Skip to main content

An end to the battle for the armrest?

By Barry Neild, CNN
updated 3:09 PM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Protecting passengers from the horrors of human contact: the Soarigami armrest divider. Protecting passengers from the horrors of human contact: the Soarigami armrest divider.
HIDE CAPTION
Soarigami armrest divider
'Annoying Passenger Anthem'
Origami-inspired
Harmony in the skies
Knee defenders
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Soarigami makers say its armrest divider can reduce in-flight annoyances
  • Origami-inspired device clips to any armrest and creates a shared space
  • Device, set to retail for about $30, is expected to go on sale in early 2015

(CNN) -- Could this device finally bring a peaceful end to the great arms race in the sky?

That's what the makers of Soarigami, a plastic divider that allows air passengers to comfortably share an armrest, are claiming.

The device, to go on sale for about $30 in early 2015, balances atop the existing armrest to create an extended leaning platform that prevents the horrors of actual physical contact.

Hostile elbow exchanges with fellow fliers are frequently listed as among the biggest annoyances of being crammed into an aircraft with other humans.

Soarigami's inventors, who've created a folksy "Annoying Passenger Anthem" complete with cartoon video to promote their product, say the device will foster friendships rather than animosity.

That'll set it apart from the recently introduced Knee Defender, which forced one flight to be diverted after it triggered an in-flight fight between two passengers in August. The gadget blocks the mechanism that allows seats to be reclined.

MORE: 20 most annoying things people do on planes

Paper plane

Jerkiness is often in the eye of the beholder, but there's certainly no shortage in the skies. What are the most annoying habits on airplanes? Click through the gallery of 20 top irritants. Jerkiness is often in the eye of the beholder, but there's certainly no shortage in the skies. What are the most annoying habits on airplanes? Click through the gallery of 20 top irritants.
Rudest things people do on planes
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
20 rudest things people do on planes 20 rudest things people do on planes

"While we do anticipate some travelers to have issues with sharing, we feel like this is a great conversation starter," says Soarigami spokesman Arthur Chang.

"Both users have an equal share, whereas other products have a winner and a loser."

When deployed, the Soarigami -- taking its name from Japanese words sora (sky) and gami (graceful) -- is styled to resemble a cheerful paper plane made out of an airmail envelope.

A future version will double as an iPad or cellphone carrying case.

As to when and how passengers should introduce the origami-inspired device to their armrest partners, Chang says there are no fixed rules.

"In terms of etiquette, we don't want to force people to behave one way or another. Our goal is to lighten the mood and make the skies funner and savvier."

However he acknowledges that by eliminating one problem, the Soarigami may create another: unwanted conversation.

Can the Soarigami end the battle for armrest hegemony? How would you react if the person next to you pulled one out? Leave a comment.

.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
It won't be a banner year for major announcements, but there are still aviation developments to keep an eye on.
updated 4:50 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Could there be anything better than reclining on an airplane seat in the comfort of your own home?
updated 4:42 PM EST, Tue December 9, 2014
Construction begins on a new Singapore airport complex that could make delays and layovers a pleasure.
updated 3:09 PM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
The Soarigami arm rest divider
Soarigami says its foldable plastic divider will increase in-flight harmony when it goes on sale in 2015.
updated 1:08 PM EST, Wed December 3, 2014
Pan Am Experience offers visitors a chance to experience flying on 60s-style Pan Am Boeing 747.
updated 5:17 PM EST, Mon December 1, 2014
Premium and budget carriers recognized by AirlineRatings.com annual excellence awards.
updated 10:32 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Berlin's Tegel airport
It's crowded and outdated, but Berlin's hexagon-shaped Tegel air hub has won a place in the city's heart.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Good news for air travelers passing through Manila: the city's international airport isn't quite as bad as it used to be.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
When it comes to air travel, courtesy and common sense are often the first two things to fly out the departure gates.
updated 1:38 PM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT