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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.
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.
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.
Delta SkyClub San Francisco Airport
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)