As I blogged about a few weeks ago, changes are happening in the Skyclubs and this is a good thing. Once Delta dumped free beer, well other than SkunkyBeer, it marked a slow and steady decline in quality of offerings in the clubs and then on 1MAY14 the ridiculous $29 upcharge to bring a guest into the clubs even if you had the high end Delta AMEX Reserve card or the non-Delta AMEX Platinum card. Even Diamonds now no longer can guest folks in, including their families.
So what has changed? The fees are the same but at least things, from a product standpoint, are getting much better. The VERY cheap house wines are being upgrade from a basic Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to a number of choices. Take a look:
A complimentary Malbec and Pinot Noir are HUGE upgrades in flavor choices. The price point for the bottles is also markedly higher that the ones that preceeded them. I tested the Malbec as you can see from the shot above and it was just fine and even enjoyable.
I don’t know what was wrong with me, but I did not check what “Local Craft” beer they had in MIA but the point is each club should have something different and that is also HUGE. I think it is really fun to be able to try a different beer in each city and will be a reason to stop in and see what is on tap. Why not (other than the $29 upcharge)?
There still is a menu of drinks you have to pay for at “The Bar”. Again, I do not and have not reviewed the prices of drinks at the Skyclubs because on principle I feel they should all be free. International clubs, from my experience, don’t charge you for any drinks. Centurion lounges that are the new upper class standard here in the USA do not charge for drinks. But let’s just call this a work in progress for the Skyclubs. What disappoints me the most is there is NO complimentary sparkling wine for guest. A mimosa is just nice off a redeye I think and I am NOT paying $7.00 for one – Sorry Delta that is a #FAIL.
Then we have the last page of the menu. Nice to see my much loved Woodford Reserve as a choice. Maybe an upgrade would be to let me use a HOOU coupon to get one in the club since they are free onboard? Just an idea.
The final upgrade that I saw at least in MIA, and maybe others can confirm, is the end of the worthless 67 cent IKEA FÖRSIKTIGT wine glasses. Nothing makes a cheap glass of wine even more worthless than these uber el’Cheap’o glasses. It was nice to have a real-ish glass to enjoy my Malbec. Not as nice as the large ones you get with a “paid” glass of wine but still an improvement so I give credit where credit is due.
So now the ultimate question. Delta has improved the drinks. They have improved the food offering acceptable soups, an OK salad type bar, some other good snacks. Are all these changes enough to make the Skyclub worth the price of admission? I would say I have moved from a SOLID NO to a maybe bordering on “Yes-if” and here is why.
You may not have noticed but wifi speeds are much better. They really are most times. Showers are nice and many clubs have them. The drinks now are OK to good on the complimentary menu. The food, for what it is, is not bad. Help when you need it from Skyclub reps can save the day.
My biggest problem is still the $29 +1 fee. If you are paying AMEX $450 for a Delta AMEX Reserve card or a non-Delta AMEX Platinum card you should be able to get your +1 or family in free. The above improvements are many times still not worth it. Also if you reach Diamond you should be able to in some way get your +1 in. Maybe the fix is 4 club passes as an automatic gift when you make Diamond. I think that could fix that issue and allow Delta to keep the current club membership plans.
Lastly the food. A little more is needed. Delta reps said when they tested the sandwiches they were displeased with the quality. I get that. But something else is needed. I don’t have all the answers but with more and more AMEX Centurions clubs coming on-line, and other 3rd party clubs offering more and more, Delta needs to live up to the “Keep Climbing” slogan and make the clubs just a little bit better. – René
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