Delta Air Lines recently implemented negative changes to its Sky Club Lounge access policy. The new changes took effect on June 1, 2022. With the new restrictions, eligible passengers will only be able to access the Delta Sky Club three hours before their flight time or shortly after arrival.

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Delta Sky Club Access Key Changes

The following changes took place effective June 1, 2022.

  • Eligible guests can now only access the Sky Club 3 hours prior to their departure time.
  • Eligible guests can now only access the Sky Club for 3 hours after their arrival time.

Bear in mind that Delta backtracked on the initial changes it announced on May 4, 2022. Initially, Delta eliminated Sky Club access upon arrival for everyone — except Delta One customers. However, after a backlash from a wide range of Delta customers, the airline performed a U-turn. Now, the 3-hour policy applies to both departure and arrival.

Who Do the New Delta Sky Club Access Policies Apply to?

In a nutshell, everyone — regardless of the way you use to access the Sky Club — is affected by the new changes. The rules apply to everyone whether you are a Sky Club member, hold elite status with Delta or a SkyTeam partner, or even use credit cards to access the lounge.

The only exception to the access rules are holders of the invitation-only Delta 360 status and Centurion® Card from American Express cardmembers. Bearing in mind that these restrictive rules aim to reduce overcrowding, the number of people allowed in by these exceptions is tiny. So, these exceptions shouldn’t have much impact on lounge overcrowding.

Other Options For Airport Lounge Access

If you are looking for free airport lounge access, by far the best and easiest way is using a credit card. Many premium travel rewards cards offer lounge access — such as the The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Accessing lounges using your credit card offers a lot more flexibility since you are not restricted to flying with a specific airline or holding elite status or a particular class of ticket. In many cases, you can fly on the cheapest low-cost fare out there yet still use your card to access the premium business lounge airline business class passengers use.

Our Take

It’s disappointing anytime an airline restricts a perk or benefits. And that’s the case here. Even though we can see the logic behind Delta’s decision to try and address the major lounge overcrowding problem, it still is a devaluation.

Even with these rules now in place, travelers report long lines at Delta Sky Clubs. But hopefully these lines will die down as staffing levels and travel numbers return to pre-pandemic levels. In the meantime, travelers should plan to have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C to gain lounge access the next time you transit an airport.

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