By The Flying Pinto

PaperClipArmRest_DV_20090402110706.jpgAircraft Interiors Expo Hamburg

Will the “paperclip” armrest end the war of the elbows?

Could a new design for aircraft armrests finally end the misery of in-flight elbow hockey?

James Lee, a 25-year-old management trainee for Cathay Pacific, came up with this idea for a new armrest configuration. Called the “Paperclip Armrest Concept,” it’s a bi-level design that allows a pair of passengers to share an armrest (think bunk beds). Don’t expect to see it on planes any time soon. At this point it’s a patent-pending design concept.

But the idea did win the Judges Commendation Prize in this year’s “Crystal Cabin Awards,” which recognizes new ideas for cabin products. The awards were given out Wednesday at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. Here’s how the judges describe Lee’s design:

Its transversely offset double arm-resting levels make full use of the mobility of the human elbow to allow two adjacent passengers to rest their arms simultaneously, without making contact, as if they’ve been given a few extra inches of width. The armrest is an often-overlooked component of an aircraft seat, and the evolution of the economy class armrest has been relatively unremarkable in the past few decades. The Paperclip design presents a possible step change in the design of the economy class armrest, in terms of economics and comfort, which could well benefit operators and passengers alike.

Kudos to Mr. Lee for trying to devise a better armrest. But looking at his design, we wonder how it would work in practice. And mightn’t it start a new set of squabbles over whose arm goes on top or on the bottom part of the paper clip?

You can check out his marketing pitch here!


1 comment

  1. I would love to see those in action! That, and non-reclinable seats 🙂