Delta is making it harder to get into its airport lounges after they were flooded by travelers

The Sky Lounge during a tour of Delta Air Lines Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in the Queens borough of New York, US, Wednesday, June 1, 2022. Delta Air Lines said it would trim about 100 flights a day. The US and Latin America from July 1 to August 7 to help them recover faster from inclement weather, higher-than-expected worker absenteeism and other issues that have hampered recent operations. Photographer: Stephanie Keith / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Delta Airlines Making it difficult to get into the most exclusive corners of the airport.

Next year, the airline will raise the prices and requirements to gain access to its Sky Club airport lounges, spaces designed to avoid traveling crowds with complimentary food and drinks, workspaces, comfortable seats and sofas for passengers . even at times rain are available.

Delta’s move comes after complaints from passengers about long lines and overcrowding at some Sky Clubs as the number of people entering empty spaces increased. credit card dealsCustomer travel habits and lounge memberships.

Beginning next year, membership packages for Delta’s lounges will be available only to members of the airline’s SkyMiles frequent flyer program who have status, one of the so-called Medallion tiers. Currently, anyone can buy a subscription.

“We want to invest in our customers who invest in us,” Dwight James, Delta’s senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty, told CNBC.

James said passengers’ feedback showed they wanted to avoid stressful crowds and lines at airline lounges.

“It’s not representative of the experience they’re accustomed to,” he said of recent crowds. James said some of the most crowded lounges have been in hub markets like New York and Atlanta, and Florida has been busy as well.

“We have to evolve,” James said.

Among other changes, Delta is raising membership fees. Starting January 1, the cost of an individual membership to Delta’s Sky Club will increase from $545 or 54,500 miles to $695 or 69,500 miles. Executive Membership, which includes guests, will increase from $845 or 84,500 miles to $1,495 or 149,500 miles.

Delta offers its Diamond Medallion members some special perks for the year, such as upgrade certificates. For those who reach that level for 2024, executive membership to the lounge will count as three selections instead of two. And starting in February, Delta will no longer offer individual memberships through that channel.

The airline recently introduced special VIP lines for some Sky Clubs so that its most loyal customers are not forced to wait for entry. In July, it said customers could get into the Sky Club within three hours of their departure time, a measure aimed at avoiding overcrowding.

In December, Delta said it would report how busy its clubs are in Detroit and Atlanta, from “not busy” to “extremely busy” so travelers know what to expect.

Delta and other carriers have made status and other perks harder to earn over the years, awarding those statuses not only to frequent fliers but to big spenders. Nevertheless, partnering with travel rewards and co-branded credit cards, such as Delta American Express either American Airlines‘ with City Passengers are allowed to collect miles and perks.

On November 29, 2022 John F. An American Airlines and British Airways new lounge at Kennedy International Airport.

Leslie Josephs | cnbc

Airlines have opened larger lounges or new formats to accommodate passengers.

“We look at least seven to 10 years into the future,” British Airways chief customer officer Calum Lemming told CNBC at the unveiling of the larger joint lounge with partner American Airlines at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Tuesday.

And United AirlinesFor example, earlier this month Grab-and-Go lounge opened For travelers at its Denver hub, a new type of space for travelers with limited time and one that frees up other United clubs for other travelers who want to stay.