Even as more airlines have invested in expanding their network of lounges in recent years, the spaces have increasingly felt crowded, especially as more travelers gain entry through memberships, elite status, or as a benefit of their credit cards.
Now, in a push to make sure high-spending, front-of-the-plane passengers have access to more serene airport refuges, Delta Air Lines has announced plans to open premium lounges at three of its hub airports in 2024.
The first ribbon cutting will be at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in June. Details of what the elevated offering will entail are scant, but the carrier did say the inaugural premium lounge will measure 38,000 square feet, making it the largest lounge in Delta’s network. It will feature both a full-service brasserie and a casual, chef-assisted market with open kitchens, a dedicated wellness area, and a year-round outdoor terrace.
Additional lounges are expected to follow at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)—measuring roughly 10,000 square feet and 6,300 square feet, respectively—during the fourth quarter of 2024. Each will include “elements inspired by and unique to its host city,” the airline said in a press release.
According to Delta, access rules for these new offerings are still being worked out. However, if they’re anything like other similar higher-tiered lounges, such as American Airlines Flagship Lounges and United Polaris lounges, they’ll likely be open to passengers flying first or business class or to those who are top-tier loyalty members with the airline or with a partner SkyTeam carrier.
“Premium lounge customers should feel welcomed and known when they walk in the door, just as they would at their favorite hotel or restaurant,” Claude Roussel, Delta’s vice president for Sky Club and lounge experience, said in a statement. “We look forward to providing that warm welcome and making ‘premium’ feel personal for each guest.”
The news comes just five months after Delta upset some loyalists when it shared plans about restricting access to its Sky Club lounges, which the airline called an effort to “balance the popularity of the clubs with the premium experience they provide for our guests.” Initially, it was announced that passengers flying in basic economy and those with a Delta SkyMiles Platinum or Platinum Business Card would be denied access starting January 1, 2024. Previously, those cardholders paid a one-time fee of $50 per visit when flying with Delta or a SkyTeam partner. Furthermore, those with AmEx Platinum, Delta SkyMiles Reserve, and SkyMiles Reserve Business cards would no longer have unfettered access starting February 1, 2025, instead receiving a maximum of 10 visits per year unless they spend $75,000 on their eligible card in a calendar year (valid for the year in which the spending is achieved plus the following calendar year).
The following month, Delta walked back its planned changes, softening them for those with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve, Reserve Business, and the Platinum Card from American Express, allowing for a maximum of 15 Sky Club visits, depending on which card the user holds.
In addition to the three premium lounges, Delta will open new locations of its Sky Club lounges (of which there are more than 50 across the country) at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in late 2024. The airline will also expand two existing Clubs: New York’s LaGuardia Airport (which will get 100 more seats and an outdoor area called the Sky Deck) and Miami International Airport (bringing the total footprint to 12,000 square feet) over the summer.