I love the concept of an airport lounge as a tranquil oasis away from busy crowds, but that is not the case at many airport lounges this summer. Delta Air Lines, with its close lounge access partnership with American Express, appears to have been hit hardest. Sadly, the frankly insane crowding of Delta SkyClub lounges calls out for a solution when no short-term fixes exist.
Delta SkyClub Crowding – Are You Serious?
Let’s start with a video from my friend Scott Mayerowitz, who recently chronicled the line just to get into the Delta Skyclub at New York JFK:
View this post on Instagram
Was this just a busy morning with a lot of delays and cancellations?
Nope. It is a daily occurrence.
In case you’ve ever wondered whether @Delta Sykclub is worth it:
— doheenz (@doheenz) July 7, 2022
— Seth Easter (@SethEaster1) June 30, 2022
And while JFK may be the worst, it’s happening at other lounges too.
Photos of lines to get in Delta Sky Clubs at JFK and ATL (both recently posted on Reddit) are bananas.
Delta is tweaking access rules soon, but the core problem remains: Travel is booming, and too many now have credit cards with lounge access pic.twitter.com/AnMSLb3BHK
— Kyle Potter (@kpottermn) May 29, 2022
And of course the solution is to build more lounges. It’s also to raise prices for entrance or cut off American Express Platinum cardholders from access.
But none of those can fix the problem this summer.
And I’ve realized, as I’ve spent the last five weeks at home, that there is no fix for this summer. Any solution concerning lounge crowding will take time (even if an announcement is made now, it will likely not go into effect immediately) and this is a lost summer.
And the problem is that you cannot just decide, “Okay, I’ll show up later and just skip the lounge,” because unpredictable airport crowding makes that a dangerous game. If you wait until an hour before your flight to turn up, there’s a decent chance you won’t be able to check in and get through security in time. But if you do get through quickly, you face huge lines to enter the lounge or one huge crowds in the gate area.
With that aside, I alluded to a few possible fixes and here again I simply don’t have a true solution beyond building more lounges. But Delta’s in this love-hate relationship with American Express in which AMEX literally is its best customer in the world, yet its suite of credit card products have led to lounge crowding that makes the experience miserable for everyone.
While I’m not fan of American Express, perhaps it is time AMEX tripled the annual fee on the Platinum card, stopped giving away the card free to special interest groups, and then observed if that makes a difference.
What a summer travel season…and what insane crowding in Delta SkyClubs. It really is insane…and just a tad ironic…that you wait in huge line to avoid lines and you sit in crowded rooms to avoid crowding.
image: @SethEaster1 / Twitter