FIRST LOOK: Delta opens Delta ONE at LAX VIP check-in area

A LoyaltyLobby reader and friend of mine Neal R. was invited to the launch of the Delta ONE at Los Angeles International airport on Wednesday night and he filed the following report.

DELTA ONE LAX DL

While the overall refurbishment of Terminal 5 at LAX nears completion, Delta unveiled a new VIP check-in area on Wednesday. It’s called Delta ONE at LAX.

You can access Delta’s web page for Delta ONE at LAX here.

This check-in experience is available exclusively to Delta customers who fall into one of three scenarios (you know who you are!):

1 – Customers flying, appropriately Delta ONE, (aka international business) class nonstop flights 6.5 hours or longer out of LAX. (i.e. LHR, SYD, PEK, NRT, HND). Or passengers flying to connect on an international SkyTeam premium cabin flight.

2 – Delta One at LAX check-in is also available for passengers confirmed in Delta ONE on flights between LAX and New York JFK. (The above 2 scenarios apparently include any method of securing that seat: purchased, award tickets, using GUC (global) upgrades, milage upgrades and the rare case of an upgrade for Diamond customers prior to arrival). Sorry Platinum and Diamond Elites, you will continue to use the Sky Priority check-in area.

3 – Customers (mostly studios and large companies) who purchase Delta’s VIP Select (airport meet & greet escort) service.

DELTA ONE AT LAX

From Delta’s website:

Delta ONE℠ at LAX: Access to and use of Delta ONE℠ at LAX are reserved for customers traveling on a nonstop Delta One™ ticket to New York-JFK; a nonstop Delta One ticket on a long-haul international flight that is 6.5 or more hours; a domestic Delta ticket in any class connecting to a same-day Delta One ticket on a long-haul international Delta flight that is 6.5 or more hours; or travel in international* First/Business Class on a SkyTeam-operated flight. First and/or Business Class tickets on Delta marketed- and operated-flights are not eligible. Customers must be confirmed in Delta One or SkyTeam premium cabin for the international segment of their itinerary. Only companions in the same reservation are eligible to access the Delta ONE℠ at LAX check-in. International travel includes travel between Los Angeles-LAX and Europe, Asia, southern South America and Africa.

As with the other airlines trying to lure premium customers with special services and perks, Delta’s focus across many areas is on the premium business/domestic first class traveler.  Compared to AA’s Flagship check-in area just a few feet down World Way at LAX, Delta is upping the ante.

DELTA ONE AT LAX Desk More

Assuming you are dropped via private car at the curb above a new sign that reads “Delta ONE”, a “bouncer” uses a handheld device to see if you are “on the list” before being allowed inside. Once inside, the reception desk is made from the horizontal stabilizer of a retired DC-9 aircraft. Very cool. Check-in is done either standing or sitting down, and if for some reason more than 2 people are checking in at the same time (or if you have an entourage or assistant) you can sit down on couches or leather chairs around the corner while helping yourself to some healthy snacks and beverages while the agent prints your boarding pass and tags your bags.

Because of the set-up, there is no need to worry about balancing your belongings as you fumble for your wallet for ID. You can sit, relax, and the agents will check you in at your pace, not theirs. Of course there are no noisy luggage belts or cattle-style ropes to walk around. Even the airport-wide PA messages seem to be filtered out of this area. If needed, there is a private restroom. The facility is set-up to be discreet and comfortable.

DELTA ONE AT LAX Area

The design is contemporary, but helps convey the sense of comfort. Warm gray tile is the predominant material accented by wood walls that blocks gawkers from the street looking in. Furniture is red or brown leather. Even the kiosks are jet black. (Although I don’t know why anyone would use them with doting staff around to help before you could even finish typing in your info.) Fresh flowers show Delta is really paying attention to details.

When you are ready, an agent will escort you up a private elevator and into an expedited security line. It wasn’t confirmed if a Delta ONE agent will accompany you through security or if their guidance ends here. (VIP Select service takes you literally to your seat on the plane.)

As of now, the newly expanded Sky Club is open to all existing members as well as customers flying Delta One to international destinations as well as Delta ONE to New York JFK. There is no VIP or private area within the Sky Club for Delta One passengers. Although if you are someone who’s usually stalked by paparazzi, I think Delta will find you a place to chill before taking you onto your aircraft. (then again you can also use Delta’s VIP Select service to have a Porsche take you directly to the aircraft)

Conclusion

I think Delta accomplished their goals to have a state of the art VIP check-in area at LAX. It does appear to be both discreet and comfortable. It looks to function well, but that will be determined as customers begin using the facility later this week. Will this move the needle of an A list actor or Studio Exec to move from American or Delta? Clearly it helps as Delta market itself as a premium airline.

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