Delta employees who once enjoyed free access to the Sky Club Lounge can kiss that very nice perk goodbye. The only way to get in now is to pay.

According to Business Insider, “the airline made the announcement to staff in a recent email.”

The email said, “if you’ve visited a club recently, you may have seen lines out the door and guests — including our 360 and Diamond Medallion Members — waiting for seats once inside. This is not the experience our best customers want to have, nor the one we wish to deliver.”

CNN explained the fine print.

“Most notable of the access changes, as of Feb. 2, 2023, Sky Club members traveling on a basic economy ticket will no longer be permitted to enter the lounge, provided they don’t have access through an eligible American Express Card. Additionally, as of that date, Delta Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members flying internationally in Main Cabin or Delta Comfort+ will no longer get access to Sky Clubs — they must be flying internationally in Premium Select or Delta One. Finally, Delta is restricting Sky Club membership to its Medallion members, increasing the price to purchase a membership outright and increasing the number of Choice Benefits its most loyal Diamond Medallion members will have to pay in order to get a membership.”

Photos on Twitter such as this one posted by Kyle Potter, and this one taken outside one of the Sky Club lounges at JFK, illustrate the overcrowding issue.

Overcrowding Has Become An Issue

Delta isn’t trying to rain on the parade of its’ employees.

But overcrowding is certainly a problem, as noted by Business Insider.

As part of their strategy, the carrier “announced major restrictions on which passengers can buy annual memberships to the clubs back in November, while significantly raising yearly fees.”

Employees Can't Even Get A Discount

Will Delta employees at least get discounted access to the Sky Club Lounge?

It doesn’t seem so.

Business Insider reported, “an employee membership discount has also been discontinued.”

“Beginning February 2, employees and their families flying on nonrevenue travel passes — for leisure, work, and while on company business — will be barred from using Sky Clubs. Any Delta employees who bought a Sky Club membership can request reimbursement.”

The Sky Club Lounge Has Its Perks

The Sky Club Lounge helps passengers take the edge off when traveling.

According to CNBC, “Delta Sky Club airport lounges are a great place to relax before your flight and take advantage of complimentary Wi-Fi, snacks, and drinks, with curated menus featuring regional specialties, seasonal cocktails, and in some locations, shower facilities to keep you feeling fresh.”

They can be accessed three hours from departure.

CNBC explained, “to gain access, you’ll need to be flying that day, either with Delta or a partner airline.”

The Sky Lounges Are In Multiple Places

CNBC noted, “within the U.S., there are more than 50 Delta Sky Club locations in 35 airports.”

Some cities have multiple lounges including Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Minneapolis.

There’s also one in Tokyo.

More Lounges Will Be Added

The airline has ambitious plans for 2023. Some existing lounges will get a facelift, while new ones will be built in the following airports:

St. Paul International Airport in Minneapolis (MSP)

Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta (ATL)

John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (JFK)

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

Miami International Airport (MIA)

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)