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Delta Changes Boarding Order for Diamond Medallion Members

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James Larounis

James Larounis

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 30U.S. States Visited: 35

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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Delta is changing up the boarding position for its top-tier SkyMiles Diamond Medallion members in an effort to reduce congestion in the boarding process and allow for additional cleaning of the aircraft.

This change is relatively minor compared to the previous boarding order, though Delta Diamonds will have to wait just a bit longer to board if they’re not sitting in the first class cabin.

Old Boarding Order

Previously, Delta Diamond members boarded with Delta One or first class passengers, whichever the top class of service is on the aircraft. This is very similar to how American Airlines boards its planes — top-tier Executive Platinum members board with Group 1, which also includes first class.

With all Diamond members boarding with the first group, there are many flights where there are a lot of eligible customers and it sometimes makes the boarding process a bit messy.

Delta Diamond members now board after first class. This allows the main cabin to stay free longer for cleaning. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

New Boarding Order

Delta Diamonds will now board immediately after Delta One or first class passengers. This allows these premium cabin passengers to board and get settled, and frees up the rear of the aircraft for additional cleaning.

Every minute helps and flights are often so tightly scheduled together that there’s hardly time to clean the planes. Providing a bit of extra time for staff to clean allows Delta to continue scheduling aircraft in tight increments while continuing to ensure that the aircraft are ready to go for each flight.

Some flights, especially those that fly between hubs, contain many Delta Diamond members, so the boarding area can become very congested, almost to the point where it’s not even clear which group is boarding or where passengers should stand. Delta hopes to mitigate this problem by boarding only premium cabin passengers first, followed by Diamond Medallion members.

Hot Tip: Learn more about Delta SkyMiles Medallion status, including how to earn it and if it’s worth your money and effort, in our complete guide!

Boarding Order

Here’s a look at the new boarding order for all flights:

Boarding OrderEligibility
  • Customers needing assistance or additional time to board
  • Active-duty U.S. military personnel with ID
Delta One
  • Delta One passengers
First class or Delta Premium Select
  • First class passengers
  • Delta Premium Select passengers
Diamond Medallion Members
  • Diamond Medallion members
Early boarding for customers traveling with car seats and strollers
Delta Comfort+
  • Platinum Medallion members
  • Gold Medallion members
  • Flying Blue Platinum and Gold members
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members
  • Virgin Australia Platinum and Gold members
  • GOL Smiles Diamond members
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members
Main Cabin 1
Main Cabin 2Main cabin passengers
Main Cabin 3Main cabin passengers booked in T, X, and V fares
Basic EconomyBasic economy passengers (E)

Final Thoughts

Priority boarding is a key benefit of Medallion status, and Delta is keeping this intact but also recognizing the issues it causes if too many passengers board in the same group.

While Diamond Medallion members will have to wait longer to board, they’re not being moved too far down the list and will board shortly after first class passengers.

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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