Delta Air Lines is preparing to open a multi-million dollar elevated Sky Club on Concourse B at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport that will offer views of airplanes and downtown Atlanta.
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is spending up to $24 million to reimburse Delta for the expansion of the Concourse B building for the new 25,000-square-foot Delta club, including a fourth-level addition to the midpoint.
When Atlanta city council transportation committee chair Yolanda Adrean said at a recent committee briefing that she has a "hard time understanding how $24 million can be spent on a Sky Club," airport interim general manager Roosevelt Council said it paid for construction of a multi-level structure that adds 20,000 square feet to the airport. He said the airport had already planned to expand the concourse and needs the space to generate more revenue from rent.
Delta itself is spending millions to build out the interior of the Sky Club, which has plentiful power outlets, an expansive buffet area, espresso machines and a wine wall.
Five or six years ago, the food at Delta's Sky Clubs was "the grand peanut buffet," said Marc Ferguson, general manager of the Delta Sky Club experience. But Delta has been gradually improving the food at its clubs with additions including salads and soups, and the new club on B has a kitchen.
Delta plans to host a party at the new Sky Club on the evening of Sept. 20 with hundreds of officials and business clients invited, in advance of the opening of the club in late September.
For travelers, getting access to the club isn't free. An individual Sky Club membership costs $450 a year, while a single visit pass costs $59. Others also qualify for Sky Club access, including diamond-level elite frequent fliers on Delta and international business class passengers.
In the club, "we want you to feel that you're away from everything that's happening in the airport," said Mark Kozak, Delta regional manager of Sky Clubs.
The goal of the millions of dollars of investment is to make Sky Clubs "a reason to choose the airline," Ferguson said.
The club is cantilevered two stories above the concourse level where passengers wait for flights. Kozak said the raised view from the club's floor-to-ceiling windows gives the sense that "you can reach out and grab a plane."
The club at the Concourse B midpoint will be Delta's busiest at Hartsfield-Jackson, according to Ferguson. It will replace two other Delta clubs on B, which will close.
It's not Delta's biggest Sky Club, however. A club at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport holds that title.
Concourse B is Delta's busiest concourse at the Atlanta airport, and Kozak anticipates up to 3,000 people will visit the new club per day, out of the 11,000 total that visit Sky Clubs daily at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Delta officials believe the club on B, like the Delta club on Concourse F with an outdoor deck, may attract passengers flying out of other concourses who take the people-mover train to visit that club instead of the one on their concourse.