If you have not been to an airport lately you may not realize that pre-pandemic level travel is back — and back with a purpose. I have flown much less than I did before COVID but hope to be back to somewhat normal during the next year or so.
I believe Delta has long known they have an issue with too many travelers eligible for Sky Club access. Years ago they took the nasty step of destroying any real value of “real” club membership by only allowing you to enter when you are flying Delta. That did not really matter for most of us because we have any number of high-end personal or business cards that get us in.
But according to an ever-growing Flyertalk thread clubs across the country are becoming so crowded that there will be times you have to wait in line for someone to exit the club before you are let in. In other words, the club has reached capacity.
This is not really good. Why? I envision a bunch of “Centurion-like” changes on the way.
What will be the first thing implemented? My guess is the end of visiting a Sky Club in your arrival city. Why this to begin with? The pattern is already in place that business class international flyers can only visit a Sky Club (or Skyteam lounge) before the trip or during a connection. Also, this will be the least controversial one. But also it will have the smallest “positive” impact on crowd levels looking at it from Delta’s viewpoint.
The next move will likely be a change to the simply horrid Priority Pass and Centurion rule of no entrance until three hours before departure. Not that any Sky Club is such an amazing experience that you would want to spend more than three hours before your flight. But there are times I plan for more than that to get work done before the flight.
The more drastic move, that I would rather see but doubt it will happen, is to limit the number of times you can enter a club per year as a premium cardholder. It would be a plus for Delta as some may end up then needing more than one card to get as much access as they want over the year.
Either of the two above changes, if not impacting real club members, could bring value back to membership again.
One thing is clear to me that change is coming as passenger volume is only going to continue to grow in the months and years ahead. – Rene
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