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Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines Restricts Sky Club Access

Delta Air Lines Restricts Sky Club Access
Anya Kartashova

In an effort to eliminate overcrowding, more and more airport lounges have been changing their guest access policies as well as limiting access to certain credit-card holders. In a recent move to keep the crowds at bay, Delta Sky Club has announced that members would be allowed access only in conjunction with a boarding pass on a Delta Air Lines– or a partner-operated flight, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Right now, passengers with Sky Club membership can enter the lounge without having to fly on a Delta flight. Simply holding a same-day boarding pass on any airline is enough, but the policy is changing about a year from now. The number of guests will not be affected and will apply as usual, depending on the type of membership.

Additionally, Sky Club members will no longer have access to partner lounges operated by Air France, KLM and Virgin Australia.

On the one hand, limiting access is bad news. On the other, having a year notice is a lot more than one could hope for from Delta and its frequent no-notice changes.

The Platinum Card from American Express and co-branded Delta SkyMiles cardholders will experience no changes to their Sky Club access options. The Platinum Card members already receive free access with same-day Delta travel only, and each guest pass costs $29.

Passengers who hold a Delta Reserve Credit Card will keep their complimentary Sky Club access for same-day travel with Delta or one of its partners. Guests, whose entrance cost will remain at $29, also have to fly Delta to access one of the Clubs.

Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles cardholders will be able to access the lounges at a reduced cost of $29, also with a same-day Delta or partner airline ticket. The same cost and policy applies to guests. It will not be possible to purchase access in conjunction with a boarding pass issued by other airlines.

In 2017, Sky Club costs went up from $450 to $495 for an Individual Membership and from $695 to $745 for an Executive Membership. Raising the price and then limiting access doesn’t work out in a customer’s favor. Having said that, Delta Sky Clubs are better than most domestic lounges, which puts them in high demand. In either case, members have a year to decide whether their annual Sky Club membership is worth keeping.


What do you think of the future Sky Club access policy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


View Comments (9)


  1. jjmoore

    November 28, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I am in full support of higher club prices and limited access, as I would like to pay for a more exclusive experience in a club. I commend DL for doing this, and wish UA would do the same. Sometimes in the DEN UA clubs, I have to ask myself if it is less crowded at the gate, and I don’t like paying $500+ for a membership and have to even worry about asking myself that question when I go up the escalator.

  2. JKennedyMD

    November 29, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Well….it suxs. In Nashville, Southwest is the dominant non-stop carrier. While I am Platinum on Delta, I do take Southwest since non-stop is the ultimate first class. Looks like I’ll be joining the American Airlines club instead of the Delta club so that I can use it while flying on Southwest.

  3. Sabai

    November 29, 2017 at 8:54 am

    “…Having said that, Delta Sky Clubs are better than most domestic lounges”

    Paid content by Delta, or the personal opinion of the writer?

  4. festdave

    November 29, 2017 at 11:41 am

    United already did this several months ago (August 2017 I believe). As of now, you have to have a same-day boarding pass on United or a StarAlliance partner in addition to your membership or status or whatever grants you access.

  5. Dubai Stu

    November 29, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I’m bummed about the KLM change. I’m a Delta Lifetime Executive Lounge member and made the investment (in large part) for KLM access.

  6. ZJ3000

    November 30, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Why would you like to pay more for less? It doesn’t make sense, though DL is doing a great job with their new and remodeled SkyClubs, they are also charging more for memberships,
    The point is you are paying for club access, DL should limit entrance if access were free but that’s not the case, instead of limiting access to payed memberships should just limit “free” access for CC holders.
    Regarding the overcrowded lounges, solution is simple, enforce 2hrs max, and lastly, not sure about you but, I will always prefer complimentary drinks, light meal, and clean showers and bathrooms to waiting at the gate.

  7. NW.BTR.Than.The.Rest

    November 30, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    I know these blurbs on FT often don’t have the full info and/or there are gross errors. However, if this is correct, and there is no more to the story regarding LIFETIME EXECUTIVE Sky Club memberships, then this is just wrong. I know T&C can change, but even with a year of notice, this is not what I paid thousands of dollars for. I could even live with not having guests accompany me, but I am primarily a solo traveler, and I bought the membership for ME, and I want to be able to access the Sky Club when I can regardless of who I am flying that day. I could not find this change discussed on the DELTA.COM website.

  8. MimiB22

    December 7, 2017 at 5:23 am

    My husband is grandfathered in with a lifetime Sky Club membership he obtained years ago when Pan Am lifetime memberships were absorbed into Delta’s system. I wonder if this will effect him as it’s not tied to a credit card. He flew another airline recently but was able to use the Sky Club. This lifetime membership was bought for $100 way back in the day, as an introductory come on and we can say without doubt, it’s been the best investment of our traveling life.

  9. captobie

    December 17, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    @festdave, I don’t believe that’s true. I’m a United Club member who never flies United. I just visited the lounge at SeaTac while flying Alaska, which is not a Star Alliance member. I scanned my United Club card and my Alaska boarding pass and entered without issue.

    This is a bad policy on Delta’s part. I agree that overcrowding is a problem, but to not allow annual membership holders entrance if they are not flying on Delta or a partner flight is wrong. I’d rather see them limit other types of access without penalizing those who spend a lot of money up front for membership.

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