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Well the first ‘super Hi J’ aircraft has been refitted and ground trials for the inflight service routines were carried out last week. The aircraft seems to offer a lot of improvements with some draw backs also. The first planned flight is 15SEP BA117 LHR-JFK and returning as BA114 the same evening. More JFK rotations are planned as well as DXB.
So the pro’s –
The Inflight entertainment seems to be far superior to what is currently on the aircraft. Panasonic manufactures, manages and maintains the system and have guaranteed a 99.5% reliability stat on departure or they will pay BA compensation. Content will be four times the existing content on the current Rockwell Collins system. The current screens will be replaced with HD screens. The biggest advantage is the reliability – there are further levels of redundancy than the other systems so if the main system fails a second one will kick in and the IFE will continue uninterrupted. Even each individual seat has it’s own content card installed – so in the event a seat becomes totally disconnected from the system the content card within the seat can still run IFE. BA says that after delays and baggage issues the current IFE ranks #3 of complaints.
– crew to passenger ratio in CW. Despite the increase in CW seats, the crew ratio will improve. Currently on the regular High J, four crew serve passengers on the main deck (50 customers). On the super Hi J six crew will serve 66.
And the possible cons –
– loos! No extra toilets are being installed despite the increase on the main deck of 16 club world seats. So, 66 customers will still share three toilets. This isn’t ideal – especially on say a JFK – LHR night flight. With a duration often under six hours and most passengers wanting to change into something comfortable and sleep there could be long waits in the morning before landing.
– WTP – the much coveted solo seat at the front of the cabin will be no more.
—These are my personal opinions only—