Scalp Massages at JFK? Inside Delta’s Premium Lounge Debut

Skift Take

The first Delta One lounge at JFK includes a full-service restaurant, a shoe shining service, massage chairs and other spa treatments.

First-class Delta flyers out of New York’s JFK now have a new premium perk: A lounge that’s just for them. 

Delta debuted its Delta One Lounge at JFK on Tuesday as part of its bid to cater to premium travelers. And this nearly 40,000 square feet premium lounge is not a typical one. Located at JFK’s terminal 4, the Delta One lounge boasts an array of luxury services, ranging from shoe shining to scalp massages. The lounge also includes a full service restaurant, massage chairs and nap pods. 

The carrier plans to open similar, but much smaller, versions of the lounge at airports in Boston and Los Angeles. 

Delta’s newest lounge also has stricter entry requirements. Only those with a Delta One ticket, or a similar ticket on a partner airline, can enter the lounge. Those equivalent tickets include Air France’s La Premiere and business class (for long-haul flights only), LATAM premium business class, KLM business class, Korean Air First Class and Prestige Class and Virgin Atlantic Upper Class.  

Flyers who are also Delta 360 members can access the lounge. Delta 360 is the carrier’s invite-only membership for its top SkyMiles members. Criteria Delta considers for an invite includes overall flight activity, premium product purchases and spending on Delta’s American Express cards, according to the airline’s website. 

Here is a list of the amenities at the Delta One lounge:

  • Full-body massage chairs
  • Nap pods
  • Various spa treatments from Grown Alchemist, a personal product care company that supplies the amenities in Delta One cabins
  • A “Rejuvenation Bar” that features non-alcoholic beverages and fruit- and herb-infused waters
  • Eight shower suites that include a valet service to steam and shine clothing and shoes
  • Shoe shininig
  • Eight business pods
  • A private TSA screening lane (coming in the fall)
  • A 140-seat Brasserie restaurant
  • Grab-and-go dining options
  • Bar cart service
  • A terrace with plants that are updated seasonally

Delta Looks for Solutions to Overcrowded Lounges

Delta’s push into premium travel comes as the airline has dealt with overcrowded lounges since the pandemic. The overcrowding resulted mostly from high post-Covid travel demand. Travelers have also been spending more on premium cabins, reaching elite status and receiving credit card benefits. 

For a long time, Delta also didn’t have a lounge that was just dedicated to business and first-class travelers. Now, Delta joins its biggest competitors, United and American, in offering a premium lounge. 

The carrier is also curbing access to its SkyClubs for holders of an American Express Platinum Card or a Delta Reserve American Express starting in 2025. Starting this year, passengers who have one of the American Express credit cards but also booked a basic economy ticket won’t get lounge access, either. These restrictions don’t apply to Delta One lounge access.

Claude Roussel, vice president of Delta SkyClubs and lounge experience, said that the new lounge should resolve the overcrowding at JFK. 

“We were very busy in our big [SkyClub] until now,” he said. “When we open this, all that Delta One business is gonna come from the SkyClub. It’s gonna be here, which is gonna balance our business.”

Roussel said he expects the lounge to have a healthy mix of business and premium leisure travelers. The carrier is currently experiencing a business travel comeback. During the first-quarter, Delta president Glen Hauenstein said corporate bookings were up 14%. 

A survey the carrier conducted found that 90% of companies plan to increase their travel during the second quarter, which could set Delta up to earn record revenues. Delta also saw revenues from premium cabins surge in 2023, as sales increased by 26% from 2022, generating $19.1 billion. Main cabin seats gave Delta $24.5 billion in 2023, a 20% increase from the year prior. 

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