Delta to limit access to Sky Club in 2023

The announcement was made after a record number of visits in 2022.

MINNEAPOLIS — Delta announced some changes this week to Delta Sky Club access, in response to overcrowding in airport lounges across the country, including the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.

Starting next year, the airline says Sky Club memberships will only be available to passengers who achieve frequent-flier classification. Membership costs are also increasing, from $545 to $695 per person or $845 to $1,495 for executive memberships. 

Even those who have memberships in Delta Sky Club won’t be able to go to the lounge if they fly basic economy, unless they have an eligible American Express deal. 

Delta Senior Vice President Dwight James said in a statement that “it’s incredibly important to us that Delta Sky Clubs continue to deliver an industry-leading experience for our guests.”

“While we’re thrilled to see so many customers enjoy the fruits of our teams’ hard work, our goal now is to balance the popularity of the Clubs with the premium service and atmosphere for which they were designed – and that our guests deserve,” James said.

Kyle Potter, the executive editor of Thrifty Traveler, said many airlines have struggled with lounge overcrowding. However, he said Delta faces a “unique” problem because of its partnership with American Express, which grants access to many more travelers. 

“These lounges are too popular, and Delta in particular has given travelers way too many options to get into these lounges in the first place,” Potter said. “There are long lines forming outside of these clubs just to get in. Something had to give, and that’s what we saw this week.”

Potter said the reaction so far “has not been great.”

“That’s because Delta isn’t cracking down on those who are getting into airport lounges using their credit cards,” Potter said. “The takeaway here is, there is a battle going on in the entire airline industry, between credit cards on one hand, and airline elite status on the other hand. And the credit cards are winning because money talks.”

Delta is also adding or renovating eight new lounges across the country, including one at MSP. That new lounge, in Concourse G, will span 21,000 feet while seating 450 guests.

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