The number of airport lounges continues to increase and the requirements to enter are constantly changing. Below is a helpful guide to help determine if you have lounge access when flying the 3 legacy carriers; American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.
Domestic Transcon: If you’re flying non-stop transcon service in either Business or First Class, you are eligible for lounge access during your travel. This includes any connecting flights on the same day of travel. For example, if you are flying Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK) to Burlington (BTV), you have lounge access in New York (JFK).
Flying Economy International with Airline Status: If you are flying on an international flight in economy with select elite status, you are eligible for lounge access (American doesn’t consider the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada to be international. You must hold Gold of higher status with Delta or United, Platinum of high status with American when flying to receive lounge access. You will have access for the entire itinerary even with connections where the respective airline operates a lounge.
Flying International in Business or First Class: International Business Class and First Class Passengers are always provided lounge access if the airport has the facilities and could possibly be provided through a contract or partner lounge. This includes access at any connecting airports on the same day of travel. United Airlines operates Polaris Lounges’ and American Airlines operates Flagship Lounges exclusively for Business Class and First Class passengers at hub airports. You can learn more about Premium Lounge Access for American and United Airlines’ Passengers.
Airline Lounge Membership: All three legacy airlines offer annual lounge membership that varies from $495-550 for an individual. A new change coming in 2019 for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines is the requirement to have a same day ticket operated by the airline for access in addition to the membership. With this new change, it may be worth considering the premium co-branded credit card that each airline offers and includes lounge access.
Have Elite Status with Partner: If you hold select elite status tiers with airline alliance partners, you have access to any member airline lounge at the airport where your flight departs. For example, if you have Emerald privileges from your Qantas elite status, you may access Admiral lounges when traveling on American Airlines flight.
Passengers for in international premium economy and exclusively domestic flights in first class do not have lounge access. Lounges will generally sell a day pass if space is available, but this may not be a great value. For a full breakdown of locations, limitations, and guest rules at legacy airline lounges click the following links; Delta SkyClub– American Admirals Club– United Lounge Access