Is Delta working on a premium lounge product to compete with American and United?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Delta Air Lines has historically been the leader of the pack when it comes to innovation among the big three U.S. airlines.
The Atlanta-based airline introduced business-class service (first called Medallion Service) before American Airlines and United and is on track to be the first of the group to roll out free in-flight Wi-Fi. Delta was also the first to switch to a dynamic award pricing scheme, introduce a revenue requirement for elite qualification and to roll out basic economy fares. The list goes on.
The one area where Delta has fallen behind is its lounges, particularly for its premium passengers. While Delta’s network of “standard” Sky Club lounges is generally stronger across the board than American’s Admirals Clubs and United’s United Clubs, both of those carriers offer an elevated, more exclusive lounge experience for premium flyers: American with its Flagship Lounges and United with the Polaris Lounges.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Delta’s Sky Clubs regularly face overcrowding, especially at the airline’s busiest hubs. That’s in part because aside from paid access, the airline makes the clubs accessible to select credit card holders, select Delta and SkyTeam elite members, Delta One passengers and business-class passengers on partner airlines. The clubs also lack key amenities that have become the norm for the top international business-class lounges, like sit-down dining services and nap rooms.
However, it looks like all of this could be changing.
Avid reader (and elite Delta flyer) Andres Morales (Ajetsetter), tipped off TPG that a senior Delta staffer at LAX told him that the airline will be opening a lounge there exclusively for Delta One passengers.
According to our tipster, the lounge would be located on the top floor of the $1.86 billion Sky Way that’s currently under construction and will connect Terminals 2, 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. While Delta has previously shared that a new Delta Sky Club will be built at LAX and that it would be among the largest in the airline’s network, it didn’t include any mention of a Sky Club exclusive to Delta One passengers.
We reached out to Delta for more information, and a spokesperson would only say that the carrier is in the very early planning stages for lounge improvements and still evaluating how it might offer more for Delta One customers on the ground.
“We are always exploring how we can enhance the Delta One experience in the airport, including a differentiated Delta Sky Club for Delta One customers. We are still in early planning stages for the new Club offerings coming to LAX,” the spokesperson said.
It makes sense that Delta would want to debut a new lounge experience at a hub like LAX. The airline has high premium demand on its routes in and out of the city, but — since it doesn’t dominate the market share like it does at most of its hubs — it faces steep competition from American, United and foreign carriers, all of which who view LAX as a vitally important airport in their networks.
Related: Best credit cards for lounge access
While not explicitly confirming that a Delta One-exclusive lounge is in the works, Delta did say the Sky Way project at LAX will include a larger, exclusive Delta One check-in area similar to what it offers now. Aside from privacy, it offers passengers a comfortable place to relax and grab a refreshment before heading through security.
The entire Sky Way modernization project also includes other key features such as more gate-area seating and security screening capacity with automated security lanes, and is projected to be completed in 2023. However, the new lounge — whether that’s a standard Sky Club or this new premium lounge — could open as early as the end of 2021, according to Delta’s project page for the Sky Way at LAX.
It seems like Delta is at least considering competing against its domestic rivals who have had exclusive spaces at the airport for premium passengers for a number of years. If this new lounge product comes to fruition, we will be eager to see how Delta will differentiate itself from the competition.
Featured image courtesy of Delta Air Lines.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees