United's 'Origami Airplane' Isn't Really Origami

Okay, United — you're busted. The video you posted to YouTube a couple of days ago shows a really cool paper airplane being built. It looks to be a Boeing 787, and we can see that the artist seems to have spent several hours assembling it. But I can't let you get away with calling it "origami."

United deserves some credit for the creativity here, but in the video we can see the obvious use of X-Acto knives and blue tape during the time lapse video. Merriam Webster says origami comes from two Japanese words: ori fold + kami paper. Wikipedia says the use of cuts or glue are not considered to be origami. Paper cutting and gluing is usually considered kirigami.


The completed plane makes an appearance in United's new 787 safety video. If I were to give the origami time lapse a grade, it would be a C- for the presentation. The lack of sound or any explanation the techniques or skills used was a big disappointment.

The video below is a real origami paper plane, and it's awesome! Origami artist Tadashi Mori does amazing work, and you can view his YouTube channel here. Maybe United should invite him to redo their work the right way.

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