Anyone who attempted to access the Delta Sky Club lounge at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in Terminal 4 last year is probably still haunted by the memories of the long lines they endured to access complimentary snacks, wine, and a corner to plug in their laptop before their flight.
“We love the popularity. They just got popular really quick,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s chief customer experience officer, acknowledging that overcrowded lounges are not part of the premium airport experience the airline hopes to provide.
“We’ve worked really hard this last year to expand our existing clubs and add new clubs,” Ausband said, noting that the airline added 900 seats to its lounge network last year and is in the process of adding 2,700 more seats this year.
Travelers will find 250 of those seats at Delta’s second Sky Club lounge at JFK, which opened on July 25 with nearly 14,000-square feet of space. The new lounge wraps up the airline’s $1.5 billion investment in expanding JFK’s Terminal 4, Concourse A.
This opening hardly rivals the sheer space of the new 34,000-square-foot LaGuardia Delta Sky Club that opened in 2022 and the 21,000-square-foot Delta Sky Club at Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport that opened this spring. However, its addition is important: Together, the two Sky Clubs at JFK now offer space for up to 800 travelers at a time.
Here’s everything else you need to know about Delta’s newest Sky Club lounge at JFK.
Where is the new Delta Sky Club lounge located inside JFK?
The new Delta Sky Club is in JFK Terminal 4’s recently extended Concourse A, across from gate A8.
Previously, Terminal 4, Concourse A was mostly used to serve international carriers like Virgin Atlantic, Kenya Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Emirates, while Concourse B was where Delta operated a majority of its own flights. After closing its operations at JFK Terminal 2 in January 2023, Delta spent $1.5 billion to expand Terminal 4, Concourse A to add 10 more gates that mostly serve Delta flights to domestic destinations.
With the opening of the new Sky Club, Delta customers flying out of Concourse A won’t have to walk all the way over to the original Delta Sky Club, which still operates on Concourse B near gate B31. (Which you won’t want to do—it’s about a 15-minute walk each way—unless you’re trying to get your steps in before your flight.)
What’s it like inside?
After entering the lounge and going up the elevators to the main level, the first thing travelers will notice is a massive 360-degree marble bar surrounded by teal leather stools that serves as the lounge’s centerpiece. Here travelers can order complimentary wine and beer as well as premium cocktails for an extra charge that change seasonally. Right now, the bartender’s choice is a refreshing watermelon fizz with Grey Goose for the summer months.
Beyond the circular bar, the lounge is subdivided into smaller rooms decorated in muted navy shades and art by New Yorkers. One room has a large conference table to use as a coworking space, while the hallway leading to the bathrooms has two tucked-away rooms with banquette seating and tables for people looking for a quieter nook.
To cater to a growing number of digital nomads, Delta made sure that every seat in the lounge has a plug and also added four soundproof booths—including a wheelchair-accessible one—to “get out of the hustle and bustle,” Ausband said. (Another thoughtful detail: plenty of hooks to keep bags off the ground.)
It’s hard to decide if the best part of the new Sky Club is the fireplace lounge—with comfy armchairs in front of a gas fireplace embedded in the window—or the covered Sky Deck that offers fresh air and views of planes taxiing below even if it’s raining. (While the original Sky Club at JFK is definitely larger than this new lounge and also offers showers where this one doesn’t, its Sky Deck isn’t covered if you’re trying to decide which one to go to on a rainy day.)
Behind the bar area, guests will find the self-service soft drinks and coffee as well as the buffet. As part of Delta’s “Local Flavor Program,” local chefs are invited to create food that honors the airport’s hometown. For the new JFK lounge, Delta teamed up with Elyssa Heller, founder of Edith’s Eatery & Grocery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to offer Jewish deli staples like a brisket hash sandwich, vegetarian latkes, and a labneh parfait, as well as Edith’s vegan Iced Café Slushie, made with cold brew, tahini, oat milk, and simple syrup. (Also, don’t skip the croissants—they make them fresh there every day instead of having them delivered.)
In addition to local offerings, another trend Delta is seeing is more customers wanting healthier options before they fly. With that in mind, the new JFK lounge had a salad and raw veggie bar, plus lemon chickpea salad, cacio e pepe broccolini, and roasted chicken available at the lunch buffet at the media preview the day before the lounge opened to the public.
Delta’s other crowd control efforts
At the end of 2022, Delta introduced a real-time club occupancy tracker on the Fly Delta app to further help alleviate lines from forming at its lounges. This way, travelers can consult the app when they arrive at the airport and see which of the four occupancy levels—ranging from “not busy” to “extremely busy”—the clubs display before walking there. Delta has also added staff to all of its lounges so that tables can be cleared faster and new customers can enter as quickly as possible.
In addition to the two Sky Clubs now open at JFK, Delta also debuted a new express lounge concept earlier in 2023 at JFK in Terminal 4, Concourse B. (There’s also one at the Atlanta airport.) This new lounge concept offers grab-and-go options like prepackaged sandwiches and salads, snacks like granola bars and muffins, plus coolers stocked with drinks and a self-service counter for coffee and tea for travelers short on time.
How to access the Delta Sky Clubs at JFK
To help with overcrowding issues, Delta also had to make major adjustments to its lounge access in early 2023 so it’s a little harder now to get into a Sky Club. To access both of the Delta Sky Clubs at JFK, first priority goes to Diamond Medallion, Delta 360 members, Delta One customers, or travelers flying first- or business-class internationally on a SkyTeam–operated flight. (As of February 2023, Delta ended Sky Club access for Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Medallion members when flying in Main Cabin or Delta Comfort+.)
Those with the American Express Platinum Card and Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card flying on Delta-operated flights that day can also still enter at no cost, reports Paul Rubio, AFAR’s points and miles expert. However, starting February 1, 2025, new rules will come into play for AmEx Platinum, Delta SkyMiles Reserve and SkyMiles Reserve Business cardholders, eschewing a current policy of unlimited lounge access. Those with the Platinum Card from American Express will receive six Sky Club visits per cardmember year, while those with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve or Reserve Business Card will receive 10 Sky Club visits per cardmember year. Cardholders of all three can earn unlimited Club access after spending $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.
Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card members can access Sky Clubs for $50 per visit when traveling on same-day Delta flights from now through the end of 2023. Effective January 1, 2024, this benefit will no longer be available.
The new Terminal 4, Concourse A Delta Sky Club near Gate A8 is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The original Terminal 4, Concourse B Delta Sky Club near gate B31 is open from 4:45 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily with the grab-and-go express lounge operating from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Additional new Delta lounges
What else can Delta lounge lizards look forward to? Ausband divulged to AFAR that JFK will also get a Delta One lounge in 2024, but couldn’t provide any other details yet.
JFK isn’t the only U.S. hub that Delta is investing in. By the end of 2023, Delta plans to open new Sky Clubs at Boston Logan International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. Expansions of existing lounges at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport are also slated for 2023 and 2024, respectively.
This article was originally published in July 2023; it was updated on September 14, 2023, with new information.