Delta Airlines plans to limit staff access to its luxury airport lounges following reports of overcrowding.
The airline announced on Wednesday that it will end staff access to its Delta Sky Club beginning February 2. The move is designed to prevent overcrowding at Delta’s amenity-rich airport lounges, according to the company.
The Sky Club lounges feature a variety of traveler-friendly perks, including restaurants, bars, showers, free Wi-Fi, and more.
Delta says its policy change is part of a larger initiative to “balance popularity with premium service,” as well as to deliver an elevated experience for the airline’s most loyal customers.
“People understand the role we all play in delivering an elevated customer experience. That’s why employees will refrain from accessing Delta Sky Clubs when using their standby travel privileges or traveling for company business,” the Atlanta-based airline explained in its announcement.
“This decision was not made lightly,” Delta said. “When we put our customers first and ensure that they have the best experience, they will continue to prefer Delta’s premium products and services — which ultimately benefits all of us.”
Delta’s announcement follows a string of policy changes that kicked off at the beginning of January. These include increasing the individual membership price from $545 or 54,500 miles to $695 or 69,500 miles and raising the executive membership price from $845 or 84,500 miles to $1,495 or 149,500 miles.
“While we’re thrilled to see so many customers enjoy the fruits of our teams’ hard work, our goal now is to balance the popularity of the Clubs with the premium service and atmosphere for which they were designed — and that our guests deserve,” said Dwight James, CEO of Delta Vacations and senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty.
Some Delta employees expressed disappointment in the decision, while others questioned the logic behind excluding its own employees and paid members.
“The solution to their own self-created crowding problem is to boot their own employees,” one of the company’s pilots told CNBC.
A complete list of the changes can be found here.