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United's new features to tickle techies

30 Jun 2008 by Ciprian Hirlea

United Airlines’ Asian passengers not only get new luxurious First and Business Class suites (no longer just called seats) but also added technical features including an iPod adapter that enables passengers to play their own music and videos on the entertainment unit while recharging the iPod, and a USB port to charge personal electronic devices such as PDAs, mobile phones and digital cameras.

The Business Class product (below, right) reclines to a 180º, six-foot-four inch lie-flat bed in a forward- and rear-facing configuration tailored to maximise personal space and privacy. Its seat is up to 23.5 inches wide and adjusts to a broad range of positions.

In First Class, the product (right) is nearly 7.6cm wider than the previous First Class seat, reclining to multiple angels and serves as a 180º, two-metre fully flat bed. Its 39-centimetre wide-screen flat 15.4-inch panel monitor comes with on-demand digital video and music system offering multiple selection of movies, TV programmes and video games. There will be 50 channels of XM-branded audio content, delivering more than 3,000 songs and a jukebox to create customised playlists.

Other suite features found in both classes include four-way lumbar support and six-way adjustable headrest, ottoman providing additional storage for a laptop and personal items (editor’s note: First Class has extraordinary amount of storage space around the seat area, apart from the overhead bins), standard 110V power outlets requiring no adapter, adjustable LED reading light with dimmer and noise-cancelling headphones. These enhancements will be introduced to Asian routes from December onwards.

Currently, United is the only US airline offering three cabins of service on all of its international, overseas flights: First, Business, Economy and Economy Plus seating as well as being the first US carrier to offer 180 fully flat beds in First and Business. “Our First and Business Class cabins reflect United’s investment and commitment to delivering a rewarding and relaxing experience to our most valued customers,” said Mark F Schwab, the airline’s vice-president, Pacific.

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