Delta is making big changes to who can access its popular Sky Club airport lounges

Delta Air Lines aircraft.
Delta Air Lines aircraft.On The Run Photo/Shutterstock
  • Delta Air Lines is changing who can access its Sky Clubs after complaints of long lines and crowds from customers.

  • Club membership and guest pass fees have increased and they can no longer be purchased by just anyone.

  • Some Medallion members can no longer access the lounge when traveling internationally in select cabins.

Accessing Delta's popular Sky Club lounge just got a little harder for some frequent fliers of the airline.

On Wednesday, the Atlanta-based carrier announced sweeping changes to its Sky Club, including increasing fees, removing access from some travelers, and only allowing Medallion members to purchase a membership.

According to Delta, starting January 1, only Diamond, Platinum, Gold, and Silver Medallion members can buy annual memberships to the Sky Club. The fees will also increase, as outlined below:

  • Individual: The former price was $545 or 54,500 miles, but will increase to $695 or 69,500 miles.

  • Executive, which includes guests: The former price was $845 or 84,500 miles, but will increase to $1495 or 149,500 miles.

Effective February 2, those buying an executive membership will also see a higher fee for each guest, increasing from $39 per person per location to $50 (3,900 to 5,000 miles for Club members paying with miles), according to Delta.

Another significant change is restricting those that can access the lounge. Sky Club members flying on a basic economy ticket, as well as Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion Members flying internationally in Delta's Main Cabin or Comfort+ can no longer access the Sky Club, effective February 2.

Access can be granted through other means, like having an eligible American Express credit card or a Club membership, according to Delta. The fee for eligible American Express cardholders to bring a guest has also increased from $39 to $50.

Meanwhile, Diamond Medallion members who reach status for 2024 will have to spend three Choice Benefit selections for executive Sky Club membership instead of two, while individual memberships will no longer be available via Choice Benefits, per Delta.

These are huge changes for the airline, especially since anyone can currently purchase a Sky Club membership. However, long lines and a lack of empty seats inside the lounges created frustration for travelers, prompting Delta to make the changes.

"While we're thrilled to see so many customers enjoy the fruits of our teams' hard work, our goal now is to balance the popularity of the Clubs with the premium service and atmosphere for which they were designed – and that our guests deserve," Dwight James, SVP of customer engagement & loyalty, and CEO of Delta Vacations, said in a press release.

According to CNBC, the airline has already made efforts to reduce crowds, like adding VIP lines to certain Clubs, limiting access to only three hours before departure, and reporting lounge busyness to travelers in Atlanta and Detroit as "not busy" to "extremely busy."

Since April, Delta has opened four new Sky Clubs across its network, including at New York's LaGuardia Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, and Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

Read the original article on Business Insider