We’re beyond the point where we get to the airport early just to hang out in the airport lounge. Before COVID, we’d arrive in enough time to make our flight with a bit of a buffer in case things went not according to plan. That would mean, if things went smoothly, we’d have time to check in to the lounge, top off the charge on our electronics and possibly get a bite to eat and something to drink before heading to the gate.
Before our first post-COVID trip, we’ve been reading horror stories about how airport lines are worse than ever. It’s suggested to get to the airport super early to give time to check-in for your flight and make it through security. While we have CLEAR and TSA Precheck, you don’t know if the lanes will be open or if the lines will be any shorter.
So when we were flying home from New York JFK on Delta, we gave ourselves plenty of time to get from our nearby hotel to the airport and check-in for our flight.
During the pandemic, Delta moved all of its flights to Terminal 4 and has only just started to run flights from Terminal 2. Orlando flights previously left from T2, where the only lounge is the SkyClub, which we have no access to.
However, because we were leaving from T4, there were two clubs we’d have access to with our Priority Pass membership we get from having a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. One lounge is the Air India Maharaja Lounge, but it didn’t open until 9:30 AM and our flight was scheduled for 10 AM.
That left us with only one option. The Wingtips Lounge. This is a contract lounge that’s used by many international airlines that leave from T4. We’ve visited before, pre-COVID, before our Virgin Atlantic flight to London. At the time we weren’t impressed. The lounge was crowded and the food options weren’t very good. In fact, we left early and found something to eat in the terminal instead. However, the number of international flights is a fraction of what they were before, leaving the lounge with fewer potential guests.
We decided to give the lounge another try. It’s not like we had any other option. Besides, maybe it would be better now.
Boy, we were wrong.
The lounge was empty and there were plenty of chairs. The only people visiting seemed to be those with Priority Pass. I imagine Delta frequent flyers go to the SkyClub located down the hall.
We found two seats by the window and went to check out the food options. It didn’t take long.
While this was the posted menu, none of these items were readily available. Here’s the “breakfast” presented at the buffet station.
There was staff available that were seemingly there to make sure you didn’t touch anything you weren’t supposed to. If you wanted a coffee, you needed to tell them what you desired and then they’d push the buttons on the machine to make it. Want sweetener? Tell them which one and they’d open the packet for you. Grab a cereal; they go to the back and get you the type of milk requested.
I can’t figure out why the lounge is running like this? I’d say it’s because of COVID but wouldn’t you want less direct interaction instead of more? For the $30+ they’re getting per guest, are they afraid the people will take too many Splenda packets? Do they not want to waste milk by leaving it out for guests to pour themselves? Was I supposed to ask the staff for a hard-boiled egg if I wanted one? If so, put it on the sign.
I grabbed a packet of Frosted Mini-Wheats that probably had 10 squares in it and was provided a small glass of milk. When I ate all the cereal, I poured the leftover milk into my latte. After Sharon ate two of her Oreos, which had the least amount of filling we’ve ever seen, we decided we’d had enough. We had our own snack bars in our bags and we could get a coffee in the terminal that we could make however we wanted.
I gave the Wingtips Lounge another try figuring that maybe they’d change after COVID. Instead, they’re still offering the bare minimum because they’re the only option available. The other club we visited on this trip also had precautions still in place but did a much better job handling the situation than Wingtips.
In the future, if we’re flying from T4, we’ll stay away from the lounge and find somewhere else to spend time before our flight.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary