United unveils its upgraded domestic first class


United has revealed its new domestic first class seat, which will be line-fitted on the first Boeing 737 this month and rolled out across more than 200 aircraft by late 2026, including B737 NGs, A321neos and B737 MAXs. The existing United First seats on select B737, A319 and A320 aircraft will be updated with new seat cushions, vegan leather upholstery and winged headrests by 2025.

This is the first update to United’s domestic first-class seating since 2015 and forms part of the United Next cabin rollout. The manufacturer and model of the seat has not been confirmed, but the airline states it has been customised in cooperation with a team of experts, including United’s engineering and inflight teams, the PriestmanGoode design agency, and Dr Matthew Reed, a biomechanics researcher at the University of Michigan.

Key features of the new United First seat include a 5-inch recline range, a 11 x 19in privacy divider between the seat pairs, headrest wings for support and privacy, an 18 x 8.5in tray table with built-in tablet holder that deploys from the outer armrests, ‘vegan leather’ seat covers, and an authentic Italian quartzite cocktail table.

Accessibility has also been considered, with adjustable armrests on the aisle seats that can be lowered completely  to make access and egress easier for passengers with reduced mobility, and an ergonomist-designed seat cushion that sits 1-inch lower than in the previous seat, to accommodate a wider variety of passenger heights.

Customers will be kept entertained with the 13in high-definition IFE displays, which are Bluetooth capable for pairing a device for second-screening, and include a remote control for those unable to reach the touchscreen on the seatback.

Passengers often use their personal electronic devices (PEDs) such as smartphones during a flight, and increasingly expect to be able to charge them at their seat. The United First update brings in three types of charging docks in each seat – a wireless pad, an AC household-style outlet and a USB-C port. The wireless charger is located in a compartment within the armrest, which holds the device in place, gives the passenger line-of-sight to notifications, and keeps the tray table tidy.

Each seat in United First features a wireless charging pad

“This new United First seat is designed around the modern traveller – more charging options, bigger spaces for devices, food, drinks and personal items, and extra privacy,” said Mark Muren, United’s 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.”

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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