United caters to today’s connected traveller with new domestic Business Class

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By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir

Competition in domestic travel in the US is further heating up, with a new wave of interiors just launched by United. Starting with the A319 this week, the new interior will be rolled out on A319s, A320s, 737s and 757s throughout 2016.

The new interiors are custom created for the airline as it pushes hard to compete with more design-led airlines such as Delta, Virgin America and JetBlue. It is no surprise that United have decided to keep up with their competitors and in certain areas possibly even push ahead of the competition.

Tablet holders and storage
Developed with input from customers whom the airline invited to test seat prototypes, the brand new United seats by design firm PriestmanGoode have created features several elements to improve the customer experience, including all-leather seat covers, a patented-design tray table with tablet holder, articulating seat bottoms for greater comfort when reclining and an adjustable headrest; in-seat universal A/C power outlets for customers to charge their devices; increased in-seat storage, including two seatback pockets and side stowage for laptops and tablets; dedicated beverage holders; and real granite cocktail tables (no weight spared there).

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.”

‘Flyer Friendly’ upgrade program
As part of a wave of improvements across the carrier, United’s new premium-cabin seats found in 200+ narrow-bodies is just the latest upgrade 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.

There is some real care and attention that has gone into the interior design, and Priestmangoode have managed to really capture the spirit of United’s new brand, whilst still injecting a modern and contemporary feel. Video and more images here and here.

It’s small elements like the extra storage, or tablet holders that will help United lift its image, and help present it as an innovative airline brand for the years to come. We love some of the finishes on display, especially the granite table tops, and duo tone seat backs. It will really be great to see these in situ in reality in the coming months.

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