Since Friday, February 3 Delta Air Lines employees are no longer permitted to use Sky Clubs when traveling as nonrevs – even if they purchased a club membership or have the American Express co-brand Reserve card that comes with access.
Now there’s a petition with over 7,000 signatures asking Delta to restore access. It’s an open letter to airline CEO Ed Bastian, ‘let my co-workers in!’
Delta is offering employees and retirees with paid Sky Club memberships pro-rated refunds. Employees and retirees with Delta Reserve cards which offer Sky Club access are also entitled to pro-rated refunds of their annual fee if they fully cancel their cards.
However family members who nonrev (pass riders) can not get refunds for their annual fee or paid membership, even though they can no longer use it. And even though Delta ran a campaign with employees last year to sign them up for the premium Delta card, promoting the benefits of lounge access, as part of meeting their new cardmember goals with American Express.
It’s a tough message that customers are more important than employees for an airline that promotes themselves as a family, and that is fending off a unionization drive among flight attendants. Even employees who heeded Delta’s call and volunteered as cleaners for the Sky Clubs are no longer welcome.
Delta has also raised the price of Sky Club memberships and restricted joining to elite members, banned club members from using facilities while traveling on basic economy fares, and taken away access from Gold elite members and above flying economy on international trips. And that comes after limiting access to within 3 hours of start of a trip.
The airline’s Sky Clubs are crowded, and more crowded than competitor products. So far Delta doesn’t have separate business class lounges, which would take pressure off of their Sky Clubs, the way that United and American offer. More people have access to these lounges, by virtue of Delta’s deal with American Express providing entry to anyone with a Platinum card. And the lounges are more of a draw, offering more and better food than Admirals Clubs and United Clubs.
The longest line at JFK is not due to a delayed flight or an FAA meltdown.
It’s simply the line to get into the Delta sky lounge. The services demand is BUMPIN, sorry J Powell pic.twitter.com/mXQFhtTcar
— Mady Mills (@MadisonMills22) January 14, 2023
— Clint Henderson (@ClintPHenderson) January 13, 2023
Delta isn’t going to address the root cause of crowding – their Amex deal – because American Express is their biggest customer. Indeed, they even charge customers without a co-brand Amex more for award travel as a penalty for not taking the card. So they’re lefft compensating with every lever they have, including poising relations with employees and adding one more frustration that risks unionization.
Countering this, however, is a 5.5% pay increase for ground employees and flight attendants – going into effect on April Fools’ Day. This follows an announcement on profit sharing and pay for flight attendants during boarding, which competitors don’t offer.
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) February 7, 2023