Friday, June 3, 2016

United unveils sleep pods for long distance flights

It will soon become considerably more comfortable to sleep on some United Airlines flights.

The nation's third-largest airline announced Thursday that it will unveil sleep pods on long-distance international flights later this year.

The centerpiece of the new, so-called United "Polaris" business class will feature a seat with a 180-degree flat-bed recline and up to 6 feet-6 inches of bed space.

United's goal is to "make the weary traveler a relic of the past," president and CEO Oscar Munoz said at an event in New York on Thursday.

Each customer's personal suite will feature a a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, several storage areas and electronic privacy dividers for seats in the center of the cabin.

If that's not enough, fliers will get a large and small pillow and a bedding collection featuring "plush duvets." Slippers can be requested, and on flights of 12-plus hours, passengers can ask for specially designed pajamas and a gel-cooled pillow. Amenity kits will include what United describes as ergonomically designed eye shades and "calming" lavender pillow mist.

United also announced it's opening new business class lounges in nine airports. They'll offer the likes of private daybeds, spa-like showers and a gourmet menu. The first opens in at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Dec. 1 when the Polaris service launches. The new lounge at Newark Liberty International Airport is slated to be ready next year.

United hasn't announced how much a sleep pod will cost on any of the routes that will offer them.

Many other airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Lufthansa and Delta already offer chairs that recline 180 degrees into a bed.

Passengers seated in economy on United flights, meanwhile, could be getting even less room.


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