Delta Announces Tighter Restrictions to Sky Club

May 6, 2022

May 5—U.S. airlines are seeing record bookings as COVID-19 restrictions lift across the country and consumer demand for travel rises in time for summer.

The surge in travelers has left carriers scrambling to adjust. Pilots and open cabin seats are in short supply, as is space inside airport frequent flyer clubs where patrons pay to enjoy amenities and quietude away from busy terminals. The resulting overcrowding has led Delta Air Lines to announce it will begin metering Sky Club members' access to its lounges prior to takeoff.

According to The Points Guy's Zach Griff, Delta announced Wednesday it will soon allow Sky Club members to enter lounges only three hours before their departure time. Different levels of Sky Club membership can be purchased for a yearly or monthly fee and access to lounges is automatically offered to Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card members.

The club's new three-hour policy does not extend to passengers connecting to other flights or those whose flights are delayed. Passengers facing delays will be allowed to stay inside the club until their rescheduled departure. Those most affected by the change will be business-oriented individuals looking to hang out and get work done in the Sky Club more than three hours ahead of their flight.

The new policy also bars standard Sky Club members from accessing the lounge after deplaning at their destination. This privilege remains intact for long-haul business class Delta One members, however. Delta's amended lounge policy is the most restrictive among major carriers and will go into effect on June 1, 2022.

The news of Delta's new policy has rankled some frequent flyers, who took issue with the abruptness of the airline's change and its application to high-level club members.

"Seriously @Delta ??????" tweeted Twitter user Michael Jett. "Limiting sky club access to 3 hours before your flight for even your most high level medallion status??? I love you guys but you're going to regret this decision and the blow back from us Diamond and platinum medallion customers will be fierce."

"Hey @Delta this is LAME!!!" wrote Twitter user @HumbleMechanic. "Working at the sky club on a travel day is the main reason I have it."

In April Delta CEO Ed Bastian extolled the "phenomenal" demand the company was seeing from travelers in 2022. The average price of airfare aboard the carrier rose 40 percent from January to April.

"We've never seen, in our company's history, the level of demand for our products and services that we are [at currently]," Bastian said during an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box. "Consumers are ready to go."


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