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AA has Flagship, United has Polaris. Would Delta open a more exclusive lounge network

AA has Flagship, United has Polaris. Would Delta open a more exclusive lounge network

Old May 6, 18, 9:24 am
  #91  
 
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Here's how it looks in two years for the international premium flier....

% of intl widebody fleet with lie flat seats with privacy

AA - 95% (5-10 763s left)
UA - 70% (still months left in the rollout)
DL - 60% (assume 764s getting retrofit - airliners.net rumor, consider existing A330 / 777 cirrus as private)

U.S. hubs with lounges dedicated for international premium passengers

AA - 4-6
UA - 5 (not believing IAD will see one)
DL - 0

AA and UA have started moving fast on change - Delta had an advantage in the seat department and that flips over these critical years. And while they had an advantage when there were no flagship type lounges open to biz class passengers, they're now getting leapfrogged in the lounge facility department. At this point, the plans they've made public put them on track to be behind AA and UA on both fronts.

Flew Delta JFK on Friday. Domestic flight, but same lounge experience as an intl J passenger. Lounge was packed even before the high summer season and no storms in NYC - enough that the no guest pass sign was up. All plastic utensils, couples wandering the lounge unable to find seats unless outside where it was breezy jacket weather, with trash on the few empty areas, and over five minute wait for the women's restroom.

Separate matter the downgrade of the meal on the 'Delta ONE' transcon flight.

This used to be the scene at United Club and Admirals Club (sans all-plastic) when intl J had no other choice. Now with all intl J open to Flagship and Polaris rolling out the experience is very different for the intl J flier. That Newark Polaris lounge is weeks away, also not a 15 minute hike up the terminal.

Delta will be forced to compete especially with pressure at JFK and LAX and I anticipate announcements from them in response.
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Old May 7, 18, 9:13 pm
  #92  
 
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I often have long connections in the US (I travel internationally and passing customs/security can take anything between 4 minutes and 4 hours, so I need to have enough margin). Lounges are thus important to me.

Prices for the trips I book are normally about the same for AA and Delta. Have been flying AA a lot recently, but am in the middle of a Delta business class trip now.

AAs Flagship lounges are a pleasure to be in and I look forward to visiting them. They look classy, good (real) champagne, tasty food, etc. Connected in ATL today and last week. Visited the lounges in Terminal B, E and F. B and E were a zoo. F was best, but food inferior to the AA food. Free alcohol terrible (with the exception of the local IPA).

Deltas inferior lounges are enough reason for me to avoid Delta as much as possible. Just booked my father a business class ticket on AA solely based on my Delta lounge experience. He will enjoy the Flagship lounge in JFK and the Qantas/Flagship lounge in LAX.

Having said this: After taking a sip of the free Skyclub sparkling wine, I spend 1750 of my skymiles on some Dom Perignon 2006. Now that is an excellent deal!
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Old May 12, 18, 8:17 am
  #93  
 
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Originally Posted by jacket1 View Post

I would beg to differ. The AA flagship lounges blow away most every lounge in the US. The booze is all top shelf (and the Bloody Mary bar in the morning is great if you like those). The food has been very good, including a made to order omelette bar in the morning. They even had very good filets one evening. Service is very personal, quick, and attentive if you want it, or invisible if you dont. I did notice that the cleaning staff (plates, glasses, etc.) have set rounds in the lounge and generally pass by me every five minutes. I must say that AA really exceeded expectations with Flagship.

I personally wont go to the JFK SkyClub anymore. I usuallly find it an unpleasant experience. Very little food offering, long waits at the bar, horribly overcrowded, and a generally disheveled/ messy feeling. My personal opinion is that Delta has fallen behind and does indeed have a subpar product for international travel. I find the new B lounge in Atlanta to be...blah. No drink chits for international, no place to sit, and generally not relaxing.

Ma and Pa Kettle; well, theyre generally at every airline lounge sneezing on the food offerings.
I agree! AA flagship lounges are amazing and add great value!! The Polaris lounge in ORD is great too. I avoid Delta for international travel as it feels basic in premium classes. They have some friendly FAs, but the soft product on Delta to Europe is a let in Delta One and then to add in the sky clubs with kettles makes it feel overcrowded. Delta need to up its premium game like American. Flagship and Polaris lounges do not have that kettle feeling like skyclubs.
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Old May 12, 18, 9:20 am
  #94  
 
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Originally Posted by Pi7473000 View Post
... and then to add in the sky clubs with kettles makes it feel overcrowded. Delta need to up its premium game like American. Flagship and Polaris lounges do not have that kettle feeling like skyclubs.
Since when is a lounge a place for kettles? That reeks of snobbery. I've seen nice J lounges (CX in HKG and VS in LHR) and yes they are quite nice and they do have a quite a nice spread of food and wine, but I really don't see how it can make my decision on which airline to fly. It's more of a nice to have thing IMO. I'd rather have Delta keep investing in the Sky Clubs than making another set of lounges for a small segment of flyers.
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Old May 12, 18, 9:47 am
  #95  
 
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Originally Posted by SJC ORD LDR View Post
Since when is a lounge a place for kettles? That reeks of snobbery.
Thank you! And all of this over a place that people usually sit for no more than 30 or 45 minutes before boarding a flight!
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Old May 12, 18, 11:29 am
  #96  
 
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At what point are we just splitting hairs over the relative elitism of the various programs/seats/clubs? I certainly hope the "table stakes" to be in the airline business won't devolve completely into creating chauffeur rides, special side doors, byzantine clubs and entry rules and (flimsy) partitions between seats. Most of that sounds more like a set of strip club VIP perks. At some time the pampering must end and --- voila -- you are standing on a street corner in a distant city. The extra cost of the 8-12 hours of pampering usually would allow the entire balance of the overseas trip to be upgraded to the highest levels and still come out less costly.
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Old May 12, 18, 12:37 pm
  #97  
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Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
At what point are we just splitting hairs over the relative elitism of the various programs/seats/clubs?
We passed that point with post #1 in this thread
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Old May 12, 18, 4:39 pm
  #98  
 
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Originally Posted by Justin026 View Post
The extra cost of the 8-12 hours of pampering usually would allow the entire balance of the overseas trip to be upgraded to the highest levels and still come out less costly.
I don't know about "the highest levels" (one can easily spend absurd amounts on hotels and dinning) but your point is still very well taken.

I think this is why we are going to see significant growth in the PE sector and shrinking J cabins, especially as technology continues to reduce (though not eliminate) the need for business travel.

AA & UA'a investments might be paying off for the time being, but as soon as the next recession hits (which is basically guaranteed by the lying orange naked emperor) they are going to be stuck with some very expensive operations. It seems to be that DL's discipline will pay off in the long run--they are not trying to sort of bring back IFC but call it J, they are just focused on offering a very good J product.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 11:44 am
  #99  
 
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New Delta flyer and just took my first/and last redeye JFK-CDG on a Delta 767 (pleather seats rant not relevant here). Arrived in the skyclub at JFK an hour before flying and had NO idea there wasn't a proper pre-meal service available?? I thought this was something offered for Delta One. Had to logon to laptop to work so didn't have time to leave lounge and grab a proper meal before takeoff. Had already taken my ambien and was starving - forced to spend the first 2 hours of my short flight eating vs sleeping. I've been happy with switching my short hops out of LGA to Delta and find their short haul domestic F to be superior to AA, but they are really far behind AA&UAL on NYC-anywhere long haul. Are there any plans to offer a more premium offering @ JFK?
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Old Jan 8, 19, 12:05 pm
  #100  
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Originally Posted by morrisunc View Post
Arrived in the skyclub at JFK an hour before flying and had NO idea there wasn't a proper pre-meal service available?? I thought this was something offered for Delta One.
Out of curiosity, why did you think this?
That said, you can totally make a dinner out of the offerings at the JFK SkyClub around dinner time. There isn't the variety of AA's Flagship Lounge, and no a la carte a la UA Polaris or even VS Clubhouse, but there are two soups/broths with toppings, lots of salads/toppings including protein, and then a few hot chafing dishes.

Then if you're still hungry, you can do the express dining on board; IME you should be able to be done with that 60-90 minutes after takeoff.

DL's definitely behind on this front, but for me at least, it's relatively lower down the list of priorities when deciding what to book (below equipment, schedule, and status considerations).

(And FWIW, if you are flying DeltaOne to the UK, you can use the VS Clubhouse, which is superior.)
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Old Jan 8, 19, 12:53 pm
  #101  
 
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Originally Posted by morrisunc View Post
New Delta flyer and just took my first/and last redeye JFK-CDG on a Delta 767 (pleather seats rant not relevant here). Arrived in the skyclub at JFK an hour before flying and had NO idea there wasn't a proper pre-meal service available?? I thought this was something offered for Delta One. Had to logon to laptop to work so didn't have time to leave lounge and grab a proper meal before takeoff. Had already taken my ambien and was starving - forced to spend the first 2 hours of my short flight eating vs sleeping. I've been happy with switching my short hops out of LGA to Delta and find their short haul domestic F to be superior to AA, but they are really far behind AA&UAL on NYC-anywhere long haul. Are there any plans to offer a more premium offering @ JFK?
I am happy to hear this will be your last time taking that flight, and in losing you it seems to me that DL is the biggest beneficiary. I do hope another airline will better accommodate your eating habits and proclivity to starvation, sleep habits, Ambien schedule, and ignorance of the product you or your company bought.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 1:40 pm
  #102  
 
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Originally Posted by morrisunc View Post
New Delta flyer and just took my first/and last redeye JFK-CDG on a Delta 767 (pleather seats rant not relevant here). Arrived in the skyclub at JFK an hour before flying and had NO idea there wasn't a proper pre-meal service available?? I thought this was something offered for Delta One. Had to logon to laptop to work so didn't have time to leave lounge and grab a proper meal before takeoff. Had already taken my ambien and was starving - forced to spend the first 2 hours of my short flight eating vs sleeping. I've been happy with switching my short hops out of LGA to Delta and find their short haul domestic F to be superior to AA, but they are really far behind AA&UAL on NYC-anywhere long haul. Are there any plans to offer a more premium offering @ JFK?
IIRC there was a short period of time a few years ago when a D1 ticket included a light meal at a Sky Club, but that's been gone for a while. I think there was only one thing offered, a small lobster roll over the summer comes to mind, but it was more of a snack than a meal. Others may remember more details. Perhaps this is what you were thinking of?
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Old Jan 8, 19, 7:47 pm
  #103  
 
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Originally Posted by KevinDTW View Post
IIRC there was a short period of time a few years ago when a D1 ticket included a light meal at a Sky Club, but that's been gone for a while. I think there was only one thing offered, a small lobster roll over the summer comes to mind, but it was more of a snack than a meal. Others may remember more details. Perhaps this is what you were thinking of?

they tried this briefly, and then rolled out significantly enhanced food service for all guests. They absolutely do serve substantial hot food that can be a full meal.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 8:15 pm
  #104  
 
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Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post



they tried this briefly, and then rolled out significantly enhanced food service for all guests. They absolutely do serve substantial hot food that can be a full meal.
It can, but it's not good.

I've been in T4 JFK SkyClub a lot over the past year. I am rarely interested in eating the substantial hot food.
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Old Jan 8, 19, 9:33 pm
  #105  
 
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Originally Posted by SOBE ER DOC View Post
I fly both DL and AA internationally with some degree of regularity. While DL SCs are far superior to AA's ACs, the AA Flagship Lounges blow the SCs out of the water.

No only are the FL's just calmer and less crowded, but they have premium food selections that are extensive. The food is great and, in some cases, better than what is served in the air. The self-serve bar offers premium options, as some of the other posters have noted and actual champagne. The Flagship Lounge in ORD has an action station with a chef preparing something new each day. When thinking of the Flagship Lounges, think Centurion Lounge.

The DL SCs are very hit and miss. ATL B/E/F and JFK are great but the rest of the network are hit or miss. If DL wants to continue to remain on-par with AA and UA (and the international carriers) they should consider premium lounges in their major international gateways (ATL, JFK, LAX, SEA)
Considering Delta's revenue premium over the industry right now, ~19 points, I don't think they need to think about being on-par with UA/AA but that UA/AA need to find a way to get on par with Delta.


Originally Posted by salsa View Post
The reason delta has no lounges to match AA Flagship and UA Polaris is delta ain't got no first class intenatioanal cabin. That may come as a surprise to many deltaphiles who have been duped into viewing D1 as first class.
shocking thought.
but Polaris isn't a F cabin, its a big attempt from United to try to find a way to get back everyone they have lost because of the crappy C product the last management team brought over from CO.
and as we have already seen, United will roll a lot of it back to what DL/AA are doing when it doesn't bring in a revenue premium.
Originally Posted by AANYC1981 View Post


yes, every Delta enhancement seems to come with a cost cut from somewhere else.
duh. If you guys honestly think Delta is going to keep enhanced food in the international SkyClubs (ATL E/F, JFK T4, SEA etc. ) then I have some ocean front property in Arizona you need to see.

but that is exactly what should happen. Delta has been making SkyClubs better so they don't have to do a D1 only product. Take that reason away and we go back to fake cheese and popcorn. (probably not that bad but the hubs would likely see the same spread as the out stations)
Originally Posted by cerealmarketer View Post
Over 50% of their intl fleet are 767s with the derided Thomson Vantage seat - and there's no plan in sight to refit those seats.

By the end of this year in NYC and LA - the two largest, most competitive long haul intl markets in the US, AA and UA will each have facilities on par with foreign carrier lounges for intl biz class passengers and in the case of AA, top tier elites. DL continues with no differentiation for biz class or top tier elites unless you're flying to LHR and continues to cut the quality of 'free' food offerings. Don't tell us switching to 'broth' was not a cost save.

My bet is their hand will be forced to provide premium drink / food in the existing lounge as a stopgap - possibly cordon off the seated dining area for premium pax at JFK, and build it into the design at LAX whenever that gets built.
Better tell someone at Delta that. The first 764 is in mods currently. Will take a while to get the STC and FDA approval, also it is getting heavy check IIRC, but i'd guess Delta will announce something in the next two-three months.

Delta hasn't publicly shared it yet but their are 1,000s of project planned at any company like Delta that have yet to hit the news cycle.

Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
Well, to be fair, DL does differentiate between their own lounges. There is certainly a difference between JFK T4 lounge and DTW, for example. The SFO and SEA lounges are beautiful, and LAX certainly will be. Again, I don't think DL will have to open a higher tier of lounges until AA and UA become real competition when it comes flying people around. DL still does this much better.
exactly. Till it gets to the point that AA/UA start pulling revenue away from DL, they aren't changing.

something tells me the HVCs at Delta don't care that much about it. I know as much as I fly the lounge is certainly not something I am going to pick a flight based off of, much less pay more for.
Originally Posted by cerealmarketer View Post
Swiss and LH each already have plans in place to replace their Vantage seats. They also offer first class cabins to capture the premium fliers. UA done converting within two years. AA has a plan in place - down to 5 763s within two years.

https://americanairlines.gcs-web.com...b-66a5694fdabb

There's a rumor on Airliners.net that Delta will refit the small 764 subfleet into the summer of 2020. But no comprehensive plan for this issue like the competition.

And Delta will be the only global US airline without a full dining and rest lounge offering for business class fliers.

These are table stakes for the industry now. Or Delta could choose to rest on its ATL/DTW/MSP/SLC laurels and enjoy profits there and with domestic warriors in other locations with less frequent international trips, while leaving the most demanding international fliers to AA/UA/ME3/Asia in the hyper competitive business center cities - which is a perfectly fine business plan - but one that acknowledges Delta's total package for the international business class flier is lesser.
yeah..... If you are right and its only a rumor, a few MROs and suppliers that are gearing up are going to be pissed.

Just because Delta hasn't told you its happening, doesn't mean it isn't happening. M828MH is at GAMECO in CAN right now getting the work done.

Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
This is just speculation, not even a rumor. I have noticed the AA and UA attempts to have nicer lounges exclusive to their business class cabins due to overcrowding complaints and increasing credit card memberships.

It wouldn't be a good thing for me with my Amex access, but when flying Delta One it might not be bad. Is this one of those inevitable updates when airlines mirror each other?
The problem is Delta doesn't really have the space to do a D1 lounge as easy as United and American. Both had F clubs already and are able to transition easily.

It would take a heck of a modification for Delta to put a D1 lounge into a place like ATL F or DTW or BOS or SEA. (assuming they don't take space out of the already super crowded SkyClubs in those cities)

United/American only have to worry about this capital being spent in a few key places.
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