DALLAS – Earlier this week, United Airlines (UA) unveiled its new domestic first-class seat, its first upgrade to the product since 2015.
Dubbed the United First® seat, the new product features a range of improvements, including ‘vegan leather upholstery, 13-inch seatback screens and 18-inch tray tables, Bluetooth connectivity, privacy screens and an ergonomist-designed cushion.’ It will also feature wireless charging for the first time, along with USB-C and AC charger outlets.
The airline used a team of experts to create the new product, including UA engineers and in-flight teams, plus University of Michigan biomechanics researcher Dr Matthew Reed and design company Priestman Goode, who have worked with UA since 2012. French aerospace specialist Safran will build the seat.
The seat will debut on a Boeing 737 later this month before being rolled out across other aircraft this summer. By 2026, UA plans to have 200 aircraft equipped with the new cabin, including its Boeing 737 MAX, 737NG and Airbus A321neo fleets. Meanwhile, selected 737s, Airbus A319 and A320s will have their current first-class seats redesigned with new winged headrests and seat cushions.
“This new United First seat is designed around the modern traveler – more charging options, bigger spaces for devices, food, drinks and personal items and extra privacy,” said Mark Muren, United Managing Director of Identity, Product and Loyalty. “As we evolve the onboard experience, we’re upending old industry norms and anticipating future needs to accommodate the new ways people live and travel.”
The move comes as US airlines compete to attract high-paying passengers into their upfront cabins. Last year Delta Air Lines (DL) unveiled its new first-class seat, initially on its A321neos, which includes privacy barriers. JetBlue (B6) also redesigned its Mint premium cabin in early 2021 to have sliding doors, its first upgrade since the 2014 debut.
UA’s First® seat will not be installed on the carrier’s wide-body aircraft operating domestic routes. These airframes already feature the airline’s highest-end Polaris seat, which can be converted into a lie-flat bed.
Featured Image: The new seat will debut on a Boeing 737 later this month. Photo: United Airlines.