Adelaide Airport: a missed opportunity

This trip to Japan has come at a good time. I feel like I’m running away, but in a positive sense, because I need to reconnect with myself. I need to sort out my head space, do a man detox and recalibrate my dating filter, because it’s been really skewed, and I’ve let men through who really shouldn’t have gotten past first base. (I will cover that in more detail at The Diane Lee Project when I get back.)

But enough of that. I don’t want to go all Eat, Pray, Love on you all.

I’ve just finished the first part of my journey, and am sitting at my (and other travellers‘) favourite airport in the world – Changi Airport, Singapore. It’s my favourite for a number of reasons, including:

>> sooooooo organised – there are literally thousands of people transitting through at any given time, but you wouldn’t know it.

>> the service – the traveler is well and truly catered for here: device charging hubs, comfortable seating and lounges, computer access, free wifi, transit hotels etc.

I know it’s a hub, and it’s a very wealthy island state, but Adelaide should have taken a leaf out of Changi’s book when doing the airport upgrade.

Having come in and out of Adelaide Airport a couple of times in the last six months, I personally think it’s a chaotic, poorly planned, confusing mess. Yes, I know we aren’t a major route, and I know that South Australia is cash-strapped, but for a state that seeks to encourage tourism, the airport leaves visitors with a godawful experience. Long lines to get through customs at peak periods, with the space not enough to hold people (that was my experience coming back into the country last year); not enough security stations with more long lines; not enough lifts; confusing two level approach that confounds both check-in and car park access. Adelaide Airport is a mess, quite frankly. And it’s a missed opportunity to provide travellers with either a good first or good lasting impression.

Seth Godin says it better than I can, with his take on what’s wrong with airports. He’s right on the money as far as I’m concerned.

Please share!


  • Gary Lum April 13, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Good points Diane. The old Adelaide airport was shocking. Anything is better. A much better airport could have been built though.

    • dileeshus April 13, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      Agree! It looks nice, but it just doesn’t function well 🙁

  • fernandogros April 13, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    I’m perhaps a little kinder to Adelaide airport than yourself. I recall my parents saying, when the new airport was built, people thought it was way too big & would be a “white elephant.”

    Alas, it is a little small and underpowered for an international airport (goodness knows Adelaide does need to pitch for more direct to Asia routes). But, I like the airport.

    To get one thing out of the way, the customs and security is not as fluid as most of the better Asian airports (which I’ve been lucky to call home in recent years). But, I see that as an Australian problem, not at Adelaide one. Whatever criticism we can make about Adelaide in this regard is far, far worse in Sydney.

    For example, in Singapore, we could clear customs in seconds, since my daughter could scan her own passport. But, in Australia, because she’s under 16, she can’t. Silly.

    I would like Adelaide airport to be a little bigger, with better retail and coffee. But, it’s not that bad. And, although Changi is awesome, parking in Adelaide is easier.

    • dileeshus April 14, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      Sydney IS worse, that’s for sure!!


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