After checking out Delta’s Terminal 2 SkyClub, I still had plenty of time to check out their other JFK lounge. That’s the newer “flagship” SkyClub in Terminal 4. Delta’s flagship SkyClub, the lounge opened along with the completion of T4’s renovations in 2013. The club received glowing reviews upon opening. But recently, Delta’s competition upped the game with the opening of American’s Flagship and United’s Polaris lounges. So how does Delta’s premier SkyClub stack up in the new lounge arm’s race?
Delta SkyClub JFK Terminal 4
Near Gate 32 in Concourse B. Beware, it’s a deceptively long walk from the security checkpoint to the lounge. If you plan to stop in before your flight, don’t cut it too close. Also, I found the entrance a little hard to find, thanks to poor signage in the terminal. When heading towards gate 32 from the security checkpoint, look for the lounge on the right-hand side.
Remember, you don’t have to fly out of Terminal 4 to use the lounge. If taking a Delta flight from Terminal 2, take the “JFK Jitney” from the Gate C60 stop.
Delta provides SkyClub access to the following passengers:
- Delta One and SkyTeam international and transcontinental passengers
- SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling on any SkyTeam flight in any class of service
- Delta Reserve cardmembers on Delta coded or operated flights
- Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders traveling on a same-day Delta flight
- Virgin Australia Club members
Those with Gold and Platinum Delta Amex cards can also access the lounge for a discounted $29 fee.
The lounge itself is up one level after entering the sliding doors. Previously, upon entering, guests had to head up the escalators to check-in. Now, though, Delta stations attendants downstairs, so you can head straight to the seating area. A pleasant agent took my boarding pass, and welcomed me to the SkyClub.
Should you need assistance with ticketing issues, a large desk staffed with agents upstairs can help. Otherwise, go straight ahead to enter the lounge. The lounge immediately opens up into a huge central area, with an impressive bar front and center. While the bar offers complimentary basic beer, wine, and spirits, upmarket selections are available for purchase.
As mentioned, a huge, open seating area sits in front of the bar. Pictures don’t really do it justice; trust me, though, it’s huge. As you can see, it was fairly crowded, with the previous day’s Nor’easter cancellations probably contributing. Most of the seating here consists of table seating, with a few communal work benches.
The right side features a pretty cool piece of art, a partial replica of the “Fly Delta Jets” sign.
To the left, meanwhile, is the food selection. Like the Terminal 2 club, you’ll find a selection of decent quality breads and cereals.
But unlike most domestic lounges, this SkyClub also offers hot food. In this case, a choice of four selections. I apologize for the lack of photos. Too much traffic made it impossible to take any without getting in the way. One of the options was coconut cornmeal, though.
Head back from the food stations, and you’ll find another large seating area, this one lined with floor-to-ceiling windows. This is the real improvement over the lounge in Terminal 2. The large windows let in plenty of natural light, providing a bright, airy feel. This section provides a variety of seating, from traditional table seating, to lounging chairs, to communal work benches.
And of course, you can enjoy some great planespotting from one of the window seats.
Circle back towards the entrance, and there is yet another seating area. This one seems designed as a “quiet zone” of sorts. Here, just like in Terminal 2, are some “enclosed” high-backed chairs if you want to lounge in privacy.
Or, if you prefer more traditional seating, there’s that, too. Also notice the “power posts” sticking up from the floor. I noticed these throughout the lounge in areas lacking wall plugs. (You can see them in the photos of the central seating area.) The result is excellent outlet coverage, wherever you choose to sit.
Still can’t find a place to sit? Walk past the “Fly Delta Jets” art, and you come upon yet another seating area. This one was quite a bit less crowded than the rest of the lounge. Here, you’ll find mostly “traditional” lounge seating. I ended up setting up shop here; the chairs were quite comfy.
This area also contains some cool aviation-themed art. In this case, replica bag tags.
Of course, I intended to save the best for last, though it didn’t really work out that way. When walking past the food stations, turn right instead of left, and behold the signature feature of Delta’s flagship lounge. That’s the “SkyDeck”, and outdoor seating area with a fantastic view of the Terminal 4 ramp. Unfortunately, the deck was closed due to continuing strong winds.
Judging by the condition of the seats and lights, the closure was a good decision…
Turning left at the SkyDeck entrance leads to the business center. Don’t let the photo fool you. The partitioned workspaces extend all the way down the window. Of course, all that planespotting must be bad for productivity…
I apparently missed the TV/relaxation room, which has several chaise lounges on which to stretch out. Showers are also available. Also, service in this lounge seemed better than in the T2 lounge. Plates and glasses were cleared promptly, even with the moderate crowds on this morning.
For a domestic lounge, this is a very good lounge. Hot food items, a better than average free drink selection, ample seating in different configurations, great planespotting, cool art, the SkyDeck – it simply does a lot of things well. The massive size of the lounge – nearly 24,000 square feet – is both a blessing and curse, though. On the one hand, all the different seating areas generally reduces overcrowding. On the other hand, I’m not really a fan of the huge central seating area, which gets noisy.
Here’s the thing, though. While groundbreaking in 2013, the competition has since upped their game. American’s new Flagship Lounges and United’s one operating Polaris Lounge now offer similar design and experiences. And American now offers its a la carte Flagship First Dining at JFK, an option Delta currently lacks. So while the T4 SkyClub is still a great lounge, perhaps it’s no longer best in class.