Guest Blog: Review of Delta’s Sky Clubs at Detroit Metro Airport

[Editor’s note: This guest post is written by Eric Moylan, who reviewed Delta Air Lines’ Sky Club lounges in Detroit… enjoy!]

I had a chance to hit two Delta Air Lines Sky Clubs at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) to check out how they compare to United’s Red Carpet Clubs, many of which I’ve been to. I planned a trip to the East Coast traveling through DTW with 2+ hours to entertain myself, so after chatting with Darren, I decided to purchase a One-Day Pass for the Sky Club. While I was debating on whether or not to actually get the day pass, I checked out the Sky Club page and was surprised to find that Milwaukee (where I started my day on a 5:30 AM flight) had a Sky Club. Although it would have been good to start my day off at this club to check out one of the smaller ones, it did not open for business until 4:45, and my flight began boarding at 4:50. I decided to just skip this club and wait until I got to Detroit.

After arriving at DTW, I headed straight for the closest Sky Club, which was in the middle of the terminal. I went in, and within three minutes I had paid for my one-day pass & headed upstairs where the club was located. It is comparable to the Red Carpet Clubs (RCCs) when you enter. They use a lot of medium colored woods & frosted glass-dividing panels with high ceilings, which give you a feeling of a larger space. I found a seat near some windows that had a view of the center of the terminal, which included the water feature, train, and post-security area with shops. The club had comfortable chairs and couches throughout in multiple seating areas. It seemed empty for a Friday morning at one of Delta’s hub airports, with only a few people scattered throughout the club in the larger seating area.

First thing on the list was to grab a cup of coffee. There are beverage stations throughout the club giving you the same options of coffee, mini muffins and canned juices. There is a larger seating area where the free self-service bar is located, which also had a toaster with bagels available. As much as a Bloody Mary would have been a good start to my vacation, I stuck with coffee.  I grabbed a couple muffins and returned to my seat and started up the laptop to check out the free Wi-Fi service offered through T-Mobile. It had a good connection speed and didn’t have any lag or lost connections.

While enjoying the quiet atmosphere of the club, shortly that came to an end. A family of five arrived and the three children began to talk in their high-pitched voices. The parents were quickly trying to get them to talk in a quieter tone. As much as I like kids (just ask Darren), being near children was not going to be high on my list of things this trip. I refilled my cup of coffee and walked around the club and checked out the different areas. Even on the other side of the club, I could hear the kids. There were a few conference rooms and shower rooms available.  The large seating area had a free bar that seemed to be getting some use by the amount of people sitting near it. There were also some bagels and toasters available in this area as well.

After walking around for a bit I headed back to my seat and took a few pictures of the different areas of the club.  The offerings are similar to United’s RCCs.  Nothing really stood out to me to make them any different than if I was at the RCC in Denver. The only thing that this club was missing was a view of the tarmac. The only views you get out of this club are the concourse on one side and a few of the hotels on the other.

After having my fill of the main club and wanting to check out another one before my flight, I headed to the B/C Concourse. This was a smaller club, but does have a good view of the wide-body gates in the A terminal. It felt cramped with low ceilings and the seating areas are crammed with seats. Most of the different areas had seats for 8-10 people around a small coffee table.  This club seemed to be busier than the previous one, but that could be due to the smaller area. Most of the different seating areas had a few people in them. I found an empty one to spread out and relax and within 5 minutes, I had two other people joining me. This club has a view of the A terminal where the larger planes and mainline aircraft arrive. If you have never been to DTW before, it’s famous for the “dots” on the windows that block any good photo taking.

I found another beverage station and grabbed some juice on this round. Offerings were similar to the other club, including the free bar. I noticed people indulging in the free bar with the usual Bloody Mary’s and a few people drinking wine. I could understand the Bloody Mary’s, but wine at 9:30 AM?? Guess everyone has his or her drinks of choice. After grabbing a bagel and another cup of coffee I returned to my seat and watched a few planes moving around the airport. I started up my laptop again and checked the status on my next flight, which would be leaving from a gate just below the club. The flight seemed to be delayed a bit, which gave me more time in the club before leaving.

Overall I found the club comparable to what United offers at their Red Carpet Clubs. The one notable thing I like about Delta Sky Club is that you can use your day pass to enter any of the club’s on the day of your travel or one-day pass, not having to actually fly Delta to use the club.  Whereas United only lets you enter one club in each city, so if you were flying through a few cities with RCC’s, you’d have to pay for a day pass at each club.  This is a great option that I wish United had.  Being able to switch around when the club you’re in gets too crowded, or you just need a change of scenery when you’re flights delayed for a lengthy amount of time, is a nice benefit.

Eric Moylan

Comments

  1. Eric:

    Very nice post. I enjoyed the comparison to UA’s RCCs.

    It sounds like breakfast in DL’s clubs is a bit more meager than UA in terms of food selection–I often will eat my breakfast at a RCC (especially if my upgrade doesn’t clear) and enjoy raisin toast, cereal (I think it must be Quaker 100% Natural), yogurt, and a banana. I am a bit disappointed to learn that DL only has mini muffins and bagels.

    Oddly, DL has great snacks during in the late morning through late evening. I recently enjoyed hummus + pita chips, mixed nuts, biscoffs, and potato chips in the SFO Skyclub. While LH and other “foreign” airlines may provide a better food, I was pleased with what DL had to offer.

    A couple other things: first, I like that all liquor is free in Skyclubs. While UA has made a positive step in offering some free drinks, everything is free at DL. Second, I like that most Delta Skyclub’s have computer stations, which is something I really want to see from UA/CO now.

    Again, great review!

  2. Matthew – You are right about the food, I did forgot to include the boxed cereals and yogurts. The cereal wasn’t at every beverage station, mostly located in the bar area’s and the yogurt was located in the beverage refrigerators. When I was at the RCC’s the food was out and you didn’t have to hunt around to see what was available.

    Lucky – I agree the rule is a bit strange, but I can see where this is good for the adults and the business traveler who make up most of the customers using the clubs since they do have the open bar available, as well as protecting Delta from anyone underage drinking in the clubs. It a good perk and by protecting themselves with the 21+ rule they are making sure they are able to keep this place.

    Darren – The price of the One-Day Pass is $50.00. It’s not a bad price for what you get if you are going to be able to spend the time in the clubs on your trip. Much better then sitting in the gate area that’s for sure.

    Thanks again guys for the comments and reminding me about the few things I let slip in my report.

    Eric

  3. Many of the Sky Clubs (including DTW) have oatmeal in the morning and soup in the afternoon. Looks like you didn’t notice the oatmeal.

  4. As a chairmans preferred on US, and a US club member, I love coming to DTW. There is a LH lounge in the other terminal that is PHENOMONAL

    • Hi Greg,
      Thanks for stopping by & leaving a comment. I absolutely agree the LH lounges are fantastic. Have you ever been to the LH lounge at Washington Dulles airport?

  5. I hadn’t been in the main (A38) club at DTW for several years, since my flights often came/went via B/C gates or at the end gates in A. But today I had 2 hours before my pickup ride arrived, so I stopped in.

    It was distraught (that’s a kind word) to find that they have removed all of the cubicles and the business center. If you plan to work in the club, you will have to do it in the open, in the lounge chairs, on your lap or on tables that are barely large enough for you laptop.

    The business centers offered some degree of privacy, a full desk (room for laptop, mouse, papers and coffee/drinks on the desk), adjustable desk chairs, multiple power outlets and desk lamp lighting. This is all gone now, replaced by a large living room with lounge chairs, shared (and rare) power outlets and single-person tables.

    The other Sky clubs at DTW (there are 4 total) still have the business centers, but the A38 club has become a playground unsuited for work.

    As someone who pays for club membership (not getting this as a free add-on to a ticket or a credit card), this is a significant downgrade of purpose. It signals the direction Delta is going for their clubs, and also signals the end of my paid membership.

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