Delta’s meet and greet service for Diamond Medallions at JFK

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.

Comments

  1. Remember, this is ONLY at T4 (from what I read) and there aren’t that many flights coming into T4 at the moment.

    This is the type of service that I think helps differentiate the premium service to pax who matter most to DL. However, I’m surprised they haven’t implemented for J pax who would be paying more (typically) than a Diamond in Y.

  2. UA already has a “meet and greet” scheme for international F class passengers — at least on some flights and at some airports. I don’t fly international F very often, but they have done it each time I have flown in F internationally.

    At LHR, UA provides “fast track” immigration to all F and C passengers, including NC and XC. Because of how UK immigration & LHR airport security are setup in T1, the “fast track” is only useful to passengers ending in London. Someone transiting LHR to GLA does not particularly benefit from this.

  3. In the good old days of the original Swissair (i.e before they became Swiss and Lufthansa), they used to do the same in JFK to their “Circle” members. 1-2 people on a 747.

  4. This benefit might actually be useful if DL offered reasonably priced upgradeable coach fares and/or reasonably priced B/E awards. Maybe that’s why DMs aren’t flying as much international on DL as 1Ks are on UA?

    @Azi — Don’t HON Circle members receive this benefit currently?

  5. Maybe. Once Swissair stopped flying (it happened in one day, when I was aboard!) – I stopped using them and moved to my national carrier – ELAL.

  6. UA offers this for Int F (as mentioned above) and also for Global Services at selected airports, like LHR

  7. “The average international 777 on United must have anywhere between 25 and 50 1Ks.”??? Not sure on the basis of that statement, but I find it a tish hard to believe. Of all my friends (most of which are int’l consultants), I have the heaviest travel profile, and only a few of us have 1K (or equiv status) on an airline.

    But perhaps I’m wrong – are there are any stats somewhere on 1K numbers? (actual or calculated estimates) The numbers suggested by the author imply 10%-20% of passengers on all flights are 1K. Again, it feels high.

  8. 1K’s will never get this, if only because how do you top it for GS? You cannot give something to 1K’s that you cannot better for your GS members.

  9. Where are you getting the stat that every UA international 777 arrival has 25-50 1Ks on it?? Jst because you think so?

    No way that 10-20% of every international flight is top-tier elites.

  10. LH and LX offer this service for all HON Circle and First Class Pax, where I have noticed it, at Washington Dulles, San Francisco and Boston. The service as you’ve all pointed out is extremely valuable if you’re not an American citizen or arriving at a peak time.
    “Fast track” through Heathrow is a joke for any EU passport holder though.

  11. As per the 1K’s, if you glance at the pax manifest in the galley you’ll find a A LOT of elite’s, of course you’ll never get numbers but I think at least 3-4 in C, and I’ve usually seen 8-10 in Y, that are just 1K/GS….on a LH service from SFO-MUC there were 10 listed as UA*G in Y

  12. This is great! This way, we won’t have to wait in line for out next connecting flight. I think there’s a movie regarding this starring George Clooney. I forgot the title, though.

  13. Nov. 27th I arrived back from Amsterdam to JFK. Our Flight was 1hr late leaving Schippol airport so I only had 1hr to go through immigrations, customs, and connect to my final destination (Baltimore). Upon arriving at the gate Terminal 3 a Delta Rep Met me and escorted me though a step of tunnels and an elevator to the front of Immigration and Customs, then to reclaim my luggage (was already sitting there event though the rest of the bags hadn’t made it to the baggage claim, then expedited me back through security and to my gate. 20 Minutes flat. So impressed. Delta Agent said they only do it at JFK for Diamond Medallion Customers and Thanked my for my biz and loyalty to Delta. Impressive. Thanks Delta, Otherwise I would have missed my connection.

  14. I’m a Diamond and traveled through JFK 4 times in the past 2 years, mainly from Zurich, Switzerland. So far, Delta was able to perform this service once, the second time they messed up; and No. 3 and 4 they totally failed. I no longer rely on this program and consider it a failure!

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