first class seats

On United: new domestic 1st class seats

On Wednesday, United Airlines showed off the new seats that will soon be showing up in the first class cabin of the Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft the carrier uses on domestic routes.

United's new First Class seat to be installed on the carrier's entire Airbus fleet_photo Harriet Baskas

The new leather seats are a bit wider than the current seats and have some nice new features, including universal AC power plugs, more places to store your things, a wider center console that includes a space for water bottles, and a larger, more classy-looking, expandable drink table between the seats.

united armrest

The best part, though, is the tray table. Larger and sturdier than previous versions, this one draws on some of the patents held by Smart Tray and includes a built-in holder for personal electronic devices.

United tray table

I covered the “unveiling” for USA TODAY – here’s a link to that story.

Best airline seat?

SingaporeAirlines Business Class_Cabin B777-300ER

Whether your flight is short or long — but especially if it’s long — where you sit on the airplane can make all the difference in how much you enjoy the trip. That’s why sites such as SeatGuru and Seatexpert, which evaluate the desirability of every seat on just about every type of commerical aircraft, are so popular, and why so many airlines keep raising the bar — and the price — for the most comfortable seats.

For Bing Travel, I put together a slide show exploring some options – from the best to the worst seats.
You can see the full slide show here, but here’s one of the more intriguing options.

Singapore Airline Double Bed

Can there be “a class beyond first class,” as Singapore Airlines claims to offer? On the airline’s new A380s there are cruise-line-like suites with sliding doors, armchair-style seats, 23-inch wall-mounted LCD screens and stationary drawers with writing supplies. Each suite also has its own full-sized flat bed with pillows and linen by Givenchy. And, in a first for commercial aviation, for couples traveling together, the sleeping areas in the middle seats can be converted to double beds.

Singapore airlines First-Class suite

I’ll be flying on one of these suite-equipped A380s next week and will have a chance to tour – but not stay in -a suite. I’ll be sure to snap some photos – and maybe ask for a piece of stationary – while I’m there.