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United Airlines today revealed its new business class cabin experience on-board their B787’s, A350’s and B777’s.

United will be the first airline in the world to fly this unique seat design invented and patented by Acumen. This highly original cabin configuration combines in-line seats with angled seats to create the industry’s most space efficient super business class layout. United are so impressed with the design that they are installing it across their entire fleet. This completely new ‘herring-line’ configuration will create a major disruption in the lay-flat seating market.


Polaris strikes the perfect balance between passenger comfort, and commercial effectiveness and uses the cabin with virtually no redundant real-estate. The net result of this is a class-leading bed length and aisle access for every passenger with no loss of seat count on United’s current step-over product.


So confident was Acumen of the potential of the premium seat design and cabin layout that it funded the entire cost of development and even patented the idea worldwide.  Acumen then pitched the new seat design and cabin layout to United when the seat was no more than a basic ply-wood mock-up.

Acumen CEO Ian Dryburgh comments

“One of the greatest challenges has been to make our way through the minefield of intellectual property to achieve a patented original product. It is becoming ever more difficult to create a truly original design capable of successfully achieving global patent protection.”


The concept seat competed against business class seating products from every major manufacturer in the world, and came out on top with United. The final decision came following five days of sleep trials at Boeing’s B787 facility in Seattle where the concept was tested with customers in a simulated cabin environment.

The inspiration for this invention came on a different form of transport – a commuter train from London, UK – where over an end of week gin and tonic, Ian Dryburgh, founder and CEO of Acumen Design Associates started scribbling a cabin layout that that would become the answer to the riddle of the ultimate business class layout.


Most business class layouts on the market are required to make a compromise of some kind. Either passengers are required to step over one another to get to the aisle, or in providing aisle access it is necessary to sacrifice significant real estate as a consequence.

 “Mixing in-line seats with angled seats had never been tried in an aircraft interior before, and I couldn’t think why. My first sketch of the layout captured this key principle to minimising redundant space. Many of the market leading features are as a consequence of this one big idea.”

Following the selection of the concept PriestmanGoode, United Airline’s strategic design partners, led the product development and creative direction of the Polaris Business Class seat into a unique United Airlines product, as part of a broader programme of work.

Acumen have a continued involvement supporting United Airlines focusing primarily on the provision of the cabin arrangement and optimising the space envelopes for any new aircraft implementation.

Click here for an interactive experience on the United Polaris Business Class Cabin.

a350, aircraft, aircraft seating, b777, B787, blue sky, business class, PRESS, Transport, United Airlines