Passengers On These Delta Flights Are Only Permitted to Spend 35 Minutes In The Lounge – Or Less

The new Delta Sky Club at New York LaGuardia is now only open until 7:30 p.m. But did you know that 7 Delta flights from New York now only allow lounge access for 35 minutes – or less? [Update: Delta has reverted to a 9:30 p.m. close time for this lounge.]

To limit lounge crowding Delta won’t allow passengers into a lounge until 3 hours prior to departure of the first flight on their itinerary. In addition, several additional limits on club access go into effect next month as well.

Delta’s access restrictions apply even when lounges are empty. One senior Delta executive declared, “We’re not WeWork!” though in fact many members pay for lounge access precisely to get work done before a flight, including when they finish meetings early and have a long wait for their flight at the airport.

This new Sky Club used to stay open until 9:30 p.m., which made sense with Delta’s schedule, since there are flights departing up until just before 10 o’clock. And of course delays are common as well. A 7:30 p.m. close time simply doesn’t match Delta’s operation. There are over 40 Delta flights leaving after that.

In fact, there are (7) Delta flights which depart New York LaGuardia at 9:55 p.m. or later:

Destination Departure Time Flight #
Hartford (BDL) 9:55 p.m. DL5612
Washington (DCA) 9:55 p.m. DL5708
Syracuse (SYR) 9:55 p.m. DL2211
Bangor (BGR) 9:59 p.m. DL4809
Boston (BOS) 9:59 p.m. DL1433
Providence (PVD) 9:59 p.m. DL5318
State College (SCE) 9:59 p.m. DL4730

The earliest someone on a 9:55 p.m. departure can enter a Delta Sky Club is 6:55 p.m., or 35 minutes prior to closing time. They don’t get 3 hours in the lounge. They get 35 minutes. And during the last half hour staff tend to be buttoning up and putting away food.

If you’re taking one of Delta’s late departures, and you want to visit the Sky Club that you’re paying an increasing amount for you need to show up for your flight two and a half hours prior to departure, and then spend most of your time in the terminal.

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. In Denver, they close the lounge before boarding for the last flight, which is always a red-eye around midnight to Atlanta. Occasionally, there are additional red-eyes to Minneapolis or Detroit.

  2. I can’t imagine arriving at 6:55pm for a 9:55pm domestic departure on a regional jet. Unless I’m just dropping off my bags before taking off for Chinatown in Flushing for some baos that will be better than anything in an airport lounge.

  3. American lounges are generally sub-par. Sterile, unfriendly interior design, unfriendly staff, and poor-quality food choices.

    So, when Delta did something different, and much better, with their new Sky Club at LGA, it was obvious it quickly would become very popular. And it has!

    The crowds have been solid and I thought from day 1 there’s no way they are going to maintain e.g., that level of food (still below many lounges outside of the U.S.). Surely enough, after a couple of months, they have already downgraded.

    Now this.

    Why can we not have these kind of lounges in the U.S.?

  4. Fred, are you asking why a domestic airport with no customs, LGA, can’t have international lounge style food? I think you answered your question already.

    Most other lounges outside the US & Canada are primarily international lounges. And you see international style lounges with that food quality at primarily international airports in the US like JFK & LAX.

    If you want to feel grateful for US-style domestic lounges, go visit Delta’s buddy in MEX. The AM lounges make anyone thrilled for even cubed cheese.

  5. The membership is not worth the hassle. Take the money and spend it at the airport. Granted, LGA is a total ripoff.

  6. So much for enjoying the Delta lounge at LGA before my 9:55PM flight to Bangor.

    Seems like Delta should keep the lounge open until 9PM with limited service (drinks and snacks only) after 8PM.

  7. The early close solves the crowding issue at the sky club. Why fly delta when you can fly someone else out of terminal B and use the amex Centurion lounge thst closes at 9pm

  8. It reminds me of UA Club at DCA . If you are on the 6am departures to EWR , ORD , or IAH you are out of luck as UA Club at DCA doesn’t open until 5:30 a.m. .

  9. Yet another example of how the AmEx Delta Reserve is a ripoff. Long lines to enter. Overcrowded clubs. And now limited hours. Raise your hand if you feel like a fool for getting this card on the advice of a Boarding Area blogger

  10. @ Gary — Simple soultion — fly AA (or another airline). I believe that all of the routes except BDL are served nonstop in the evening by other carriers.

  11. When did the hours change? Delta’s website still says it closes at 9:30. I was there late just last week.

  12. Delta truly has developed a gift for treating engaged customers like crap. Just because that’s no longer surprising doesn’t make it any less disheartening. At least if they stayed open later they could pretend that they care.

  13. The United club lounge at LGA is pretty nice too.

    The era of major US airports’ airline lounges being rather dumpy has been shifting toward becoming history (for now). But the crowding in them has since reached unprecedented levels, as US credit card issuers have de facto gotten into the game of selling airline lounge membership and the lounges got freshened up and improved food offerings.

  14. “… and use the amex Centurion lounge thst closes at 9pm”

    Pro-tip: never expect service at a Centurion 30 minutes before close.

    The food is torn down 30 minutes before close, and the bar cuts off 15 before.

    My gripe: places should close when they close, and not allow more patrons in at that time. Tear down should begin at close, with guests being asked to leave ar 15 or 20 after close.

    That would be hospitality.

  15. Close the lounge early…people complaint. Keep the lounge open but with inadequate staffing to run it properly…people will complain. Limit access…people will complain. Don’t limit access and allow crowding to ensue…people will complain.

    There’s a theme here…

  16. @Jack A is right. These new restrictions further devalue any card “membership.” Dump the cards and pay for what you want – you’ll stop losing money on card memberships/spend and be far wealthier for it.

  17. In Voltaire’s book Candide, a character comments that the French are the best at 1) making love and 2) complaining. Might it be that those expecting lounge access exceed the French on both counts?

  18. At some point people are going catch on to the fact that Delta and Amex are selling something they don’t have: premium lounges. Having to jump through hoops or or finding the lounge to be crowded noisy and dirty. I’m a infrequent flyer who already cancelled a Delta Platinum and am considering the same for Amex even though it is highly discounted through my brokerage.

  19. I checked last night online and it was 7:30. My wife and I use it for late evening departures and fired off a complaint to Delta. Not that that had any impact, but I’m glad they’ve corrected this. I wonder if it was a mistake or change of heart. Probably the former, as I can’t see them reversing policy that quickly.

  20. I don’t know, I’m still seeing 7:30 on the app. I should clarify — when I said online in my previous post, I meant app.

  21. Well Delta you certainly aren’t doing anything to retain customers. I am closing my Delta Reserve and platinum cards this week. I will go back to flying AS as much as I can. You aren’t “we work” is right. You are “we cheap”.

  22. We landed in Atl at 5:20 am the other day leaving our of E terminal… Our flight was boarding at 6:40 AM the lounge was opening at 6:45AM Missed breakfast and on a 40 minute flight to Jax…water,drink and small snaxk basket…..On the earlier leg they had NO canned drinks either or any Pre-boarding drinks..were offered…..

  23. @CMorgan You’ll feel so much better when you cancel them. I did a few years ago and it’s like ending a bad, verbally abusive relationship

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