A patent filing by United Airlines gives us a hint of what kind of Polaris Business Class seat to expect on the Airbus A321XLR and perhaps on a subfleet of the 737 MAX 10.
United Airlines Gives Us Clue Over New A321XLR Polaris Seat In Patent Filing
As noted by paxex.aero, United Airlines has filed a patent application for a new lie-flat business class seat that would be installed on its A321XLR aircraft. The filing included a number of renderings:
Several key details stand out to me:
- The configuration is herringbone
- Seats face the aisle at a 49º angle
- Renderings suggest 28 seats in the premium cabin, which matches what United’s ps-configured 757-200s used to offer
- No doors, at least for now (there is no mention of them in the patent filing or in the renderings)
- Large screens which flip out
- Seat pitch appears to be 28 inches, though there would be extra space in the footwell
- In lie-flat mode, the bed is 75 – 78 inches long
- A “space-sharing region” between cabins
On that last point, the patent application explains:
It has been recognized that in an arrangement in which the seating elements are orientated at an acute angle to the longitudinal direction, some space can be shared between seated passengers in adjacent seat units to achieve a relatively high PAX density…
It is this “innovation” that United believes qualifies the seat and arrangement for a patent. Put simply, this configuration allows for a denser premium cabin while maintaining lie-flat seating:
In the space-sharing region, the upper part of the screen may overhang the seat pan of the first seat unit, when the seat units are in the seating configuration. Such an arrangement may provide shoulder space for the second seating unit, without substantially impacting on the useable space for the passenger in the first seat unit (because that overhang may be above the arm space of the passenger in the first seat unit). The lower part of the screen preferably does not overhang the seat pan of the first seat unit when the seat units are in the seating configuration.
The seat manufacture is not announced: it does appear that United has used Acumen for the seat design, which it also used for its original Polaris seat. I’d guess the Safran Optima seat is the most likely candidate at this point.
This Is Not Necessarily The Final Seat
This patent filing alone does not suggest United has made a final decision on its premium cabin seat. United may well go with another seat but still pursue a patent on this configuration in hopes of marketing the design it paid to develop to other carriers.
There is no suggestion that this seat has been certified yet by safety regulators, which could be another hurdle.
Just last week I noted that United may be close to revealing a new Polaris seat and now we have another clue about what the future of Polaris may look like on narrowbody aircraft like the A321XLR.
I’m tall but thin and appreciate the high cabin density, which maximizes my chances of flying in the premium cabin. While a roomier seat would be preferred, this configuration represents a compromise that will still mark an improvement over the 2-2 B/E Diamond Seats currently available on the 757-200, particularly for solo travelers.
What do you think about the potential new business class seat on United Airlines?