It appears Delta has loosened its draconian Sky Club access rules, despite lingering concern over long lines and overcrowded lounges.
Delta Sky Club Agents Granted More Discretion In Allowing Guests In Early
Last year, Delta instituted a number of harsh new access rules to its network of Sky Club airport lounges in an effort to reduce crowding. One rule was that travelers could not access the lounge more than three hours prior to their flight, unless in a connecting city. The idea was to reduce those who might spend hours camping out in a lounge, thereby consuming a disproportionate amount of space as well as more food and drink.
First noted by Eye Of The Flyer, a memo has been circulated to Sky Club staff advising them they can exercise discretion in allowing guests in more than three hours in advance. For example, if a lounge is not crowded and you are there, say, four hours early instead of seven hours early, you may be allowed in.
This is not a guarantee and this is wholly at the discretion of the admitting agent, so there should be no expectation of early access. Furthermore, with Sky Clubs so crowded in hub airports, I would speculate this exception would come into play more at downline stations.
I think granting agents a degree of discretion to make exceptions is always welcomed. At the same time, I think the three-hour access rule at the point of origination was one of the more reasonable changes to access rules. Keeping out employees on staff tickets who are Sky Club members and also restricting arrivals access constituted more egregious restrictions. The most egregious restriction of all was excluding Delta SkyMiles SkyTeam Elite Plus members when traveling internationally in economy class.
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Delta has purportedly loosened its Sky Club access policy and empowered agents with more discretion in letting guests in earlier than three hours prior to departure. I am not opposed to this change, but would rather see Sky Club members welcomed at departure and arrival, even if traveling on an employee ticket.
image: Delta Air Lines
This is a good change in theory, but it’s a rare occasion that a SkyClub isn’t packed to the gill so doubt this will happen the bulk of the time.
Same with the Amex lounges. Yesterday I was at LAX like 3 hours before my flight and did the hike through the dungeon tunnels from T7 to TBIT. I had never been in the Centurion Lounge there so I figured I’d check it out. Of course there was a 30min wait. Massive line just to check in. Some alarm was going off too, it was a very hectic and unpleasant environment. Even though I would have liked to see this lounge, I decided to just go over to the Star Alliance lounge instead and really enjoyed my time in there, I always enjoy that lounge. Doesn’t seem like I’m missing out on the LAX Centurion, doesn’t look all that special.
All in all, it seems like any lounge that the Platinum card gets you into will be packed to the gills which ruins the experience for me.
It’s still too bad the Star Alliance Lounge doesn’t have a coffee barista like oneworld or Qantas lounge. The coffee is horrible there.
I think it’s wonderful! Mid April I was advised to arrive at MCO @earlier than normal” as I was flying to TLV., and they’re are strict security protocol. No one at the SkyPriority desk si check in was very quick. No security measures. I was the only one at CLEAR/PreCheck. I breezed on through. The SkyClub staff said, “well, technically you’re more than 3 hours early, but, it’s 4:15 am and we only have about 3 guests so far…so come on in!” I could have hugged her. Had a nice relaxing breakfast, read a little, emailed a little, and just felt very happy with DL!
I think DL restricting its own STE+ elites did far more to thin the crowds than the 3hr rule, which is why they’re probably relaxing this rule a bit. And anecdotally, I’ve only tried twice to enter earlier than 3 hours, and I’ve been let in, (lounge wasn’t crowded at either time) so at a local level the rule, might have been more loosely enforced already to begin with.
Fully agree you that the STE+ change is probably the biggest factor (but also the one that still rubs me the wrong way the most).
It is impossible for a customer to enter the Sky Club at their origination airport more than three hours before departure unless that Sky Club didn’t have the new self-scanner kiosks. Those kiosks are programmed not to allow entry more than three hours. It will be interesting how they have been re-programmed moving forward.
That’s a good point, though there’s always one person behind a desk, right? (At least at LAX there is)
Used to frequent the three major airline clubs. It stopped being fun at least 5 years ago when they started letting every Tom, Dick, and Harry in. Couldn’t find a seat, too many nasty hands in the food (nevermind the coughing and sneezing), and loud background when trying to make a call. Now, I just plop myself down in a good restaurant or quiet gate if I have the abject misfortune of arriving early to the airport.
Bottom Line: You can keep your clubs.
Clubs aren’t for you to make calls. Ever think YOU on your “important” call are the one making the noise?
Trust all of us, the clubs don’t miss you.
Does a first class domestic ticket no longer give you access to sky club? I was turned away last time I tried visiting.
Correct. No access.
First Class domestic ticket never gave lounge access. Only Transcon Business tickets (i.e., JFK-LAX) gives lounge access (and still does).
I thought Delta back-tracked on the no access upon arrival rules? I have an email from them from 5/12/2022 stating that. Did they remove the access again?
AFAIK you can still enter after arrival
I recently got the Amex Platinum card after being on haitus from status for last 3 years from Traveling. No issue checking in to B gates club or the A10 club to grab a coffee or a sandwich on arrival two different days this week at DTW as my final destination.
I’ve been enjoying AA’s quieter lounges.
I live an hour and a half from the SLC airport and generally will drop into the Sky Club for a quick refresher 30 minutes before my flight. I also drop in upon returning from travel to freshen up, use the restroom, and get a coffee before the drive home. Last year, following the rule change, I was still permitted in upon returning to SLC. I generally just told the agent I would only be a few minutes and they would scan me through. I really do rely on that post-flight experience to get me the last 100 miles of my trip!
As for spending extensive amount of time, I have had occasion in Denver to spend a part of a work day in the Sky Club. If it appears it is getting busy I simply leave for a while and come back. The agents never seem to mind and I make sure they know they can excuse me for a new patron any time if I’ve exceeded my time and welcome. I figure if people aren’t greedy with the service, we can find a way to (mostly) all enjoy it.
This is a good rule change, although I suspect this was pretty much the policy anyway in practice. There are certain Sky Clubs in the system that rarely get waits, if ever (looking at you, CVG), and it would be silly to enforce the 3 hour rule at an empty Sky Club.
As a former employee myself, I think it was totally reasonable to limit employee access while non-reving. We get to travel the world for free, leaving more space in the clubs for people paying way too much money these days is fine with me
Certainly, I think those who are confirmed in business class on a standby ticket can be reasonably denied access, but I think those who pay for membership, including employees, should be able to take advantage of that membership.
Delta thanks their employees through the pandemic by taking away their access to Sky Club on non Rev tickets. What a great way to show appreciation after blowing smoke up theirs [redacted by admin] telling them how much they appreciate the hard times dealing with [redacted by admin] during the past two years. Keep it up Ed.
Can retirees go into the sky club. What are the procedures to enter into a delta sky club
Not on any sort of pass travel.
Lucky for me there is usually some snack stand somewhere in the airports that I use to get a snack and a beverage. Lounges? Those are usually a good 2 mile hike away from my gate.
Looks like they’ve loosened their standards so much they might even let Tim Dumb in!!
Agents probaly complained about being yelled at by customers about denied entry because 3 hours rule. I can understand if 2nd or 3rd party lounge but when your specfically flying with that airline, wasnt that point of loyaty. The price of first class tickets alone should already cover access whether domestic or international.