Review: Delta Sky Club O’Hare International Airport Terminal 2

Review: Delta Sky Club O’Hare International Airport Terminal 2

On a recent flight to the East Coast, I used my AMEX Platinum credit card as a way to get complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club at ORD. Access can be gained either through status (Diamond Medallion) or a combination of status (Gold and Platinum) and an international ticket, regardless of where you’re sitting in the cabin. If you are using an AMEX Platinum credit card, you must be ticketed on a Delta flight to gain entry. You can also gain access by purchasing a Delta Sky Club membership for $545 annually. Another way to gain access is by purchasing a day pass for $50 but I’d highly recommend not doing that.

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 Seating Area

The Delta Sky Club at O’Hare is located in Terminal 2, Concourse E, right across from gate E6. During my visit here on a weekday morning, I was expecting it to be packed since it’s the only Delta Sky Club at ORD. Fortunately for me, it wasn’t even half full and there was plenty of seating available.  Just about every seat was situated by an outlet and the layout and ambiance were very appealing. There are two larger seating areas which are separated by a wall.  It’s not a huge lounge relative to other Delta Sky Clubs but since Delta doesn’t have a hub in Chicago, I suppose they can mostly get away with it for the time being.

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Food Selection

Delta has really enhanced its breakfast offering over the past couple of years. Unlike their competitors (I’m looking at you United), they actually offer a hot breakfast. I had the omelet with salsa and since it was bought out just a few minutes before I got there, it was fresh and flavorful. There were also multiple flavors of yogurt, cereal, a variety of bagels and bread, donuts, and pancakes. Their espresso machine offered a variety of beverages and I chose the cappuccino.  Compared to other legacy airlines, Delta has done a great job with their food offerings and improving their on-the-ground experience.

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Miscellaneous

The Delta Sky Club does have a business center with a computer and access to printers. It also has clean restrooms (based on my experience) without showers. It’s a nice place to get work done or grab a bite before takeoff. Having warm offerings for breakfast and not being crowded certainly adds to the appeal. With Terminal 2 at ORD set to be replaced by a Global Terminal in the upcoming years, there is a great chance a newer Delta Lounge will have a much larger footprint at ORD. Until then, this lounge is perfectly capable of getting the job done for most business and leisure travelers.

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Review: Delta Sky Club LaGuardia Airport Terminal C

Review: Delta Sky Club LaGuardia Airport Terminal C

On a recent trip to Chicago, I had an early morning flight out of LaGuardia Airport on Delta Airlines. Delta uses the majority of gates in Terminal C and also has two Sky Club lounges in this terminal. Since I find myself using American, United, or Southwest for most of my travels out of LGA, I’ve never had the opportunity to use a Delta Sky Club. Presented with an opportunity for this particular trip, I arrived earlier than usual so I can experience what they had to offer. As an AMEX Platinum credit card holder, I get complimentary access to Delta Sky Club lounges if I am booked on a Delta flight. Unfortunately, I can’t bring in a guest free of charge. They would have to pay the discounted rate of $29 if they were to accompany me.

Seating Area

Even though my flight was at 7:10 a.m. and I was there by 6:10 a.m., the lounge was certainly not as empty as I thought. I’d say about 30% of the lounge was filled up. There were pockets of empty spaces and it didn’t take much effort to find a desirable seat next to the window. Most of their seats have plug outlets and USB ports and if you want to sit facing the tarmac to watch airplanes land and take off, they have window-facing seats as well.

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TarmacView
The view from Delta Sky Club if you get a seat next to the window

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This particular Delta Sky Club was like one giant room with a pillar here or there that might act as a buffer for privacy but not much else. Compared to the Centurion Lounge in Terminal B which is my go-to lounge at LGA, this lounge was massive. I purposely didn’t have breakfast at home so I can sample the food at this lounge.

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I had a bagel, chickpea salad, boiled egg, and some coffee. The chickpea salad was very good and flavorful. Certainly, something different to have in the morning if you’re not used to having a salad at 6:30 a.m. Since I got there early, their bagels were pretty fresh and seemed to be sourced locally. They had a variety of bread, bagels, and muffins among the bakery items. They also had a nice selection of cereal, parfait, and fruits. What they didn’t have were hot breakfast items that the Centurion Lounge is known for. I understand that there are some Sky Clubs that have this option and hopefully Delta brings hot breakfast to their NYC Sky Clubs soon. Their coffee was Starbucks Coffee and it tasted fine.

Business Center

DeltaSkyClubPrinterDeltaSkyClubNewsPapersDelta Sky Club does not provide computers but they do have an area in the back of the lounge that has a printer and a semi-private area that has the daily newspapers. They certainly have the space to add a few desktops and it would enhance the lounge if they did.

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This Delta Sky Club had the fastest internet speed I’ve tested at any lounge. This is perfect for business travelers and with the number of guests that fill the lounge during peak hours, their increased bandwidth serves them well.

 

Conclusion

Overall this was a pretty decent lounge. Delta could definitely improve certain aspects such as adding hot breakfast items, adding a couple of desktop computers, etc. If you need to spread out and get some work done, this is a decent place for that. As an AMEX Platinum credit card holder, would I recommend someone pay $29 to accompany me to this lounge? No, I would not. I would give this the nod over most United Clubs I have visited but it’s simply not at the level of a Centurion Lounge and it has a long way to go before it gets there. Since Terminals B and C are not physically connected at LaGuardia, you do have to take a shuttle between the two. The one advantage the Sky Club has is that it located past security unlike the Centurion Lounge. This removes the fear of having to deal with a long security line after exiting. I would rate this lounge a 3.8/5 with a strong potential to improve if Delta makes a few changes.

Using Social Media to Resolve Flight Disruptions

Using Social Media to Resolve Flight Disruptions

If you find yourself in a situation where your flight is delayed, cancelled, or your connecting flight is in jeopardy due to a delay, try using Twitter for assistance. A few months back, my wife’s flight from Albany to Atlanta was delayed by 35 minutes. Normally this is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. However, since her flight had a tight connection window of only 50 minutes to continue on from Atlanta to Dallas (Love Field), she was more than likely going to miss that flight. I was flying from NYC- Love Field and we booked so that we would land around the same time. Unfortunately, my wife’s connecting flight was the last flight from Atlanta to Love Field. Luckily for her, there was still a later flight from Atlanta to Dallas-Fort Worth and I would just drive over from Love Field and pick her up. I tweeted Delta and asked if they can put her on that flight. Delta responded back on Twitter and confirmed that they saved her a seat on that flight.

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That simple. This saved me the hassle of being put on hold and pressing God knows how many numbers to find someone that would help. Kudos to Delta for their fast response and helping us avoid what could have been a pretty ugly experience. So if you find yourself in a similar situation and need a contingency plan ASAP, social media might end up working better than the old fashioned customer service number. Just about every U.S. airline has a dedicated social media team for this purpose and even the airline that was slow to embrace it (Spirit Airlines) has finally embraced social media to assist customers.

 

United and Delta Devalue Their Miles

United and Delta Devalue Their Miles

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Airline devaluations are one of the guarantees in life.  Some airlines will devalue their mileage currency annually and some will do it every three to four years. This hurts the consumer since it often takes more miles or a larger fee has to be paid in the form of a “surcharge” for an award redemption. Delta is known to devalue their Sky Miles frequently and without warning. Some in the frequent flier world refer to their miles as “Sky Pesos.” United doesn’t devalue as often but this particular devaluation will hurt travelers regardless of cabin class.

 

                               United

Prior to November 1st, the most you would ever use for a domestic one way ticket in economy was 25k miles . Now if you want that one way ticket during the holiday season or any other holiday, there are some days where you won’t have an option that’s cheaper than 32.5k miles. Here is an example for a one way ticket from Chicago to Los Angeles:

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Business class transcontinental award tickets will also jump up to 35k miles for saver economy and 60k miles for everyday or peak times. The same holds true for an international award ticket.  Business class tickets originating in the U.S. will see a 5k to 10k increase in miles on just about every route.

 

                                    Delta

Delta on the other hand is starting to devalue their Sky Miles by rolling out fuel surcharges on flights to Europe. You won’t see it on every route just yet but here is an example of a one way flight from Paris to Seattle:

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As you can see, the surcharge for this one way flight is a ridiculous 215 euros. That’s in addition to the 50k miles at minimum that are needed for this redemption. Whether Delta rolls out this surcharge for all flights into and out of Europe or only those are departing or landing on the West Coast remains to be seen.

Regardless of which airline program you participate in, frequent flier miles always depreciate over time. Sometimes, the devaluation occurs without warning. Use them quickly because you just might need a whole lot more if you wait.

 

 

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