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Delta Air Lines Is Restricting Your Access to Lounges—Here's Why

The carrier is continuing to make changes as complaints pile up.

Airports have a tendency to be hectic and overwhelming, especially during busy travel times. That's why many travelers opt to pay more for a lounge experience, which allows them special access to exclusive amenities and pre-flight comforts. But now, this beloved privilege may not be as readily available for Delta Air Lines passengers. Read on to discover why the carrier is restricting access to its lounges.

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Travelers have been complaining about the crowds at Delta's lounges.

entrance to Delta Sky Club

Delta Air Lines has its own network of airport lounges called Sky Clubs. "With more than 50 locations, the Club offers complimentary cocktails, fresh and healthy food options, free high-speed Wi-Fi and more," the carrier states on its website.

But recently, travelers have taken to social media to complain about how hard it is to actually get inside the lounges to experience their benefits.

"50 deep at 5am to enter the LGA Sky Club," one X user posted on April 24, with a photo of a long line of travelers. "Despite being a Diamond in my home airport, have yet to see the inside of this club since it opened. Nothing makes this line worth standing in. Not ok @Delta."

Another X user commented on the state of Delta's Sky Club in Indianapolis in an Aug. 10 post. "Every Delta lounge I've been in lately is packed. I mean packed," they wrote. "Nice to get a free drink, but then I just go sit in an empty gate and have more room and quiet."

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Delta has already tried to fix the issue.

The meal and wine at Delta business class lounge in Narita Airport Terminal 1 on August 20, 2015. Delta airlines is the member of Skyteam alliance.

Complaints about crowds at Delta's Sky Clubs have been going on for quite some time. Earlier this year, the airline made several changes in an attempt to make access to its lounges more exclusive. This included making membership packages for its lounges only available to members of the airline's SkyMiles frequent flyer program who have a Medallion tier, CNBC reported. Prior to this, anyone was able to purchase a membership.

"We want to invest in our customers who invest in us," Dwight James, Delta's senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty, told CNBC before the change went into place. "We have to evolve."

Delta also raised its membership fees. As of Jan. 1, the price of an individual membership to Delta's Sky Clubs is now $695 or 69,500 miles. Before the increase, it was just $545 or 54,500 miles. Meanwhile, the price of an executive membership went up from $845 or 84,500 miles to $1,495 or 149,500 miles.

But now the airline is planning to restrict access further.

Airplanes seen through the windows of Sky Club as LaGuardia airport Terminal C during Governor Kathy Hochul announcement

With travelers still complaining about overcrowding at Delta's airport lounges, more changes are coming. Delta Air Lines confirmed to The Points Guy on Aug. 31 that more access restrictions are on the horizon. The carrier didn't provide details on its exact plans going forward, but there is ample speculation that Delta will start placing a limit on the number of lounge visits per passenger each year, The Points Guy reported.

According to the travel news outlet, this would likely happen by adding limitations to the lounge entries travelers get via their premium credit cards. Currently, travelers with an American Express credit card can still access the Sky Club and were not subject to any of the changes earlier this year. But with new potential credit card limitations, someone with a Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card or Platinum Card from American Express might be restricted to just 10 included lounge visits every year.

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Travelers say they will cancel their cards if Delta imposes limits.

Passengers seated, waiting in a Delta Air Lines hold room at Salt Lake City International Airport (KSLC)'s new terminal. The new terminal opened in 2020.

Delta has made no official announcement about limiting cardholder lounge access yet. But travelers have already started to weigh in with their thoughts on the potential restrictions. In the comment section of a post about the possible change on The Points Guy's Facebook page, many travelers said they would get rid of their premium cards if limits were imposed.

"In the event that they remove lounge access with the reserve card, I would probably cancel my reserve card," one person responded. "Which would be sad because I love AMEX and I love Delta. Been loyal to them for years."

Another user agreed, adding, "I will cancel my Delta reserve immediately. I spent a long time deciding where to spend my dollars for my small business and chose Delta and the reserve so I could have lounge access. There will be many more like me."

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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