Wow: Delta Sky Clubs Introducing Priority Entry

Wow: Delta Sky Clubs Introducing Priority Entry

112

Delta Sky Clubs are having some major crowding issues, to the point that there are often ridiculously long lines outside of the clubs to get in. The airline has tried to deal with crowding by adding entry restrictions, though that seemingly hasn’t done a lot.

The airline is now formally rolling out a new system for lounge entry, intended to minimize frustration among Delta’s most valuable customers.

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 Sky Clubs were regularly this peaceful…

Delta now prioritizing guests for lounge access

Delta is rolling out a new system for lounge access, following trials that were conducted over the summer. In situations where there’s a wait to get into a Delta Sky Club, the queue is no longer prioritized exclusively based on how long you’ve been waiting.

Rather there will be two lanes for accessing Sky Clubs. There will be one lane for the normal (special) people, and one lane for the special (special) people. Specifically, four kinds of passengers get access to the Sky Club priority entry 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
  • Those flying first class; while a first class ticket doesn’t generally offer Sky Club access, the intent is that you get priority access if you’re in first class and have a method for lounge entry

Here’s how a Delta spokesperson describes the decision in a statement:

Following a successful operational test in Atlanta, Delta Sky Club will roll out dedicated entry lanes in a phased approach at select airports. These entry lanes are just one of a continual range of enhancements designed to ensure our most frequent fliers and Delta Sky Club guests have a great experience on the ground and in the air.

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, and some of Delta’s hubs are also under construction
  • 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

Frankly deciding how passengers should be prioritized is an interesting topic in and of itself. SkyMiles Platinum Medallion with a Sky Club membership who didn’t clear a first class upgrade? Not important! A SkyMiles Silver Medallion with a Sky Club membership who did clear an upgrade? Important!

The reality is that crowding will likely continue to be a major issue, especially at hubs like Atlanta and New York, 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 introducing a new way to deal with lounge overcrowding. The airline is now rolling out new priority access lanes for Sky Clubs. This is intended to give priority lounge access to Delta’s highest tier elite members, as well as Delta’s premium passengers.

While this totally doesn’t seem like an ideal solution, and making people with lounge access feel like second class guests isn’t great, I’m not sure what other options Delta has? Essentially Delta realizes that a lot of guests aren’t going to be happy, but the airline wants to at least minimize frustration among its most valuable passengers.

What do you make of Delta’s Sky Club priority access concept?

Conversations (112)
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.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Stacey Harker-Callicott Guest

    I believe there’s already first class for the elite.All people should be allowed the same treatment.What your saying maybe,the elite business trip is more important than a child’s baseball game,or dance recital.Sound like Management needs to get back to get back to the basics.First come,first serve.We are still in the United States of America.

  2. Doug Houseman Guest

    I gave up buying a membership 3 years ago. I have 3 million miles (butt in the seat miles) on Delta, and have been a regular customer, I have had Delta club membership (before I dropped it) for almost 20 years.

    Delta seems to care more for their Amex relationship than with people who buy seats most weeks.

  3. Majorie Underwood Guest

    I pay every month to have a Delta sky club,if I am turned away at the door and not allowed in I will cancel my membership. I believe if you pay each month those individuals should get priority entrance.

  4. Deltamedallionflyer Guest

    There is very easy way to solve this for Delta. Remove Platnium Amex holders from guest list. This will reduce the volume probably in half. Keep the Delta Amex obviously, add all medallion tiers. Problem fixed.

  5. qofmiwok Guest

    I think the answer is to limit the amount of times someone can use a lounge. It's not right that some people use it 200 times a year for the same fee as me wanting it 3 or 4 times a year. They could include a 10 pass x 2 people for free, or pay a lot more to get more than that.

    And when was the last time you paid for a $300 first class ticket? I haven't paid less than $2000 RT domestically in a while.

  6. Kathy Sterling Guest

    So it looks like Ben's article about what credit cards grant Sky Clubs access is incorrect...? Because Im reading here that the only access card is the AmExReserve, correct?

    1. Kate Guest

      No, for credit card access you can gain entrance to the Delta Sky Club with an American Express Platinum or Centurion card, a SuMi Trust Gold or Platinum Visa, the co-branded Delta Skymiles American Express Reserve card, or pay a $39 entrance fee with the co-branded Delta Skymiles American Express Platinum Card.

  7. Mark Guest

    I'm a DM on Delta, fly easily 100k miles a year, and most of that is domestic. I spend $25k+ a year, and that's all on coach tickets. I look forward to the lounges clearing up in 2024 due to the new 2023 Medallion requirements. Delta also needs to limit certain passengers. I don't have to worry about the lines because I'm a DM...but then once I get in the lounge, it's a crapshoot for finding a chair to do some work.

  8. Greg Guest

    In the the November 22 article on The Points Guy about this same topic, TPG indicated that first class passengers get priority access to SkyClubs only if they also have a paid SkyClub membership. The article here indicates that a first class ticket and an AMEX Platinum card or Delta Reserve Amex card will get you access (i.e., paid membership to SkyClub not needed).

  9. Paul Guest

    I'm a skyclub member approx $850/year. I could cancel my membership and upgrade my AMEX card with the money. This seems to be a losing scenario for Delta.

  10. John Jeffers Guest

    I am a Delta Medallion…I am considering leaving Delta due to the “Cattle Club” atmosphere of the Sky Clubs. DELTA…… please take your existing clubs (you have several in ATL) and make a SEPARATE area for exclusive members! Just giving me priority entry still fosters a “Cattle Club” scenario inside due to overcrowding. Please segregate Medallion, 360 and Flight Class customers from your AMEX group. If you do not, I and others, are leaving!!!

  11. AJA Guest

    This is only a band-aid. They should have never allowed guests with AMEX cards in the first place. Once they started doing that, all of them were over run. It’s not very pleasant for road warriors anymore. It used to be a quiet space to chill.

    1. Kevin C Guest

      Yeah, but Amex financed their bankruptcy reorg. So that would be a bit ungrateful.

  12. Jeremy Guest

    Amex Platinum card does not grant access. Only the Amex Reserve card does which is a smaller pool of people given the hefty $550 yearly fee.

    1. Diamond to a Tee Guest

      You are getting this mixed up with Delta branded Amex cards and the regular Amex Platinum. The Delta branded Platinum card does not offer access (and only has an annual fee of $149/something in that ballpark). The Delta branded reserve card does offer access. In other words, there are two cards out there that can get you access (one Delta branded and one not). It is confusing.

    2. 9volt Member

      Delta should be rewarding those who actually show loyalty to the airline. So, priority access should be granted based on status, lounge membership, or for Reserve cardholders, as those are the things that actually indicate loyalty to Delta.

  13. JRMW Guest

    I’d like to know where one buys a $300 first class ticket these days

    I fly about once per month, in Delta first class out of MSP

    it costs $800 to $1000 round trip just to CHICAGO

    MSP to Dallas is $850

    MSP to California will be $1300 to 1700

    I just had to pay $2200 MSP to Palm Springs.

    With these prices, I think I should be in priority queue.

    1. 9volt Member

      You can still find $300 (or less) F fares for regional flights in the 1-2 hour range. Think LAX-SFO, LAS-SLC, JFK-IAD, etc.

  14. iamhere Guest

    You understand if I paid for a domestic first class ticket and did not get lounge access I would be annoyed given how much more it usually is compared to economy or the basic fare. However, most people flying domestic first class don't really pay for it. The point is how you paid for the ticket should also be considered. If I did not get access to the lounge based on Amex Platinum I would...

    You understand if I paid for a domestic first class ticket and did not get lounge access I would be annoyed given how much more it usually is compared to economy or the basic fare. However, most people flying domestic first class don't really pay for it. The point is how you paid for the ticket should also be considered. If I did not get access to the lounge based on Amex Platinum I would be calling Platinum to complain and ask for compensation. First because I won't wait in line for the lounge and second because if they turned me away because it was overcrowded I would not be happy about it. That's a major benefit for the Platinum card and if it is not provided compensation is due. What you don't discuss is the revenue aspects of the lounge with United and American as compared to Delta. American years ago charged for food in the lounge!

  15. SFA Guest

    Presenting this as a “solution,” as the Delta flak does, is ridiculous. It’s not a solution; it’s triage. The solution would be to reduce eligibility. DL needs to stop advertising “SkyClub access” as a perk if it can’t deliver access. For those of us who pay a considerable annual fee for the Delta Amex Reserve, this is particularly obnoxious.

    Truth is: I’d happily pay a heftier annual fee if Delta could guarantee access and...

    Presenting this as a “solution,” as the Delta flak does, is ridiculous. It’s not a solution; it’s triage. The solution would be to reduce eligibility. DL needs to stop advertising “SkyClub access” as a perk if it can’t deliver access. For those of us who pay a considerable annual fee for the Delta Amex Reserve, this is particularly obnoxious.

    Truth is: I’d happily pay a heftier annual fee if Delta could guarantee access and reduce occupancy so that the club feels like a refuge again. Right now, it feels like a bus station with hummus.

  16. Tom Harris Guest

    I have Platinum elite status and the requisite Amex cards. I also have a Priority Pass as a backup. And that has actually worked pretty well. I won't even stand in a line. It defeats the entire point. The main airports I fly to and through, SeaTac, SFO and LAX all have great food offerings, and I can usually find a quiet spot with a plug. I would much rather do that then stand in...

    I have Platinum elite status and the requisite Amex cards. I also have a Priority Pass as a backup. And that has actually worked pretty well. I won't even stand in a line. It defeats the entire point. The main airports I fly to and through, SeaTac, SFO and LAX all have great food offerings, and I can usually find a quiet spot with a plug. I would much rather do that then stand in line like I'm waiting to be processed at a refugee camp. The Centurion lounge line at SeaTac looks like people trying to get into a Cracker Barrel on a Sunday afternoon. Really sad. Just keep walking.

  17. Darrell Guest

    I'm a charter Diamond member with Delta...over 4 million miles flown, and I rarely use the Sky Clubs... they're just toooo crowded with people who "buy" memberships...I feel like Delta doesn't prioritize their most loyal customers who put their asses in the seats on a regular basis, so I appreciate anything they can do to alleviate the crowds...

  18. Pete N Guest

    Will probably drop Amex Delta Reserve card. I paid large fees for Skyclub access and ability to earn MQMs. I have enough miles for guaranteed Platinum for next 4 years without that card or really much travel. So watch Delta’s Amex revenue drop like a rock.

  19. Will Riddle Guest

    Aren't you leaving out the very most obvious way they could deal with this? Raise the price. That's what prices are for, to regulate supply and demand. Fine that the Amex members (or others) can come in, they should just pay more for the card than they are now.

  20. Alistair Guest

    So I am an Amex Platinum and paid for. Currently JetBlue Mosaic, American Gold (where I might miss for next year), Delta Gold where I can make Platinum (or fly AA next month international business). So with these rules, I should cancel my trip next month on Delta and fly American as no difference (especially as Delta does not have a lounge even at ATL for international business while AA does at hubs like JFK).

    ...

    So I am an Amex Platinum and paid for. Currently JetBlue Mosaic, American Gold (where I might miss for next year), Delta Gold where I can make Platinum (or fly AA next month international business). So with these rules, I should cancel my trip next month on Delta and fly American as no difference (especially as Delta does not have a lounge even at ATL for international business while AA does at hubs like JFK).

    If an Amex Platinum AND a Delta Platinum (just by flying miles) NO priority (EVEN if on an international business ticker - REALLY? ATL lounge was crazy last month on the way to London)

  21. dander Guest

    The only issue I had with sky clubs was around school vacation times where the parents took their spawn in and let them run wild.

  22. Robert Guest

    It wasn't that long ago that Amex Platinum holders could bring in a guest - so the contract with Amex must be flexible.

    1. Anthony Diamond

      They still can, for a fee

  23. Kathy Sterling Guest

    Does the Delta AmEx Reserve card at $550/year not get "special" access??

  24. Robert Guest

    How hard is this to understand. Delta wants it both ways. The AMEX platinum deal about access, seems like a contract. There probably is some fine print somewhere that says they can scrape the money from AMEX and still exclude MX holders this is squarely on Delta.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      don't rule out that there are lawyers that are prepared to file a class action lawsuit - but I'm not sure that Delta has officially announced any of this.
      OTOH, Amex does have outstanding customer service and it is very possible that DL and AX have already had pow wows to let card members out of their card agreements on a pro-rated basis for the card membership. Absent that, and if restrictions to enter...

      don't rule out that there are lawyers that are prepared to file a class action lawsuit - but I'm not sure that Delta has officially announced any of this.
      OTOH, Amex does have outstanding customer service and it is very possible that DL and AX have already had pow wows to let card members out of their card agreements on a pro-rated basis for the card membership. Absent that, and if restrictions to enter Sky Clubs for the "lower class" customers are significant, the conditions are ripe for a lawsuit.
      I still don't think this will be a major issue for the vast majority of people.

  25. FlyingMSP Guest

    You've completely left off this list those who have entry through the Amex Delta Reserve Card. These are not just regularly Amex Platinum card holders, but flyers who focus their spending and flying on Delta. Where to those individuals come into play on this list?

    1. RC Guest

      I have a Delta Reserve card. On my recent trip to the LGA Sky Club it was treated the same as a regular Platinum, meaning no priority access if there's a line to get in.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @Flying MSP.

      That is the reason Delta is trying to avoid turning this into a DYKWIA measuring contest.

      What about Diamonds holding the Reserve card AND the Amex Platinum card?
      What if I have 2 Reserve cards?
      What about my SkyBonus spending?
      What about MQD?
      What about qualifying with MQS over MQM?
      What if I'm paying for carbon credits?

      Where to those individuals come into play on this list?

  26. Jeff Guest

    I’m one of those with free access because of the plastic cards I hold in my wallet, so I can understand I might have to wait. But if I had paid for my very expensive membership to go to the club, I’d be downright livid if I was put in a queue. The top access should go to those who have paid hard earned $$$ for a membership. In my book, all the freebie freeloaders, like me, are below the paid members on the free cocktails and food chain.

    1. Donna Diamond

      Actually, Delta One passengers paying the big bucks should be given priority given the fact that DL has no premium lounges.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Delta didn't sell membership to anyone as part of a two tier system.
      DL is prioritizing day of travel access over the millions of people that have indeed paid for access via a card or via paid Sky Club membership via cash or miles.

      DL is rapidly building Delta One lounges and it will undoubtedly help at JFK which is undoubtedly where the worst issues are but it isn't clear what if anything...

      Delta didn't sell membership to anyone as part of a two tier system.
      DL is prioritizing day of travel access over the millions of people that have indeed paid for access via a card or via paid Sky Club membership via cash or miles.

      DL is rapidly building Delta One lounges and it will undoubtedly help at JFK which is undoubtedly where the worst issues are but it isn't clear what if anything will change before next summer when another very busy international travel season is expected - including scores of full Delta One cabins from JFK

  27. Mary Guest

    I have a lifetime membership to the delta (formerly NWA) club. Yes, I’m old as dirt! And now my lifetime membership counts for zip! Not a good look Delta!

    1. SDRon Guest

      Let not your heart be troubled, Mary. Delta has been very nice to us Lifetime Members. Your membership is worth much more than you think.

  28. Eskimo Guest

    It's funny that even OMAAT, and many readers here take this for granted as entitlement.

    "those who outright paid for a membership should get priority"

    Amex paid for your 'membership'. Platinum or Reserve card holders didn't directly paid Delta doesn't mean nobody pay for it.
    Same goes for your Priority Pass membership.

    That being said, those who fell they didn't get their fees worth should just stop paying and vote with your wallet. What...

    It's funny that even OMAAT, and many readers here take this for granted as entitlement.

    "those who outright paid for a membership should get priority"

    Amex paid for your 'membership'. Platinum or Reserve card holders didn't directly paid Delta doesn't mean nobody pay for it.
    Same goes for your Priority Pass membership.

    That being said, those who fell they didn't get their fees worth should just stop paying and vote with your wallet. What we are doing here is just waiting for a ripe time for Delta to raise prices. As their reason for enhancement would be they tried everything and making it more expensive is the final solution.

    1. Stephen Guest

      But Delta Reserve effectively means you are paying for access up front.

      It's up to you to decide if $39 a time or another $40» annual fee is the viable price to pay.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Huh?
      Don't understand but I'll try.
      DL Reserve means you paid Amex. Same with Amex Platinum.
      $39 you mean is for DL Platinum, which yes is paying up front to Delta.
      Regardless, that is my point. Card holders still pay, directly or not, for access.

      The only two groups that 'theoretically' didn't pay, but have it as an actual benefit are people with STE+ flying internationally and premium cabin passengers, no...

      Huh?
      Don't understand but I'll try.
      DL Reserve means you paid Amex. Same with Amex Platinum.
      $39 you mean is for DL Platinum, which yes is paying up front to Delta.
      Regardless, that is my point. Card holders still pay, directly or not, for access.

      The only two groups that 'theoretically' didn't pay, but have it as an actual benefit are people with STE+ flying internationally and premium cabin passengers, no domestic F isn't premium just big front seats. The two groups that probably should be on the top priority, not bottom. It's the airline greed that granted more access.

  29. Rick Guest

    I don't fly Delta, I am a Million Mile Gold UAL. I have paid for a club membership for over 20 steady years.

    I don't fly frequently anymore, I'm aging out. But I would not qualify under Delta's rules if UAL adopted them. And for a 35 year UAL Milage Plus member, lifetime gold, paying pass member, I would be outraged.

  30. Ralph4878 Guest

    Just connected through ATL and there was no line whatsoever in the F Terminal from 2-4pm, though I suspect it got busier later in the evening. Meanwhile, the line snaked out the Club at ATL lounge...

  31. Kris Guest

    As a European top elite in all three alliances I'm getting to a point where I would rather see the US Airlines excluded from the alliances due to credit cards. US elites buying all premium inventory on EU Airlines for CC points while it is impossible for me to get miles inventory on US Airlines.
    I have to wait an hour in line to get in to a US airline lounge due to, you...

    As a European top elite in all three alliances I'm getting to a point where I would rather see the US Airlines excluded from the alliances due to credit cards. US elites buying all premium inventory on EU Airlines for CC points while it is impossible for me to get miles inventory on US Airlines.
    I have to wait an hour in line to get in to a US airline lounge due to, you guessed it, Credit card holders.

    Then you can add the latter to the list. If I have a connecting flight in the US arriving from the EU I have to pick-up my luggage and re-Check it in. So no interline value (check your luggage through to your final destination).
    The US got all this paid subscription (like Clear) for easy way through the airport meaning that a product like Skypriority is so watered out for non US airlines elites that it has close to no value.

    I could go on but I'll stop here and just point out that US frequent flyers are being treated like elites in the rest of the world. It would be nice if US3 would start acting as alliance members and not credit card affiliates.

    1. AJ Guest

      Completely agree. And it’s not just Delta. Experienced this on AA at CLT earlier this year on a long-haul international business class ticket. With only one small club open due to refurbishment, there were huge lines for lounge access before the flight to London and no alternative offered by AA at all despite lounge access being a specifically promised part of the product. Lines happen but I was amazed how poorly it was handled. Got...

      Completely agree. And it’s not just Delta. Experienced this on AA at CLT earlier this year on a long-haul international business class ticket. With only one small club open due to refurbishment, there were huge lines for lounge access before the flight to London and no alternative offered by AA at all despite lounge access being a specifically promised part of the product. Lines happen but I was amazed how poorly it was handled. Got a $175 credit (on a $3000 ticket) after much complaining. Turning away domestic or credit card entrants would have solved that problem.

  32. RC Guest

    Experienced this at the new LGA Sky Club the other day. One major issue right now is it's a bit of an honor system. There were two dedicated attendants monitoring the two lines when the club was full, but they certainly weren't necessarily vetting each individual person waiting in the priority line so who knows if everyone really truly had the "correct" access to get priority. Once they waved the person into the entrance to...

    Experienced this at the new LGA Sky Club the other day. One major issue right now is it's a bit of an honor system. There were two dedicated attendants monitoring the two lines when the club was full, but they certainly weren't necessarily vetting each individual person waiting in the priority line so who knows if everyone really truly had the "correct" access to get priority. Once they waved the person into the entrance to scan their phone, the attendants manning the booths really had no way of knowing (or really any reason to care at that point).

  33. W Chiu Guest

    If I am a Delta Reserve Card member and pay $550 annual fee and fly premium economy I should be able to get access without queing

  34. EC Guest

    Great article! I frequent DCA, ATL, DTW and LAX. Have only noticed a line at LAX before terminal 3 opened. I think the policy isn’t great especially for those that pay a high annual credit card fee that provides lounge access. I always buy first/business class tickets on Delta so I will be fine. But for those that are platinum status they should be granted access too. Diamond status is hard to obtain. I travel...

    Great article! I frequent DCA, ATL, DTW and LAX. Have only noticed a line at LAX before terminal 3 opened. I think the policy isn’t great especially for those that pay a high annual credit card fee that provides lounge access. I always buy first/business class tickets on Delta so I will be fine. But for those that are platinum status they should be granted access too. Diamond status is hard to obtain. I travel for leisure and will probably never make it to diamond status. I’m on the struggle trying to get platinum for 2023.

  35. Scott Guest

    I have enjoyed the sky clubs over my many years of flying , so as a platinum medallion and a million miler seems like I won't get into the clubs as quick anymore , what a crock delta needs to come up with a better plan

  36. Rjb Guest

    Gave up on Delta when 7 hours business class flights hit 700,000 SkyPesos

  37. Clayton Guest

    Imo a ticketed guest, be that by points or miles, should have top billing and I say that as an FF myself.

    If someone's brought a J/F ticket that grants access they deserve to be in there more than someone with X CC, arguably more than us FFs flying coach but that is a much more complex & nuanced debate tbf.

    Whilst I wouldn't be happy about it persay I can honestly say if...

    Imo a ticketed guest, be that by points or miles, should have top billing and I say that as an FF myself.

    If someone's brought a J/F ticket that grants access they deserve to be in there more than someone with X CC, arguably more than us FFs flying coach but that is a much more complex & nuanced debate tbf.

    Whilst I wouldn't be happy about it persay I can honestly say if I rocked up and there was some couple on their 1st 'pointy end' flight and me who was getting access purely by my status & it was a them or us situation I'd let them go have the maximum experience they could get. Conversely if it was me and Bob who'd never flown with the airline before ( or at most only a couple times) & I had to wait coz they had a certain CC I'd be livid

  38. DCAWABN Guest

    So, this isn't actually addressing the overcrowding issue because that would require an actual capacity cut/reduction on how many people can be in the clubs at one time or at all. It's simply changing who gets in first. There will still be throngs of people in the club and waiting in line, it's just shifting around who gets in first. It's a complex Shell Game.

    As Ben mentions, they need to drop the AmEx access....

    So, this isn't actually addressing the overcrowding issue because that would require an actual capacity cut/reduction on how many people can be in the clubs at one time or at all. It's simply changing who gets in first. There will still be throngs of people in the club and waiting in line, it's just shifting around who gets in first. It's a complex Shell Game.

    As Ben mentions, they need to drop the AmEx access. And maybe the access afforded to various other DL-branded CC holders. Changing who gets in first doesn't solve the root problem: too many people have access.

  39. ChrisInNY Guest

    I thought those who fall in the "first class" category have to have paid for an annual membership.

  40. JoeSchmo Guest

    DL should provide a voucher of say $50 for those that can't get in within 15 mins of waiting.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      whether $50 or some other amount or amenity - including buy on board credits or miles or some other form of compensation - I agree w/ your statement. If Delta can - and does - provide everyone with mileage credit for failing to deliver bags by the fastest standard in the US industry, then it isn't too much for them to give some form of compensation

    2. Stephen Guest

      ATL last week, the dreaded Terminal B Sky Club had the priority lane going. Wife and I allowed in quickly due to DM status, couldn't find seats together or even close. Left and went to Term A which was less crowded. However there was a line in the restroom to use the urinals, am wondering if a priority lane is in the works for that as well. Their new system provides absolutely no relief or solution over the crowds.

    3. iamhere Guest

      agree and if they don't then they may have a problem with Amex because if Amex gets too many complaints of lack of access then that could be a problem for their partnership

  41. Eric Guest

    The problem is not only access but seating available when you get inside. You think you won when you get inside only to wander around looking for a seat that you can do work.

  42. Jean Guest

    I am not in any of those categories. I travel only twice a year. And although I buy business class I understand. And for those who only travel thru Holiday's or only a few times a year, compared to those who travel regularly, I understand perfectly. And it's not just Delta, it's all airlines.

  43. Kris Guest

    They do know that they are an
    airline/member of Skyteam and not a credit card Company?

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      That whole flying planes thing is just a front for the credit card business.

  44. Tom Guest

    Where is this mostly happening? I think I've stood in one short line in the decade I've been flying Delta.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      I too have never waited to get into a Sky Club. While I have seen lines, I have never failed to find another club that was available in the area of where I was arriving or departing.
      And much of the hooplah is driven by lines at the main SkyClub in Terminal 4 at JFK. As noted, DL is building 2 new lounges that combined will be far larger than what Delta now has...

      I too have never waited to get into a Sky Club. While I have seen lines, I have never failed to find another club that was available in the area of where I was arriving or departing.
      And much of the hooplah is driven by lines at the main SkyClub in Terminal 4 at JFK. As noted, DL is building 2 new lounges that combined will be far larger than what Delta now has at that airport.
      Customer and network dynamics have changed. As a for-profit company in a competitive industry, DL has no choice but to get it right or lose business just as is true with every other US airline and most other global businesses.

  45. XPL Diamond

    Perhaps I've simply had bad luck, but every time I've entered a lounge (any lounge, not just Delta's) I've been unimpressed. Either it is crowded or obviously understaffed for what is being promised or the food and drinks are unimpressive. These days I'll only consider a lounge if I cannot find a quiet part of the terminal. And if the entire terminal is a zoo, then presumably any lounge that I could buy my way...

    Perhaps I've simply had bad luck, but every time I've entered a lounge (any lounge, not just Delta's) I've been unimpressed. Either it is crowded or obviously understaffed for what is being promised or the food and drinks are unimpressive. These days I'll only consider a lounge if I cannot find a quiet part of the terminal. And if the entire terminal is a zoo, then presumably any lounge that I could buy my way into will be just as crazy. Feel free to correct me if there is something I'm overlooking, though.

    1. Brian Gasser Guest

      Curious what type of food you are expecting? You get a buffet, a clean restroom and a place to sit.

    2. XPL Diamond

      I expect value commensurate with what one would pay to enter. If a lounge's day pass goes for $60 for example, well $60 can buy me a nicer experience in a pretty nice terminal restaurant. True, not every airport has nice restaurants, but I've always encountered nicer experiences at better prices outside lounges vs. in them. YMMV of course and I wouldn't mind finding a lounge that proves me wrong.

  46. Bill Guest

    This is the right move imo. Despite I am not qualified to be the special (special) customer but it makes sense from an airline and their special customers' perspective. Again, if you're not happy with Delta's practice, then drop them.

  47. Omar Guest

    This decision makes no sense. They made the rules and they keep changing them after we spent a lot of money to get our Platinum Medallion Status and also pay $695 for the membership of Amex Platinum. The Amex Platinum now requires to spend $75,000 dollars a year to get access to the Centurion Lounge. After all this, it feels like they want to get more money from us when we already pay a lot for these services. Greed! Pure greed!

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      “The Amex Platinum now requires to spend $75,000 dollars a year to get access to the Centurion Lounge.”

      I’m sure this was just a typo, but that should have been “to get guest(s) access”, and it starts February 1, 2023. What a day that will be!

  48. Ben Guest

    @Ben, do you think INTL J tickets on SkyTeam will fall under second-string priority, or will they map to D1?

    1. Stephen Guest

      I think they will be in the special special people.

  49. Lee Guest

    I'll spare Tim Dunn the need to comment. First, every airline is experiencing the issue, so it's unfair to beat up on Delta without beating up on all airlines (as well as Amex). Second, over-crowding is not a system-wide problem - it primarily occurs at certain airports. I can say that I regularly use the SkyClub at LAX and I've NEVER had to wait to get in. Third, sometimes a line is NOT simply to...

    I'll spare Tim Dunn the need to comment. First, every airline is experiencing the issue, so it's unfair to beat up on Delta without beating up on all airlines (as well as Amex). Second, over-crowding is not a system-wide problem - it primarily occurs at certain airports. I can say that I regularly use the SkyClub at LAX and I've NEVER had to wait to get in. Third, sometimes a line is NOT simply to get in but because the check-in kiosks only go so fast. Fourth, Delta is in the middle of a substantial expansion program. JFK and LAX will also get segregated Delta One Dining venues. Others likely to follow.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      it's a shame that you - under whatever username you use - didn't bother to read that I already commented.
      It is even more fascinating that I live rent free not just in your head but in the heads of others.
      Given how accurately you parroted what I have written elsewhere, you clearly are fixated with me.
      Not sure if I should be honored or look over my shoulder.

    2. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      LOL, so on one hand you think "Lee" is the same person that constantly comments about you, just under another username. On the other hand, you think you have multiple people bothered. Pretty sure it's number 2. I'm a pretty big AA/OW cheerleader, but I don't think I've seen you ever leave anything critical of Delta, ever. And your pretty critical of this blog as well, maybe Ben needs to look over HIS shoulder.

    3. Anthony Diamond

      In all seriousness, if I have some time on the side, I think I may try to start travel blog with a focus on Delta (and maybe Marriott to a lesser exent?) - the same way a blog like Live and Let's Fly is a clear United/Hyatt blog, View From The Wing focuses mainly on AA, etc. Eye of the Flyer tries to do this but I think misses the mark a bit. I think there is a big gap in the BoardingArea offering that I could fill. Maybe Tim Dunn can contribute.

    4. Tim Dunn Diamond

      when you or anyone starts a comment including another user in the comment and doing so thinking are going to preempt them, you (or they), not me is the one that is obsessed.
      Not sure why it is so hard for some people to just read the facts and opinions of others and respond or debate the issues and not the person.
      And I have NEVER attacked any person''s person or identity and...

      when you or anyone starts a comment including another user in the comment and doing so thinking are going to preempt them, you (or they), not me is the one that is obsessed.
      Not sure why it is so hard for some people to just read the facts and opinions of others and respond or debate the issues and not the person.
      And I have NEVER attacked any person''s person or identity and I certainly posted falsehoods in order to try to slander them.
      It says volumes about people that have to attack other people than deal with their ideas; but some people are not capable of debating ideas.
      And I have challenged Ben on factually verifiable statements he has made as well as opinions which he has made and about which I disagree.
      Ben, like every other "operator" of a blog is content enough with themselves that they can read other people's opinions and challenges of their own opinions. Ben has absolutely nothing to worry about from me; I'd enjoy a sit down over coffee with him - my treat - if circumstances allowed.
      If you or anyone has even worries about counting the number of "good things" vs. "bad things" said about anything, you are the one that is really bothered.
      And Anthony, I write for a public site under editor approval and cover multiple companies.

      Would it be too much to ask you all to focus on the topic and not the users?

    5. MaxPower Guest

      Tim
      Your fantasyland of “factual information” is vastly different than reality which is why many have fun preempting you to come up with your Herman Goebbels delta narrative before your inevitable ridiculous pro-delta propaganda.
      And please. You actively and personally attack cranky, lucky, and Gary when they dare to say something slightly critical of delta, and even when they don’t. Your personal things to go off when any of them says the slightest...

      Tim
      Your fantasyland of “factual information” is vastly different than reality which is why many have fun preempting you to come up with your Herman Goebbels delta narrative before your inevitable ridiculous pro-delta propaganda.
      And please. You actively and personally attack cranky, lucky, and Gary when they dare to say something slightly critical of delta, and even when they don’t. Your personal things to go off when any of them says the slightest nice thing about aa or ua. With Gary, you told him he shouldn’t be allowed to do articles on delta unless he flies delta one as his primary means of airline transport. Lol
      Stop being a joke among airline enthusiasts and you won’t have to worry about being taken Seriously.

    6. MaxPower Guest

      Frankly, the funniest part about this particular thread of comments is how you went off on a guy, Lee, that actually is defending delta.

    7. MaxPower Guest

      Lol. The things that must go through your head as you sit at your keyboard all day searching for articles about delta to comment on.
      How lame your life must be.

    8. Tim dingdong Guest

      Exactly what I was thinking

    9. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Hey MAX NOTHING and all of your other "friends"

      Do you think you could rub two brain cells together and write ONE comment regarding the topic that the author wrote about instead of ANY OTHER USER?

      And, it still doesn't matter who started this sub-thread. If they were "right" they didn't need to put my or any other person's name on it.

      You clearly have spent the last 6 hours validating that I really do live rent free in your head and have for years.

      GET HELP.

    10. MaxPower Guest

      I think we're just enjoying watching you and your logic implode. I choose caramel popcorn. I can't speak for others.
      Get out of your underwear
      off your couch.
      and back to reality

      once you've done that, welcome back to the real world, worldtraveller. Airliners.net banned you and your IP address. I'm happy to be the one to remind everyone of that. You have no expertise or knowledge. You have a knowledge...

      I think we're just enjoying watching you and your logic implode. I choose caramel popcorn. I can't speak for others.
      Get out of your underwear
      off your couch.
      and back to reality

      once you've done that, welcome back to the real world, worldtraveller. Airliners.net banned you and your IP address. I'm happy to be the one to remind everyone of that. You have no expertise or knowledge. You have a knowledge off a a blog where even they banned you.

      I honestly laugh that you think you influence anything. You monitor this site and others every 10 minutes. That's not my MO. but... I have job. You don't. You sit on your couch in the suburbs of atlanta to defend delta... and delta people even laugh at you.
      it's cute but sad. enjoy your life. we all know you don't work there... because they fired you, as you know.

      you have no idea how much you make me laugh. coming back to blogs and seeing your rants about delta stuff. get a life and a job. I'll say it here and everywhere. you need a job. you've already admitted you don't buy Delta First or J. Talk to us about what you know, not your standby dreams.

    11. Tim Dunn Diamond

      so if I fly standby, do I get that access as an employee? You JUST SAID that I was fired from Delta. How many people that get fired get benefits after they are fired?
      YOU are the one at whom I laugh because you INCESSANTLY try to find any way you can to denigrate me and your logic makes no sense - and anybody other than you - can see that.
      Btw, while...

      so if I fly standby, do I get that access as an employee? You JUST SAID that I was fired from Delta. How many people that get fired get benefits after they are fired?
      YOU are the one at whom I laugh because you INCESSANTLY try to find any way you can to denigrate me and your logic makes no sense - and anybody other than you - can see that.
      Btw, while you worry about what goes on elsewhere on the internet, you might want to check Cranky Flier where they are talking about the aviation fix over Asheville, NC that bears my name. Oh, and they wished me a Happy Thanksgiving.... some of the same people that I have debated on that side.
      The notion that the internet has all ganged up against me is a delusion only in your mind.
      real and rational people are able debate issues and still remain respectfully friendly.
      The fact that you have yet to even address the issue which Ben - the "operator" of you, this blog - has written says volumes about you, not me.

    12. MaxPower Guest

      Tim
      Four chances Now? And you still admit you can’t afford delta one or delta first paid: that wouldn’t matter except you go off on entrepreneurs that blog about how they don’t know as much as you on the topic unless they fly “paid”.
      No one asked about the benefits from when you were fired, you and others have verified your firing from when you left delta and banned from a.net. But you...

      Tim
      Four chances Now? And you still admit you can’t afford delta one or delta first paid: that wouldn’t matter except you go off on entrepreneurs that blog about how they don’t know as much as you on the topic unless they fly “paid”.
      No one asked about the benefits from when you were fired, you and others have verified your firing from when you left delta and banned from a.net. But you spend your day on blogs and clearly can’t afford the upper services of delta, yet you love to claim Gary and, at times, lucky, can’t blog about delta, at all, unless they fly it as much as you. It’s like you can’t even acknowledge your own past and prolific commenting.

      And just please. Your delusions cease to amuse. Please provide us a link to anything where Asheville, NC views you as a resource. Please… any link whatsoever.

      Stop being a complete joke. It’s amusing you don’t know how much of a joke you are already.

    13. MaxPower Guest

      Is this now the fifth time you’ve admitted you don’t buy paid f or j, tim? After attacking another blog owner for not flying f/j like you do?
      And plenty of people are forced to “retire”, but you’d know that, tim. Quit your stupid games. you aren’t good at them, Tim.
      I actually admire that you don’t contradict you were fired, but rather try the usual lame Tim misdirect that never works.

      Again,...

      Is this now the fifth time you’ve admitted you don’t buy paid f or j, tim? After attacking another blog owner for not flying f/j like you do?
      And plenty of people are forced to “retire”, but you’d know that, tim. Quit your stupid games. you aren’t good at them, Tim.
      I actually admire that you don’t contradict you were fired, but rather try the usual lame Tim misdirect that never works.

      Again, get off your couch. Change your old underwear. Close your laptop. And go start your own blog. Stop attacking entrepreneurs like Gary, lucky, and lucky personally because you disagree with their blog opinions.
      For real. Get a life. Delta does so many things well. Your weird defense of everything they do wrong is just reflective of your mental insanity.

    14. Tim Dunn Diamond

      the only one that needs to get a life is the same person that has yet to contribute even a single sentence to the topic under discussion.
      You and you only are the fraud that makes up anything you can think of to shut down someone that understands what you only dream about knowing.
      Gary, Ben and the whole rest of them all know how to get in contact with me - because...

      the only one that needs to get a life is the same person that has yet to contribute even a single sentence to the topic under discussion.
      You and you only are the fraud that makes up anything you can think of to shut down someone that understands what you only dream about knowing.
      Gary, Ben and the whole rest of them all know how to get in contact with me - because I, unlike half of the other people on here, use my real name and email address.
      They can defend themselves. and they see you for exactly what you are - the undesirable byproduct of what happens when internet comments are opened to the unwashed masses.

      GET HELP.

    15. MaxPower Guest

      Happy thanksgiving, tim. I’m sure you’ll spend patrolling the internet for delta articles. Stop being such a troll and attacking entrepreneurs that built their websites from scratch. Go build your own and stop trolling the internet
      And using your real name? Strange, you said yesterday on VFTW “ Of course the name I post here is a pseudonym”.
      And one of us has been banned from aviation blogs, it isn’t me.

  50. Leslie Guest

    Last summer the T4 line at JFK was epic. So I grabbed a slice and a seat in a relatively empty gate with good ramp view and had a much nicer experience than a packed club. Headed there tomorrow and figure I’ll have a similar experience. Sad to be platinum, biz class, amex holder and second class status nevertheless.

  51. Klaus Guest

    Well, looks like that at least ITA Elites will soon have access to United Clubs instead of Delta Skyclubs… :)

  52. Lee Guest

    The Lightning Lane is for all Delta One passengers irrespective of SkyClub membership.

    But, for those who are Delta 360, Diamond Medallion, and traveling in domestic first class, SkyClub membership is required. It might be that the Amex Platinum card (personal and business) grants one "access" but not "membership." If this is interpreted strictly, the Amex Platinum card (without an actual membership) might not afford these individuals use of the Lightning Lane. We'll have to...

    The Lightning Lane is for all Delta One passengers irrespective of SkyClub membership.

    But, for those who are Delta 360, Diamond Medallion, and traveling in domestic first class, SkyClub membership is required. It might be that the Amex Platinum card (personal and business) grants one "access" but not "membership." If this is interpreted strictly, the Amex Platinum card (without an actual membership) might not afford these individuals use of the Lightning Lane. We'll have to see how this plays out.

  53. T- Guest

    The “lounge” looks quite dull in the photos. I don’t think it looks inviting at all. Kinda ugly really.

  54. John T Guest

    Just cut access for Amex Plats, explaining that the lounges are overcrowded and they probably weren't getting in anyway.

  55. Andy Diamond

    So what about those flying first or business class on their Skyteam partners, e.g. on AF or KL?

    1. Lee Guest

      Next time you pass by a SkyClub, ask and report back.

  56. uldguy Diamond

    I go to the club to escape the crowds at the gate. Why on earth would anyone wait in line to enter a club to play musical chairs for the one remaining seat? Free booze aside, it's just not worth it.

  57. ScottyB Guest

    What a joke that paying SkyClub MEMBERS are given same access priority as someone holding an AmEx card. LIFETIME MEMBERS who paid several thousand $$$ getting the shaft. WHAT A JOKE DELTA

  58. Stanley C Diamond

    @ Lucky So, a Sky Team Elite Plus member with a business class ticket between US and Canada for example would also have access to the priority lane? Are those in the priority lane also still able to bring in the number of allowed guests accordingly? Thank you.

  59. Anthony Diamond

    I guess this is fine, and while the lines can look long, it seems like they are no longer than 10 minutes or so in any variety of line. The issue is that Delta has declined to drastically increase SkyClub capacity when it had the opportunity. For example, at LAX, it operated two SkyClubs near the gates. When it opened its new headhouse club, i think it ended up closing one, if not both of...

    I guess this is fine, and while the lines can look long, it seems like they are no longer than 10 minutes or so in any variety of line. The issue is that Delta has declined to drastically increase SkyClub capacity when it had the opportunity. For example, at LAX, it operated two SkyClubs near the gates. When it opened its new headhouse club, i think it ended up closing one, if not both of the other clubs. Just keep all three clubs open, and finish the main club expansion. Same situation at LGA. Build new headhouse clubs, and keep the existing clubs too. Also add more business class lounges like the ones planned at JFK, while also expanding regular clubs.

  60. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Not sure this is really a surprise. They tested a line system and many Sky Clubs have had stanchions but they are largely not used.
    This will affect a small number of Sky Clubs at specific times of the day.
    Delta will undoubtedly not turn away anyone or force a line as long as there is still space inside the Club.
    IN addition to building new Clubs in other airports - far...

    Not sure this is really a surprise. They tested a line system and many Sky Clubs have had stanchions but they are largely not used.
    This will affect a small number of Sky Clubs at specific times of the day.
    Delta will undoubtedly not turn away anyone or force a line as long as there is still space inside the Club.
    IN addition to building new Clubs in other airports - far more than AA or UA - DL is also adding back more short haul flights that will reduce the amount of connecting time at its hubs; it has been much more common to see 2-3 hour connections through ATL to many cities where there flights every 90 minutes (every bank) pre-covid.
    Given that the real competition in connecting markets to DL in ATL is AA in CLT, the club situation both in terms of capacity and quality of the club still favors DL.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Good to see there’s no taking the holiday week off for your Delta sycophancy.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  61. ladyolives Guest

    It is hard to understand why anyone would clamor to access a Delta SkyClub. They are generally mediocre, with cafeteria quality food. They look nice, until you actually settle in your seat and realize, you are in a dormitory lounge. United and American have the edge over Delta on the premium lounge experience. Yes, Delta One Lounges are coming, but Delta lets too many people into its lounges through co-ventures. That's the root of the problem.

    1. Anthony Diamond

      When you compare apples to apples (regular Admirals or United Clubs vs Delta SkyClubs), you understand. I recently took a trip via AA and had to laugh at the state of the standard Admirals Club offering versus the SkyClub. This excludes stuff like Flagship/Polaris lounges, which are available to only a limited number of passengers

  62. Sharon Guest

    Delta will be opening a Delta One lounge at JFK. This will help with the T4 lounge

  63. Motion to Dismiss Gold

    Selfishly, I love this system. I generally buy first class and would love it if Amex Platinum access was limited to those with first class tickets. That would sure help with the crowding and is not as drastic as cutting the Amex Platinum connection entirely.

    1. John smithey Guest

      Ahahaha, you don't buy first class. No one does. So thx

  64. PeterCS New Member

    Yesterday evening at JFK T4 they already had this system in place. Priority line was very short, only a few people at a time, normal line was okayish, ca 5-10 minutes waiting

  65. Harry Guest

    One major reason. Delta's food is light years ahead of AA. Don't know about UA. And my home base is DFW and you would think AA lounges would be the best. It's not. Now LGA AA lounge is a step in the right direction.

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.

Anthony Diamond

When you compare apples to apples (regular Admirals or United Clubs vs Delta SkyClubs), you understand. I recently took a trip via AA and had to laugh at the state of the standard Admirals Club offering versus the SkyClub. This excludes stuff like Flagship/Polaris lounges, which are available to only a limited number of passengers

3
Leslie Guest

Last summer the T4 line at JFK was epic. So I grabbed a slice and a seat in a relatively empty gate with good ramp view and had a much nicer experience than a packed club. Headed there tomorrow and figure I’ll have a similar experience. Sad to be platinum, biz class, amex holder and second class status nevertheless.

2
uldguy Diamond

I go to the club to escape the crowds at the gate. Why on earth would anyone wait in line to enter a club to play musical chairs for the one remaining seat? Free booze aside, it's just not worth it.

2
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT