The Delta Sky Club Red “Line Skipping Pass”

Delta Sky Clubs frequently have long lines. The clubs have better food and beverage than the basic United Clubs and Admirals Clubs do, and more people have access thanks to Delta’s partnership with American Express that doesn’t just extend to premium Delta credit card customers but also to American Express Platinum and Centurion customers as well.

But just because you can finally make it inside the club, doesn’t mean you’re able to stay. You may need help with a reservation. On Friday afternoon Delta didn’t have any staff to assist with reservations in their main New York JFK club.

That means guests had to leave the club to go into the terminal looking for help with a reservation, such as changing a flight in the event of a delay or cancellation. And I learned something new about the Delta Sky Club lines. There’s a way to skip the velvet rope.

Recognizing long lines, Delta began testing fast track lanes to enter their clubs for Diamond and 360 elite members. However you don’t need to be a top Delta customer to skip the line.

If you have to leave the club for help with a reservation, you’d need to stand in line again to return. Except Delta has red “line skipping passes.” They may not automatically offer those to you even if you tell them you’re leaving and coming back. You need to ask.

Delta shouldn’t just have a service desk inside the club – given the lines they should have a separate service center so that people who just need help with bookings don’t have to wait for seating space inside the club to get it. Even American Airlines sets up service centers with reservations staff (and soft drinks, sandwiches for takeaway) when they don’t have their full club operations available.

But since these skip the line tokens exist I’m sure some people ask for one when leaving the club even when they do not intend to return. Then they probably use them the next time there’s a line to get in. Word is they may vary the colors of the passes, but as the saying goes “collect them all.”

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. Getting complicated out there
    I’m fine with the terminal gate areas and restaurants/bars
    No need to cram myself into their prison living rooms
    You can keep Delta clubs along with their Sky Team Ponzi Scheme alliance

  2. Last two trips to JFK to EU there was no one to help with checking passports etc tho there were 4 stations with personnel but told could not help(no lines for help either) go to the gate.. Crazy

  3. Those who signed up for the Delta AmEx Reserve card through blogger links must be feeling quite stupid about that decision now, aren’t they? At least you had the decency to not include a hundred hotlinks to signup like OMAAT in his recent post.

  4. I am sad that Delta is moving out of T2 at JFK and that their T2 lounge is closing. I have never found a wait to get into that lounge and it rarely, if ever, seems crowded. The staff there is extremely helpful for everything that is needed.

  5. AmEx Reserve isn’t even the problem, it’s that everyone and their mom got a platinum over the pandemic, and now they all get SkyClub access.

    You don’t see CSR holders getting United Club access, I don’t know why Delta is permitting Plat holders to SkyClubs.

  6. Yeah, I flew a 9.5 hr flight in to JFK, and all I wanted to do is get some ice and water (since you have to empty your water going back thru security at JFK). And I couldn’t get to the lounge. Not even to hang out or anything, just to get water and ice.

    It’s pretty pointless to pay to Amex Reserve when you can’t even use part of the ‘benefit’ is using it

  7. 95% of the people I’ve struck up conversations with in the Sky Club are in on the Amex Plat. It’s almost never Delta Reserve Cards or Diamonds who picked it as their “gift” or Business class flyers on an international itinerary.

    JFK has a perfectly good Centurion…that should be where the Plats go for free and make the Sky Club $39.00 for them.

    Do that and watch how fast those young ones who are authorized users on their parents card DON’T go to the Sky Club anymore!

  8. Reserve card is all about upgrade priority, which has worked great so yeah… I am glad I got the card 🙂

  9. We’ve about reached the tipping point on lounges, haven’t we?

    As Ben wrote over the weekend, just buy some decent food you really want, and go eat it at an empty gate put on the concourse. Annual fee=None.

  10. In years past it was not always about food and alcohol, at least for me. The lounges were about QUIET and CALM. Appears that no longer applies in US lounges.

  11. @ Sam — Seriously? I’m 2 MM Diamond with Reserve card, and I would NEVER wait for an upgrade on Delta’s multi-page waitlists and actually expect an upgrade.

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