Beginning November 1, both United Airlines and American Airlines will follow Delta and restrict access to their clubs to members who are flying the airline or one of its designated partners the same day.
Although all three airlines say they offer club ‘memberships’ they’ve really moved to a subscription-based upsell model for access to airport lounges.
American Airlines Admirals Club DFW Concourse A
Delta, though, will continue to honor access without an eligible same day ticket for lifetime club members. In other words, they will continue to deliver the access that those members paid for.
United has a history of reneging on lifetime commitments, including promised annual upgrades for lifetime elites and discounts for paid lifetime Silver Wings Club members. The airline added anytime access to its clubs to that list with its new policy.
American announced a similar position to United, that their access restriction applies even to lifetime Admirals Club members who paid to be able to access those clubs any time.
In an internal communication last month, the airline said they were reconsidering that position in light of Delta allowing lifetime Sky Club members access even when not flying the airline or one of its partners same day.
If American makes the change it will notably be another instance of explicitly managing by copying Delta. I’ve said many times that Jeff Bezos has a point, companies make a mistake paying too much attention to competitors and not enough attention to their customers. However if Delta cajoles American into doing the right thing for once I will certainly applaud it.