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Road Test: Adelaide Airport TaskPod

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Is it worth paying $15 an hour for a private airport space?

I spend a stupidly large amount of time working in airports. I'm good at concentrating despite endless announcements, but I can see that for some tasks, having a private space to work in can be useful.

With 37% of Australians planning domestic travel in the next 12 months, demand for that kind of space is likely to increase.

That's where the TaskPod might come in. It's essentially an enclosed desk inside a TARDIS-like cabin which you can rent on demand or book in advance, with Wi-Fi and power included.

There are TaskPods in shopping centres in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, but so far Adelaide's the only airport graced with one. It's located opposite Gate 14 (in the Virgin area of the terminal).

Some of the shopping centre TaskPods can accommodate up to 4 people at once. Adelaide's, though, is strictly a 1-person affair.

How much does it cost? 15 minutes in the TaskPod is $3.75 (regular users can subscribe to get discounts).

I spent an hour testing out the TaskPod on a recent jaunt through Adelaide. Here's how it went. (This is a totally independent review, by the way - I paid for access myself.)

What I liked about the Adelaide Airport TaskPod

TaskPod interior desk

A desk, a chair - and that's it, basically. Image: Angus Kidman/Finder

Booking and accessing the TaskPod is done through a dedicated smartphone app. The app tracks your bookings, gives you an access code to enter the pod when your booking begins, and lets you know the Wi-Fi password. That works smoothly (and the app keeps the booking in local time, useful for jaunts to and from South Australia).

There's not much to the interior - literally just a desk and a seat. But the seat itself is comfortable enough, even for someone of my height and (ahem) width.

The Wi-Fi also worked well, sailing through a large company meeting without any video or audio issues.

Internal view from a TaskPod

View from a TaskPod. Image: Angus Kidman/Finder

You can't see into the pod, but you can see out from within it, which is a smart move - it would feel pretty claustrophobic otherwise.

What I disliked about the Adelaide Airport TaskPod

The TaskPod's power outlets.

The TaskPod's power outlets. Image: Angus Kidman/Finder

My big gripe is the power outlets. At desk level there's just a single charging point (it's on a double adaptor but the other slot powers the Wi-Fi router). There's a second outlet in the wall which can take international plugs, but it's so far up the wall it's effectively useless for a typical phone charging cable.

You're also not totally isolated from the outside world - you can hear airport announcements, albeit muffled. I get this as a safety requirement, but it does reduce the usefulness a little, especially when a flight is boarding at the nearest gate and you hear the constant "beep" of boarding passes being scanned.

What's the verdict on the Adelaide Airport TaskPod?

View of the TaskPod
"Is that in there good?" a curious traveller asked me as I was exiting the TaskPod, perhaps to his surprise.

"Well, it's better than not having a power outlet," I replied.

But on reflection, if all you're after is an outlet to charge your devices, paying for the TaskPod is overkill.

Adelaide Airport has plenty of charging outlets (especially in the dining area near McDonald's) and the free Wi-Fi works well.

That said, if you need to dive into a private video meeting or phone call, it's potentially worth the (small) investment. Just bring your own powerboard if you want to charge multiple devices.

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Image: Finder/Photographer: Angus Kidman

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