This Week in Pods

Photo by paul mocan on Unsplash.

When I was younger, I was totally the person who would seek out a quiet corner of the airport so I could pretend to take a nap. I’d shut my eyes and imagine a world in which I actually fell asleep, and then I’d try to remember where I’d read the article that claimed lying down with your eyes closed is nearly as restful as sleeping.

But at a certain point, curling up on the carpet or turning three chairs into a bed started to feel a little embarrassing — and I couldn’t relax because I kept wondering if people were judging me for, like, taking up three chairs. If only there were a place I could go where nobody could see me! Somewhere quiet and enclosed, where I could charge my phone and my laptop without feeling guilty for hogging the outlets. Also, could it have Netflix?

You already know where I’m going with this, so here are the details: yes, this exists, yes, it’s called an Airpod (guess Apple didn’t trademark that one), and yes, it does have Netflix.

As Travel and Leisure reports:

The pods are a minimal private escape that look like futuristic drag racers. Inside, sleep-deprived passengers will find a plush chair that converts into a bed for naps.

Travelers can charge their devices, link up to a Wi-Fi connection and store their luggage. Air purifiers keep things fresh and there’s even Netflix available on a TV screen.

I’d modify that to “air purifiers keep the air fresh,” since they probably can’t do much against, like, dirty shoes or greasy hair. (My hair always gets extra greasy after flying, which doesn’t make sense because the rest of my skin gets extra dry.) MentalFloss claims the pod uses LEDs to “disinfect the space,” but even if you can disinfect dirt and grease with light, it’s not the same thing as scrubbing it out of the upholstery.

I do realize these are the same comments I make every time I see an article about a nap pod, and if I wanted to think about it a little more carefully I’d note that the chairs I sit on at the airport (much less anything inside the plane) aren’t exactly disinfected with LEDs, but sleep spaces feel like they should be cleaner than non-sleep spaces, especially if they are shared by anyone who can afford a few hours in an Airpod.

These Airpods are currently only scheduled to roll out in Europe, but Travel and Leisure notes that if they are popular enough, they could spread “around the globe.” Maybe someday we’ll be able to visit an Airpod before boarding a plane that has a pod gym, and then when we arrive we can rent a pod car to take us to our pod hotel!


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