How Delta Sky Priority Works

Most Delta elites — as well as those flying first class and Delta One fares — can access Sky Priority perks.
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 
Edited by Meg Lee

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Delta Air Lines is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance, and together with other member carriers, it has developed the Sky Priority brand — now available at nearly 1,000 airports worldwide. 

What is Sky Priority? It's a premium airport service that bundles together perks like priority check-in lines and security access (where available), extra baggage allowances, preferential boarding and expedited baggage handling.

Delta does an excellent job of instituting its Sky Priority program benefits to the delight of its frequent flyers. This guide will explain the available perks, who can take advantage of them and how you can get Delta Sky Priority benefits faster than usual.

Sky Priority benefits

When it comes to getting through the airport and onto the plane, Sky Priority can help you get there faster with less waiting. Here are the primary perks you'll receive when you access Sky Priority services.

Priority lanes for check-in, security and boarding

No one likes waiting in line. Sky Priority can move you closer to the front in no time. It starts with a dedicated lane for check-in. This is the same line that first class and Delta One passengers use, and it can be a real timesaver if you are in a hurry.

At many airports, there are dedicated security lanes for Sky Priority passengers. This can help travelers avoid long lines at crowded terminals. In addition, once at the gate, Sky Priority is one of the earlier boarding groups. This means those who don't purchase or get upgraded to a premium cabin seat can still board the plane earlier to find space for their carry-on bag.

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Baggage priority and perks

When checking a bag, Sky Priority passengers get a priority bag tag that should expedite it through the bag channels and have it appear among the first delivered to the baggage carousel. In many airports, Delta even has a Sky Priority area where passengers can wait at the front of the carousel for their bags. 

🤓Nerdy Tip

If your bags don't appear within 20 minutes, take advantage of Delta's "Bags On Time" guarantee for domestic flights — you'll receive 2,500 miles.

SkyTeam Elite Plus members receive an extra baggage allowance for themselves and up to eight other people traveling on the same reservation (except for flights departing from Amsterdam and Paris). You'll receive an extra checked bag if the airline uses a piece system. If the airline uses a weight system for bags, you'll receive an additional 22 pounds (10 kgs) as allowed baggage weight. 

Priority waitlist and standby

If your flight is delayed or you need to change to a full flight, Sky Priority members enjoy a higher position on waitlists. This may not sound that important, but the perk can come in handy if you're trying to get on a full flight at the last minute.

How to get Sky Priority

Delta Sky Priority is available to passengers who purchase first class and Delta One tickets and most Medallion members and SkyTeam Elite Plus travelers, no matter where they sit on the plane.

Eligible travelers for Delta's Sky Priority service include:

Keep in mind that Sky Priority does not include lounge access to the Delta Sky Club, but some of the elite members and premium class passengers listed above do get Sky Club access.

Another way to fast-track Sky Priority

Anyone that pays for a first-class or Delta One seat is eligible for Sky Priority benefits. Still, if you're not a frequent buyer of premium cabin fares, there's another way to zoom your way to Sky Priority: Delta co-branded credit cards from American Express

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
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Some Delta AmEx cards offer bonus Medallion Qualifying Miles for reaching certain spending thresholds. This can expedite your path to Gold Medallion status, which is the starting point for Sky Priority benefits. Some cards come with a hefty welcome offer, too.

For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card comes with the following welcome offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months. Terms Apply.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, meanwhile, comes with this welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months. Terms Apply.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
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To achieve Medallion status, you'll still need to earn Medallion Qualifying Dollars by spending money on Delta flights to complete the requirements for status. There is a workaround, though. If you reach the 50,000-MQM threshold and spend $25,000 on a Delta co-branded credit card, you'll earn a waiver that means you won't have to achieve the required MQDs for Gold Medallion status.

(Editor's note: Big changes are coming to Delta's SkyMiles program in 2024, including how members can earn elite status. The carrier will also be cutting back Sky Club lounge access. Read more on these upcoming changes here.)

Sky Priority on Delta recapped

On your next Delta or SkyTeam flight, having access to Sky Priority benefits can make the journey more comfortable and much more manageable. From faster check-in and boarding lanes to extra bags that come out before the rest, Sky Priority is a great asset.

You can buy access with a premium cabin ticket or earn it with Medallion status from flying or Delta co-branded credit card spending. No matter how you get there, you'll be glad you did.

Frequently asked questions

Delta Sky Priority does not automatically grant Delta Sky Club lounge access. However, there is some overlap between people who qualify for Sky Priority and people who qualify for lounge access. For example, Delta One passengers receive both Sky Priority and Delta Sky Club lounge access. Learn more about how to access Delta Sky Clubs.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:

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