United Airlines recently announced a premium cabin upgrade for it’s domestic narrowbody fleet. The new cabins begin with a custom-designed seat for first-class cabins on more than 200 of the company’s narrowbody aircraft. The seat will debut on an Airbus A319 last week, with retrofits on A319s, A320s and many Boeing 737s and 757s through 2016.
Developed with input from customers whom the airline invited to test seat prototypes, the custom seat United and design firm PriestmanGoode have created features several elements to improve the customer experience, including:
- All-leather seat covers in signature navy and champagne colors;
- A patented-design tray table with tablet holder, enabling travelers to enjoy food and beverages while using their personal electronic devices;
- An articulating seat bottom for greater comfort when reclining and an adjustable headrest;
- In-seat universal A/C power outlets for customers to charge their devices;
- Additional in-seat storage, including two seatback pockets and side stowage for laptops and tablets;
- Dedicated beverage holders; and
- Granite cocktail tables.
At 21.1 inches wide, the new United First seat is wider than the current seat and will have numerous custom-design elements and premium finishes, including the signature United-branded tag.
Each aircraft will continue to have the same number of premium-cabin seats.
“This new seat is directly based on customer testing and feedback,” said Tom O’Toole, United’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We designed a custom seat that incorporates the features that today’s passengers want and upgrades our cabins.”
United’s new premium-cabin seat is among significant upgrades the airline is making to its aircraft interiors, including larger overhead bins, more in-seat power outlets and new carpets, mood lighting, boarding music and galley flooring.
Clearly United is feeling the competition from rivals and is looking to make some moves. This is good news for Star Alliance members who have long complained about United’s domestic product.