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Delta Won't Let Passengers Do This—And the Debate Is Getting Heated

Some of the airline's most devoted customers are up in arms over one particular rule.

Even though they all perform the same function of getting people where they need to go, each major airline operates differently when it comes to some of the finer details. Some offer absolutely zero frills in exchange for bargain airfare. Others make their customers feel valued by extending certain benefits or perks. But as with any business, certain decisions can generate praise from some customers while drawing the ire of others. Now, Delta Air Lines is at the center of a heated debate for not letting its passengers do one thing. Read on to see what has some of the airline's most loyal flyers arguing with each other.

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Delta has been earning both praise and criticism for passenger policies.

Delta airplane airplane interior with person deplaning.

In addition to altering schedules to avoid delays and cancellations, Delta has recently made some policy changes that affect the travel experience for passengers. In April, frequent flyers applauded the airline when it announced it would be making a pandemic-era policy permanent that allows passengers to accrue Medallion Qualification Dollars, Medallion Qualification Segments, and Medallion Qualification Miles on award flights. The news made the carrier the first in the industry to allow travelers to earn credit towards higher loyalty status tiers on airfare booked with frequent flyer miles, The Points Guy reported.

In May, the airline also confirmed that it had adopted a policy of blocking passengers from selecting specific seat assignments on the aircraft if they were traveling alone or with just one companion. The carrier says it incorporated the "dynamic seat-map algorithm" to help ensure that families or those traveling in groups of three or more could more easily be seated near each other in the main economy cabin, The Points Guy reported.

But not all changes have been positively received by passengers. In June, Delta came under fire from some of its most loyal customers when it announced it would be changing the eligibility for access to Delta Sky Club airport lounges worldwide. The new policy put a new limit on entering to three hours before a traveler's scheduled departure time, making it the first major airline to institute such a restriction, The Wall Street Journal reported. And now, another one of the carrier's rules has its customers calling out the company and arguing with one another.

Delta passengers are now in a heated debate over one of the airline's lesser known rules.

A Delta plane taking off with an air traffic control tower in the background

Many frequent travelers see access to an airport lounge as a special pre-flight privilege. Others see it as a right of their hard-earned elite status with an airline. And this difference of opinion has driven Delta passengers into a heated debate.

In a tweet posted on Aug. 14 that has since gone viral with over 170,000 likes, a traveler called out the airline for one of its more obscure policies.

"Special prize today to @Delta for letting me and my husband into their lounge because we have a specific credit card and informing us our [4-year-old] would have to pay a fee or wait outside bc she['s] 'not a cardholder,'" the user wrote. "Good job Delta, you really thought that through."

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The argument has turned into a war of words on social media.

Confused angry woman having problem with phone, sitting on couch at home, unhappy young female looking at screen, dissatisfied by discharged or broken smartphone, reading bad news in message

While it wasn't immediately clear what form of eligibility granted the passenger access to the lounge—whether it was a perk of having the American Express Platinum card or holding elite status with the airline—other social media users responded to voice their side of the argument.

"Emily, have you considered that you're the problem? Your child is FOUR YEARS OLD and doesn't have a credit card yet?! They're never going to get platinum status by five at this rate, tsk tsk," one user joked, per The Street.

"Well, I do not encourage child abandonment, but this is 4th story in a week I have seen of an airline directly telling customers' leave your child,'" another cheekily wrote. "Wonder how long until they stop doing this if people started just leaving their children in airports per airport staff instructions."

Others chided the original complaint, insinuating it was entitled. "It's 40 bucks? And you're acting like they are making your kid sit outside without you. Pay and all go in, or don't and wait at the gate," another user tweeted in reply. "My partner has the Amex platinum, mine's gold. Sometimes I go, sometimes I don't."

Another user replied: "And the entire Skyclub breathed a collective sigh of relief."

Many pointed out that Delta clearly states its policy on lounge admission on its website.

delta sky club lounge

Some customers eventually pointed out that the airline technically wasn't at fault in this situation. Delta has long posted on its website that parents must pay a $39 entrance fee for children over the age of two if they already have another adult guest who is an immediate family member, according to loyalty rewards program blog One Mile at a Time.

"Don't want to pay the fee for bringing a kid into a Sky Club? Then don't visit the lounge," Ben Schlappig, founder of One Mile at a Time, wrote in a post discussing the online skirmish. "Meanwhile, are you someone who has a problem with people bringing their kids into the Sky Club in accordance with the rules? Too bad, then don't visit the Sky Club."

Eventually, the user who posted the original tweet clarified her stance after it had escalated to an online shouting match. "And thus the thread was muted," she wrote. "Joke's on the folks who hate kids though…[4-year-old] is presently enjoying the 1957 classic film Funny Face after silently finishing her book pile, way chiller than 85 [percent] of adults in air travel (looking at you Loud Boring Guy and Fake Service Dog Lady)."

"I love you guys so much. For those who are upset, this is a tweet about how it is silly to expect a 4yo to be any kind of 'cardholder," she explained.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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