No Waivers, No Favors: Sky Club Member Denied Entry Into Empty Lounge Due To 3 Hour Rule

Delta now restricts Sky Club members from entering its lounges until 3 hours prior to the first flight on their itinerary. The stated objective is to limit crowding in clubs. As one Delta executive put it, deriding customers who pay for lounge access and stay too long, “we’re not WeWork.”

The problem, of course, isn’t the Sky Club members. It’s that Delta sells too much access, people are flying again, and the physical spaces they’ve leased can’t handle that much volume. Unlike other airlines (1) they offer more and better food in many clubs that customers do want to come for, and (2) anyone with an Amex Platinum card can access their lounges when flying the airline – it isn’t just limited to club members and those with the carrier’s premium co-brand.

Delta is scapegoating customers, and tinkering around the edges of the problem. The 3 hour rule isn’t coming close to helping.

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The 3 hour rule is being applied literally rather than seriously. One reader reports on the Denver Sky Club.

  • It closes at 12:15 a.m.
  • During the week, in the late evenings, it’s fairly empty – Denver isn’t the sort of busy station you’d find at a Delta hub

Delta has an Atlanta departure half an hour after the lounge closes. But customers cannot enter the largely empty lounge until 3 hours prior to that departure. Not only is the rule unnecessary to prevent crowding, but the rule squeezes how much time passengers on this flight can use the lounge, compared to other passengers, by half an hour.

Two decades ago under Chief Executive Leo Mullin, Delta explicitly had a policy of not helping customers. It was called ‘Simply Good Business’ and known as ‘no waivers, no favors’. One wonders if Mullin, in retirement, is spending his days managing Sky Clubs.

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