A Guest Post by John @laptoptravel
Recently I spent quite a number of days in the Dallas area doing some (photographic) work, attending the NASCAR Duck Commander Race and Re-Qualifying my Hyatt Hotels Gold Passport Diamond status. During that time, Delta completed its remodel of its Sky Club, located next to Gate E11. It re-opened 48 hours before my departure flight from Dallas. Given the opportunity, I checked out of my Hyatt DFW hotel suite to spend a few hours at the Sky Club and review it for René and his readers.
New Directions and Entrance
Upon exiting the TSA security lines, right in front of TGI Friday’s, most passengers would notice the sign directing them to the new Sky Club; a left turn towards Gate E11. The previous Sky Club had been located in the same Terminal (E) at mezzanine Level, by gates E22-30. It is quite a walk from the TSA lines to the new club, but that will improve when there will be a new security queue closer to Delta check-in counters around the end of May.
During the grand re-opening, Delta placed an arch at the entrance made up of blue and red balloons.
Upon entering, one is greeted by a nice front desk area done in deep wood colors and a large Delta Sky Club sign mounted on an acrylic surface on the back wall. Behind this desk, to the left are the restrooms. The desk has the Sky Club card readers now out on the desk so a guest can hold on to their membership card, guest pass or mobile device while having their credentials scanned; no need to hand anything over to a desk agent here.
Crowded, But Not Really?
I arrived at the Sky Club just past 2:00pm and found it to be about one-third full. Having said that, understand that 95 percent of all guests were seated by the food service line, bar and windows that face out towards the tarmac and runways. It is strange that Delta’s guests in the lounge will be looking out the windows to United and JetBlue jet ways, aircraft and signage. I am not used to that, but the lounge’s location is not directly on Delta gate locations.
As I stood at the desk I saw many seating areas (four specifically) behind me. Of the 40 seats or more, only three were occupied. There is a room that seemed more colorful and better lit, but appeared to be a family or reading area.
Next to it was a row of work cubicles; a chair, a counter and two A/C outlets. I found those to be oddly claustrophobic as the cubicle sides run very high from the floor and were very narrow in my opinion. Off down a hall from the cubicles were two larger private cubicles that could seat two with a counter, a single chair and outlets.
Past those two units one will find the ‘business center,’ simple as that may be. A motorized shoe buffer is to find on the floor, along with two trash receptacles, a paper shredder as well as a single printer that operates as a HotSpot Printer™.
There is a conference room located in the Sky Club which seats six comfortably. I observed no counters or shelves in the room; just a desk and six high-back chairs on rollers.
There are six chairs grouped near the front entrance area. Strangely, there are only two power outlets to be found between them all. I witnessed more than one person attempt to sit in one of these and search for a nearby outlet. After I pointed out that they had none each person chose to move to another area where an outlet was mounted next to a seat. I think that with the needs of devices today power outlets should be plentiful in airports and especially at a lounge that caters to (mostly) its most frequent of flyers.
Food and Beverage Service
There are three areas for food and beverages. The first, closest to the front desk is along a wall that has a single television mounted above. The television showed a local news channel the entire time. On that service line one will find a two-layered shelf of coffee cups, two (portable) dispensers (one for coffee, the other for hot water), a carafe of cream, flavorings, sweeteners, stir sticks, an assortment of teas, and lastly napkins. A trash receptacle is at the end of the counter. It is a very bare presentation and overtly states its lack of abundance.
The second, the more familiar area to most guests, is the food service line. This is found farthest from the entrance along a wall that at one end is next to the bar area and on the other end finds the row of windows providing views to the airport’s runways.
Again, the simplicity is highly understated for a lounge of the (arguably) largest airline in the world and its passengers, guests and worldwide SkyTeam members. Quite concisely, it offers the minimum one would expect from a Sky Club, and the minimum just won’t do for many in today’s evolving competitive landscape of airport lounge expansions and refreshing.
Plastic utensils are found in a clear plastic holder, followed by two soup choices (this day they offered Wicked Thai Chicken with Rice and a Vegan Vegetable.) This was followed by a large plastic container holding ice and three plastic food holders. The first contained half cauliflower and celery sticks, the next offered sliced red peppers and raw baby carrots and the third held raw baby carrots (yes, again) and sliced cucumbers. It seemed obvious to fill one of the containers with all raw carrots, but that would visually detract from the presentation; in this manner it appears that six offering are being made, where in fact it is just five.
To the right of the vegetables a single stainless steel bowl set on ice holds green lettuce; nothing more. It is flanked by your choice of ranch and Caesar dressings as well as oil and vinegar pouring bottles. No croutons, grated cheese or any other food accoutrements one might anticipate in a lounge (supposedly) designed for the comfort and luxury of its guests.
Next, we find two stainless steel serving bowls; one contains a vegetable salad of banana peppers, olives, carrots, red peppers and beans. In the second one can have (in my opinion) the delicious chicken salad.
Lastly, there is dessert; a poor and failed attempt at the objective. There is a tray of ginger cookies alongside (in this case, a fully supplied stock of eleven pieces) of a cherry cheesecake; the only flavor offered.
If you haven’t been underwhelmed sufficiently yet, let me take you to the third and last opportunity for food or beverage; in this case the bar.
Let me pause for a moment and reflect on what I had hoped for in the bar, or least had anticipated when I knew that the Sky Club was re-opening at Gate E11. I have visited a lot of Sky Clubs and although I did not expect the Luxury Bar of the JFK Flagship Sky Club or the modernly elegant San Francisco Sky Club lounge, I had as my minimum expectations the previous bar at the Sky Club that had been located on the Mezzanine level near Gate 22.
Are You Impressed Yet?
This bar has (again) a feeling of claustrophobia, in that it is merely four high chairs along a straight counter with no signage or decoration one might expect from a Delta Sky Club bar. Just look below in its basic presentation. What do you think? The liquor bottles are just sitting along the plain, flat-painted back wall on shelves; nothing distinctive. There is the smallest TV on top of a cabinet in the corner; no huge wide-screen display, or multiple TV’s mounted like in many of the Sky Clubs.
Last year, René reviewed the old SkyClub. In that review he stated: “Overall this is one of the nicest Skyclubs I have been in.” Unfortunately, this new SkyClub falls short when it comes to the food and service areas as well as the availability of power outlets at more seats. In my opinion, they had the space, the previous SkyClub and so many others to pick from the best but fell short. Have fun flying…we’ll see you there! Have you visited the new DFW Sky Club? What is your opinion of the “new” lounge? John @laptoptravel