The aircraft on display was the company’s first 737 MAX 8 with the new cabin, featuring new amenities such as in-seat televisions and larger overhead bins.

Inside new airplane and United Airlines interior.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Ever since I saw United’s new cabin, I can’t wait to try it out. So I booked a ticket on the longest flight I could manage, flying six hours from Newark to Seattle, to get the full experience – here’s what it looked like.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


I arrived in Newark at 5:30 a.m. for my 7:00 a.m. departure, and even in the early hours of Monday the airport was already teeming with travelers.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.

A queue for the bag drop-off line had already formed.

Taylor Rains / Insider


Security only took about five minutes with TSA PreCheck, avoiding hectic lines during this busy summer travel season.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


Inside the terminal, I headed for gate C71. There was plenty of space to sit and wait for boarding, as well as plenty of power outlets, which I appreciated.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


Boarding started 40 minutes before departure and I was in group 3 so I was one of the first people on the plane.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


I sat in 23A, which was the third row of the regular economy section and located just above the wing. I pre-booked the spot for $22 when booking.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


The seat was marketed as a “preferred area assignment” closer to the front of the aircraft.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


According to SeatGuru, row 23 is in the middle of the jet, but I had fewer people to wait when disembarking as there is less capacity in premium economy and first class, so it was worth it.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


Source: SeatGuru

While I waited for the rest of the passengers to board, I started exploring the updated seat. The first thing I noticed was the space.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


Economy seats offer a 30-inch pitch, which is on par with some competing airlines, and even low-cost airline Breeze Airways, which offers the same legroom on its A220 planes.

Breeze Airways A220.

Breeze Airways Economy Seat A220.

Taylor Rains / Insider


I had a medium sized bag, but kept it stowed under the seat in front of me to allow room for larger carry-on bags, especially since it was a completely full flight.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


It limited the amount of leg room I had to stretch my legs completely straight, but I still felt I had plenty of room in the window seat. Granted, I’m only 5-foot-3 and pretty short, so I easily fit into most airplane seats, even in Spirit’s wretchedly cramped cabin.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


Without my bag under the seat, I could easily stretch my legs.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


Meanwhile, the seat width was also similar to competitors at 17.2 inches, leaving just enough hip room to be comfortable.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


However, taller or taller passengers may feel comfortable regardless and might consider booking an “Economy Plus” or First Class seat instead, which offer 34 and 37 inches of pitch, respectively.

Exit row Economy Plus seats.

United’s Economy Plus exit row seats on the 737 MAX 8.

Taylor Rains / Insider


Digging around the new seat, I also found several other conveniences, like USB ports…

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


…110v AC outlets…

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


…large seatback pockets big enough for my laptop…

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


…a medium sized tray table…

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


…adjustable head restraints…

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


…and seat screens, which offer more than 2,800 selections of movies, TV shows, music and games. I decided to watch Tom Holland’s new movie, Uncharted, which was actually pretty good.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


I also like that the screen flips up when the front seat reclines.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


The new in-flight system also allows passengers to connect Bluetooth headphones to the seat.

Inside a United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 with a new interior — United Airlines New Aircraft Interior


Thomas Pallini/Insider


I have wired earbuds so I’m sticking with those, but I still appreciate the unique functionality and am glad to know it’s available if and when I invest in AirPods.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


United chose to bring back in-flight entertainment screens to better compete with Delta, which has installed televisions on many of its narrow-body planes.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-300

Seat back screens on Delta’s Airbus A220.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


The upgrade will leave American Airlines as the only “big 3” carrier without seatback screens on most of its single-aisle jets. The carrier instead opted for free in-flight streaming, which is seen on other carriers like Southwest Airlines.

South West Airlines.

Southwest Airlines Inflight Streaming Guide.

Mark Matousek/Insider


For those who prefer to stream entertainment on their personal device, United still offers the option for free through its in-flight portal.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


The portal also offers free texting and Wi-Fi for purchase, which cost me $8 as a Mileage Plus member. The service is $10 for non-members. The WiFi was fast and I was able to work easily during the flight.

Flying on United's Boeing 737 MAX 8.


Taylor Rains / Insider


About The Author

Related Posts