Delta Air Lines, one of the largest airlines in the world, has announced that it will restrict access to its Sky Club airport lounges as it faces overcrowding issues. The airline said it plans to cap the number of entries to its Sky Clubs starting Feb. 1, 2025 for holders of the American Express Platinum Card and the Delta Reserve American Express Card. Those who book a basic economy ticket will also be barred from the lounge starting Jan. 1, 2024, regardless of their credit card status.
Sky Club Benefits and Challenges
Delta’s Sky Clubs are exclusive lounges that offer free meals, drinks, Wi-Fi, showers, and a quiet place to relax or work before a flight. They are located in more than 50 airports around the world and are accessible to those who have a premium credit card, a business or first-class ticket, or a paid membership.
However, the popularity of the Sky Clubs has also led to some challenges, such as long lines, crowded spaces, and limited seating. Delta said it received feedback from its customers and employees that the Sky Club experience was not meeting their expectations.
Changes and Alternatives
To address these issues, Delta said it will implement several changes to its Sky Club access policy in the next few years. Starting Feb. 1, 2025, those who hold the American Express Platinum Card will be allowed six visits per year, while those who hold the Delta Reserve American Express Card will get 10 annual visits. These visits can be used for themselves or their guests. After reaching their limit, they will have to pay $39 per visit.
Additionally, starting Jan. 1, 2024, those who book a basic economy ticket will no longer be allowed in the lounge, even if they have a premium credit card or a paid membership. Delta said this is to ensure that its most loyal customers and those who pay for a premium product can enjoy the Sky Club benefits.
Delta also said it will continue to invest in enhancing and expanding its Sky Club network, such as opening new lounges in New York JFK Terminal 4 and Newark Terminal A. It also said it will not affect access to American Express’s own Centurion-branded airport lounges, which are available to Platinum Card holders.
Those who want to access the Sky Club without any restrictions can still purchase an annual membership for $695 or use their SkyMiles to redeem one. They can also earn status on Delta’s loyalty program based on the amount of money they spend with the airline.
The news of the Sky Club access changes has sparked mixed reactions from Delta’s customers. Some praised the airline for trying to improve the lounge experience and reduce overcrowding. Others criticized the airline for devaluing their credit cards and memberships and making it harder for them to enjoy the perks they paid for.