Why I don’t want a coworking space in my Qantas lounge

Angus Kidman 30 November 2017 NEWS


Qantas is pursuing a partnership with TwoSpace, but I'd rather keep my desk to myself.

So here's something I wouldn't have predicted: Qantas is apparently exploring a partnership that would see it set up coworking spaces in some of its domestic airline lounges. A report in the AFR yesterday says that Qantas has been in discussions with local startup TwoSpace, which encourages the creation of coworking environments in unorthodox locations like hotel lobbies. The plan is to trial rolling out 30 desks which could be used by entrepreneurs as coworking space.

There's not a lot of detail so far, but presumably for it to make any kind of sense, those people using the spaces would be paying some kind of fee. Qantas carefully guards access to its lounges (you can't pay for casual entry, for instance), and it's hard to imagine everyone with a Qantas Club card just being allowed to rock up and use the lounge as a workspace. And if you want a formal meeting, Qantas already has meeting rooms in major city airports. So the devil will be in the detail.

But with that acknowledged, I'll stand up and say it doesn't seem like an idea with legs. In a typical Qantas domestic lounge, most people aren't working at desks – they're sitting in lounge chairs and putting their bags in the other chair so they don't have to converse with strangers while they enjoy their free booze. Coworking is predicated partially on the idea that you'll enjoy conversing with strangers.

With that noted, if you hit Melbourne or Sydney at peak hour, actually grabbing one of the available desks or workbenches (and its precious cargo of a power outlet to charge your gadgets) can be a challenge at times. Adding in more desks that regular punters can't use would not be a popular choice, and cutting the existing numbers even less so. It's true that on a Saturday at 2pm, the lounge can look pretty empty. But that's not the case on a Friday at 5pm.

So I'll be watching with interest, but I'd rather Qantas put its time into expanding its Wi-Fi fleet or making it easier to use a lounge after a flight.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.

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