Delta SkyClub Single Visit Passes Become More Expensive & Restrictive

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I’ve always found airline pricing of lounge day passes to be interesting. Most US airlines charge somewhere around $50 for a day pass to a lounge, which seems kind of steep to me. A US airline lounge really comes down to a place with complimentary wifi, soft drinks, snacks, and house beer/wine.

I think a much more reasonable price for a day pass is something like what the Airspace Lounge San Diego charges — they charge $25 for a day pass, which includes a $10 voucher for something off their menu.

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Airspace Lounge San Diego Airport

Perhaps the reason day passes tend to be so expensive is that airlines are trying to prevent lounge crowding as much as possible, given that most US airline lounges are overcrowded as it stands. However, if they wanted to prevent crowding you’d think that people paying $50 for a one-time visit wouldn’t be the place to do that, as it’s pure profit.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Delta has recently increased the cost of a SkyClub day pass, from $50 to $59.

That’s almost a 20% increase, which I suppose isn’t terrible in and of itself. However, they’re also decreasing what a lounge pass gets you. It used to be a day pass, meaning you could use it at multiple clubs throughout a day. However, now Delta is simply issuing single visit passes, meaning they’re only valid at one lounge for one entry.

SkyClub-Single-Visit-Pass

That’s a pretty sizable increase in cost and also sizable devaluation in terms of what you’re buying.

In fairness, I do think SkyClubs are considerably nicer than Admirals Clubs and United Clubs. I was impressed by my recent visits to the SkyClub Los Angeles and the SkyClub San Diego, and was blown away by my visit to the SkyClub San Francisco, which was physically the most stunning US airline lounge I’ve been to.

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Delta SkyClub San Francisco Airport

Delta-SkyClub-San-Francisco - 9
Delta SkyClub San Francisco Airport

Bottom line

Delta is clearly trying to make their lounges less crowded. This is something they started working on early last year, when they announced that “basic” SkyClub members, as well as those accessing SkyClubs using The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, could no longer bring in guests for free.

Ultimately I doubt this specific move will make all that much of a difference, since I assume not many people are accessing SkyClubs using single visit passes.

(Tip of the hat to Points, Miles & Martinis)

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Comments

  1. What is it that makes the Crown Room Clubs nicer than the Red Carpet Clubs and the Admirals’ Clubs? Is it just that Delta is building better spaces at the particular airports you happen to frequent or is there some universal policy or amenity that makes the difference.

    Certainly in my experience, Untied Airlines staff is the rudest and least helpful while Delta has the most considerate and useful people. (Atlanta and Salt Lake City could be the capitals of nice.) I don’t know whether there’s something more measurable like food amenities or shower availability or furniture.

  2. Wonder what will happen to the costs of single visits for those holding the Delta Gold Amex card? Lucky, any thoughts?

  3. For $59.00 l can get a steak dinner at a nice sit down restaurant at the airport instead of crackers and veggies at the skyclub. What are you smoking Richard Anderson because it must be some good stuff.

  4. I wish more domestic airlines would just invest in nicer terminals rather than wasting money on lounges. Lounges aren’t really necessary, minus the showers, which would be better as a-la-carte offerings. I would say no place in any Delta Skyclub is nicer than Virgin America’s SFO terminal or JetBlue’s JFK Terminal, not to mention nicer new airports like RDU. Maybe the JFK Skydeck, provided you don’t mind breathing jet exhaust.

    Skyclub food is on par with a Super 8 motel, and if you want anything of substance you’re paying airport prices anyway. For $59.00, you could easily eat somewhere nice in the airport. Most well designed airports have free WiFi and outlets, and restaurants with food beyond the Sysco Sadness Catalogue™

  5. That’s basically a “fuck no, we don’t really want your business” price for people interested in day passes.

  6. I’ve hit the United Club at Newark a few times using the annual club passes that the Chase United Mileage Plus offers. Normally the layover time through there is minimal so I don’t care to hang out in the lounge, but one time we had a 12 hour delay and we were able to stay in one of the closed meeting rooms in the lounge with another family while our children were sacked out.

    Once during a solo trip back to Hong Kong, I had a connection SLC-SFO-EWR. The air-con was busted on the SLC-SFO flight with only a short layover, so I was a smelly mess by the time I got to Newark. Thankfully once there I had a long enough layover to hit the showers. On that trip I did not have a club pass, but I willingly shelled out the $50 to be able to shower and refresh before the long-leg back home. Best $50 I ever spent.

  7. Just call me a broken record (remember records?) but…… DL is famous for an unbroken stream of value dilution events. This is just another one. I live in ATL and now fly DL when I must, whereas I used to fly them all the time. I have given a nice five figure sum of money to Singapore, BA, Cathay Pacific and other airlines this year and received better value for my dollar.

    @Lucky, you are correct. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone actually buy a Day pass. I can’t see how this move benefits DL more than the cost of the negative PR.

  8. “if they wanted to prevent crowding you’d think that people paying $50 for a one-time visit wouldn’t be the place to do that, as it’s pure profit.”

    pure profit?

  9. @Dan and @Jonathan

    I tend to agree on the “What’s new, just more Delta take-aways?” theme. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anybody BUY a Day Pass. My theory is that this is more about “elevating the appearance of ‘exclusivity’ in the lounge”… but I don’t know that anyone really cares. A lot of the terminals (notably ATL and LAX) where DL has nice clubs, there’s some value in the club to escape the narrow, claustrophobic, noisy main DL concourse. But, with $60 in my pocket and 90 minutes to kill at LAX, I’m escaping that awful Terminal 5 via the tunnel to T6/T7 and walking over to the ‘B Steakhouse’ in T7. Awesome food, WiFi, better drinks and less money.

    The big question for me– And I’m directing this to our Fearless Leader Ben– is Delta flailing a little bit here trying to make the value in the Delta AMEX Card look better? I still think the risk for DL on the revenue-loyalty side is that they got addicted to the AMEX income– but Costco is famously ditching the AMEX relationship, which means many many billions in AMEX card spend is disappearing. Most people I know who are paying the fees justify it in the Costco spend. With AMEX about to become worthless at Costco– how does this affect Delta?

    I’m anxiously awaiting the announcement of Costco’s new card partnerships, and will be updating my airline/allegiance choices based on where that spend will now be going… thoughts anyone?

  10. Thanks for all the comments. I’m here now at West Palm Beach airport waiting to join my group (which won’t be here for a few hours) and was thinking of getting a day pass. But, now I’m going to head on over to a restaurant instead. I’ve got my ipad, cell phone, and hey, think I’ll by a newspaper. Time will “fly”.

  11. As an avid Delta club visitor utilizing day pass vouchers I found it well worth the average $20 I was spending on eBay to purchase them. (It appears they were frequently distributed to bumped flight passengers who then re-sold them.) When I travel with my wife the $29 I spend cash at the counter to get into the club is/was still worth it.
    Biggest revelation to me was the news I heard 3 weeks ago in New Orleans (MSY). The Club employee told me DL is no longer issuing these passes. In fact the quantity available on eBay this February ’16 has dwindled and the few for sale have expirations of either Mar 31or June 30. That lends validation that these passes will un-officially end in June 2016.
    Bottom line – Entry on a $20 pass = worth it. As my wife’s guest at $29 – still acceptable ‘to me.’ Full tariff at $59? No Way!
    Followed by the question: Is it worth the $500 per year for the Amex DL card? Still analyzing that.

  12. Just completing a frustrating layover at MSP, courtesy of DL dropping/changing our travel itinerary….without any notification (email or call). When we approached the “customer assistance” help desk at MSP, inquired about a complimentary pair of passes to account for this additional two hours of lounging around, was told very clearly “no”.

    After waiting for nearly 90 min to finally speak to someone reportedly in authority (after being offered last minute re-routing without confirmed seats, meal vouchers, and ultimately seats in a rear exit row with limited recline by the worker-bees), was told very succinctly that the lounge was “exclusively for
    Membership” and that, since we declined the other amenities offered, we were essentially out of options. I remained calm, though frustration meter was certainly peaked. We politely exited the “assistance” center and went to have lunch and enjoy the spotty public wi-fi.

    What was clear to me was the lack of customer care, and the lack of prioritialzation by the “manager”…..she was willing to offer up options which would have amounted to at least the cost of the lounge access, but did not meet my expectation for compensation based on having to sit and wait on the delay —–which was validated by DL employees (multiple times) to have missed a notification. So much for wanting to maintain customer loyalty…..

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