Armrest Wars: Do These Products Help?

T he armrest “wars” have been a controversial topic amongst airline passengers for many years. Who has a right to use that slim slab of material which separates seats in the economy class cabin of airplanes? Is the use of it on a first-come, first serve basis? Whoever is stronger or more persistent wins? What about those poor passengers assigned to the middle seat?

I personally believe that the person assigned to sit in the middle seat should have full and complete use of both armrests. That person already has no access to the aisle, where he or she can freely escape the confines of that economy class seat; nor access to the window to enjoy the view — or, at least have an extra place to rest his or her head. The person in the middle seat also has the unsolicited yet unique honor of being sandwiched between two people — unlike passengers seated in an aisle seat or window seat, who only have one passenger with which to contend — and I am not even going to discuss the controversial “passenger of size” debate in this article. Giving the use of both armrests to that poor person stuck in the middle seat can be some sort of consolation — as minimal as it may be.

Fortunately, when I do use the armrest, I usually do not need the entire armrest — I will usually just rest my elbow; but after a certain amount of time elapses, my elbow starts to hurt, as those armrests are not exactly padded for your comfort. When seated next to a passenger with a similar requirement, it is a simple matter of subconsciously jockeying for position until both of us are satisfied with the simultaneous use of the armrest: either my elbow will be in front of the elbow of my seatmate, or it will be behind it. This usually works out most of the time without a single word being said; although there is absolutely nothing wrong with arranging a civil yet mutual agreement with your seat mate as to how the armrest is to be used between both of you — especially on a long-haul flight.

As with the seat recline debate — which reached a height of frenzy recently due to an “air rage” incident which caused the diversion of a flight in order to expel the two passengers involved off of the airplane before the flight continued on to its intended destination — the armrest wars can be just as contentious. Seat recline and the use of armrests directly impact upon the comfort of passengers who are already expected to squeeze into the ever-seemingly shrinking personal space of a seat in the economy class cabin of an airplane while increasingly paying more money for the privilege of doing so — and there has been no easy answer to resolve either of these issues.

Unlike this “Ostrich Pillow” highlighted in an article by the Road Warriorette today, which looks like it will do little more than turn you into a “hot head” or give a claustrophobic person a run for his or her money, could the following products shown here which are designed for use with — or instead of — the armrest help resolve the armrest wars once and for all?

Napwrap

The Napwrap as shown for its primary use. Photograph courtesy of .

The Napwrap as shown for its primary use. Photograph courtesy of SittingBridge.

Funded with greater than twice the amount of the goal from a campaign on Kickstarter one year ago, Napwrap is a personal armrest for journeys on modes of public transportation — such as airplanes and trains — designed to help you relax and sleep by creating a comfortable way to hold your arms. This $20.00 product is compact and convenient for easy traveling; and is versatile in that it can also be used in such ways as an armband to hold your personal electronic device, a combination headband and ear muff, or an eyeshade.

My Plane Space

Photograph courtesy of My Plane Space.

Photograph courtesy of My Plane Space.

Weighing in at less than one pound and costing $29.95, My Plane Space is a compact device which snaps right onto the existing armrest dividers of airplanes, creating a more comfortable armrest while also protecting you from “elbow jabs” with a miniature “wall.” It purportedly meets the guidelines of the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States.

Paperclip

Photograph courtesy of PaperclipDesign.

Photograph courtesy of Paperclip.

This is not a product you can purchase; but rather a design to be incorporated as a product built into the seating of the economy class cabin of airplanes. The arm of one passenger would rest on the “upper deck”; while the arm of the other passenger would rest on the “lower deck.”

Although the traditional armrest wars could be resolved with the design by Paperclip, I can see passengers fighting over as to who gets to use the “upper deck” of the armrest versus who gets to use the “lower deck”…

One thought on “Armrest Wars: Do These Products Help?”

  1. Tom says:

    Help? “My plane space” is a thrown glass or water and a diverted flight waiting to happen.

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