ORD Lounge Battle: Delta Sky Club® Versus United Club℠

by Anthony Losanno
DL vs UA

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Chicago has two new lounges. The Delta Sky Club® opened with the airline’s move to Terminal 5 in November (full review here). United opened a new United Club℠ in Terminal 1 near Gate C10 just a few weeks ago (full review here). Both will have their appeal to travelers heading through ORD, but which wins in a head-to-head competition?

DL vs UA Food


Both lounges offer a full buffet with sandwiches, salads, soups, cheese, cold cuts, several hot options, and desserts. The food quality in the Sky Club® is better and Delta has additional offerings like a hot dog cart that dishes up Chicago-style treats. Delta has more attendants replenishing the buffet and it also offers a special candy bar, reminiscent of the Lufthansa First Class Terminal at FRA.

Winner: Delta Sky Club®

DL vs UA Bar


Both lounges also offer a full bar. The selections are about the same, but Delta offers a lot more choices on a complimentary basis and has a greater selection of wine and premium spirits that can be bought for either cash or miles. Both have self-serve soda fountains (United has a Coca-Cola Freestyle), but Delta also offers iced tea, lemonade, as well as flavored syrups for its coffee bars.

Winner: Delta Sky Club®

DL vs UA Amenities


Both lounges offer free Wi-Fi, but that is where the amenities end at the United Club℠. The Sky Club® has showers and the ability to board select flights directly from the lounge. I guess the United Club℠ has a robot to haul dirty dishes and trash around the lounge, but that really isn’t impacting the guest experience and is rather gimicky. I was hoping that United would add showers like they did in EWR, but no luck with that.

Winner: Delta Sky Club®

UA C10 Trash


When you’re visiting the Sky Club®, you can see that the employees are enjoying being there. They are genuinely excited about the hot dog cart. They’re constantly cleaning tables and making the lounge more enjoyable with smiles on their faces. In the United Club℠, the staff is not smiling. They’re standing around chatting with each other while tables sit dirty. Guests are expected to bus their own tables and designated areas show you to dispose of trash and stack dishes. The food service employees are contracted, but even the United agents seem to want to be somewhere else as they quickly refer you to use the self-serve kiosk for an agent on demand instead of helping you there.

Winner: Delta Sky Club®

DL vs UA Decor

Design & Decor

Both lounges have lots of seating in a variety of configurations. You can easily find space in either to work, relax, or socialize with friends and family. Both lounges have lots of natural light and modern designs with local touches to give them a sense of place.

Winner: Tie

Delta Sky Club ORD


While Chicago O’Hare (ORD) is a United hub, Delta has invested significantly in its lounge and it shows. The new United Club℠ feels phoned in. There could have been more amenities easily added, but like a meal in a premium cabin, United is not willing to spend the money on the passenger experience. It’s a shame that United did not try to beat out Delta here. I’d argue that the Polaris lounge is more a competitor of the Sky Club®, which is also sad since the Polaris lounge is supposed to be an exclusive, luxe experience for a flagship, premium product. You can argue that food and drink preferences can be subjective, but it’s hard to argue with lackluster service and the complete lack of smiles to be found in the United Club℠

Winner: Delta Sky Club®

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Dina February 7, 2023 - 11:59 pm

The lounge is the best in US! Hands down especially vs. United and American in O’Hare. The culinary team (chefs kiss) and the service is superb!

Norma Maloney February 8, 2023 - 12:07 am

Having a great club GM that is a true leader and understands what true Hospitality means and motivates staff to provide it day in and out makes all the difference in the guest experience.

Corbin February 8, 2023 - 2:57 pm

Hospitality and service are what set the ORD Delta lounge apart from the rest. Good news for Delta as happy customers become walking advertisements

Paul February 10, 2023 - 1:53 am

The United Club in Hong Kong was much better with all those luxuries like private shower rooms, etc. United needs to step up their game and it starts from the top. The CEO is responsible for knowing exactly what the competition is up to and making the necessary changes.

Frankfurt Airport Lufthansa
Anthony Losanno February 10, 2023 - 4:40 pm

I completely agree. HKG and LHR have great United Clubs. The rest (with the exception of the new one in EWR) are meh at best.


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