An end to the battle for the armrest?

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

“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.