According to this FlyerTalk thread, Delta has been testing a program at JFK for their Diamond Medallion members (those that earn 125,000+ elite qualifying miles/year) for a while now. Basically, they’re offering a “meet and greet” service for Diamonds upon arrival from international destinations.
They “fast track” you through immigration and then all the way to your connecting flight. Apparently they’ve been doing this for arrivals between the hours of 12PM and 6PM.
No doubt being “fast tracked” through immigration can save a lot of time (especially if you’re not a US citizen), though I think that’s where most of the value is. Not in them waiting with you for your bags and bringing you to your connecting flight.
Anyway, what’s really surprising to me here is that they’re able to do this. But according to a poster in that thread, there are 20-30 Diamond Medallions arriving between those hours, which isn’t a whole lot.
So more than anything else, this raises the question, does Delta not have that many 100,000+ mile flyers, or does United just have that many more? The average international 777 on United must have anywhere between 25 and 50 1Ks. While 1K is a slightly lower tier than Diamond in terms of miles required, even if you raised the tier by 25,000 miles, I still think they would be lightyears apart in terms of their elite ranks.
Anyway, kudos to Delta for this very cool benefit. I don’t expect it to be replicated anywhere else. Though at the very least, the legacies left with international first class (American and United) should consider offering this service for paid first class passengers. It’s the least they can do given how far behind they are in most other regards.