On my way from Atlanta to Orlando, I thought it would be fun to spend a day reviewing several of Delta’s Sky Clubs located at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Why? Well, most people hate flying through Atlanta, but I actually love it. Hartsfield-Jackson is one of my favorite airports, even if I’m the only person in the world who thinks so. I don’t fly Delta very often these days since award flights on the airline are hard to come by and award bookings require roundtrips, so it’s rare I find myself in ATL.
I booked a cash flight home on Delta so I could take advantage of my American Express Platinum‘s Sky Club Access benefit. The Platinum card can gain you access to Sky Clubs whenever you’re flying on a Delta ticket the same day. The terms don’t limit the number of clubs you can visit, so I found myself taken with a wild idea: why not spend the day visiting all of them?
span class=”pullquote”>As Delta’s largest hub and the world’s busiest airport, Delta operates nine different clubs spread through Atlanta’s various terminals. To my knowledge, that’s the most lounges operated by one airline at any airport in the world. I also imagine only employees that have to do so are crazy enough to actually try to see them all in the same day, so I thought it would be fun to try something that might just have not been done before by a passenger.
Sky Club Basics
All Delta Sky Clubs have a few things in common. Each offers complimentary Wi-Fi, though speed of your connection is far from guaranteed. Concierge flight assistance is available at each lounge, which can be helpful if you’re in need of a re-route or would like to catch an earlier or later flight. Basic business center services, such as printing and faxing, are available, and many Sky Clubs feature conference rooms that can be rented for a fee.
A variety of snacks are available throughout the day, and a fully stocked bar is offered. The snacks typically consist of small pastries in the morning and bite-sized snacks like carrots, celery and various chocolate-covered-things in the afternoon and evening.
A limited selection of drinks are available free of charge. Coke products, Dasani water and Minute Maid juices round out the non-alcoholic list of beverages. Gordon’s, Myers’s Platinum, Scoresby, Jack Daniel’s and Martini & Rossi are the only complimentary spirits. The only complimentary beers are Budweiser and Miller Lite. Various house wines are also available free of charge.
Better beers, including local brews like Sweetwater in Atlanta and other popular choices like Blue Moon are available for $3. A variety of custom cocktails can be had for up to $10 each. During my visit, a whisky flight was offered for $25 as a special promotion.
I apologize in advance for the quality of most pictures included below. My iPhone is the only camera I had with me today, and it seemed to struggle mightily more often than once. Here are some thoughts and pictures on each Sky Club I visited on Monday, February 24th:
Hours: 5AM-10PM • Every Day
To get to this club, take a right into Terminal T from security and look for a sign on the left wall a few gates down. You have to take an elevator up to the club level.
This is a very roomy club, and was probably 40% occupied when I entered around 11AM on a Monday morning. Here’s a photo from the center of the club, with a similar amount of space to each side:
To say there’s ample seating area would be an understatement, but most of these seats aren’t near power outlets or charging stations that would certainly prove useful to today’s traveler. Compounding matters, the Wi-Fi was extremely slow, most akin to an old-school dial-up connection in speed. Don’t plan to use it for anything more than very basic web browsing.
There’s an different area with TVs good for catching up on news and a side area squirreled away behind a panel that offers a quieter area to rest or do some work.
The bar area is well-stocked, but the snack area was shifting from breakfast items like bagels and cinnamon rolls to snack items like chocolate covered pretzels and nuts when I stopped in.
The lounge offers a good view of the tarmac for watching planes taxi out to the runway.
A concierge desk can help with any changes you need to make to your flight. Near the front, there’s a business center area with charging ports and basic business center amenities like printing.
There’s also what appeared to be a nice, large conference room in the front of the lounge, but it was occupied by a group while I was there and so I was unable to grab a picture.
Overall, this is a nice place to relax before a flight. It’s very roomy, relatively quiet even while fairly well occupied and offers a welcome respite from the gate area. If you’re looking for somewhere to charge up your phone, find a seat near the central columns for power plugs, and don’t expect much from the club’s internet connection.
Terminal A • Center
Hours: 6AM-10PM • Monday through Friday
You’ll see a sign for this Sky Club when rising into Concourse A on the escalator from the inter-concourse tram.
Simply follow this sign up a second escalator. The club is located next to PF Chang’s, making it easy to spot.
The check-in desk is on the same floor with PF Chang’s, but the actual club is one level higher.
This weekdays-only Sky Club is smaller than the one in Concourse T, but actually had a larger snack bar.
The snack bar actually had some choices that most people would probably find quite yummy, but not me. I have a confession to make: I don’t like chocolate! I know, I’m weird. Anyway, in addition to the carrots, crackers, hummus dip and celery sticks, chocolate-drizzled caramel corn and various other chocolate candies were available. Too bad they’re not my thing. I stuck with this sad-looking assortment for now:
A number of cubbies line one side of the room with power ports for your laptop should you need to get some work done and make some calls.
The Wi-Fi in this lounge was faster than Concourse T’s dial-up level speeds, but still not exactly zippy. Browsing should be easy enough, but don’t look to stream video here. Humorously, my laptop first tried to connect to the GoGo Wireless on a nearby plane! Look for the attwifi network to avoid this issue.
If you walk past the snack bar, to its left you’ll see a small conference room and another area for sitting. In this area, there’s a printing station and a variety of magazines you can peruse, including Delta’s own publications as well as The Economist.
This nook actually offers one of the better views you’ll find of the action on the tarmac and a distant view of downtown Atlanta.
If you like watching an airport at work, this is a neat place to hang out. There’s a constant view of takeoffs and landings from the back of the Sky Club, and you can watch service carts and trucks scurry from one plane to the next. It’s fun to watch, and about the only noise to distract you from work is the hum of jet engines on the tarmac.
Terminal A • A17
Hours: 5AM-11PM • Every Day
This is my favorite lounge so far. I was able to get here from the Terminal A Center Sky Club in less than a minute, so I honestly can’t explain the need for both lounges.
This Sky Club is located directly across from gate A17, so there’s no secret passageway or elevator necessary for entry, though the lounge itself is on the next story.
The lounge itself is huge compared to A Center’s, and sizably larger than the T Concourse lounge. Apparently, this is the largest of the Sky Clubs at ATL.
The lounge’s bar is quite large, and more akin to that found at a restaurant than what the other lounges have to offer:
When I checked in, the attendant let me know that they were trying out some new snack options on the inside level of the club. In addition to the cheese and crackers, carrots and chocolate and so on found elsewhere, this club had small ham and turkey sandwiches to choose from and a pot of tomato soup.
It’d be unfair to call either choice remarkable, but the tomato soup was actually quite tasty and compared to the regular choice of rabbit food felt more substantial.
This club’s layout much better suited my needs than either of the first two I visited. Power outlets abounded, including USB chargers suited for juicing up your phone on the go. A number of bar areas with stools include power outlets below the counter, while center seating has shared outlets installed in the light fixtures just above each chair.
An array of cubbies for business travelers is also available on each side of the club, with partitions separating each and power outlets enclosed.
Importantly, the Wi-Fi here is the fastest yet, though “fast” would still be a generous way to describe it.
There’s a view from both sides of the lounge, but because of its location, one side is fairly well blocked off by the terminal itself, leaving less room to enjoy the view than the A Center club.
Terminal C • C37
Hours: 6AM-10PM • Every Day
Compared to the A17 lounge, this Sky Club should feel downright cramped, given that it’s probably about a quarter of the size. In reality, it just feels cozy, thanks to its rich wood aesthetic.
This lounge is located just past C37, and is clearly indicated from the outside. A short elevator trip or flight of stairs will take you into the Club.
With three attendants up front, I was able to check in quickly. Once inside, you can see most of the lounge right away:
Behind one wall panel is a row of bar stools and desks with power outlets:
Behind the other is a smaller area, lacking the lounging space of the side nearest the door:
AA central view of the taxiway is available from this club’s short array of windows:
I learned more about Sky Club’s Luxury Bar offerings at this stop. First, here’s a list of the available paid cocktails, shared between all Sky Clubs:
As far as beers go, Stella Artois, Sweetwater 420, Blue Moon, Miller Lite and Sweetwater were available on tap. Of those, only the final two are free. The rest cost $3, and are served in this size:
While The A17 Club is probably the better choice if you’re looking for the absolute best experience in Atlanta, this one offers a warm, comfortable respite that’s quite convenient if you’re departing from or arriving in the C Concourse.
Terminal F • Across from Food Court
Hours: 5:30AM-12AM • Every Day
I set out to see all nine lounges here at Hartsfield-Jackson, but get the feeling that my journey will end right here in Concourse F – at least until my flight leaving out of B!
This is a very large club, perhaps larger than the A17 location, and certainly the newest of Delta’s Sky Clubs in ATL. As F is the international terminal, this club is off the beaten path for most travelers. If you haven’t been over to Concourse F yet and have some time on your hands, I recommend taking the Plane Train over to take a look. It offers a much quieter, nicer and more modern experience than the rest of the airport.
The club makes itself known with the most prominent entryway of the Atlanta Sky Clubs:
As you can see, there’s a substantial amount of space inside, and a relatively quiet atmosphere, especially in the mid-afternoon after international flights have arrived and well before most are scheduled to depart.
Opposite this seating area, there’s a bank of cubbies set up good for getting some work done, very similar to those seen earlier at A17:
Above this, there’s actually a loft area that few seem to be aware of, as it was completely vacant during my stay:
On the first floor of the lounge, there’s also a “relaxation area” squirreled away with recliner-style seats I look forward to trying later:
The bar area follows an island design, with seating on three sides:
Down the way from the bar, there’s more seating area available:
Shower facilities are available in this lounge and located near the bar. I wasn’t able to take any pictures back there as I felt bad to ask for a shower unit for only that purpose! Just as importantly, though, my eye was caught by what was waiting outside the bar area:
a sky patio!
Atlanta’s weather was absolutely gorgeous, so finding an outside patio as part of the lounge was a treat. The patio featured a desk area complete with power outlets:
The patio overlooks where several of Delta’s international 767 and 777s were preparing for flights later that evening, and provided good views of all takeoffs and landings, as well as the control tower.
Once I’d seen the Sky Club in Concourse F, I knew I’d found my new home while traveling through Atlanta. I might check out the lounge in E or one of the two in B on my way to my flight this evening, but for now, I have to say I’m pretty happy right where I am. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do that thing you’re supposed to do in these places for a while: lounge :)