyTeam (and the transatlantic JV) altogether, because there are no other benefits to mention.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Delta has long preferred its own direct relationships with airlines as opposed to Sky Team. Would most customers even notice if Delta basically left Sky Team and instead just relied upon its partnerships with Virgin Atlantic, Air France, KLM, LATAM, WestJet, Aeromexico and Korean? Functionally, nothing would change.

  33. Anthony Diamond

    Hmm... from a US based Delta elite standpoint, it seems the benefit to access lounges while flying economy as an international elite seems more important for lounges like Virgin Clubhouses, Air France Lounges, KLM Lounges, etc. I wonder if Delta will be able to preserve Medallion access to those lounges while cutting access to its own lounges.

    Agree with Lucky is that the only solution long term is to expand access to lounges. I...

    Hmm... from a US based Delta elite standpoint, it seems the benefit to access lounges while flying economy as an international elite seems more important for lounges like Virgin Clubhouses, Air France Lounges, KLM Lounges, etc. I wonder if Delta will be able to preserve Medallion access to those lounges while cutting access to its own lounges.

    Agree with Lucky is that the only solution long term is to expand access to lounges. I think it is interesting though that apparently Delta is seeing increased demand every time it opens these new lounges in places like LAX or LGA, so even adding new lounges seems to be part of the problem.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Bigger lounges is no different than adding lanes to an overcrowded highway. Science has proven that it doesn't reduce congestion.

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      This year, around 45% of the passengers on any given mainline flight are on the upgrade list. That's just crazy. I'd wager that of that 45%, 95% are silver, gold and platinum. Silver and gold are meaningless elite statuses thanks to three years of status extensions, status challenges, and credit card MQM and MQD bonuses/waivers. It's too bad because I can remember being a gold and it wasn't that bad.

    3. DWT Guest

      One of the issues is they closed one older lounge at LGA and LAX when they opened the new one, which didn’t make any sense to me. Yes, the new lounges were huge, but it’s clear now they could still use the capacity from the now closed locations.

    4. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      And the new lounge at LGA is not convenient for some of the gates used by Delta. If I'm on a 45-minute or 50-minute layover, I'm not walking 10 minutes for 15 or 20 minutes in the lounge. Especially if I'm in first-class on my connecting flight as I can just have a drink on the plane.

    5. GUWonder Guest

      The main driver for DL lounge crowding is DL selling/providing lounge memberships and DL providing lounge access on the basis of credit/charge card possession/use providing lounge access. SkyTeam ElitePlus passengers in economy class on multi-cabin flights have a much more limited presence in DL lounges than DL lounge and Amex card members.

  34. Kiwi Guest

    Sounds like this is being floated in the media to see how negative the backlash will be

    1. Klaus Guest

      Haha…it won’t be positive…unless there is some substantial form of compensation.

  35. Creditcrunch Diamond

    It certainly would make a big dent in the Virgin Clubhouses especially the LHR lounge! I’ve visited 4 times this year, over the summer I was hard pressed to find a seat, when I asked the concierge they informed me it was down to US credit card customers, same situation at the SFO Clubhouse.

    1. Kiwi Guest

      That would be the Amex card holders. DL golds don’t get Clubhouse access in LHR and wouldn’t be impacted by this proposed change as it’s only impacting actual sky clubs

    2. Creditcrunch Diamond

      Who can access the Clubhouse?

      Passengers travelling in ;
      Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
      Flying Club Gold members travelling with us
      Passengers travelling in Delta One
      Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion card holders*
      Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion card holders*
      Delta SkyMiles Gold Medallion card holders*
      Flying Blue Platinum card holders*
      Flying Blue Gold card holders*
      Virgin Australia Velocity Club Gold card holders*
      Virgin Australia Velocity Club Platinum...

      Who can access the Clubhouse?

      Passengers travelling in ;
      Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
      Flying Club Gold members travelling with us
      Passengers travelling in Delta One
      Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion card holders*
      Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion card holders*
      Delta SkyMiles Gold Medallion card holders*
      Flying Blue Platinum card holders*
      Flying Blue Gold card holders*
      Virgin Australia Velocity Club Gold card holders*
      Virgin Australia Velocity Club Platinum card holders*
      Virgin Australia Velocity The Club card holders*
      Air New Zealand Gold card holders when travelling with Virgin Atlantic to London Heathrow

    3. Mike C Diamond

      Velocity Gold and Platinum? Excellent!

    4. Stanley C Diamond

      Can you even imagine the additional elite passengers with access to Virgin Clubhouses if/when they officially join SkyTeam with the Sky Team Elite Plus benefits for partner lounge access?

    5. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Virgin will be designating the Clubhouse a first-class lounge to restrict the access of Sky Team elites. See here: https://www.turningleftforless.com/news-exclusive-virgin-atlantic-reveal-post-skyteam-lounge-plans/

    6. Mark Schweitzer Guest

      None of those on that list have to do with US credit cards though so I'm not sure where the assertion is coming from for LHR? Now the SFO clubhouse as well the others in the US are managed by Plaza Premium which has a deal with Capital One allowing access so those lounges very much could be impacted by a credit card holder.

    7. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      The Virgin lounge at LHR is busier than it was before the pandemic. Staff have forced random customers to share tables because there isn't enough space. This is partly caused by Virgin's pivot from Gatwick to Heathrow. They should have enlarged the lounge to account for the increased number of passengers that previously flew out of Gatwick. It also doesn't help at the LHR lounge has tremendous amount of wasted space. You could probably fit...

      The Virgin lounge at LHR is busier than it was before the pandemic. Staff have forced random customers to share tables because there isn't enough space. This is partly caused by Virgin's pivot from Gatwick to Heathrow. They should have enlarged the lounge to account for the increased number of passengers that previously flew out of Gatwick. It also doesn't help at the LHR lounge has tremendous amount of wasted space. You could probably fit an additional 30 seats and tables in the area where the spa/hair salon used to be. Virgin should have grab-and-go pre-made food. That would also ease overcrowding.

  36. Christian Guest

    If this does indeed happen, what SkyTeam FFP would be a good go-to to replace Delta so as to still get access when traveling economy internationally as a SkyTeam Elite Plus member? Maybe Flying Blue? It seems a bit of a punch in the gut to Platinum and Diamond Medallion members to cut this benefit given the requirements to attain said status...

    1. Klaus Guest

      ITA is easy to match (and you do get lounge access. But no miles)

    2. Mark Schweitzer Guest

      Ben just posted about how easy it was to earn/game Flying Blue status by taking advantage of short international flights with lots of segments.

      It's kind of funny that I just mentioned this perk to a friend of mine as it one one of the big things I liked about Platinum status over Gold (given the limited upgrade chances anymore). I only have used it on one international trip but it was nice to be...

      Ben just posted about how easy it was to earn/game Flying Blue status by taking advantage of short international flights with lots of segments.

      It's kind of funny that I just mentioned this perk to a friend of mine as it one one of the big things I liked about Platinum status over Gold (given the limited upgrade chances anymore). I only have used it on one international trip but it was nice to be able to use the Skyclub in ATL and the KAL lounge in Seoul during my layovers.

  37. Klaus Guest

    Maybe It would make more sense to give incentives to those who do not use the lounge?

    Giving them a free meal and a drink voucher during the domestic flight (in economy) might convince some people to stay away from the club? Or extra miles? Or access to a pop-up grab&go Club?

    Not sure if it would be possible from a technical standpoint. Some extension to the app would be needed where you can click...

    Maybe It would make more sense to give incentives to those who do not use the lounge?

    Giving them a free meal and a drink voucher during the domestic flight (in economy) might convince some people to stay away from the club? Or extra miles? Or access to a pop-up grab&go Club?

    Not sure if it would be possible from a technical standpoint. Some extension to the app would be needed where you can click “I do not want to use Lounges
    Today” so that the system sees it and declines Lounge access. (If you then use your AMEX to go to the club its at least additional revenue, providing that the cost for the incentive are less than the additional revenue. Or maybe the ticket could be blocked so that even the Amex wouldn’t be possible)

    1. Mark Schweitzer Guest

      For me given the lounge food isn't that great in most cases anyways, it's more about having a place that's marginally better than the gate to crash at during a long layover. Out of an abundance of caution I like to ensure I have plenty of time between connecting Trans Atlantic/Pacific flights, especially since they can be limited frequency. That means I can end up needing somewhere to spend 2-4 hours (actually did like 7hrs...

      For me given the lounge food isn't that great in most cases anyways, it's more about having a place that's marginally better than the gate to crash at during a long layover. Out of an abundance of caution I like to ensure I have plenty of time between connecting Trans Atlantic/Pacific flights, especially since they can be limited frequency. That means I can end up needing somewhere to spend 2-4 hours (actually did like 7hrs sleeping in the KAL lounge a couple of years ago) to wait out my layover.
      The idea also negates the fact that many use these on arrival from an international flight as a place to freshen up (at least those with showers) and international flights already have meals.

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

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JW in GA Guest

I think a couple posts are on this already as is United and Capital One. I suspect many folks, like myself, enjoy popping into a lounge to grab a coffee and continental food (rarely do I get alcohol). I have also taken to grabbing Shake Shack and a quiet corner/gate in ATL pre-flight instead of going into a crowded SkyClub with meh food. So why not get creative and include grab n go offerings that do not require waiting in line and/or work with restaurants to provide a benefit that doesn't require square footage which is at a premium as noted by others.

2
FNT Delta Diamond Guest

Enjoy your earned Crown Room. It's been the Sky Club for 13 or 14 years.

1
Klaus Guest

@FNT Delta Diamond: If you are the owner of a road and are collecting toll (or airline fare) for using it, then adding lanes (or expanding lounge space) does very well make sense. Besides, I do not think that your example is applicable for lounges. I do not think that adding additional lounges would result in more travelers becoming Delta Elites and more travelers using the lounge.

1
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