Delta Running Pop Up SkyClubs at Smaller Airports

When seen United Club popups before, such as at the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey over the holidays. That’s a place many Newark-based elites find themselves spending money. United has also run popups at Newark where they took the main United Club, designated it for business class passengers only, and now they largely lack a place for club members to go at their hub.

We’ve also seen popups from American Express, sometimes where they want to open a full lounge like at LAX where they’re finally getting one and at Chicago O’Hare where they still haven’t been able to announce one. Other times their popups have just been where they have a cluster of cardmembers like in London proper and in Deer Valley.

There isn’t just one pop up lounge strategy, so it’s difficult to know exactly what Delta is doing here, but they’ve run a series of pop up SkyClubs at some smaller market airports.

They’ve apparently run one in the Green Bay, Wisconsin airport before (October 19 – 21) which is where the idea originated. This week they’ve had one in Chattanooga, Tennessee between gates 3 and 5 featuring a bar (cocktails, beer and wine) and appetizers from a local chef. Today was the last day for Chattanooga.

Credit: TravelZork

Credit: TravelZork

Delta tells me, “Over the past several months, Delta has hosted one-time, pop up Delta Sky Clubs in select airports. A surprise and delight for customers traveling with Delta to enjoy, the pop up Clubs feature everything from appetizers from local chefs to curated cocktails.”

The pop ups weren’t restricted to club members, but were available to all Delta passengers at the airport.

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. Undoubtedly tied to a credit card pitch… DL seems to be more committed than AA, and certainly UA, to offering a stronger value proposition to co-brand cardholders outside the hubs.

    I think of places like RDU or AUS, which lack a truly dominant local carrier, but have a young, growing, affluent population base. Delta can draw them into the ecosystem with some key point-to-point service (capturing higher nonstop yields), offer a compelling lounge product, sign them up for the premium co-brand card, and presumably drive greater wallet share.

  2. Makes sense to me. The network carriers seem to forget the “network” part and don’t show much love to their outstation passengers, focusing largely on hub based and international pax.

    While each of these markets might be small, they are often extremely value-dense (e.g. university towns) and/or experiencing rapid growth. And the markets are less likely to be already saturated, with battle lines drawn. Unlike the poster above, I doubt it is purely a CC play however, as the airlines can see CLV which extends many years beyond any credit card contracts.

    Seems like a perfectly reasonable way to go looking for new customers rather than duking it out over the old ones.

  3. Was in Chattanooga – there was zero sales pitch nor credit cards being hocked…. purely a “nice thing for customers”.

  4. Chattanooga had a Delta lounge back in the day, I think.

    This is all aimed at getting people to buy Sky Club memberships.

  5. Delta has had great success with their ATL-DAB run over the years and I’ve used it a lot. The Daytona airport is a great alternative to MCO or JAX and the airport itself is clean, modern, and efficient. Would love to see the Sky Club pop-up there as there is only one small public lounge in the airport and it’s pre-security.

  6. This is not an AMEX co-branded promotion. From the SkyClub staff, I was told it all started as an employee survey for the best travel idea to garner passenger loyalty and generate more full paying membership. This was the winning concept.

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