a lobby with chairs and art on the wall

Let’s be real, if you’re a real travel road warrior or VIP, every extra minute spent at the airport is wasted time.

There are times when it’s nice to check out early and sit and watch planes, but for most frequent travelers, experience means efficiency and efficiency means spending as little time waiting around as possible.

There are deals to close, beautiful hotel pools to enjoy and lovely fresh croissants to purchase, most of which don’t take place at the airport.

After years of relaxed entry rules, Delta is tightening current SkyClub lounge access rules to limit overstayers — and is rapidly launching exciting new ‘Delta One’ lounges to offer an even higher level of service to premium customers.

a room with chairs and art on the wall

Delta’s New SkyClub Entry Limits

Delta has been trying to push lounges in premium directions in recent years, with upgraded food and beverage options to match more refined spaces.

For those who travel regularly to Europe, Asia or the Middle East, it was easy to see that room for improvement in the US lounge market was aplenty, and Delta has been working aggressively to fill that gap.

Delta now thinks another way to create a more premium lounge experience is to weed out excessive lounge behaviors. Lounge access after arrival is now over — and a new 3 hour time limit before flight will be in place for most passengers.

Beginning June 1, 2022, guests will be able to access Clubs anytime within 3 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†.

Note that a same-day round-trip does not qualify as a connection. Customers will be able to access Clubs within 3 hours of their scheduled departure flight and within 3 hours of their return flight.Delta Airlines

After all, these are airport lounges, not WeWork spaces. Some Delta SkyClub members were rampantly abusing lounge access, using lounges before flights but then also after arrival at their final destination to drink the night away, rather than going out to bars.

If you have a connecting flight, these limits don’t apply, and Delta One passengers on international tickets also have exemptions, as do top tier Delta360 members.

Delta is clearly trying to weed out certain passenger groups and behaviors to reduce crowding. Whether it works or not, remains to be seen. Maybe some travelers won’t renew their memberships?

a bar with chairs and a shelf with bottles

Delta Launching New Premium Customer Lounges

Delta SkyClubs will remain accessible for people who pay the yearly fee, or hold select credit cards, in addition to traveling on certain tickets. But for passengers who fly Delta One, a new class of lounge is coming.

Delta will soon offer its own version of American’s Flagship Lounge, or United’s Polaris Lounge concepts, with Delta One Lounges. These premium airport lounges will not be available to Delta SkyClub members or people accessing the spaces with credit cards.

Only ticketed Delta One passengers, or ultra-top tier status holders will likely be able to use these lounges. Accordingly, significant refinement of amenities, including top shelf drinks, full meals and personalized service is expected.

Delta One Lounges are first expected to launch at New York JFK, Detroit Wayne and Los Angeles (LAX). Time tables remain elusive, for now.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *