Delta Developing New Business Class Lounge To Compete With Polaris, Flagship

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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. DL playing catch up YES! To all those who say AA copies DL and DL is the only airlines with good ideas (etc, etc, etc) here is an example of DL catching up to AA. DL is also playing catch up with wifi and with their fleet inconstancy.

    AA and UA have a catching up to do with DL operational reliability, food and service, but DL has not cornered the market on how to be an airline.

  2. Delta needs to fix its Sky Club lounges. For 3-4 years it has changed access, increased one-time visit costs, etc. Yet, all of the lounges are as crowded (overcrowded) as ever. I’m not convinced one or two Delta One business-class only lounges would help since Delta flies internationally from so many different hubs and focus cities. In Detroit, for example, there is one main Sky Club and three smaller ones. The main one is constantly overcrowded even on weekends, primarily because the secondary lounges don’t have the same food offerings. If Delta offered the same food at each lounge then the main Detroit one would be much less overcrowded. To their credit, they are building an annex to the main Sky Club but it will NOT be reserved for business-class passengers. Delta also needs to eliminate AmEx cardholders from using their lounges in airports in which there is an AmEx lounge or a Priority Pass lounge. Since Delta also no longer values Sky Team it should eliminate lounge access for its gold medallion cardholders on international flights. Keep it only for platinum and diamond medallions. Gold medallions really shouldn’t benefit from Sky Team Elite access rules. Lastly, Delta needs a consistent F&B catering contract for all Sky Clubs. It is very, very frustrating that the food selection and quality varies greatly based on whatever company has the contract. Boston, Newark, JFK, etc. all have excellent food. Atlanta, Detroit and Cincinnati have pretty mediocre food to say nothing of tea saucer-sized plates.

  3. I agree with sunviking82. While SkyTeam has AF and KE, there aren’t too many standouts within SkyTeam. SQ and TG primarily compete against each other within southeast Asia; same can be said for CX and JL in north Asia. While KE and OZ compete against each other in the same way JL and NH does, I view it as domestic competition and not on an “international scale”. National pride isn’t at stake. Combine this with EK competing with QF and SQ in Australia, we have three governments trying to outdo each other in terms of prestige. Here is where AA and UA have the added advantage of observing what it means to deliver the concept of how a lounge should be and operate on an international scale. This is where Delta lags behind. AF business lounges in Europe are as bad as the senator ones so there’s no incentive to improve. If DL is pulling out of Singapore, there is no further need to observe how Asia handles their lounges. However, the chatter is beginning to affect Delta’s ego due to Polaris and Flagship.

  4. @Gavin: Delta has already pulled out of Singapore. The real question will be what the new Sky Club at Tokyo–HND will be like since Tokyo is no longer a “hub.”

    And speaking of Sky Team, even Garuda Indonesia, which has one of the better international long-haul products, has pretty bad lounges. Like worse than Priority Pass lounges, unless you’re in first-class on the two or three routes it is still offered. KLM uses Garuda Indonesia’s lounges for its flights. It is pretty bad getting $3 wine, no champagne, and no Diet Coke/Diet Pepsi on a $5,000 business-class ticket.

  5. “Delta Developing New Business Class Lounge” =? “Delta may be developing a premium lounge product for business class”

    I know you’re not a journalist but do you need to make the headlines so click baity?

  6. Delta way behind on this one – they are operating based on hubris at this point and hub captive mentality

    UNITED leading the way again

  7. As we’ve seen with *a lounges, and Polaris/Flagship, once a “premium” lounge is offered, there’s no reason to even try on the other one. Then, you just water down the “premium” offering. Everyone loses.

  8. 100% agree with Josh Barro on this one — checking in luggage with an airline that cares to deliver it in a timely manner makes flying a whole lot more enjoyable. That’s one of the reasons I don’t fly American — they charge you $2,000 for a transcon flight and then they make you wait almost an hour until your “priority” tagged bag comes out at the end.

  9. Checking luggage is just the way of things for most people, particularly in long haul circumstances, so trite cutesy self-congratulatory expressions like “carry-on luggage or lost luggage” are obviously just intended to show superiority. Personally, I feel that a bit less self-congratulation over taking up all of the overhead bin space might be appropriate.

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