Delta Is Raising the Price of its Sky Club Lounges After Complaints of Overcrowding, 'Record' Visits

Delta will be limiting who can buy membership passes and raising prices on its fancy airport waiting room lounges starting in 2023.

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By Gabrielle Bienasz

Bloomberg I Getty Images
The Sky Lounge in LaGaurdia.

When too many people try to escape the airport — it just becomes the airport.

After complaints about long lines and overbooked lounges, Delta Air Lines is making it harder for people to sign up to be able to visit its semi-luxury Sky Club airport lounges. As of January, who can purchase lounge access is being limited, and the prices are going up.

"A byproduct of Delta Sky Club's widespread popularity is visit growth that has outpaced Club capacity — resulting in frustration for some customers who find themselves waiting in lines or searching for seating once inside," the company said in a statement Wednesday.

People without membership in certain programs or who hold any kind of airline ticket will no longer be able to buy memberships. Instead, it will only be available to select groups, including those in medallion programs with certain criteria or purchase, and American Express card members with purchase.

The price for purchase will also increase. An annual membership will go from $545 to $695 for an individual. For "executive." which allows you to bring guests, it will cost $1,495, up from $845.

It will also cost more to bring in extra "companion" guests, from $39 to $50.

In a press release, the company said it has planned to update its policies on the lounges to preserve a certain type of experience, as well as discussed its plans to add more clubs in 2023.

"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," Dwight James, senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty at Delta said in the release.

Demand for travel has stayed high even as the price of airfare is growing faster than inflation. Luxury travel, in particular, has been busy. At the same time, airlines, in general, have also increased special membership offerings such as United's new grab-and-go lounge in Denver, as well as adding more travel reward programs and partnerships, per CNBC.

Delta said it has seen "resulted in a record number of visits," at its lounges after adding four new clubs since April.

Whatever is driving travelers to escape the airport regulars, it has been a popular choice. Travelers have complained about waiting in long lines and being turned away from Sky Club lounges.

Delta even had to limit people entering the lounges to within three hours of their flights in June. One company executive said at the time, "We are not a WeWork."

Gabrielle Bienasz

Entrepreneur Staff

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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