Delta now offers ‘priority boarding’ at Sky Clubs to skip the wait

“What’s your group?” That may be the question you hear the next time you visit a Delta Sky Club.

The Atlanta-based carrier is in the midst of rolling out priority lanes for access to the Sky Clubs, as confirmed to TPG by a carrier spokesperson.

These prioritized entry lanes will be roped off from the regular line and will offer expedited entry into the lounge when it’s operating at peak capacity. Eligible travelers that can use the new priority access lanes include:

Just as these groups enjoy priority boarding before departure, these flyers will now also enjoy expedited access to the Sky Club, too.

Delta’s new priority access lane at Sky Clubs. COURTESY TPG READER

The move to separate the Sky Club entry line comes as Delta suffers from some severe lounge overcrowding at many of its hubs. With tons of eligible passengers passing through airports each day, there’s simply not enough room in the Sky Club to accommodate everyone at once.

Of all the U.S. airlines, Delta is the most generous with lounge access. Anyone with Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express has access to the Sky Club, along with the carrier’s long-haul business-class passengers, Sky Club members and top-tier flyers selecting a lounge membership as their annual perk.

Delta doesn’t yet operate business-class-only lounges, which further exacerbates the overcrowding issue for its popular Sky Clubs.

Sky Club overcrowding in Atlanta. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

When the lines rope around the terminal, Delta will now allow its most valuable customers to skip the line. For Delta, it seemingly makes sense to offer this service to its top flyers. After all, these are the travelers giving the airline the most revenue, so the airline will now “upset” those who are trying to access the lounge through other means.

Of course, travelers paying for a lounge membership aren’t getting priority access, but it’s certainly possible that Delta might consider offering an ancillary buy-up to a more expensive membership that includes entry to the priority lane.

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In a statement confirming the move, a Delta spokesperson shared that this rollout follows a successful trial of these priority lanes in Atlanta.

Following a successful operational test in Atlanta, Delta Sky Club will roll out dedicated entry lanes in a phased approach at select airports. These entry lanes are just one of a continual range of enhancements designed to ensure our most frequent fliers and Delta Sky Club guests have a great experience on the ground and in the air.

TPG was the first to report about the trial in Atlanta back in June, which was seems to have been successful enough for Delta to now debut these priority lanes nationwide.

Atlanta priority lane trial. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

It wasn’t immediately clear which airports Delta was targeting for the new priority lanes, but it’s likely that it’ll include key hub locations, such as Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis—St. Paul, New York, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

While the new priority lanes will help select flyers get into the lounge, Delta is also making larger changes to its access policies to combat overcrowding.

As of June 1, 2022, you can no longer enter a Sky Club more than three hours before the scheduled departure time of your flight. The only exception is for connections, which aren’t subject to the three-hour rule.

Delta’s new priority lanes in Seattle. COURTESY TPG READER

Though Delta’s lounges suffer from overcrowding, at least they offer the best experience of any U.S. airline club once inside.

The airline continues to build snazzy new locations across the country, including massive new outposts in Los Angeles (LAX), New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD). The food and beverage offerings are also much tastier and more lavish than those you’ll find in either the American Airlines Admirals or United Airlines Club.


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