This airplane gadget could finally put an end to the armrest wars

Getting There
Getting There

Memories are still fresh of the angst and soul-searching set off this summer by the “Knee Defender,” a gadget for airline passengers that prevents the seat in front from reclining. Now another personal-space-defending contraption for beleaguered economy class passengers is in the works.

This one, presented as a solution to the passive-aggressive nudging battle over the armrest, is less likely to cause plane-diverting fights. Indeed, the Soarigami—a plastic armrest divider—aims to be a peacemaker, putting an end to the “elbow war.”

Styled in plastic to resemble an origami airplane made out of an airmail envelope, the Soarigami attaches to any existing armrest, extending the space for both passengers while decisively splitting the space with a raised wall. It folds for easy transport, and is set to go on sale in early 2015 for $30.

It will come as no surprise to frequent travelers that the “armrest hog” made a recent list of the most annoying type of air passenger, according to an airline etiquette survey. Soarigami’s makers illustrate most of these types in this cute promotional video, featuring a catchy theme-song.

The makers hope the device will foster friendships, not fights. (Grace Lee Chang/Soarigami)

Grace Lee Chang, a co-founder of Soarigami, tells Quartz that the gadget is really quite different from the Knee Defender because it fosters sharing of communal space instead of hogging it.

Even the name conveys that mission, she said: sora means “sky” in Japanese, and gami means “graceful.”

home our picks popular latest obsessions search