Delta Sky Clubs Trial Fast Track Lines: Helpful Or Unfair?

Delta Sky Clubs Trial Fast Track Lines: Helpful Or Unfair?

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Delta has an issue with Sky Clubs being overcrowded, to the point that many Sky Clubs have lines to get in, as if they’re night clubs. The Atlanta-based airline is now trialing a new method for dealing with this issue. Not only have we seen new lounge access restrictions added as of June 2022, but now Delta may no longer prioritize everyone equally when there is a queue to get into the lounge.

Why are Delta Sky Clubs so crowded?

On balance, Delta Sky Clubs are more crowded than American Admirals Clubs and United Clubs. That ultimately comes down to just how many people have access to these lounges:

  • You can of course buy a lounge membership directly, as is the case with all major US airline lounges
  • Delta’s long haul business class passengers have access to these lounges; unlike American and United, Delta doesn’t (yet) have dedicated lounges for long haul business class passengers
  • Those with an Amex Platinum get access to Delta Sky Clubs, and that’s a lot of people
  • Delta’s top tier elites can even select a lounge membership as an elite perk

When you combine these entry methods, there are a lot of ways to access Sky Clubs. Of course easy lounge access sounds like it would be good for travelers. However, it’s not great when you can’t reliably use the lounge, and it’s also not great if lounges aren’t peaceful due to the number of guests.

If only SkyClubs were regularly this peaceful…

Delta now prioritizing guests for lounge access

Delta is currently trialing a new system for lounge access in Atlanta. In situations where there’s a wait to get into the lounge, the queue is no longer prioritized exclusively based on how long you’ve been waiting.

Rather there are now two lanes for accessing lounges. There’s one lane for the normal (special) people, and one lane for the special (special) people. Specifically, three kinds of passengers get access to a lounge access fast track lane:

  • Those flying Delta One, which is Delta’s business class on long haul flights
  • Those with Delta 360 status, which is Delta’s invitation-only elite status
  • Those with Delta Diamond Medallion status, which is Delta’s top-tier published elite status

The airline hasn’t yet made a decision about whether this will be extended beyond Atlanta, but rather I guess Delta is trying to see how this impacts the experience for various guests, and what the feedback is like. Fair enough.

We’re not all equal at the Sky Club anymore

My take on Delta’s new lounge prioritization

Delta is in a tricky spot. On the one hand:

  • Delta’s inability to expand its lounge footprint isn’t because the airline isn’t willing to pay, but rather because the space simply isn’t available at airports
  • Presumably Amex Platinums getting access to Delta Sky Clubs is a huge revenue stream for Delta, and I imagine Delta is contractually required to provide this, given its multi-billion dollar partnership with Amex

On the other hand:

  • Those being promised access to Delta Sky Clubs should be able to regularly get lounge access without having to wait; having to queue outside the lounge takes the fun away
  • If Delta does have to prioritize lounge access, it seems reasonable that those who are the best customers of the airline and those who outright paid for a business class ticket should be among the first to get access
  • Personally I also think those who outright paid for a membership should get priority as well, but that’s not happening here

The reality is that crowding will likely just continue to be a major issue, especially at hubs like Atlanta, and there’s not much that can be done. The only thing that will change is the types of travelers who are disappointed.

The only way that Delta could materially reduce lounge crowding would be to cut the number of people with the Amex Platinum that get Delta Sky Club access. That could really only be done by cutting lounge access for those with the Amex Platinum altogether, cutting lounge access for Amex Platinum authorized users, or the annual fee on the card being raised significantly higher than it already is. All of those scenarios seem unlikely to me.

Is it reasonable to prioritize lounge access in this way?

Bottom line

Delta is trialing a new way to deal with lounge overcrowding. In Atlanta, the airline now has a fast track lane for top tier elite members and business class members, so that they can access lounges that are at capacity before members and those with the Amex Platinum.

I’m curious to see what comes of this trial.

What do you make of Delta’s Sky Club fast track trial?

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  1. Paul K Guest

    I think it is a horrible treatment of medium use business travelers. I have been platinum for seven years pay over $500 for my Amex to get the benefits associated with it. Standing on line is NOT one of them.

  2. Hoosier in Paradise New Member

    Newer to Delta and not an elite (yet), but paid Sky Club membership out of my pocket plus paid First tickets out of my pocket would seem reasonable to expect some mid level priority.

  3. MoreLuggageTags Guest

    Soon enough, passengers will complain that TSA-PreCheck lines are too long and demand TSA add a jump lane in the terminal.
    Instead of the standard $85 fee (which I just paid yesterday), there will be the $155 Super Deluxe TSA-PreCheck II. No need for a boarding pass or government ID, just show your face (no sunglasses please), and all is well. This is the latest edition of a Chinese identification software package TSA pirated...

    Soon enough, passengers will complain that TSA-PreCheck lines are too long and demand TSA add a jump lane in the terminal.
    Instead of the standard $85 fee (which I just paid yesterday), there will be the $155 Super Deluxe TSA-PreCheck II. No need for a boarding pass or government ID, just show your face (no sunglasses please), and all is well. This is the latest edition of a Chinese identification software package TSA pirated on the web.
    And just for an additional $45, TSA-PreCheck III will add a chip under your skin on the back of your neck just like your favorite doggy or cat . One sweep of the wand, and all is well.
    Family group discounts are available.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      LOL, we already have a PreCheck 1.5 suppliment. It's called CLEAR.

  4. BookLvr Gold

    1) I wonder to what extent having a Centurion Club at the same location alleviates some of the crowding due to Amex Platinum? For example, is the Sky Club at JFK near the B gates crowded with a Centurion Club in the same terminal? (That's not my home airport, and my last flight which was supposed to connect through there was canceled, so I cannot speak from experience.)

    2) I also wonder to what...

    1) I wonder to what extent having a Centurion Club at the same location alleviates some of the crowding due to Amex Platinum? For example, is the Sky Club at JFK near the B gates crowded with a Centurion Club in the same terminal? (That's not my home airport, and my last flight which was supposed to connect through there was canceled, so I cannot speak from experience.)

    2) I also wonder to what extent Delta has studied what services customers are hoping to access in the lounge. A customer who wants a place to charge devices and work is likely to stay for a longer time than someone who mostly wants free snacks or a meal. I liked FNT Delta Diamond's suggestion of grab-and-go options. That's smart thinking.

    3) I do not think children should be banned, but I do think that where space permits, clubs should have a quiet room which does not allow younger children or people having conversations on cellphones or people playing video games with sound effects. It should be like the Amtrak quiet car or a library where people who want work in silence or read can do so. Ideally, there could also be a section set up specifically for kids and their adults, with child-sized furniture, child-friendly snacks, and some fun things kids like. (This could also be good business sense--build that brand-loyalty early.)

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      The fact that Amex has its own lounges and offers the benefit undoubtedly creates some of the "surplus demand" that DL sees - but it is also why Amex has always had higher average spends than other credit cards and why the Amex-DL relationship is worth so much more than any other airline's.
      The real issue that DL and Amex need to figure out is how to accommodate the demand that is not specific...

      The fact that Amex has its own lounges and offers the benefit undoubtedly creates some of the "surplus demand" that DL sees - but it is also why Amex has always had higher average spends than other credit cards and why the Amex-DL relationship is worth so much more than any other airline's.
      The real issue that DL and Amex need to figure out is how to accommodate the demand that is not specific to DL's portfolio of cards but the general Amex portfolio.
      Let's keep in mind that DL does get some sort of compensation from Amex for lounge access (likely on an aggregate basis) so the problem is for both DL and Amex to figure out.
      Amex lounges are just as full if not more so than Sky Clubs.
      The takeaway might be how much stronger the Amex card has become over the last few years.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      1) JFK is hard to tell since it can go from full to empty depending on the day, unlike ATL clubs that seems to be full all the time. The location also might affect. If you are local, you reach the Centurion Club first. So likely it alleviates because it's closer but not because Sky Club is full.

      2) Grab n Go = More people taking food = More cost = lower quality offset. It...

      1) JFK is hard to tell since it can go from full to empty depending on the day, unlike ATL clubs that seems to be full all the time. The location also might affect. If you are local, you reach the Centurion Club first. So likely it alleviates because it's closer but not because Sky Club is full.

      2) Grab n Go = More people taking food = More cost = lower quality offset. It unlikely would solve overcrowded issue too since if you have enough time to sit and eat, you will likely sit and eat. Overcrowded already = people already have time to sit and eat. Doing that would just hand out more food to more people.

      3) Children shouldn't be banned. Misbehaved ones should. Too many children not paying should. +1 needs to always mean +1 no exception. ESA should.

  5. Eskimo Guest

    So it seems that Sky Club brings out the most DYKWIA.
    When will all of you realize, all of you paid for access in a different way.

    If I'm a Diamond holding DL Reserve + Amex Platinum, don't I deserve more than someone with no status and just one card?

    Having Diamond jumping the line doesn't solve the overcrowded problem. Full means full, it just changes the ratio of top elites at a given...

    So it seems that Sky Club brings out the most DYKWIA.
    When will all of you realize, all of you paid for access in a different way.

    If I'm a Diamond holding DL Reserve + Amex Platinum, don't I deserve more than someone with no status and just one card?

    Having Diamond jumping the line doesn't solve the overcrowded problem. Full means full, it just changes the ratio of top elites at a given time. Now if they reduce the max capacity by 2 for every Diamond in the Sky Club then that would make it worthwhile. (Solves overcrowded at the expense of DYKWIA paying entitlements)

  6. iamhere Guest

    Agree, there should be priority if you are paying for the access or have a paid membership.

  7. Randy Gold

    You have the same issue getting into the Centurion lounges. Most of the time you have to get on a wait list - or the line is just too long to bother.

    Am Ex gives out free Plat cards to active military - privates to generals. Some times the Lounge looks more like a USO club and the long lines look like a chow line. Plus the food runs out quickly.

    I don't...

    You have the same issue getting into the Centurion lounges. Most of the time you have to get on a wait list - or the line is just too long to bother.

    Am Ex gives out free Plat cards to active military - privates to generals. Some times the Lounge looks more like a USO club and the long lines look like a chow line. Plus the food runs out quickly.

    I don't have an issue with this - it is just the lounges need to be built to support the expected crowds based on the way AmEx sells Plat cards as well as give aways.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      The military crowds (which others have mentioned) must be very location specific.

      I don't notice them at all in the SFO lounge.

  8. Neale Guest

    I spent 12 hours at MSP recently (& day late arrival) due to mechanical issues with Delta. Late due to Delta problems should put you high up the list. I'm Diamond & have reserve card - my wife & daughter also have reserve cards under my name for their travel.

  9. Motion to Dismiss Gold

    I don’t fall into any of these priority categories as I have no status with Delta and access SkyClubs through my Amex Plat.

    How about this as an additional crowd-reducing strategy? Limit access through the Plat only to those flying Delta in a premium cabin.

  10. Mikey Lo Guest

    So, avoid the delta lounge in ATL or avoid ATL altogether? Noted!

  11. LuggageTags Guest

    To pull itself out of this quagmire, have Delta designate one of the multiple ATL lounges as the STRATOSPHERE Club. Reserved only for Platinum, ELITE, DIAMOND, or what other label Delta wants to apply. Of course, Delta would have to up the ante with waiters in white jackets, real oak panelling on the walls, linen table cloths, subtle background music and no clacking dishes like a cafeteria, a valet or service desk to assure PAX...

    To pull itself out of this quagmire, have Delta designate one of the multiple ATL lounges as the STRATOSPHERE Club. Reserved only for Platinum, ELITE, DIAMOND, or what other label Delta wants to apply. Of course, Delta would have to up the ante with waiters in white jackets, real oak panelling on the walls, linen table cloths, subtle background music and no clacking dishes like a cafeteria, a valet or service desk to assure PAX is pampered, etc, etc, etc. If these PAX are soooo special, then treat them as such.

    However, don't shoot yourself in the foot by alienating the other 90% of frequent fliers who could easily bail to UA or AA. I usually give Delta credit as a shrewd airline, but this resolution reeks of sheer laziness and stupidity. Someone in the C-Suite is asleep at the wheel or distracted with their Face Book postings . If I was Ed Bastian, I'd would be handing out pink slips to the batch that came up with this worthless idea.

  12. Chris Guest

    I solved this problem on a long layover when I saw that the Sky Club in one specific terminal at ATL was full. I hopped on the train to another terminal and enjoyed an almost empty Club. Had to leave a few minutes earlier to get back to the busy terminal but it was well worth it. Even as a Diamond I'm trying this method before getting in a shorter line for a packed SkyClub.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      The Sky Club lounges in A and B at ATL are always packed. Even 16 months ago when almost nobody was flying. F is generally half-empty. Especially the upstairs section.

  13. polarbear Member

    How about expanding VDB concept to lounges?
    "We are overcrowded at the moment, do we have any volunteers to give up your lounge visit today in exchange for XXX miles/ YYY travel voucher?"

  14. Tony Guest

    Delta should remove lounge access for Gold Medallion members. Too many of them around.

  15. David D Guest

    Those who paid, what a joke. Now some of you paid out of your own pocket, while a lot of people are riding a corporate ticket believing they pounded rocks for 300 days straight in order to gain their super duper titanium status. Get to the airport earlier, stop crying. Here's the kicker, people stay forever. One hour tops, unless you're on a layover, and a big bucket for tears for those with mega titanium status.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      If they would have grab-and-go meals, a fair number of people would leave and not sit there for 40 minutes.

  16. Ed B. Guest

    Long wait times on the phone. Long lines at our clubs. You people need to stop whining. I'm to busy saving the world from climate change and evil Republicans with their voter suppression. I don't have time to run an airline. As long as the board keeps compensating me with millions I'm good.

  17. Klaus Guest

    At least when it comes to international flights, the schedules are not fully recovered. I still have layovers in the US that are longer than 3hours. I suppose there are also less domestic flights?

    Anyway, long connecting times also result in full lounges. Or am i the only one that that believes that there still is a reduced flight schedule?

  18. Klaus Guest

    Reducing connecting times would also help reducing crowding in the club.

    1. Leigh Gold

      I don't think they want to introduce a potential operational nightmare based just on lounge capacity issues.

  19. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    75% of the Sky Club passengers in Detroit's 5 lounges gain access from an American Express card, according to a long-time agent who works the front desk.

  20. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    There are several things Delta could do to reduce overcrowding:

    1) Better design. There are so many wasted seating spaces most single customers take up two seats and most couples take up four seats. Delta’s seating configurations are poorly design, especially since the pandemic has made social distancing a priority.

    2) Some of the overcrowding would be solved by eliminating access for golds by virtue on Sky Team Elite status.

    3) Implement a co-payment of...

    There are several things Delta could do to reduce overcrowding:

    1) Better design. There are so many wasted seating spaces most single customers take up two seats and most couples take up four seats. Delta’s seating configurations are poorly design, especially since the pandemic has made social distancing a priority.

    2) Some of the overcrowding would be solved by eliminating access for golds by virtue on Sky Team Elite status.

    3) Implement a co-payment of $100 for each guest. That would dissuade plus ones, plus twos, and plus threes.

    4) Eliminate children. Kids under 18 don’t belong in a setting with alcohol.

    1. Klaus Guest

      Or eliminate alcohol if you believe kids shouldn’t be exposed to it?

      Luckily, both will not happen.

      Do you actually think that children are the reason for overcrowding? Would that move the needle?

    2. Tony Guest

      They aren’t the reason for overcrowding. But they are the reason for most of the noise. I vote to not allow anyone below the age of 18.

    3. Petri Diamond

      While you are suggesting eliminating the access for the children, we could take a step further: deny the access for all Americans, they tend to be louder than the Europeans. My six kids have been flying international F on their own seats since they have been 3 months old. As paying passengers (most frequent flyer programs are not accepting children under the age of two as members) they certainly deserve the access to any lounge.

    4. Mike Guest

      Your first point was very valid, then it went downhill.
      Regarding point 4 - by that rationale I shouldn’t have my kids join me at restaurants or planes. They serve alcohol in those. Maybe the solution is to eliminate alcohol rather than kids?

    5. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Restaurants are open to the public. Sky Club lounges are members-only or only open to those with qualifying access. It's the equivalent of an American Legion or Fraternal Order of Eagles hall. Only the member should be admitted. Plus-ones or plus-twos over 18 should be charged $100 per person.

  21. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    "Personally I also think those who outright paid for a membership should get priority as well, but that’s not happening here"

    What'd be the difference though? The annual fee on the access-granting cards, are more or less the same as the price of membership. So all that that would do, is shift people from "purchasing" lounge access via AmEx, to purchasing it via Delta.

    Wouldn't do anything to allay crowding, and it's the same...

    "Personally I also think those who outright paid for a membership should get priority as well, but that’s not happening here"

    What'd be the difference though? The annual fee on the access-granting cards, are more or less the same as the price of membership. So all that that would do, is shift people from "purchasing" lounge access via AmEx, to purchasing it via Delta.

    Wouldn't do anything to allay crowding, and it's the same money anyway, so why should they get priority?

    1. betterbub Gold

      Do people get the Amex Plat just for Sky Club access though? For me it would be much more of an 'added benefit' rather than a pure priority but it could just be me. Sky Club through Delta is also much more expensive at $845

  22. Omar Guest

    At the end of the day it's somewhat arbitrary where they draw the line and people will always be upset that they should be in the opposite prioritized camp.

  23. M.Stump Guest

    I can understand Delta's capacity issues and catering to Delta One/Business class and the medallion status but it is a slap in the face to paying sky club members.
    Executive members pay a high premium for a membership..
    Executive members should take priority over Amex access.
    I have had Executive & Amex platinum for years....but you pay for the added guest access that executive fee promises...
    Delta needs to keep their...

    I can understand Delta's capacity issues and catering to Delta One/Business class and the medallion status but it is a slap in the face to paying sky club members.
    Executive members pay a high premium for a membership..
    Executive members should take priority over Amex access.
    I have had Executive & Amex platinum for years....but you pay for the added guest access that executive fee promises...
    Delta needs to keep their commitments to current members or allow refunds on annual fees already paid...or cancel the monthly payments..

  24. uldguy Diamond

    The way I see it, the problem is Delta is simply pushing too much metal through ATL and not enough through their other hubs like MSP and DTW, both of which are are nowhere’s near capacity. Not everyone needs to, or wants to, connect through ATL. Personally I avoid the place like the plague. Spread out the planes, cut the number of flight banks, and you’ll greatly help the club problem at ATL.

    1. Greg Guest

      Free access to Diamonds and Amex Plat on top are the kickers that UA and AA avoid

      UNITED rising

      I agree Exec should get priority over Amex Plat though if it’s so crowded there’s a waitlist why bother going

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Greg,
      perhaps you answered your own question as to why SkyClubs are more popular than AA or UA and why Delta gets more revenue from American Express than American or United do from their credit card partners.

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Delta already said they are depeaking its schedule for July and August. Whether the Sky Club issue was part of it or not, we will never know.
      Depeaking the schedule might not necessarily lead to lower volumes in the Sky Clubs if people end up spending more time in the airport.

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "The way I see it, the problem is Delta is simply pushing too much metal through ATL and not enough through their other hubs like MSP and DTW, both of which are are nowhere’s near capacity."

      Common sense should tell you why they're "simply" doing that..... the C.P.E. at ATL is farrrr lower than DTW/MSP, or any other gateway in the country for that matter. The only two that come close are DFW and CLT,...

      "The way I see it, the problem is Delta is simply pushing too much metal through ATL and not enough through their other hubs like MSP and DTW, both of which are are nowhere’s near capacity."

      Common sense should tell you why they're "simply" doing that..... the C.P.E. at ATL is farrrr lower than DTW/MSP, or any other gateway in the country for that matter. The only two that come close are DFW and CLT, and what'ya know, they're the 2nd and 4th largest hubs in the country, in their own right.

      Ultra low cost at ATL, is going to win over lower crowding at other hubs, every time.

    5. Tim Dunn Diamond

      and ATL is massively profitable - just as DFW and CLT are for AA - because there are so many connecting possibilities - and thus DL can pick off the best fares given the volume that flows through there

      And there is no other airline that has as many lounges in one airport as Delta has in ATL so the issue is not the number of flights; DL is actually operating fewer flights than it...

      and ATL is massively profitable - just as DFW and CLT are for AA - because there are so many connecting possibilities - and thus DL can pick off the best fares given the volume that flows through there

      And there is no other airline that has as many lounges in one airport as Delta has in ATL so the issue is not the number of flights; DL is actually operating fewer flights than it did at ATL's peak pre-covid.

      DL clearly attracted alot of new Sky Club members while others did not roll off at the rate they expected.

      Given that there are very different experiences by different people and many people - including me - have never been told there is no space at any airline lounge, the correction might not be as big of a deal given that the problem might be a lot smaller than is perceived.

    6. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Interesting point. I wonder about BOS, JFK and LGA too. How many more flights can that busy Northeast area handle? MIA is supposed to become a new hub or focus city. Seems like MIA could handle more of Delta's Caribbean and Latin America flights. There's probably more O&D demand for MIA than ATL. I definitely agree that DTW could get more flights. Delta isn't using at least a half-dozen gates in the B/C terminal. Lots...

      Interesting point. I wonder about BOS, JFK and LGA too. How many more flights can that busy Northeast area handle? MIA is supposed to become a new hub or focus city. Seems like MIA could handle more of Delta's Caribbean and Latin America flights. There's probably more O&D demand for MIA than ATL. I definitely agree that DTW could get more flights. Delta isn't using at least a half-dozen gates in the B/C terminal. Lots of gates in the A terminal seem always empty. DTW is by far the most underrated U.S. airport. BUT ... DTW's 5 Sky Clubs are as crowded as ATL.

  25. Greg Guest

    Why would I want to enter if it’s so crowded there’s a waitlist

  26. jannisn New Member

    Are Delta lounges that crowded? Granted, I haven't been to a ton of them, usually SLC or MSP lounges; but at neither have I really had any troubles getting in. Never seen a line for entry. If anything, I feel like granting entry by status will only *create* lines

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Ben's thesis is that this is an Atlanta experiment that might be rolled out elsewhere.

      Instead, it *could* be that the "problem" is mostly an Atlanta one, and that this isn't intended for anywhere else.

  27. Justin Guest

    Guessing that Delta is contractually not allowed to treat paid lounge members and Amex cardholders any different. But they are allowed to treat diamonds different because it’s Amex agnostic. Diamonds like me who don’t pick lounge membership - since we have the Amex - are still great customers of Delta.

  28. DLPTATL Diamond

    The snake is still digesting the pig. There is undoubtedly a spike in leisure travelers right now, many of whom got sign-up bonuses on CCs and lounge access during the pandemic looking ahead toward vacays. Once they burn through those bonus points and downgrade/cancel cards the over-crowding should abate when coupled with all the lounge expansion. As someone who travels almost weekly on Delta as a biz traveler I can tell you most of the...

    The snake is still digesting the pig. There is undoubtedly a spike in leisure travelers right now, many of whom got sign-up bonuses on CCs and lounge access during the pandemic looking ahead toward vacays. Once they burn through those bonus points and downgrade/cancel cards the over-crowding should abate when coupled with all the lounge expansion. As someone who travels almost weekly on Delta as a biz traveler I can tell you most of the over-crowding is mid-day when leisure travelers are the bulk of the pax. Travel early morning and there's no line to get in.

    I agree with DL's priority line. It just makes sense to take care of your most loyal pax rather than turning people away randomly.

  29. Creditcrunch Diamond

    Having recently visited the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse’s both at LHR and SFO I was unable to find a seat in the LHR lounge which is a first, speaking to the concierge they are seeing more Delta passengers with status flying economy using the lounges than ever before, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see lines like you described at the clubhouses.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      The VS Clubhouse in JNB is the same - PACKED.

      Note that Amex. Plat. cardholders now have access to the VS Clubhouses, which further adds to the overcrowding/strain.

  30. Jan Guest

    ATL is just too crowded in my opinion, this is not necessarily a skyclub issue. A line at Wendy’s or Popeye’s can be 15-20 min on any given time.

    Maybe DL should put more connections at DTW or MSP instead, and SLC for westbound flights, those airports seem to be almost quiet in comparison to ATL.

    1. DLPTATL Diamond

      Jan, I think part of the challenge is everyone seemingly wants to go to the beach in FL for family vacay. Delta's routing runs most pax through ATL to do this given the number of ATL:FL flights. Most flights from MSP/DTW/SLC/LGA/BOS to FL are really designed for pax originating in those cities which is why they don't route someone from CLE:DTW:FLL for example.

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      It's way more simple than that. Cost per enplanement at ATL ($2.34/pf) is the lowest in the country, nearly 1/3rd of MSP's and 1/5th of DTW's. Only CLT comes close, which is why AA crams so many flights into a city with otherwise such limited actual demand.

      In case anyone's wondering, worst in the country is JFK ($26.40) followed by IAD and EWR.

  31. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Delta is adding more lounge capacity than any other airline - and already has more square feet of lounges than either American or United. The new LGA lounge just opened which itself was just a short time after the LAX lounge. DL is also expanding its lounges in ATL.

    All airlines aggressively offered premium credit cards during the pandemic - and a look at the demographics in Sky Clubs shows they brought in a lot...

    Delta is adding more lounge capacity than any other airline - and already has more square feet of lounges than either American or United. The new LGA lounge just opened which itself was just a short time after the LAX lounge. DL is also expanding its lounges in ATL.

    All airlines aggressively offered premium credit cards during the pandemic - and a look at the demographics in Sky Clubs shows they brought in a lot of new customers. Those are future premium customers which Delta isn't going to be willing to lose.

    In contrast, alot of the top tier SM members have been with Delta for a long time; Delta has to balance a new, expanded premium customer base with its existing base. SCs are clearly more crowded before, though.

    Personally, I am not sure how big of an issue not being able to access SkyClubs really is. I have seen lines - which led me to go to another club at the same airport - but I have never had not been able to use a SkyClub. I know that is not the case for others.

    Also, remember that DL was one of the first to carry over status benefits and with it some people undoubtedly have gained SC access that they might not retain longer term. There are also people that got Amex cards who will not continue them. And alot of SC activity will wind down after the summer along w/ the usual decreases in travel.

    I suspect having a plan to deal w/ crowding and publishing will not equate to needing to use that plan on a daily basis in every SC.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Less “this is a genius move”, more “nothing to see here, move along…”, but I’ll take it!

      You’ve got to wake up pretty early to get in ahead of Tim Dunn’s sycophantic Delta comments!

    2. DCAWABN Guest

      I’d argue that access to SkyClubs is NOT synonymous with a “new, expanded premium customer base”. Sure, the pandemic wrought havoc on who has access to SkyClubs as DL looked to make more money during tight of depressed travel. That’s squarely on DL leverage alternate revenue streams. But the over crowding isn’t going away soon. And outstations - and to a degree at hubs - my anecdotal evidence is that is NOT premium customers (D1...

      I’d argue that access to SkyClubs is NOT synonymous with a “new, expanded premium customer base”. Sure, the pandemic wrought havoc on who has access to SkyClubs as DL looked to make more money during tight of depressed travel. That’s squarely on DL leverage alternate revenue streams. But the over crowding isn’t going away soon. And outstations - and to a degree at hubs - my anecdotal evidence is that is NOT premium customers (D1 and DMs); it’s customers who have access as some non-flying perk, diluting the earned exclusivity from flying butt-in-seat miles. Hence to need to separate “real” customers from “non-real” ones. There is no “new, expanded premium customer base” as the number of premium has remained constant or gone down during the pandemic.

    3. Greg Guest

      Free lounge access to Diamonds on top of Amex plat and it’s own Reserve card…

      Delta sold members up the rivers two extra ways beyond UA and AA who know how to manage their lounge.

      More vapor ware from Delta with UNITED rising

    4. Greg Guest

      Oh and DL is years behind on international premium cabin lounges that UA and AA use to keep their domestic clubs orderly.

      Short sighted vapor ware money grabs from Delta

      UNITED rising

    5. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Greg
      Neither American or United generate as much revenue from their credit card partners as Delta does.

      All three are for-profit businesses.

      Delta clearly overreached - but you would be naive to think that United should be excused for operating business class cabins WITHOUT direct aisle access long after it was the standard across Delta's widebody fleet.

      And as noted in the other thread - United earns less from its international operation than Delta...

      Greg
      Neither American or United generate as much revenue from their credit card partners as Delta does.

      All three are for-profit businesses.

      Delta clearly overreached - but you would be naive to think that United should be excused for operating business class cabins WITHOUT direct aisle access long after it was the standard across Delta's widebody fleet.

      And as noted in the other thread - United earns less from its international operation than Delta even though Delta's international operation, esp. across the Pacific is smaller.

      I get that there is a difference between what customers wants and what companies will provide but it says far more about how well (or not) that United is run that they don't as good of a business as at least one of their direct competitors and then they argue about size or perks.

      If United is rising, it hasn't yet figured out how to produce profits on the scale of Delta which says that Delta customers are willing to buy what Delta is selling far more so than United.

      and DCA,
      I didn't say that Delta is increasing the size of its premium revenue base - although all 3 US global airlines have said that is happening.
      I did say that DL is clearly succeeding in getting more new premium flyers.
      And if all of the extra people in the Sky Club are leisure travelers, they either won't renew or they will pay for access.

    6. Leigh Gold

      Hi Tim....your obvious strength is data (though your "bedside manner" troubles some), so thought you might want to look into some other details. You state that DL makes more revenue than AA or UA from their card partners, but as you correctly always always point out it's about maximizing yield/profits. AA makes a 53% profit margin on their cards revenue, DL 44% and UA 39%...I'd rather have the highest yielding program, though 44% and 39%...

      Hi Tim....your obvious strength is data (though your "bedside manner" troubles some), so thought you might want to look into some other details. You state that DL makes more revenue than AA or UA from their card partners, but as you correctly always always point out it's about maximizing yield/profits. AA makes a 53% profit margin on their cards revenue, DL 44% and UA 39%...I'd rather have the highest yielding program, though 44% and 39% yield is still very good, of course.

    7. Greg Guest

      I have no interest in the profits of an airline. I'm a customer not a shareholder.

      UNITED is rising where it matters for the customer - being reliable, pragmatic, and innovative

  32. Never In Doubt Guest

    In before Tim Dunn tells us that this, like everything they do, is a genius move by Delta.

  33. Morton Guest

    This is a bit of a challenge- as a Delta Reserve Card member, I’m paying for access to the lounge in my annual very high fee. To be placed on a lower tier list for a service I pay for using their highest tier credit card will force me to ask for my fee back. Additionally, being a higher tier delta customer-platinum status and paying for card and access will force me to complain yearly...

    This is a bit of a challenge- as a Delta Reserve Card member, I’m paying for access to the lounge in my annual very high fee. To be placed on a lower tier list for a service I pay for using their highest tier credit card will force me to ask for my fee back. Additionally, being a higher tier delta customer-platinum status and paying for card and access will force me to complain yearly about the benefits I’m actually getting with my high annual fee and high delta patronage or take all of my business elsewhere. Spending on average $10-12,000 a year on flights has to be rewarded somewhere. I barely get upgraded anymore…..Delta is really not treating customers to what we are paying for and the privilege of our routine patronage.

    1. Darin Member

      My thoughts exactly. I’m a Platinum with the DL Reserve card, this is not a “perk”, this is something I directly pay for with a high fee card marketed by the airline. Those who pay for access should be prioritized above even D1 and Diamonds. I know you can make the argument that Amex Plat customers pay for access, but it is not the essential feature of the card. Diminish the value of club access and the Reserve has lost its value.

  34. A. Williams Guest

    Seriously, pay for a membership, and wait in line? No thank you.

  35. George Romey Guest

    But it wouldn't solve the overcrowding and that's the issue. The real answer is expand clubs/build more or limit the number of users. But then that would cost money.

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      Reduce the eligible population by jacking up the price of admission . . . and, perhaps, give Diamonds a statement credit of $x. That'll solve the overcrowding problem.

  36. Reno Joe Guest

    I will not benefit from this but will say that it is absolutely fair. Best customers are given the best service. Period.

    1. skofarrell Guest

      Then they should stop selling memberships, because I think “a best customer” includes the people who paid for a membership.

    2. DLPTATL Diamond

      Everyone who has access to the lounge in one way or another paid for it (extreme loyalty to earn Diamond, high annual CC fee, paying for a ticket on DeltaOne, paid membership (I'm just guessing here but I think this is probably the smallest cohort)). If you have to then further rank pax, wouldn't you pick your highest revenue travelers?

    3. Darin Member

      Totally disagree here. There is a difference between paying for a service and getting it as a perk. You pay for D1, you’re loyal to the airline, etc, club “access” is a perk above and beyond what you paid for. You buy a SkyClub membership or pay a high annual fee for a Delta-branded credit card that includes SkyClub membership and you are a “member”. Members should have access, as they pay directly for the service, before those who get it as a perk.

    4. Darin Member

      To be clear, disagree with DLPTATL, not the OP!

    5. Darin Member

      ‍♂️ had it right the first time, disagree with OP & DLPTATL

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

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

A. Williams Guest

Seriously, pay for a membership, and wait in line? No thank you.

4
FNT Delta Diamond Guest

If they would have grab-and-go meals, a fair number of people would leave and not sit there for 40 minutes.

3
Jan Guest

ATL is just too crowded in my opinion, this is not necessarily a skyclub issue. A line at Wendy’s or Popeye’s can be 15-20 min on any given time. Maybe DL should put more connections at DTW or MSP instead, and SLC for westbound flights, those airports seem to be almost quiet in comparison to ATL.

3
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