We’ve all been there – battling with your seatmate for that 2 inch wide piece of plastic that separates you. I have no idea what airline seat designers were thinking when they decided to design the armrest the way it is, but it sucks.
Of course, the current armrest was designed years ago, and part of the design consideration was that it could hold an ashtray, something that nobody has needed on an airplane for a long time.
A new design called the “paperclip armrest design” may finally bring a workable solution to the problem. The spit level design offers some armrest space for each passenger.
The concept was designed by Jame Lee, a 25 year old management trainee with Cathay Pacific Airlines. It isn’t actually available for airplanes yet, as it is awaiting patent approval.
The main problem I see with the design is that it does not leave any room for the headset connector or recline button. Then again, given how many passengers hate having a seat reclined in their face, that button may be the next thing on the chopping block.