Wireless charging coming to a plane near you

United has introduced a new domestic first class seat that includes a wireless charging station in every arm rest. The new United First® seat – which also features vegan leather upholstery, 13-inch seatback screens and 18-inch tray tables, Bluetooth connectivity, privacy screens and an ergonomist-designed cushion – debuts on its first 737 this month, and customers will continue to see it rollout this summer. The airline expects the new seat to be on 200 domestic planes by 2026, including 737 NGs, A321neos and 737 MAXs.

“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.”

In each United First new seat, customers can enjoy the following features:

Charge multiple devices at once

Passengers can quickly charge their multiple electronic devices at once with three types of charging docks in each seat – wireless, AC household-style outlet and USB-C. The wireless charger is located in a compartment of the armrest to give the passenger line-of-sight to notifications and free their hands and tray table.

Larger, user-friendly seatback entertainment

A growing number of customers prefer a two-screen experience where they use a personal device and a seatback screen simultaneously, so United is upleveling the experience. The 13-inch, high-definition screens are Bluetooth capable and include a remote for those unable to reach the touch screen.

More space for work and relaxation

Designated space for devices, food, drinks and more make it easier for passengers to enjoy the full experience. A larger, 18 x 8.5 inch tray table features a built-in tablet holder and enough space for most standard laptops. With authentic Italian quartzite cocktail tables and bottle holders between each seat, passengers don’t have to balance gadgets, drinks and snacks on one tray table.

More private, adjustable seat

In the large seats upholstered with vegan leather, passengers will experience more privacy with a 11 x 19-inch divider between neighbors, winged headrests and tray tables that deploy from outer armrests to reduce passenger contact. The seat features a 5-inch recline range, adjustable aisle arm rest that lowers completely and an ergonomist-designed seat cushion that sits 1-inch lower to accommodate a wider variety of heights


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In addition to installing the new seats, United will update existing domestic first class seats on more than 200 planes by 2025. United First seats on select 737, A319 and A320 aircraft will be redesigned with new seat cushions, vegan leather upholstery and winged headrests.

The announcement marks United’s first update to domestic first class seat design since 2015. The new United First seat was built with a team of experts, including United’s engineering and inflight teams, University of Michigan biomechanics researcher Dr. Matthew Reed and design firm Priestman Goode.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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    1. If it’s going to take until 2026 for United to get the new seats into all of their planes how long will it take other airlines to make the decision, find the funds and then action?

      I wouldn’t hold your breath on this one.

  1. It’s an astute point. Looking back over 30 years of flying my expectations have dramatically changed. Definitely time for new design.

  2. This needs to happen. We’re so dependent on our phones when we travel. We have our boarding passes on our phones, transport cards, bookings for our hotel and our money too. If we run out of charge we are well and truly up the creek without a paddle!

    1. The last time I was away travelling, I actually had a nightmare that I was on the road and that my phone battery needed charging and I couldn’t find anywhere to do it.

      It was a disaster. I couldn’t get anything to eat and was starving. I couldn’t even buy a bottle of water. I’m now so paranoid about charging my phone that I never let it drop below 80%.

  3. Well-designed aircraft seats are probably far more important than most of us realise.

    Last week as my flight landed, across the aisle, a passenger nervously felt his back and announced, “That’s it. I’m never flying with &@/@Air again. My back’s killing me.”it’s probably best that we don’t name names here.

    I could see where he was coming from. The seat looked good but lacked any support for the lower back.

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