Delta Air Lines Scolded Passenger For Stealing Fruit – But Sky Club Members Are Fighting Back

Traditionally airport lounges have offered snacks, but you’re not supposed to take food with you for the flight. That’s to limit costs. Hotels with club lounges frequently have drinks, but many make a point not to offer bottled water – knowing that their beverage costs would skyrocket.

Without to go containers, though, passengers and hotel guests get creative. Where there’s free food, some people are going to go wild.

  • Among U.S. airline lounges, Delta does the most with catering. There are frequently both hot and cold options, and several stations of each. So is it surprising that customers are taking food home with them to eat later as dinner, and filling up on snacks to fuel their upcoming Netflix binge?

  • The food doesn’t even need to be good. Decades ago United Airlines passengers would stuff copious amounts of packaged Tillamook cheese into their laptop bags when leaving the Red Carpet Club.

  • And here’s video from the British Airways Galleries First lounge at London Heathrow where two passengers reportedly made several trips to take 20 or more drink cans and five bags of chips.

Capital One really bucked this trend, introducing high quality grab and go food and drink in their lounges – placed right at the front of the lounge. We’ve seen others pick up on this idea as well. United Airlines now has a grab and go lounge concept, basically grab some food instead of using a lounge, pioneered last year in Denver.

Delta Air Lines will let you take away food if you have access but agree not to visit a Sky Club, to help with lines.

But if you go inside the lounge the policy is strict – no takeaway. One customer learned this the hard way, scolded by staff for taking a banana with them when they left the lounge in Minneapolis. (HT: Eye of the Flyer)

I got reported for trying to take a banana out of the lounge! Someone tell me this is all a nightmare and my $700 a year isn’t a complete waste. I just wanted a banana

Sky Club memberships are expensive. Bananas are not. If you want an ‘executive membership’ that allows you to bring in guests without charge, that’s now $1,495. And paid memberships are only available to elite members of the SkyMiles program, so you’re probably profitable to Delta in other ways, too.

Delta flyers are now literally offended by this incident. And they’ve been striking back – stealing bananas from Sky Clubs around the country and posting selfies with their ill-gotten loot.

I made sure they saw me take it
byu/Apprehensiveduckx indelta

Who did this? Hilarious banana drama continues at MSP Sky Club.
byu/loonsjalkapallo indelta

Had it whipped out the entire time!
byu/froztyguyz indelta

I wonder if this strict enforcement comes as a reaction to an earlier customer movement, that was itself a reaction to the high cost of membership and Delta’s planned limits on access for premium American Express cardmembers.

One woman shares video of herself taking salami: “If you get 36 slices of salami per Delta sky club lounge visit, you break even on your annual fee after just 30.5 lounge visits.”

“Delta executives hate this 1 money saving trick,” she says. Except you’re going to want to break even far faster if this calculation is a concern to you. Bring plastic bags. Wait around for trays to be refilled several times. And load up on around 80 slices of salami?

@meat.slut Delta executives hate this 1 money saving trick #meat #traveltiktok #travel #foryoupage #fyp #meatslut @delta ♬ Little Bitty Pretty One – Thurston Harris

In the hidden war of tit-for-tat inside the Delta Air Lines Sky Club, Delta raises prices and then customers try to get their money’s worth. Delta responds by enforcing its rules against passengers taking food from the club, but that only encourages the practice further. When will the madness stop?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This passenger should be barred from flying Delta again for LIFE…as well as all their friends and family…for daring to steal from the world’s #1 PREMIUM airline

  2. I have been to Sky Clubs where the employees have dared to place a basket near the exit with fruit and sometimes chips in it for their good for nothing customers to grab and take when them on their flight. I can’t even imagine how this could be possible, but I have seen it with my own two eyes.

  3. As long as they are overrun with the credit card crowd, they will continue to have the Golden Corral atmosphere.

  4. Delta dropped cabin service in the back of a lot of 1 hour flights. You might get a bottle of water and cookies if they run the service. Comf plus, you can have beer or wine, but not a coke.

    Delta shouldn’t be surprised, with so little on the flights that people grab something for the flight.

    They ought to be encouraging you to take a banana, apple or tangerine. It would make the flight more enjoyable.

    Delta’s pricing for their grab and go meant offer anything worth the visit cost.

  5. Only eat and drink what is reasonable to eat and drink during the time you will be in the club. An exception would be (or at least should be) when you really don’t have time to relax in the lounge because of a close connection, but would like a bite to eat. The Capital One solution is a good one. I hope they get into lots more airports in the near future.

  6. Who will be the first Delta 360° or Diamond Medallion elite member to offer their flight attendant a complimentary SkyClub premium banana?

  7. piping hot chicken kiev, unlimited rolls baked on board, and butterscotch sundaes, served by 4 FAs in the 30+seat F cabin, and the soothing drone of rb.211s at cruise with 300 miles of the rockies visible to the horizon

    yes, tim dunn, delta was ready when we were

    30 years before you were born

  8. hagbard,
    I was alive well before the RB 211 and the L1011 entered service.
    And, yes, I experienced the level of service you described.

    H2oman gets it
    As long as they are overrun with the credit card crowd, they will continue to have the Golden Corral atmosphere.
    As long as you think you have to get your money’s worth by taking toilet paper and shoving food in a bag “for later” you aren’t the kind of clientele that should be in any airline lounge.

    Is being scolded for a single banana over the top?

    and, again, Gary loves to harp on anecdotes and create the illusion of standard.

    The problem with rules is that some people can’t exercise good judgment – either as the customer or the employee

  9. Drop that Apple Sky Pesos medallion member!
    You didn’t reach your spending requirements
    House arrest!

  10. The “premium” delta experience, is more like a banana republic.
    They will use a sky club to club you over the head if you dare to grab a banana.

  11. Meanwhile, Delta is laughing hysterically all the way to the bank. People pay oodles for Sky lounge experience, and they think they are hurting them by taking bananas. SMH.

  12. +1 on the Cap 1 lounges to-go system…fantastic if you’re in a time crunch, if it’s too crowded, and/or great to get a second meal to go for later. I also have to remind myself that there are additional refrigerated desserts there too when I do have time to sit down. A couple months back they halved the size of the takeout bag but you can still get multiple bags, or use your own

  13. Was recently in the lounge in Munich that AA business class customers can access. We watched a guy make numerous trips to the self pour whiskey, return to his seat, and fill his water bottle with the booze. Never have seen anything like that.

  14. So far, I see no one offering a solution. The airline needs these amenities for their good customers. On the other hand, there are more “good customers” than a lounge can hold. Where do you draw the line on who can and can’t enter? OK…let’s say you meet the criteria to enter. Can the member bring a guest? If so, how many? Then, where do the airlines draw the line on the what the lounge offers and how much of the offers can a member and their guests use? Unlimited? That won’t work. What about a time limit? Well, that might or might not work. If I’m on a long layover (4 hours is considered the maximum) then how long can the member stay? Can the member/guest take the amenities out of the lounge? I would say “no” as the airline is not trying to satisfy the member’s long time hunger needs nor “feed the world”. Again…someone offer a viable solution to the airlines. I’m sure they would jump on it.

  15. Before everyone lays into Delta, what about this being an employee decision? I doubt that Delta cares if you take whole fruit from a lounge. I think just having whole fruit is an invitation for travelers to pick a fruit on their way out. Don’t lose your minds over this. It is extremely trivial.

  16. Anyone flying the last 20 years knows that lounge food has become better and that airplane food has become worse — or non-existent. I think this is the primary reason why people are taking more food from the lounges.

    I know that, years ago, I ate little food in airport lounges because it was generally bad and I could eat on the plane. Now, when lounge food is decent (and it often is), I try to eat a full meal at the lounge (especially when flying coach) and don’t pay much attention to what is (or is not) served on board.

    If you’re flying domestically — and especially long haul flights across the country — you won’t be getting fed for many hours. I could see why many people when offered free food at an airport lounge would take some “to go.” And now we’re seeing some lounges — and priority pass restaurants — focusing on this need.

    This is common sense and human nature.

  17. A banana being one of the only healthy foods available in the lounges (or on board) I’ve been guilty of grabbing onemany times. Didn’t realize it made me an undesirable.

  18. All the employee had to do is say no you are not allowed to take food away from the lounge. Why are they reporting someone for just asking? I guess it’s another case of someone letting the smallest bit of power get to their head.

  19. “Delta Air Lines will let you take away food if you have access but agree not to visit a Sky Club”

    Where is this policy stated? It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Delta lounge, but I don’t recall being aware of this

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