Good Advice Features

BA Mid-J, High-J and Super High-J – what does it all mean?

British Airways recently announced changes to the layout of 18 of its B747-400 High-J aircraft, as part of a refit which is seeing new seat foams in World Traveller, universal power sockets in World Traveller Plus, and the carrier’s latest Panasonic eX3 IFE system throughout.

The refit – which started in September 2015 and will be completed by August 2016 - will also see 16 extra Club World seats added to the aircraft, in what has been unofficially dubbed a “Super High-J” configuration. But what does the term mean, and where does it originate from?

BA currently operates two versions of its Boeing jumbo aircraft: Mid-J and High-J, depending on the number of Club World seats on board. The “J” refers to the IATA-standard booking code for business class (still widely used, although carriers have to a certain extent deviated from this standard and created their own airline-specific codes).

BA’s B747-400 mid-J configuration (see seatplan below) features 52 Club World seats across two cabins (one on the main deck in front of the World Traveller cabin and behind World Traveller Plus, and another occupying the whole of the upper deck “bubble”). For more information on this aircraft, click here.

British Airways B747-400 Mid-J configuration

The high-J configuration meanwhile has a total of 70 Club World seats (see seatplan below), with the same upper deck cabin, and two cabins on the main deck – a small cabin directly behind first class, followed by the galley and stairs, and then a larger cabin in front of World Traveller Plus. For more information on this aircraft, click here.

British Airways B747-400 High-J configuration

Finally the “super high-J” configuration features 86 Club World seats – effectively the same layout as the high-J configuration, but with two extra rows of seats directly behind the emergency exits (where the high-J Club World seating currently ends), at the expense of 32 World Traveller seats. For more information on this aircraft, click here.

British Airways B747 400 Super High J seatplan


So when are you likely to encounter these different aircraft configurations? Well, there’s no exact science behind this, and some routes are served by both mid-J and high-J aircraft. But unsurprisingly the high-J configuration with more Club World seats is generally used on routes where there is high demand for business class (New York and Singapore for instance), so you can also expect this to be the case for the “super high-J” layout.

And don't think this information is just of interest to business class passengers – the different configurations means the overall seat capacity of BA’s “super high-J” aircraft is some 70 less than that of the carrier’s mid-J jumbos, which has repercussions for boarding, onboard service and disembarking / arrivals.

The new layout has been discussed extensively on our sister publication Business Traveller's forum recently - to join in the debate click here. Seatplans will update this page as the rollout progresses.

To view seatplans of more British Airways aircraft, and for details on the carrier's cabin classes and seating products, click here. And for a comparison of the layouts and cabins on BA's B787-8 and B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, click here.

by Mark Caswell