Premium passengers have become very demanding when it comes to the amenity of airline lounges. And thanks to over-the-top clubs built by airlines like Etihad and Lufthansa, U.S. carriers have been forced to upgrade their lounges. Gone are the days when carriers could offer only functional rooms offering pre-packaged foods and a paid bar with basic drink choices.
I saw the change during a Jan. 19 visit to the new flagship Delta Air Lines Sky Club next to Gate B18 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Claude Roussel, managing director of Delta’s Sky Clubs, told me in a LoungeReview.com interview that his mission was to improve the overall customer experience in the lounge. An important part of that, he said, was training “ambassadors of service,” who would be there to do everything from offer warm greetings to refilling drinks.
I was understandably skeptical when I arrived at the lounge. After being quickly and warmly checked in, I made a beeline to the left corner of the club, which offered amazing views of parked and landing jets (including Korean Air’s 747).
Each time I went to get something to eat or drink, I was warmly greeted by every ambassador, who also asked if I needed help. Plates and dishes were removed as soon as items were consumed, and there were plenty of tasty food options. I even tried out the famous Wine Wall, offers world-class wines by the glass or in tasting flights.
There were plenty of places to sit, from the wall tables I chose to pod-like single chairs, couches with coffee tables and traditional restaurant-styled seating. I was in the club for more than four hours and it never felt crowded. So when it comes to Delta, the airline is more than ready to duke it out with the best airport lounges in the world.