Delta Delivers on NYC Expansion Promises With New LaGuardia Sky Club
The early verdict is a positive one. After taking over an ailing Terminal C that needed more than just a sweeping and a paint job, Delta applied their signature style to their newest Sky Club, which was a full redo from the existing 7,600 square foot US Airways version.
Upon walking in, the feel was calming and comfortable. Aside from the immediate polite greeting, the corridor was wide, welcoming, and lighting pleasant. Further in view, one can easily see the full wall of windows inside the club that bring in an ample supply of natural light, as well as a generous view of ramp and runway operations.
The Sky Club itself has a comfortable feel. In what is not a massive area, I counted five different seating options and styles that offer travelers various preferences of comfort or group accommodation. Swivel and swinging tables, high-arm privacy chairs, window stools and face-to-face counter stools, all with color schemes that are lively and do not bore. This is accomplished, mind you, without feeling cramped in the slightest, which may be a first in LaGuardia’s 73 year history. Every seat has power outlets that include a USB option, and the complimentary wifi is of course a given in today’s industry.
Image is everything, and it reflects directly on the travelers’ experience. Subtle differences such a glass guards on the lower portion of walls and a well-done wood laminate on doors reduces the appearance of scuffs from baggage and staff carts. Proper maintenance of ground equipment improves the view of the ramp, which also includes adding marketing phrases on the tops of baggage carts to take advantage of the downward view, which add additional marketing skill to the setting.
Until US Airways opens their replacement LGA club in early 2013, their members will be allowed to utilize the Sky Club, and I don’t think Delta is complaining. Without playing “nosy reporter,” passengers volunteered and were almost eager to share their pleasure and flat-out surprise of the design’s look. One long-time US Airways passenger remarked “It’s so sleek and modern…it’s nicer than any [US] Airways club from East to West Coast.” The airlines’ investment in clubs is an investment in their most frequent travelers, with the same flyer adding, “I have too many miles on US Airways to switch, but I would have no problem modifying my travel itineraries if it meant having access to clubs like this.”
Terminal D passengers need not fret, as the construction of the bridge connecting the two terminals is making progress, and the transferring shuttles are fast and convenient. The Terminal D Sky Club is next on the list for renovations, which will also host a full wall of windows as well. One special feature of D’s Sky Club is its status as Delta’s testing ground for Duracell Powermats, which are placed at stations throughout the club. If all goes well, Delta says with excitement, they will expand the feature throughout the network.
The Delta taste test has only just begun, however. Continued expansion and modifications at both La Guardia and JFK are ongoing, with JFK’s Terminal 4 work expected to be completed in May of 2013. Terminal 4 will boast Delta’s largest and flagship Sky Club, of which Delta shared a few secrets that excite the mind and please the senses. A better airline for New York? So far so good.