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United's new business class seats solve the second biggest problem with business class

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The biggest problem with business class air travel — the cheapest class of international air travel in which you aren't treated like livestock — is that it's still absurdly expensive. Odds are very good that you'll never have a chance to experience it, because it's reserved only for frequent travelers, executives with generous business travel policies, the wealthy, and those who know how to game the booking system in God Mode.

The second biggest problem, arguably, is that passengers in the inner seats are trapped like animals if the passenger seated next to them reclines the seat and goes to sleep. In designing United's new Polaris business class, though, London firm Acumen managed to solve the seemingly unsolvable problem without sacrificing any capacity by creatively arranging the seats at different angles, giving everyone a clear path to the aisle. On an 8- or ten-hour flight, that could be the difference between using the lavatory and bravely allowing your bladder to rupture. It's so unusual that it's patented, and Skift reports that United has a five-year exclusive on the design.


Again, for most of us, we can only imagine what it's like to have the problem of struggling to get out of our lay-flat seats to relieve ourselves on a weekend trip to Paris. But for the one percent, take heart: United starts rolling out Polaris on 777s early next year, with 767s, 787s, and Airbus A350s to follow.