[Update: Access on arrival restored] Delta Reducing Sky Club Access To 3 Hours Before Flight

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Update 5/12/22: Delta sent an email to members today indicating that they have had a change of heart: customers will be able to access the Sky Club on arrival, with or without a connection. This is a huge positive as a number of readers pointed out that they often use the lounge on arrival to freshen up before an early morning meeting or to take a call that can’t wait. Clearly, Delta heard the feedback on that and they reacted. Note that Delta is still going forth with its plan to allow Sky Club access up to 3 hours before departure of your first leg. You will still be able to access the club on a layover no matter how long the layover is. That change begins January 1st.

The original post follows.

Delta announced today that it’s making a couple of changes to its Sky Club admittance policy, although people will likely have different perspectives as to whether they’re positive or negative changes.

Starting from June 1, 2022, the following change will be made:

  • Guests will be able to access Clubs anytime within three hours of their scheduled departure time (and connecting customers can continue to access Clubs at any time prior to departure).
  • All departing and connecting customers will have access to Clubs. With the exception of arriving Delta One customers, Club access will be unavailable for arriving customers without a connection. Update: Arriving customers will still be able to use the lounge with or without a connection.

The reason that Delta has given for these changes is that with air travel rebounding since COVID initially had a huge impact on passenger levels, Sky Clubs are becoming overcrowded and so they’re seeking to manage that overcrowding.

These changes seem reasonable enough to me. If Delta is getting to the point where they’re having to turn people away from accessing Sky Clubs, it seems fair that they’d turn away someone who arrived at the airport more than three hours early rather than someone who wants a quick drink and a bite to eat on the way to their gate. They’ve confirmed that if you have a layover of more than three hours you’ll still be allowed into Sky Clubs, so you’ll only be affected if you’re arriving very early for your first/only leg. If your flight is delayed, you’ll also be able to enter a Sky Club within three hours of your original departure time, so there’s no negative effect there either beyond the delayed flight.

Not having access to Sky Clubs on arrival seems like a fair policy too if your visit on arrival would impact someone else’s access for their departure.

I’m curious though as to how meaningful these changes will be. I can’t imagine that there’s a huge number of people choosing to arrive at the airport more than three hours early simply to sit in a Sky Club until their flight. Similarly, I wouldn’t have thought there are many people who get off the final leg of their flight and immediately make a beeline for a Sky Club, but perhaps I’m wrong on that. If my assumptions are correct, it therefore doesn’t seem like these two policy changes will have a significant impact on capacity controls for their airport lounges. However, Delta obviously has more detailed information about their Sky Club visitors than I do, so they must have calculated that it’ll make some kind of positive difference. We’ll just have to hope that they don’t make further changes to their Sky Club access policies in the coming months/years that would impact far more people than these limited changes.

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Daniel

“ That change begins January 1st.”

You mean June 1st, right?

Last edited 10 days ago by Daniel
DCFlyer

Like many others here, I often will visit the Crown Room (old term I know but I still call Skyclubs that 🙂 upon arrival to freshen up, check email, or wait for other arriving colleagues. Definitely short sighted in my view, as part of the slide to mediocrity in service. It will be interesting to see what the other airlines do – I also fly United quite regularly. I remember back in the 1990s and the clubs were quite nice back then – always a place to sit, top shelf liquor, and decent food. My last comment is that it would be good to see the club staff enforce the rules of decorum as it seems many folks these days think it appropriate to use other seats and tables as foot rests, and other “gross” things. Safe travels everyone

Last edited 14 days ago by DCFlyer
C W

Strongly disagree about arrival. It’s really important to have a quiet space for a work call or to freshen up, especially after a long cross-country flight, early morning flight, etc… before heading to a business meeting. This change will have the net effect of me no longer choosing to fly Delta for business travel on many routes, and I bet I’m not alone. I really hope they retract this policy shift. Overall it seems like Delta is on a mission to make their high value, most loyal customers hate them and switch airlines. So far this year I’ve diverted about $50k in ticket spend from Delta to United. This change is only going to make it worse.

r2e

Agree with CW. Having a good lounge option on arrival for a work meeting makes work travel or remote travel far easier.

Shawn Walsh

“Not having access to Sky Clubs on arrival seems like a fair policy too if your visit on arrival would impact someone else’s access for their departure.“

I have to disagree with this. I am sitting in the Skyclub at BOS writing this having gone to the club after the arrival of my flight. I often use the club to get work done while I wait for the bus (sometimes I have to wait an hour or more after arriving) and having access to the club on arrival is one of the reasons I have started using Delta regularly for business travel. Today I have to wait for a team member who is arriving 3 hours after I arrived.

This change will have me reevaluating my use of Delta.

Cj

Hello all i actually work in the sky club, no one is exempt from the rules including the 360’s at this point. We all know things can change very quickly. I too enjoy stopping in the club on arrival to use a clean restroom and grab a snack, so this is a bummer to me as well. It will be hard to enforce since we are usually not an overcrowded club. We will have to see how it plays out.

Stephen

“Not having access to Sky Clubs on arrival seems like a fair policy too if your visit on arrival would impact someone else’s access for their departure.“

What an incredibly short-sighted comment. Why are people waiting to get on a flight more important than people that have just gotten off a flight? What if your departing flight left from an airport that doesn’t have a Sky Club, or left outside of the normal lounge operating hours?

greg

I also use lounges on arrival regularly. Grab a quick snack, or a place to get on Wifi for a few minutes for any urgent work.

DC not in DC

Delta merely copied the AMEX Centurion lounge policies.

Dee

Very short notice fof this change and the $695 a year is looking like we are overpaying!

Joe

Delta created this mess with their credit card access as well as the rollover creating excessive Diamond levels. I fly frequently for work….as in 3+ trips a week. Many times I depart before the clubs open and would stop at arrival for a quick bite l. I often wrap up work early and head to the airport when there is a club….use the service desk to try to switch to an earlier flight and get work done. This change mid year is absurd and not what I paid for. Like purchasing a 24 hrs gym membership and halfway through the year being told you can only use it certain times. This “one size fits all” change is not a smart strategy. Gold and above should have been exempt, and anyone that purchased a membership should see no change until the next year

Jerry

If this lounge policy eventually infects escape lounges and global lounge collection, it will make it easy to cut up my Amex platinum

Reno Joe

Amex applied these same restrictions to the Centurion lounges a while back. A response to overcrowding. The spending requirement for complimentary guest access is another response.

Andy

The card is made of metal, so it should still be pretty tough to cut up.

Cavedweller

Tin Snips after u call them and bitch..

Reno Joe

All airport lounges are under pressure from overcrowding. The airlines / providers have to do something about it. Otherwise, we will continue to have the capacity restrictions that we already have. Getting off a flight and popping into the club has no value if the given club is experiencing capacity restrictions. Now, with these changes, Delta might have used too blunt of an instrument. Perhaps Delta could have focused on stress period and leave non-stress periods alone: applied these restrictions to, say, 9am to 6pm and exempt all transcon flights. But, in the end, something has to be done about overcrowding.

davev

I have a problem with this… When I fly on a red-eye from the west coast and land on the east coast I frequently will stop at the club to take a shower and change so I can go right into my client meetings. Not happy with this policy…

Pat

I would have a problem with not having access on arrival — if I were a club member, I would demand a 50% refund on my annual fee…

Bob

Landing: I sure will miss grabbing a quick bite to eat and a beverage in the lounge after a transcontinental flight.

Amol

The less than a month notice when many people have purchased memberships or renewed Delta Reserve Amex is straight up nonsense. I use Sky Clubs on arrival frequently (waiting for fellow travelers, off a redeye, etc.). Just because you don’t use it doesn’t mean others have made that part of the value proposition of paying for access, and now they’re taking it away with little notice.

Rory

I use the club on arrival often too. Hoping they reconsider this. I will agree clubs have been pretty packed lately, though.

Grant

This sounds like the same rules as the Centurion Lounges, so it seems reasonable to me.

Simon

Does the max 3hr access apply to those flying Delta One? (I’m flying JFK-LAX-SYD in Delta One)

Reno Joe

Your connection at LAX will be exempt from the restrictions.

Sam

I would have thought they would make an exception to Diamond medallions

Mike Apf

Everyone is Diamond this year due to the extensions and mega multiplier in MQMs last year. Im a 360 – 4MM, Diamond since 2010 and have Executive membership, but will have to take the ban. I see though Delta One is exempt for arrival access and has normal access pre June 1

Reno Joe

I believe Delta 360s are exempt from these changes as well.