Unum Unwraps Unum One First Business-Class Seat


Image: Alex Preston

Unum Aircraft Seating has given an early public glimpse of its first business-class seat, Unum One, which places passenger comfort firmly at its core.

The result of two years of development and close work with Acumen, Unum One has been designed to provide a constant passenger experience across narrow- and wide-body aircraft, giving airlines much-needed fleet consistency.

According to Chris Brady, Unum’s Executive Chairman: “The remarkable thing about this seat is how it has surprised me. Early in the development process it looked great on paper, then the first cardboard space models were exciting, but now the real thing has blown me away.”

So, what do passengers get? Sitting at an angle of 44 degrees, Unum One is an outward-facing herringbone, fully lie-flat seat with direct aisle access. Passengers on single-aisle aircraft can enjoy a seat width of 21 inches and a pitch up to 38-inches. When in bed mode, the seat extends to a generous 80-inches, 78 inches if on a wide-body. For wide-body aircraft, Unum offers two seat widths: 21 inches and a 19-inch variant with a 34-inch pitch, which allows the addition of an extra row.

The trick to achieving this density, says Brady, is the unique arrangement of center and outboard columns. “The outboard seat is at angle A and the centreline seats are at a shallower angle B, and that allows us to make it all just work beautifully.” It also drives consistency.

Unum has a unique Zero-G seat mechanism. The main mechanism, which provides for a perfect Lazy Z position with infinite adjustment (because the most comfortable position is the next position), is universal and fits on both narrow-bodies and wide-bodies, and for both 19-inch and 21-inch variants. 

A welcome feature for engineering teams, the mechanism is a line replaceable unit (LRU), which can be easily replaced, meaning a broken seat doesn’t remain that way for long. “It’s a turnaround item,” explains Brady. The change, claims the company, can be achieved on-wing in minutes.

The seat also includes a dropping armrest and heaps of width at the crucial hip area. In addition, there is an optional full-height US Department of Transportation (DoT) compliant privacy door, and a large, single-piece table, (which deployed effortlessly during the demonstration), which slides and rotates for easy egress. As with the seat mechanism, the table has been designed for maintainability, with the table cassette able to be swapped out in as little as five minutes on wing, as claimed by the company.

There’s also spacious side furniture, which includes the usual amenities such as tilting TV IFE screen, power points, and numerous customization options for airlines.

The biggest USP is the footwell. An often overlooked and perceived weakness in herringbone seats, Unum One’s generous footwell is both tall and wide, and square, maximizing space to the fullest.

When asked about weight, Brady says it will be “competitive,” and dependent upon the level of customization. 

While supply chain partners have been announced (SabetiWain Aerospace, SCHROTH Safety Products, and Bühler Motor Aviation), the manufacturing facility in Crawley is yet to take shape. Once live, Unum hopes to have the capability of building 50-75 seats a month. More immediately, the company is working towards testing and certification which it hopes to achieve within the next year.

Before all that, airlines and media can experience Unum One at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from 14-16 June (stand 6E56).