September 12, 2003

Immobile Armrests

Category: Aviation

Your Airline: One of the rare luxuries of economy class air travel occurs when you have a whole row of seats to yourself. You can raise the armrests and, if all goes well, sleep the hours away.

In order to keep people spilling out, the armrests on the aisles can't move. This makes perfect sense... but why are the armrests next to the window also immobilized? Even with all three seats at your disposal, if you're more than 5 feet tall, or if you're sitting next to someone and want to lean against the wall, that armrest jabs you in the guts with relentless spite. Why can't I raise it?

Posted by Nick at September 12, 2003 4:11 PM


on some planes the aisle armrests raise as well, quite nice until the food cart slams into you. Also Look for a locking mechanism under the arm, a lot of "locked" armrest can actually be raised if you know what to do. Definitely remember a window rest that raised on some airline, not sure which...

Posted by: Abe at September 12, 2003 7:34 PM

I would imagine this is actually because, on most airlines, the seats are created to be consistent on each side, so that there is no differentiation between a "left" of the aisle seat set and a "right" of the aisle seat set. Hence, when the seat is on the left of the aisle, the aisle armrest is immobilized, but when the exact same chair module is on the right, the "aisle" is now the window. Both armrests have to be immobilized to reduce manufacturing costs. The best solution, however, is just to make all of them movable.

Posted by: Aaron G. at September 12, 2003 9:18 PM