Delta’s new SkyClub in the Austin airport opens Tuesday morning. It’s gorgeous on the inside, features more substantive food options than the United and American clubs in the same airport, and features an furnished outdoor observation deck area with misters for the summer heat and heat lamps for the few days each year it’s cold.
The club is 9000 square feet and in the center of the end of the terminal concourse by gates 1 and 2 close to where Delta will ultimately situated (it’s temporarily using gates just a few steps away). The club is referred to as “the space ship” by airport employees because of how it looks as you approach.
It’s upstairs, either taking an elevator (which wasn’t turned on yet when I toured in advance of opening) or a staircase.
Currently Delta’s operation in Austin is limited to 28 peak-day departures serving their hubs and as well as Boston and Raleigh. The opening of this new club comes three months after the addition of 9 new gates at the airport. Delta staff expect that they’ll grow to use 5 gates, with a corresponding increase in flights. That’s consistent with the expectation that Austin is likely to become a Delta focus city.
Indeed Delta employees in Austin are expecting to get their first international flight, and seem split 50-50 over whether service will be to Paris or Amsterdam (with Seoul mentioned as a dark horse, noting that Austin currently doesn’t have a single flight to Asia). This club certainly supports the expansion Delta is considering in my home town.
The bar is beautiful, not just functional. Adjacent to the bar is a temperature-controlled glass tower for wine storage. They’re also stocking Texas beers including Thirsty Planet Thirsty Goat, Hi Sign Violet the Blueberry Blonde and Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower.
In addition to various cold food offerings, Claude Roussel, Delta’s Managing Director for Sky Club, tells me that they’ll have breakfast tacos and rotating barbecue items. While I was there the cooked hot item was slow-braised chicken with cilantro, chickpeas, tomato, peppers and beer.
There’s a substantive salad bar and also soup (they had their famous Thai chicken and rice soup out while I was there). The salad bar is leveraged into a Pho offering — once you have a nice salad bar with a variety of items including noodles, why not leverage the ingredients?
Delta describes the look and feel of the club as “inspired by Austin with warm walnut, metal finishes and rich fabrics” and featuring items from local artists throughout the lounge. Even the corridor to the restroom has art which reminds you where you are.
And since many people want lounge access for the clean restrooms, this one does not disappoint.
There are numerous seating areas that create a sense of unique spaces, ideal for working alone or spending time with travel companions. Most seats have power outlets. From the dining area, to seating around the bar, to more traditional lounge spaces. There are spectacular views of airport operations throughout.
The real gem, of course, is the outdoor (covered) deck.
There’s a fairly large kitchen for the small club, something the United and American clubs lack. There are a couple of small ovens and portable cook top, but not stove. Apparently the standard for Delta’s new hub clubs is to outfit the kitchen with gas — not just electric.
This is the only SkyClub Delta has announced in its queue to open in an airport that didn’t previously offer one. There will be a new club coming to New Orleans, and a new 28,000 square foot club for Salt Lake City next year (more than double the size of the current lounge). New York JFK terminal 4 is getting a redesign (I’ve only recently been to the terminal 2 club but I’m told check-in has already been moved downstairs to allow more seating, but the footprint hasn’t changed). LAX will get a new club in 2021 with a Sky Deck.
I find Delta’s clubs overall to be nicer, and with better food, than American and United clubs. However both American and United offer upgraded lounges for international premium cabin customers, which Delta does not. For an outstation hoping to become a focus city like Austin, though, this new club is an absolute winner — and will be a draw for flying Delta.