Double-Decker Armrest Could End Battle For Elbow Room On Airplanes

“Paperclip” keeps your seatmate’s filthy arm three inches away.

Armrest design is second to everything for the airline industry, which clearly doesn’t give two hoots about the unpleasantness of touching your neighbor’s elbows and, worse, encountering his or her sweaty skin. It’s downright unseemly in an era when most airplanes have $10,000 televisions on the back of each seat.


Hong Kong-based designer James Lee of Paperclip Design has a solution. His concept for the Paperclip Armrest has a double-decker configuration, effectively putting two arm rests in the space of one. No more sharing. Your neighbor’s arm goes on the bottom level while yours fits on the top. (Battle over that, if you must.) There’s a roughly three-inch gap between the two layers, so it’s still cozy, but not horrifically so.

The Paperclip could end the to-the-death battle for elbow room in any high-density seating area: think movie theaters, bus terminals, waiting rooms. The patented concept has won the Crystal Cabin Award, Red Dot Award, Good Design Award, and the A’ Design Award.

About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.