Delta Air Lines moved into a new terminal at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) on Wednesday, October 12.
Delta shifted from Terminal 2 to Terminal 5 (“the international terminal”). And with their new digs comes a new 22,600-square-foot Sky Club capable of hosting around 400 guests.
Plus, the new lounge features two gates where some guests can board their flights directly from the club!
(Those of us flying to/from O’Hare for next week’s Chicago Seminars — and who have access to Sky Clubs, perhaps through one of these cobranded Delta Amex Cards — will have a chance to enjoy it!)
The airline opened up the club Tuesday morning to invited media — and Eye of the Flyer was there to check it out and get you a preview!
Delta’s Move to Terminal 5
Keep in mind Delta is a new tenant in a working terminal shared with other airlines. This isn’t as massive a construction project or an undertaking as the LAX SkyWay or the gorgeous new terminal at LaGuardia.
But Delta did spiff their place up a bit (with improvements still underway).
Interesting tidbit: Delta says it’s the only global airline at O’Hare that uses a self-service bag drop for customers.
The move makes life easier for Delta passengers connecting to flights with SkyTeam and Joint Venture partners (think Air France, KLM, etc.). And, hello, AeroMexico mileage runners! No more going between T2 and T5!
New Delta Sky Club at Chicago O’Hare
You’ll find Delta’s new Chicago O’Hare Sky Club just to the left of gate M11.
Once you clear security, take a right and then another right. The club will be on your left.
There are three self-check-in kiosks as well as a staffed desk.
Unlike the previous three new Delta Sky Clubs (Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and LaGuardia), this club is on one level. There’s no escalator up to upstairs. (Merely an observation — not a critique.)
Claude Roussel, Delta’s Managing Director of Delta Sky Clubs, said that pieces from area artists help give Sky Clubs a local feel.
First Impressions of the new O’Hare Delta Sky Club
Delta continues to impress with its new Sky Club designs and features. (I’ll address overcrowding in a separate post.)
The new O’Hare lounge’s high ceilings, as well as some of the light fixtures and seating options immediately reminded me of the New York-LaGuardia club. One of the Delta corporate people said the new club reminded them more of Los Angeles’ — because the ORD Sky Club is longer and narrower than LaGuardia’s.
I was given a fact sheet when I walked into the club. It listed the lounge’s real estate as 22,600 square feet. I pointed out to a Delta Corporate Communications rep I thought that was a typo. It seems more like 32,600.
Delta implemented high ceilings, some curved walkways, and lots of little nooks and crannies to make the club seem enormous.
As is becoming the norm, Delta features plenty of power options near almost every seat. Many booths feature access to USB-A, USB-C, and electrical power outlets.
Plus, the window tint can be adjusted based on the amount of light coming in from outside.
A Delta representative told me that Sky Club phone booths have proven very popular. They’re soundproof and feature power sources.
The booths are great for video calls and phone calls. (Well, at least for those of us who don’t need to look important and share our calls with the rest of the world.)
Delta also added an ADA-focused booth. It’s like a conference room!
Boarding Flights Directly from the Delta Sky Club
Here’s a first for Delta: some passengers won’t have to leave the Sky Club and go to the gate area so they can board their flights. Why? Two jet bridges are connected to the new lounge!
One end of the lounge features an auxiliary jet bridge that connects to gate M11’s primary jetway. So, passengers on flights departing from M11 can cool their heels and kick it in the Sky Club until their flight boards.
For now, M11 will be used only for flights between ORD and New York-LaGuardia. We may see other destinations further down the road. That’s effective as of October 12.
Meanwhile, the Sky Club’s bridge to gate M14 will open at some point. (No exact time timetable was given.) Partner flights (think Air France and KLM) will board from that gate. An AeroMexico flight parked there during the press preview. (Again: SkyTeam Elite Plus members: remember your lounge benefits during international trips— especially MQD runs!)
This feature is exclusive (Delta-wise) to the O’Hare Club. Sure, it would be nice to see it at clubs like LAX, JFK, and a few others. But their locations don’t make it practical.
(I suggested to Mr. Roussel that maybe this feature could be added to the C Concourse Club at MSP. You know, so those of us who catch flights to destinations such as Fargo, Grand Forks, Sioux Falls, and other Upper Midwest hotspots could enjoy boarding from a Sky Club to a regional jet. Mr. Roussel, ever the gentleman, politely smiled at my idea and me.)
ORD Sky Club: Food and Beverage
Let’s address this head-on: yes, hot dogs will be available in the new Sky Club.
Some of the other offerings we tried included Delta Sky Club staples and a few others I hadn’t yet sampled.
The apple BBQ chicken thighs, Brussels sprouts, and macaroni and cheese were delicious.
The chicken and waffle with jalapeño maple syrup isn’t as spicy as one may fear. (I feared — I’m not a big spicy fan.)
Beverage-wise, you’ll find a few water and coffee stations around the club.
There’s also a staffed bar offering complimentary and premium alcoholic beverages.
Some drinks will feature “ORD”-branded orange garnishes.
Plus, vino lovers can enjoy a few sips at this wine bar on the other side of the lounge.
Mr. Roussel said local chefs will occasionally be featured — just like in other major Sky Clubs.
Restrooms and Showers
In addition to men’s and women’s restrooms, the new Sky Club also features a multi-gender restroom.
The showers are downright spa-like.
There’s also an ADA-compliant shower.
Oh, the club also has what’s called a “Wellness Room.” In layman’s terms (I had to ask), that’s a breastfeeding/nursing room. Maybe I’m late to the party but I didn’t know that “Breastfeeding” and “Nursing” are so offensive. (I’m not shaming Delta. This is a wussy-society-at-whole thing.) Imagine something thinking that a Wellness Room were a place to get some sort of medical relief for a cold or something. You open the door and — yea. There’s no way that scenario ends well.
Delta Air Lines relocates from Chicago O’Hare Terminal 2 to Terminal 5 on October 12. With the move comes the opening of a brand new Sky Club. The new lounge is tastefully designed and features great food and beverage options.
Once you’ve visited the new club, please come back and share your thoughts about the new Sky Club!
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The lounge looks very nice. I particularly like the gate access from the lounge, I often wondered if airlines could offer that feature.
Pretty cool, right? But this isn’t actually anything new. In fact, I think (don’t hold me to this) one of these gates was inherited as part of the old Air France lounge.
AF-KL had this lounge-to-plane boarding thing with their ORD lounge. Also at IAD.
Credit where it’s due! That’s a nice club and unique setup for the business fliers to Delta’s LGA ‘hub’
Did they say what order the club members get to board from the attached bridge?
They didn’t and of course I remembered to ask — on my way home from Chicago. I’ll see if I can get an answer.
I would think it would be the same as if they were boarding from the main gate, unless I am not understanding the question.
When AF-KL did this at ORD for some of my economy class flights to AMS/CDG during the pandemic, I don’t recall being asked to wait for business class to board first.
Nice looking lounge and looks like they brought out the good food except for Horrid Chicken Thighs!!!!AHHHH
The chicken thighs were pretty good!
Oh good so the thighs served in air are not!!
@DEE – Aaagggggggggg!!!!!!!! (I saw the in flight 1st class – shutter – photo)!
Is there talk of bringing CLEAR/more Precheck lines to T5? Security lines are awful there.
Delta is asking the airport and Clear to set up at T5.
It’s not there yet.
Any chance we finally see ORD-DCA? As a DC based DL flyer this would be nice.
I flew into O’Hare T5 yesterday which is where Southwest is also using, hopefully temporarily. The walk to Domestic Baggage Claim is completely on the other side of the terminal which seemed like an unusually far walk. With moving sidewalks going the wrong direction, this made it worse.
Delta has its own baggage claim area right under the Delta gates at the new terminal. I was there on Wednesday. Quick and easy!
Agreed though on WN. I flew in to ORD on Southwest last month and the walk to their baggage claim was very long. Hopefully just temporary with construction.
Just left the club, it’s great! One of the best! Excited and hopeful some of the elements make it into first ever Sky Club in our new Kansas City (MCI) airport!! Only feedback is that, while very cool, the red/green solid changing light indicating an occupied restroom is tough on us colorblind individuals:) I had to ask out loud “those are all red, right?” 🙂
Between the “Wellness Rooms” and red and green lights — man, I tell ya.
They call them “Wellness Rooms” because it feels less awkward for those of us who frequent them to walk into a Wellness Room than a Lactation Room. It’s not a wussy issue because believe you me, pumping on work trips is the least wussy endeavor you can imagine!
I flew in yesterday on their first day there from MSP. Normally I fly AA due to being based in Illinois. The new gates and club may be nice but T5 still has a way to go. Logistically, most of the off site parking shuttles still only go there on request rather than regularly like T1-3. Also the traffic is terrible getting out of that area. Not sure on Precheck timing at T5 but it was super quick when I flew out on Monday when DL was still T2.
I am confused. They have international flights from the same area as domestic flights? Okay, they have an arriving international flight, where does it park? Certainly not at a domestic gate with no Customs or Immigration. What, they tow or taxi from a real international arrival gate to the new gate for departure? No way ORD FAA Ground Control agreed with that idea. It’s difficult enough servicing international airliners in the difficult Chicago winter when the airliners stay at their arrival gates.
@David – They do this at tons of airports worldwide. They simply block off the ramp you would use to enter the terminal and you walk down the path to customs.
It’s clear that the legacy US carriers have started a program to expand and improve lounge physical spaces. Now, they need to turn to the food. Up the price, fine. I don’t mind paying. But, up the quality of the food.