PBS: April 2016 Published Runs Report

April 2016

Pairing values were boosted in April by the return of CDO lines, which removed inefficient flying from the pairings package for PBS. The results this month were surprisingly positive as a result. In both domiciles there were a handful of bidders who bid directly to RSV, and there were a few junior FA’s with vacation credit who were able to hold lines. The ‘break’ between RSV and line holders was clear in both domiciles.

Minimum credit lines were also helpful in creating quality lines for both bases. In ORD the 5% required by contract was 35 awards; we were able to award 50. In DFW the 5% required was 26; we awarded 75. In recent months we have included a table which depicted seniority numbers and the use of waivers for line holding, however, that table isn't quite accurate when we consider that junior FAs with scheduled vacation may be able to hold wihtout waivers due to the credit available.

No lineholders were given coverage awards in either base.

In ORD there were 131 RSV lines awarded and in DFW there were 144. For DFW there were 27 RSV FAs who received coverage awards, and in ORD there were no RSV FAs who received coverage awards.

As a reminder, the bid protest period starts at 12 noon CT on the 22nd and closes at 12 noon CT on the 23rd. Please be sure to double check that your return email address is correct so that we can respond to you ASAP.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email us through jgrace@afaeagle.com.  

The Joint PBS Committee & Your Envoy Air MEC

PBS: April 2016 Projections Report

 

DISCLAIMER:  Before you read the contents of this report, please be aware that these results are not absolute and are merely “projections!”  No one can be held liable for this information!  Certain variables are not accounted for in these tests.  For example, not everyone has entered their bids for April 2016.  (This is why I waited as long as I did to produce this report to increase the accuracy of the results.)  Additionally, some people will request vacation extensions and vacation fly-through which are not imported into Navtech until bids are final.  Others may need other preplanned absences which also may not reflect into Navtech PBS until the final absence file is loaded into Navtech PBS after the Current Bidding window is closed.  Finally, some flight attendants may change their bids as a result of this report!

As promised, here is the Projections Report for the month of April 2016.  I conducted 6 tests in each base.  With the exception of a few bidders in DFW whose bids are designed to go to reserve under certain circumstances and one bidder in ORD whose bid needs work, we should be able to easily find a line between the end of line awards and the beginning of reserve awards.

Dallas

The reserve line in Dallas will increase to higher seniority levels as a direct result of fewer available hours in the base!  Since we are now co-paired with our pilots, more than 1,500 hours of flying was returned to the Chicago operation since all Pilots on the CRJ 700 are based there.  Depending on a variety of factors, between 34% and 37% of the DFW base can expect to be on reserve for the bid month of April 2016.  This is up from 23.65% of DFW Flight Attendants on reserve in the current month of March 2016.

For those of you who pay attention to the column entitled “Most Senior FA Requiring Waivers/Preplanned Credit,” please pay particular attention to the Chart Explanationsprovided below the Chicago report.  This figure was difficult to determine for the April 2016 bid runs because in most testing, the Flight Attendant immediately senior to the first Flight Attendant showing a reserve award did not require the use of a waiver, but many Flight Attendants immediately senior to them are, in fact, using waivers!  This indicates the need for them for the most junior Flight Attendants holding line awards in the tests in order to hold line awards.

Chicago

Co-pairing means the return of over 1,500 hours of flying to the Chicago operation previously covered by Flight Attendants in our Dallas operation.  This is good news in terms of where the reserve line will fall for the month of April 2016.  Testing indicates that we will find a solid line between where line awards end and where the reserve awards begin.

 

CHART EXPLANATION

Once the testing is completed, I find a “range” of where certain variables landed.  I take the “Top Seniority” (meaning the most senior Flight Attendant in that category) and the “Bottom Seniority” (meaning the most junior Flight Attendant in that category) to develop a “range” from the various tests.

 

“Most Senior Reserve” means this is the point where reserves started in earnest.  In a given test, no Flight Attendant junior to this person was able to hold a line without preplanned absence credit (such as vacation or training).  The “Top Seniority” Flight Attendant means this is the most senior Flight Attendant affected in any of the tests whereas the “Bottom Seniority” Flight Attendant was the most junior Flight Attendant affected by the tests.

 

If you are junior to the “Bottom Seniority” in the “Most Senior Reserve” column, chances are incredibly high that you will be on reserve.  If you are between the “Bottom Seniority” and “Top Seniority” of this column, you are inside of the range meaning it could go either way in terms of holding a line.  If you are senior to the “Top Seniority” in this category, chances are high that you will be holding a line of flying.  This does not mean you should eliminate waivers from your bid!  Please continue reading to understand the “Most Senior FA Requiring Waivers/Preplanned Credit” category!

 

“Most Senior FA Requiring Waivers/Preplanned Credit” means that in a given test, I found the most senior Flight Attendant assigned a line of pairings above the “Most Senior Reserve” number in a given test whose line award was not possible without either or both the use of waivers and preplanned credit (such as carry-in credit, vacation credit or training credit).  At a certain point, it is impossible for Navtech PBS to construct a legal line of flying strictly from leftover over pairings simply because the pairings either (1) do not reach enough hours to create a legal line of flying in their best arrangement, (2) are too close to be legally allowed on the same line (waivers permit this to happen) or (3) there is not enough preplanned credit to complement the scarce leftover flying to reach enough hours to build a legal line.  In these tests, I find the most senior Flight Attendant requiring the assistance of either/both waivers and preplanned credit.

 

If you are junior to the “Bottom Seniority” in this category, you are absolutely advised to utilize waivers if your absolute top objective is to hold a line regardless of where you fall in the “Most Senior Reserve” category.  If you are inside the “Top Seniority and Bottom Seniority” range, the use of waivers is recommended as it could go either way in terms of the waivers being necessary to hold a line of pairings.  If you are senior to the “Top Seniority” Flight Attendant, you probably do not require the use of waivers.  Be warned, however, that this is not absolute!  Some senior Flight Attendant do utilize waivers to their benefit for a variety of reasons.  Also, as stated in the disclaimer, these are merely projections and can change as a result of the way people change their bids and when preplanned absences are updated into Navtech PBS!  Unless you are substantially senior to the “Top Seniority” Flight Attendant in this category, you may wish to think twice about removing waivers if you have been using them to hold a line.

 

COMMON MISTAKES

Each month in this report, I will share common mistakes being made by bidders that I happen to note while going through the testing.  I will also include common mistakes that become known as a result of Bid Protests from the previous month’s bid cycle.

 

Common Issue:            “Else Start Next Bid Group”

 

Some people use this feature excessively.  They are necessary, however, when going from a “Start Pairings” bid group to another “Start Pairings” bid group.  They are also necessary when going from a “Start Reserve” bid group to another “Start Reserve” bid group.  The purpose of “Else Start Next Bid Group” is simply to have Navtech PBS start a new bid group if it cannot honor a certain “Prefer Off/Avoid/Set Condition” bid preference.  (Note: There is never a good reason to have a preference that reads, “Set Condition Minimum Credit Else Start Next Bid Group.”  Those requesting Minimum Credit should simply write, “Set Condition Minimum Credit.”  Later preferences at the bottom of the bid group are where you will retain “Avoid Pairings if Pairing Length < 5/6 Else Start Next Bid Group.”

 

Also, as stated in last month’s Projections Report, unless you are willing to go to reserve over the “Set Condition,” “Prefer Off” or “Avoid” preference to which the command “Else Start Next Bid Group” is attached, this should not be used in your final “Start Pairings” bid group!

 

For example, a bidder may say, “Set Condition Credit Else Start Next Bid Group.”  If PBS cannot award Minimum Credit, it will honor the “Else Start Next Bid Group” command.  If your next bid group is your Reserve Bid Group or you simply don’t have another bid group, you will most likely find yourself awarded reserve.  Double check-your bids!  Do you have “Else Start Next Bid Group” in your final “Start Pairings” bid group?  If so, “EDIT” that preference to remove “Else Start Next Bid Group” from the preference and click “EDIT!”  You should see your bid updated with the change.  Be sure to submit your updated bid!

 

* * * * *

 

As always, please feel free to contact your members of the Joint PBS Committee with any questions with regard to bidding.  Chairperson John Grace can be reached at jgrace@afaeagle.com.  I can be reached at jmetidieri@afaeagle.com.  Take care of each other and fly safely!

 

Yours truly,

John Carlos Metidieri

MEC Bid Planning Committee Chairperson

Joint PBS Committee Member

Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, AFL - CIO

 

 

PBS: April 2016 Pairings Report

Dear fellow Flight Attendants,

 

As we have recently advised our Flight Attendants in several messages, we will be co-paired with our pilots for the month of April.  I have stated before that I would advocate for this practice so long as (1) we have respectable variety in the flying and (2) that the pairing values were high enough to operate in the PBS environment.

 

Both the Company and the AFA representatives of the Joint PBS Committee agree that the CDO operation would bring back variety and allow for pairings to be stronger.  Until this coming month, the Company was previously unwilling to build this style of operation due to the heavy numbers of CDO falling into Open Time which, in turn, when awarded to a reserve crewmember causes them to be unavailable to Crew Scheduling for a full day upon their return to domicile.  We have advocated for CDO for a very long time.

 

Please be mindful, though, that the CDO operation is back on a trial basis!  We realize that our members have the right to bid for whatever flying they wish to be awarded, but we ask for consideration on behalf of the entire workforce in that if you do not intend to keep the CDO award on your schedule… that you please consider selecting something else to fly.  (The leaders of ALPA are requesting the same consideration of their members.)  The more CDO we have in our operation, the better our variety and strength of flying become!  This means if the CDO relaunch is successful in terms of not burning through staffing, the Company would likely be willing to increase the number of CDO lines which result in better variety and pairing strength for all.

 

As always, there are some pairings that Flight Attendants may wish to avoid for their schedules.  Please see General Reminders below.

 

Base Specific Information

           

DALLAS

There are no CRJ pairings available for bidding in the month of April.  These aircraft are based in ORD.  Because we are a co-paired operation (at least for April and hopefully much longer beyond so long as we retain a healthy CDO operation), Pilots and Flight Attendants from ORD must be assigned to these pairings.  If you have your entire bids centered on this aircraft, it is critical that you redo your bids accordingly.  Any “Award CRJ” preferences, if no other aircraft are in those same preferences, will simply result in the statement “No Pairings Available” in your Reasons Report.  PBS will simply skip to your next preference.  In an “Award” preference, ALL PARTS of the bid must be “true” or it will not draw pairings from the available pairings pool.

 

For the month of March, the average daily credit on the EM4/ERD is 4:41 hours.  On the E7M, the average daily credit is 4:26 hours.  The strength of E7M flying will continue to increase as more of these aircraft are brought into the operation.

 

CHICAGO

All CRJ pairings will be returned to the ORD operation for the month of April.  The aircraft are all based in Chicago.  With a co-paired operation, only ORD Flight Attendants will fly with ORD pilots.

 

For the month of April, the average daily credit is 4:24 hours on the EM4/ERD.  The average daily credit on the CR7 is 4:37 hours.  The CRJ value is down by a full hour per day from last month!  This means if you have an “all CRJ” bid for purposes of getting maximum days off, do not be surprised with fewer days off in your bid award.  Those wishing to have maximum days off should be bidding either by “Average Daily Credit” or “Total Pairing Value” without requiring specific aircraft types.

 

COMMON PROBLEMS

Minimum Credit Bidders

Last month, we had a number of people ask, “Why do I have a line with more than 75:00 hours if I was awarded Minimum Credit?  A “minimum credit award” means an award between 65:00 hours to 91:00 hours.  In most cases when this “overage” occurs, a bidder uses a general bid.  The 2nd to last pairing might bring the total award up to 64:30 hours.  Since this is still 0:30 minutes short of 65:00 hours, PBS needs additional hours.  Instead of finding the lowest value trip to finish the award, it simply reads the next bid.  Let’s imagine the next bid requests an LAX overnight.  This type of pairing involves a lot of high time Aspen flights.  As a result, pulling the pairing with such flying results in finally going over 65:00 hours… often by 20:00 hours for a grand total of more than 80:00 hours.

 

We suspect that many people simply have “Minimum Credit” in their bids simply to give themselves the best chance possible at holding a line.  For these people, the total award actually does not typically matter.  They’re happy that they have a line.

 

So how do I receive a Minimum Credit award that actually reflects a minimum credit line?

There is an easy way to do this and a hard way to do this.  Let’s start with the easy way (which is the recommended way unless you are among the most senior of your base).  If you are able to be awarded a Minimum Credit award and you honestly care only about having as little over 65:00 hours as possible, enter a bid with nothing but “Conditions” (only if you require any beyond “Set Condition Minimum Credit”) and “negative” preferences (which are your “Prefer Off” and “Avoid” preferences).  In other words, just tell PBS what you do not want to see in your schedule and it will work from whatever is left over.  “Award” preferences are those which catapult a bidder way past 65:00 hours because of having another bid in which captures a high value pairing.  If you bid in this manner, PBS will find just enough credit to finish your line and move on.  This is also a good bidding technique if you are not awarded Minimum Credit and want as little flying over 75:00 hours as possible.  The only “Award” you should see on a bid entered corrected is the unnumbered “Award Pairings” at the bottom of each “Start Pairings” bid group that is always there.  That is simply a programming feature to instruct PBS to finish your schedule.

 

The complicated way to bid Minimum Credit (which is really only recommended for use by the most senior of Flight Attendants) is to have multiple bid groups in which you handpick pairings that you know will add up to 65:00 hours (and not a minute less).  You might pick several pairings per set of workdays you wish to work in case some of your chosen pairings go to senior bidders.  At the end of each Bid Group (except for your very last), you’ll enter an impossible avoid to ensure that PBS does not just finish your schedule with random pairings you did not ask for.  The type of impossible avoid we have been teaching reads as follows: “Avoid Pairings if Pairing Length < 5 Else Start Next Bid Group.”  PBS clearly cannot avoid all 1-day, 2-day, 3-day and 4-day pairings.  So what does it do?  It “Else Starts Next Bid Group.”  In each new bid group, you’ll bid for one more hour than the previous bid group.  Because this is a pretty complicated bidding method, it is extremely advisable to see me in the Chicago crew lounge or John Grace in the Dallas crew lounge for instructions on how to assemble this type of bid if you haven’t done one like this before.  If you decide to see us, we urge you to consider having your pairings selected in advance as other Flight Attendants are attempting to take advantage of our assistance as well.

 

When only four day pairings remain

It is strongly recommended that, whenever you have a situation in your upcoming month where you’ll only have (5) or less consecutive days in between duty periods, you use the waiver “Waive Minimum 2 Days Off.”  From time to time, we see junior Flight Attendants who are awarded a reserve schedule because PBS had no way to find space to add the last 4-day pairing that would have completed their schedule.  In other words, say you will finish a carry-in sequence on the 3rd day of the month.  You have (5) days off before you have a training event.  You cannot be scheduled for (7) consecutive duty days.  You also cannot have only (1) day off in between duty days.  That is, you cannot contractually only have (1) day off unless you waived your contractual rest requirement of needing (2) days off wherever you would be awarded (1) day off.  If you are of the seniority to not have to otherwise use waivers to capture leftover flying that could be clumped together in one part of the month, simply request your days off that you would like to have and you (generally) should not see less than (2) days off in any other part of the month unless you are more junior at your base than you previously believed.

 

GENERAL REMINDERS

Because we have some variety in our flying, do not be surprised if you see an occasional pairing in your award that is of a length different from what you’ve asked to fly or that you’ve otherwise not seen in your awards before.  For example, someone who fell just short of a line by 7:00 hours might see a day trip or a two day trip thrown into the schedule just to get them over the minimum requirement of hours.

 

Generally speaking, seeing the average daily credit of pairings higher than 4:41 per day gives me high confidence of finding the line between line awards and reserve awards.  Seeing the average daily credit of pairings higher than 4:13 gives me fair confidence that we should (for the most part) find the line between line awards and reserve awards.  When the number falls below this point, I become very nervous at the increased probability that the line between line awards and reserve awards will be difficult to find!  As such, Flight Attendants would be well-advised to pay very close attention to their bids and ensure that they are bidding accordingly to receive pairings worth enough credit to create a legal line of flying.

 

Not all pairings are going to create line awards!  Flight Attendants in the top 1/2 of their base seniority lists who keep their bids simple and generic should enter a preference that reads “Avoid Pairings if Average Daily Credit < (less than) 3:45.”  Those who bid pairing by pairing numbers or are pretty specific about what they are requesting are not typically affected by the low value pairings.

 

As always, on the 18th of each month, I will begin working on projections for the upcoming month based on bids as they are entered at that time.  The accuracy of this picture will be affected by the fact that not all bids will have yet been entered.  We certainly do not want to rush our flight attendants during the bidding process simply to increase the accuracy of this report.  If you can confidently enter a bid that you think you will use by the 18th, it will certainly move us in the direction of acquiring a more accurate picture of where people are falling in terms of their seniority numbers.  Please check your emails by 12:00 pm on 19MAR15 for another report which may or may not have an impact on the way you enter your bid!

 

Take care of each other and fly safely!

 

Sincerely,

John Carlos Metidieri

MEC Bid Planning Committee Chairperson

Joint PBS Committee Member

Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, AFL-CIO

Bid Planning: The Return Of The CDO

Last week, we released an upsetting but crucial update preparing our Flight Attendants for the April 2016 bid month that without any major changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (the “contract”) or to the operation itself, would be absolutely inevitable.  We knew those consequences were on their way because we lived that reality the last time we were co-paired with our pilots in a low credit value environment before the Company split us up and allowed us to have our own schedules.  We made our case against low credit value pairings to the Company… and we were heard!

We have been advised by the Company that it has decided to return to the practice of building Continuous Duty Overnights (commonly referred to as a “CDO” or “stand-up”) into the operation for the April 2016 bid month on a trial basis!  This is welcomed news for the Joint PBS Committee since it is a major step in the right direction of correcting low credit value pairings that critically injure the ability of Navtech PBS to perform its function.  The discussion of a CDO operation is one that we have repeatedly had with the Company.  Due to circumstances outside of the control of the Flight Service department, the Company was previously unwilling to build a CDO operation for our Flight Attendants even while we were not co-paired with our pilots.  Because the flying given to us by American Airlines continues to have a negative impact primarily on the strength of the Embraer 145 flying under the Pilot 117 rest regulations, all CDO operations will be on that aircraft at both domiciles.

There will be a historically high number of these lines offered!  As before, these assignments are available for bidding during the Pre-bidding window from the 10th at 12:00 pm to the 13th at 12:00 pm. 

* * * 

What is a CDO?

A CDO is a pairing in which the duty period commences at night and continues into the morning.  One way to look at these pairings is similar to “day trips” only they happen throughout the night.  A Flight Attendant on a CDO does not require legal minimum rest at the hotel.  When we return to domicile in the morning, we are approaching the end of a legal duty period.

How does a CDO operation help the Flight Attendants and the operation itself?

The CDO operation removes excessively long overnights from the solution and allows the remaining flying to become much stronger in credit value.  This has the welcomed effect of enabling much better performance by the Navtech PBS program.  This type of operation increases the productivity of the remaining workforce after the CDO operation is covered.  With each day being more productive, this enables Navtech PBS to award lines with more days off than the contractually required minimum of (11) days off.

In the current operating environment, the majority of our flying given to us by American Airlines is generally packed in the mornings and evenings.  Since some of the earliest arrivals and latest departures will be absorbed into the CDO operation, we will be able to connect more morning and evening flying into single duty periods. For DFW, this will only assist even more in increasing credit value as American Airlines returns premium day flying back into our operation.  Crews who start too early in the morning obviously will require a day that ends while the evening operation is still in progress.  Only those whose days started later while the morning operation was already in progress will be legal to fly into the late hours of the night.  With the ability to cover more flying in single duty periods, the result of a CDO operation is that the remaining crewmembers will see the pairings increase in productivity.

Why did the Company discontinue the CDO operation in the past?

The staffing needs to cover a CDO operation is a “sore spot” for the Company.  In the past, a significant number of Pilots and Flight Attendants awarded CDO schedules would drop huge portions (if not all) of their schedules into open time. The CDO dropped into Open Time then began the process of the need by Crew Scheduling to burn through the reserve availability.  This problem became exacerbated by reserves who preference for a CDO knowing that they would be largely useless to Crew Scheduling upon their return to domicile for the remainder of the day which resulted in a loss of availability often exceeding 24:00 hours.  We suspect that this is the reason that the Company is only offering the CDO on a trial basis!  Should staffing once again become an issue as a result of staffing issues brought on by the CDO operation, we could find ourselves back where we were with last week’s update.

* * *

While we are not completely out of the water in terms of the anticipated performance of Navtech PBS or variety in the pairings, the completely unanticipated return of the CDO signals that we should not see much of the predicted negative impacts of Navtech PBS in a low credit value environment as promised in our last update to you.

As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns with regard to our schedules or Navtech PBS, please feel free to reply to this email or contact MEC Vice President and Joint PBS Committee Chair John Grace at jgrace@afaeagle.com or MEC Bid Planning Committee Chair John Carlos Metidieri at jmetidieri@afaeagle.com.

Your Envoy Air MEC

PBS: Assistance Dates for January 2016

Here are the dates and times for PBS assistance in our crew rooms this month:

 

DFW – John Grace (jgrace@afaeagle.com)

 

Saturday, January 16th from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm

Sunday, January 17th from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Monday, January 18th from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm

 

ORD – John Carlos Metidieri (jmetidieri@afaeagle.com)

 

Friday, January 15th from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Saturday, January 16th from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm

Sunday, January 17th from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm

PBS: February 2016 Pairings Report

Dear fellow Flight Attendants,

 

The February build was negatively impacted by the loss of our Flight Attendant Crew Planner to Southwest Airlines.  As you may remember, a Crew Planner was dedicated solely to our Flight Attendants in an effort to increase efficiency and variety once we ended co-pairing.  As a result of this loss, the Pilot Crew Planner was suddenly tasked with building the pairings for both sets of crews.  As a result, variety suffered more than usual due to the lack of attention we had been accustomed to over the past several months.  The Director of Crew Planning is committed to the expeditious hiring and training of a dedicated Flight Attendant Crew Planner four our group.

 

It is important to remember that variety suffers primarily due to the schedules given to us by American Airlines.  The “meat” of our flying is found primarily in the mornings and evenings thus resulting in long sits and layovers shorter than some of us would like.  Further complicating the lack of variety is the fact that we still are seeing preferable flying given to the contract carriers operating as American Eagle.  They receive longer stage length flying plus flying during the middle of the day thus allowing them greater average daily credit and greater duration of overnights.  Envoy Air, inc. does not control the flying we receive from American Airlines.  More importantly, the Company does not control the flying given to our competitors outside of AAG.  Our stellar performance in 2015 leading us to be the top performer of all 10 regional carriers supporting American Airlines is what leads AAG to continue returning flying into our operation.  (This monthly report will now include a table at the end listing all operators of “American Eagle.”  I hope to soon be able to include numbers showing what percentage of AAG flying each carrier covers.)  Variety should improve as we continue to assume more and more of the regional flying.

 

Base Specific Information

           

DALLAS

Overstaffing continues to be a problem for DFW, but this will soon settle with the introduction of additional Embraer 175 aircraft into our operation.  Until this problem is corrected, we will continue to see an unusually high percentage of Flight Attendants on reserve.  You should have noticed that Embraer 175 flying is available for bid in the February bid month.

 

For the month of February, the average daily credit on the ERJ is 4:18 hours.  On the CRJ, the average daily credit is 5:13 hours.

 

CHICAGO

Chicago has been welcoming new hires which means we should begin to see some movement in terms of increased seniority for each of us.  It should be noted, however, that this is not a guarantee due to the changes in schedules each month.  The pairing values on the CRJ have increased to such an extent that more flying can be covered by a slightly smaller number of flight attendants.

 

For the month of February, the average daily credit on the CRJ is 5:46 hours while it is 4:23 hours on the Embraer which are both above my ideal target for pairings.

 

GENERAL REMINDERS

Generally speaking, seeing the average daily credit of pairings higher than 4:41 per day gives me high confidence of finding the line between line awards and reserve awards.  This math assumes 16 days off flying to reach a full 75:00 hours.  Thinking in terms of four day pairings, this means only 4 of this value or higher are necessary to finish the normal line so long as people are entering bids for standard schedules.

 

Seeing the average daily credit of pairings higher than 4:13 makes me fair confidence that we should (for the most part) find the line between line awards and reserve awards.  This math assumes 18 days of flying to reach 75:00 hours.  Thinking in terms of four day pairings again, this means an average of 4 or 5 trips of these values or higher are needed to finish a normal line so long as people are entering bids for standards schedules.)  When the number falls below this point, I become very nervous at the increased probability that the line between line awards and reserve awards will be difficult to find!

 

Not all pairings are going to create line awards!  If you are picking pairings or specific overnights, be sure that you are watching pairing values!  For instance, that overnight you love just might be connected to a very low value pairing!  For those of you wanting an easier way to ensure that you are not receiving pairings worth too little, you can always enter a negative bid that reads, “Avoid Pairings if Average Daily Credit < 3:45.”  We do not recommend those in the lower halves of our seniority lists to use this bid!  In some cases, if pairings become less available, the availability of a low value pairing may give you those last few hours needed to kick your bid over 75:00 hours which is necessary to hold a line if you are not able to be awarded minimum credit.  For those in the upper halves of your seniority lists, this type of bid should reduce any chances that your bid will be affected by Secondary Line Generation (SLG).

 

On the 18th of each month, I will begin working on projections for the upcoming month based on bids as they are entered at that time.  The accuracy of this picture will be affected by the fact that not all bids will have yet been entered.  We certainly do not want to rush our flight attendants during the bidding process simply to increase the accuracy of this report.  If you can confidently enter a bid that you think you will use by the 18th, it will certainly move us in the direction of acquiring a more accurate picture of where people are falling in terms of their seniority numbers.  Please check your emails by 12:00 pm on 19JAN15 for another report which may or may not have an impact on the way you enter your bid!

 

Take care of each other and fly safely!

 

           

Sincerely,

John Carlos Metidieri

MEC Bid Planning Committee Chairperson

Joint PBS Committee Member

Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, AFL-CIO

PBS: Ending Co-Pairing, Again?

Written by John Carlos Metidieri

AFA Alternate Member to the Joint PBS Committee

 I have said it before.  I’ll say it again.  I like flying with the same pilots throughout each pairing.  I enjoy getting to know my crew and going out to dinner together while away on an overnight assignment.  I do not particularly like traveling to and from hotels on my own.  I am not a fan of waking up in the morning only to discover that I could have slept another couple of hours because my outbound pilots arrived into the overnight late thus requiring additional rest.

There are quite a few things, though, that I dislike even more than not being co-paired with pilots.  I do not enjoy lines barely built to 75 hours with only 11 or 12 days off when more hours of pay are necessary to maintain my personal standard of living.  I do not enjoy excessively long overnights in the middle of nowhere.  I do not like pairings built that hinder commutability.  I do not enjoy seeing fellow flight attendants sent back to reserves who are above the 20th percentile of seniority in their respective bases when many others who are junior to them are holding lines.

            By now, most of you have seen the bid results across the system for the month of September.  We are no longer co-paired with our pilots on any aircraft type.  The pairings constructed for flight attendants were dramatically improved in credit value.  It was far easier for PBS to reach 75 hours of flying for our workforce.  We were able to see with great ease where the ability to hold lines of flying ended at each domicile.  With rare exceptions, flight attendants awarded reserve saw no one junior to them holding lines of flying.

What is the process for creating pairings?

The first thing that needs to be understood by all flight attendants is that envoy Air, Inc. receives a fixed number of hours per month from American Airlines.  These hours are given to us in the form of a basket of flights.  From these hours, the crew planning department constructs pairings.  A few of the many things crew planners must consider are the numbers of pilots and flight attendants available to fly the flights assigned to our company.

Generally speaking, during times of overstaffing, we will see pairings of low credit value.  To create pairings otherwise during overstaffing would result in fewer available pairings.  As mentioned earlier, the number of hours received from American Airlines each month is fixed.  When crew planners allocate more hours into each pairing, it results in fewer pairings.  If too few pairings exist, it would cause the operation to have an excessive number of reserves.  One would think the company would enjoy such a situation.  This is not the case, though, when there are too many crewmembers on reserve who are still being paid their contractual guarantees even as they actually fly only a fraction of the guaranteed hours per month.  The company also loses by absorbing quasi-fixed labor costs per crewmember (costs that are the same regardless of the actual productivity of each employee such as healthcare, training, taxes, etc.).  The result for these crewmembers is a loss of per diem which many count upon as part of our income.

During times of understaffing, we will generally see pairings with higher credit values.  The operation needs the available crewmembers to cover as much of the flying as possible while simultaneously leaving enough crewmembers on reserve status to cover flying that becomes open as a result of absenteeism.  If weak pairings (those with low credit value) were created during times of understaffing, the flying would be spread out over such a large percentage of the workforce that the operation would have insufficient reserves.  The negative impact upon crewmembers would be the need for crew schedulers to extend and/or junior-man crewmembers into additional flying with abnormally high frequency.

Why does the company build low credit pairings when we don’t have enough Pilots?

            Contrary to popular belief, we presently have too many pilots for the hours being given to us by American Airlines!  While American Airlines continues to return additional flying to us as a direct result of our performance versus that of our competitors not owned by American Airlines Group, the fact remains that we do not have enough hours to create healthy pairings to be apportioned amongst our pilots without creating waste (hours paid even when not actually flown by the employees receiving payment).  The company’s top priority is to return a profit on the investment of the shareholders.  A situation where too many pilots are being paid for hours not flown is counterproductive to that business objective.  While the company is actually paying pilots for hours not flown at the present time, it is minimizing losses by spreading the flying as much as possible over their guarantee through low credit value pairings.  Contractually, the pilots are guaranteed 72 hours per month.  We, on the other hand, are guaranteed 75 hours per month.

Building pairings for lines worth well over 72 hours means more hours will be flown by fewer pilots holding lines.  This results in an excessive number of pilots on reserve status sitting at home being paid their contractual guarantees even though they will likely not fly 72 hours each month.  Building pairings for lines worth less than 72 hours simply transfers losses from excessive reserves flying too few hours to pilots holding lines flying too few hours while still being paid for 72 hours.  The ideal pairings from a business standpoint are those which allow for the construction of lines as close to 72 hours as possible for our pilots.

Under normal circumstances, the company would likely furlough the excessive pilots in our workforce or utilize other measures which would make our pilots less likely to return to active service when called upon to do so.  The introduction of the Embraer 175 into our fleet later this year along with the fact that it is difficult for the regional airline industry to attract and retain qualified applicants serves to make furloughs very unwise for the operation.  The company wishes to retain as many qualified pilots as possible and also wishes to minimize losses on paid hours not actually flown.

How does the pilot staffing issue affect me as a flight attendant?

            When we are co-paired with our pilots, we are flying the pairings constructed with their staffing complications in mind.  The company has a contractual right to build lines for flight attendants worth 75 hours.  In other words, PBS was being forced to construct lines reaching a 75 hour threshold from pairings designed to reach 72 hours while we were co-paired.  We are contractually guaranteed to no less than 11 days off per month.  Our union’s leaders are not interested in changing this contractual requirement simply to satisfy the staffing requirements of another workforce.

            The results of the pilot staffing situation have been nothing short of disastrous for flight attendants over the past several months.  It has affected flight attendants wishing to bid for as many days off as possible because low credit value pairings require additional workdays to reach 75 hours.  Impacted to an even worse extent were flight attendants between the 20th and 40th percentiles of bidding seniority at their respective bases.  As PBS assigned pairings to construct lines worth 75 hours, the remaining pairings (which are a direct result of how senior bidders have bid) were too often not worth enough to reach 75 hours.  As a result, flight attendants who were not legal and available to accept flying worth 75 hours were awarded reserve.

            Over 90 percent of the flying built for pilots was included in four day pairings.  The negative impact on the more junior flight attendants is that after the PBS system makes its best effort to assign 75 hours in five different pairings, the flight attendant is already up to 20 workdays.  Depending on the number of days in a given bid month, the PBS system had 0 to 1 day to try assigning over the 75 hour threshold since we are contractually guaranteed to 11 days off.  Since day trips were scarce, PBS was unable to reach the 75 hour credit window for many flight attendants who were awarded reserve.

How does ending co-pairing benefit me as a flight attendant?

            Pilots represent a far higher labor cost to the company than do our flight attendants.  Pairings are built primarily with the company’s staffing and cost needs in mind.  Now that we are no longer co-paired with our pilots, the crew planners are now granted the freedom that is necessary to construct pairings tailored more closely to the wishes of our flight attendants!  While still a work in progress, we saw exciting improvements in the September bid results!  We saw the creation of many lines of flying with well over 11 minimum days off that are required by our labor agreement.  Arguably the most important improvement is the distribution of those awarded line of flying and those awarded reserves.

            This is all a result of the high value pairings that were created specifically for us.  This is especially true of the CRJ pairings which were worth nearly 5 ½ hours of average daily credit!  The company has decided to restructure the crew planning department so that crew planners can be wholly committed to the planning of either the pilot or flight attendant workforces.  This also enables crew planners to limit their knowledge to one labor agreement.  We are pleased to announce that the CRJ crew planner largely responsible for the immensely improved performance of PBS through higher credit value pairings has been assigned to the flight attendant workforce and will now be building the flight attendant pairings for both fleet types for the foreseeable future.

 Will we ever see co-pairing again in the future?

            A variety of factors give the company confidence that the ending of co-pairing will not be as problematic as it was in the previous attempt.  The company is confident that it is prepared to repair the operation in an expeditious manner should there be an operational meltdown as a result of irregularities impacting the operation.  The company also believes that the simplified domicile structure of our operation will better facilitate the end of co-pairing.  The company has committed to ensuring that crews going in and out of Mexican overnight assignments will be co-paired.

            On our part, we are pleased that the company has worked with our Master Executive Council (MEC) as a result of how badly the construction of pairings in the past has disrupted the lives of our flight attendants and thus the operation as well.  Allowing flight attendants to have pairings actually meant to enable PBS to easily reach the 75 hour threshold while the company sorts out staffing issues with its pilots is a huge step in the right direction.  Should we see the day again when pairings built for pilots will still enable PBS to easily reach a 75 hour threshold while also maintaining variety in pairings, we will certainly engage the company in discussions to resume co-pairing.  In the meantime, it is important for us all to realize that the ending of co-pairing was done in the best interest of our flight attendants.  The proof of improvement is in the September bid results.  With the CRJ crew planner now committed entirely to the flight attendant workforce on both equipment types, we suspect that the October bid runs will yield even better results.

            As always, the Master Executive Council is fully committed to representing the will of the flight attendants just as it is also to the mission of educating our flight attendants when the membership has tough decisions to make.  Until the pairings built for pilots are worth enough hours to build lines of flying worth at least 75 hours, we unfortunately cannot have both high credit value pairings and a co-paired operation.  The MEC looks forward to hearing from you any feedback with respect to the construction of pairings.

PBS: Avoiding Landings In - New Option

For those who wish to avoid certain cities, it is necessary to update your bid as we have an additonal bidding option for 'Avoid Landings In'. The 'Avoid Landings In' bid option now has a checkbox for "Counting Deadhead Legs".

We do have pairings which include a deadhead into a city, which is not a landing being operated by the crew member, followed by the crew member operating a departure from that city. In order to completely avoid this, please update your bids by checking the "Counting Deadhead Legs" option. For those of you who wish to avoid Canada and/or Mexico, making this bid change is a must.

ACCEPTING REALITYAND OUR BIDDING JUNIORITY

ACCEPTING REALITYAND OUR BIDDING JUNIORITY

Written by

John Carlos Metidieri, AFA Alternate Member to the Joint PBS Committee 

I recently began my 16th year in the service of envoy Air, inc.  It was only a couple of years ago that I was bidding around number 90 out of about 700 flight attendants based in Chicago.  For the month of August 2015, I bid number 120 out of only 475 active flight attendants.  Despite seeing a large increase in my company seniority over the past couple of years, I went from being in the 88th percentile of overall bidding seniority at my base down to the around the 75th percentile.

For someone who actually holds a line, perhaps a better way of looking at the numbers is by counting only those who typically hold lines of flying each month.  Under normal circumstances, this applies to about 80 percent of flight attendants at each base.  Using this perspective, I fell from bidding in the 84th percentile of bidding seniority down to the 68th percentile.

In plain English, it was two years ago that only about 15 percent of lineholders in Chicago were senior to me.  Today, nearly 32 percent of all lineholders in Chicago are senior to me.  My seniority relative to those also based in Chicago has taken a significant dive.  When it comes to monthly bidding seniority, my seniority number relative to those in my base is the only number that matters!

It is critical that Flight Attendants reassess where we stand in terms of bidding seniority and reevaluate the way we are bidding.  Many Flight Attendants are asking for that which we cannot hold.  The type of flying that we do in Chicago has changed dramatically.  We have lost longer stage length flying resulting in more trips with four legs or more per day.  The overall amount of flying has decreased dramatically.  Arguably the largest change in Chicago is that it is now the base of very senior flight attendants once based in Los Angeles and, more recently, Miami and San Juan where reserves ran many years in seniority. This trend will continue until the last of the Flight Attendants of New York have been displaced to their new domiciles.

If you need help in assessing your seniority level at your base for bidding purposes, use the math given below.  It helps to remove all inactive bidders in determining the overall number of flight attendants at your base.  For your actual base seniority number, only count those senior to you who are not inactive.  Remove those senior to you to determine your actual bidding seniority number at your base.

Overall Base Seniority (applicable to all flight attendants)

Step 1:            Take your base seniority number and divide that by the total number of flight attendants in your base.  If you are number 200 out of 475 active flight attendants, then you would enter 200 divided by 469.  In this case, the result is .43 when rounded to the nearest hundredth.  This immediately tells you that 43% of flight attendants are senior to you at your base.

 

Step 2:            Take the result from Step 1, and subtract it from 1.  1 minus .43 equals .57.  This means you are in the 57th percentile of all bidders at your base.

 Lineholder Seniority (applicable to only those who are at or above 20th percentile)

Step 1:            Take the total number of active flight attendants in your base and multiply it by 80% (written as .8 or .80).  This will give you the approximate number of flight attendants who can hold lines of flying each month.  If a base has 475 active flight attendants, approximately 380 flight attendants will hold lines each month.

Step 2:            Take your base seniority number and divide that by the number of flight attendants in your base who can hold lines each month.  If you are number 200 out of 380 flight attendants, then you would enter 200 divided by 380.  In this case, the result is .53 when rounded to the nearest hundredth.  This means 53% of all lineholders at your base are senior to you.  We can also use this result to know that 47% of lineholders are junior to you.

Step 3:            Take the result from Step 2, and substract it from 1.  1 minus .53 is .47.  This means you are in the 47th percentile of bidders holding lines at your base.  A little more than half of those holding lines of flying are senior to you.

We must come out of the mindset that we “have been here for ___ years” or that we “have always held ____ types of pairings in the past.”  Our total years of service or what we have held in the past are absolutely irrelevant!  Once again, our bidding seniority relative to the rest of Flight Attendants in our own bases it all that matters.  One who is somewhat near or below the 20th percentile should not be surprised to see that he or she has been awarded a reserve line regardless of how long it has been since he or she weas last on reserve.  Someone between the 20th and 50th percentile should not be surprised if he or she can no longer hold every weekend off.  Someone between the 50th and 75th percentile should not be surprised if he or she cannot hold weekends off and the best trips available on weekdays that they may have held in the past.

Flight Attendants junior to me have experienced a dramatically larger difference in changes to their seniority level than even I have experienced and continue to be unaware that such changes have occurred and believe that PBS is the sole reason for their dissatisfaction with their bid results.  The PBS Administrators will be traveling from base to base in the coming months to assist Flight Attendants with their bids.  I encourage each Flight Attendant who has been less than satisfied with their results to take advantage of all available resources.  It begins with knowing where your seniority level is relative to those in the same base with you.

You’ll need three numbers to asses your seniority level.  The numbers below are the numbers of active bidders from the most current seniority list from each domicile and the estimated number of those who can hold a line based on the most recent list.  You will need to view your number on your base seniority list and subtract those who are listed as inactive.

Domicile             Total Active Flight Attendants        Estimated Number of Lineholders

DFW                      356                                                     285*

JFK                         193                                                     154*

ORD                       475                                                     380*

 *The numbers presented here reflect the month of August 2015 and are expected to change each month with the gradual closing of JFK.

**The estimated number of lineholders is subject to change due to staffing levels.

 

What That Stuff Means In Your Reasons Report

Your AFA JPBSC members spend many, many hours each month reading through Reasons Reports in order to investigate bid protests and system performance. We hear frequently from members who are confused by some of the terms found in their Reasons Reports, and we understand just how frustrating it can be to read them.

Here’s what those phrases in your Reasons Report really mean:

Awarded by previous bids: X X number of pairings matched this bid preference, and were already awarded by a previous bid

Awarded to senior bidder: pairings matching this bid preference were already awarded to a bidder with higher seniority than you

Awarded to senior bidder: pairings matching this bid preference were already awarded to a bidder with higher seniority than you

Best Line Before: the PBS Logic attempted to build a pairing block, but it could not be built using your bid preferences and the criteria set by the Administrators, so the PBS Logic moved to your next bid group, the results of this attempt are listed in your Reasons report

Best Line Before Empty:  No Pairing Awards Possible  the best line before is empty, the PBS Logic could not build a block with the pairings left in the available pairing pool

Best Line Before Empty:  Available Pairing Credit Insufficient (Line Not Attempted):  the previous pairing completion attempt produced an empty best line before because there was insufficient available pairing credit to build a line so it was not attempted

Best Line Before Empty: Block Time Limit Insufficient (Line Not Attempted):  the previous pairing completion attempt produced an empty best line before because the PBS Logic calculated that a crewmember’s Block Time Limit makes it unrealistic to complete a block

Beyond bid limit: X X number of additional pairings matched this bid preference, but none were awarded because you placed a limit on the bid preference

Bid denied: this bid preference was denied, and there are pairings on your block that contradict this preference

Block is complete: this bid preference was not used to build your pairings because your pairings block was already complete before reaching this point

If a number appears after the ”Block is complete” reason, it indicates the number of pairings that matched the bid but were not awarded because your block was already complete. That is, it reached the minimum or threshold credit value.

Buddy cannot take pairing: your buddy could not be awarded this pairing, so it can’t be awarded to you either

Combination not found: no pairings matching this bid preference were found, within the parameters set for this bid period

Filtered by line X X: number of pairings matched this bid preference, but were filtered out of the available pairings pool by Avoid Pairings or Prefer Off bid preferences that were higher in your bid

Honored: this bid preference was used, and there are no pairings on your block that contradict this preference

Item overlaps with another: X X number of pairings matched this bid preference, but overlapped with something already awarded

Matching: X the total number of pairings that match this bid preference

Not considered: this bid preference was denied, but there are no pairings on your block that contradict this preference

Not honored: this bid preference was denied, and there are pairings on your block that contradict this preference

Not used: this bid preference was not used to build your block; either because your block was already complete or because you used a Clear Schedule and Restart bid preference

No pairings available: no pairings that met your Avoid Pairings and TimePrefer Off bid preferences were available to be awarded, usually because too many pairings were eliminated from the pairings pool by your Avoid Pairings and TimePrefer Off bid preferences

Partially honored: this TimePrefer Off bid preference was used, but there are also pairings on your block that contradict a portion of this preference. If you submit a range of dates that you want to be free of duty, the PBS Logic may be able to honor part of the range but not all of it, resulting in a partially honored bid preference.

Pulled during shuffle: a pairing that matched a higher bid preference than some of your awarded pairings and appeared to fit on your block was pulled because a complete block couldn’t be built using the pairing

[Rule violation]: an FAR rule, or other legal consideration, prevented this bid preference from being honored The rule is identified in the reason included on your report.

Over maximum credits for period: the pairing would have caused your block to exceed the maximum credit value for the bid period

Tried and Pulled During Shuffle: the PBS Logic attempted to award the pairing during shuffling but could build a complete a block with the pairing

Additional Messages

You may see the following messages at the top of your Reasons report. These messages indicate that the PBS Logic had to ignore some of your preferences in order to give you a complete block or meet legal requirements or planning targets.

Affected By Denial Mode the PBS Logic had to deny some or all of your bids in order to build you a complete block

Affected by SLG the PBS Logic could not build you a block using any of your preferences and reached the end of Denial mode, so your block was built using secondary line generation (SLG)

Affected By Coverage a pairing or pairings were forced onto your block in order to meet airline targets for total number of pairings remaining in open time

We are always happy to answer your questions and provide clarification - just let us know!

John Grace (jgrace@afaeagle.com) and Marti Carnes (mcarnes@afaeagle.com)

Doing Whatever It Takes To Hold A Line

Each month we receive Bid Protests from FAs who are very upset that someone junior to them held a line of flying while they are stuck on Reserve. Why is this happening? Can anything be done about it?

Here’s an actual bid protest:

“PBS did not give any reasons why I wasn't awarded a line with what I requested. There is a lot of people under me that held lines, with things I didn't say no to or avoid, or asked for.”

Let’s take a look at what s/he was bidding and awarded in their reasons report:

1. Start Pairings

2. Prefer Off Nov 21, 2014, Nov 27, 2014, Nov 28, 2014, Nov 29, 2014, Nov 30,

2014, Nov 22, 2014

3. Award Pairings If All Aircraft Type C7R If Layover In ABQ, AMA, AZO, BHM, BNA,

CHS, CID, CLE, CMH, CMI, CVG, CWA, DAY, DCA, DFW, DSM, DTW, ELP, EVV, FAR, FPO, FWA, GNV, GRB, GRR, GSO, HPN, HSV, IND, JAN, LEX, LIT, LSE, MAF, MEM, MHK, MIA, MQT, MSN, OKC, ORD, ORF, RDU, RIC, ROC, RST, SDF, SGF, STL, SUX, SYR, TLH, TVC, TYS, XNA If Pairing Check-In Station LGA If Pairing Check-In Time > 09:59 If Pairing Check-Out Time < 08:01 If Pairing Length Between 3 days And 4 days

4. Award Pairings If All Aircraft Type C7R If Layover In ABQ, AMA, AZO, BHM, BNA, CHS, CID, CLE, CMH, CMI, CVG, CWA, DAY, DCA, DFW, DSM, DTW, ELP, EVV, FAR, FPO, FWA, GNV, GRB, GRR, GSO, HPN, HSV, IND, JAN, LEX, LIT, LSE, MAF, MEM, MHK, MIA, MQT, MSN, OKC, ORD, ORF, RDU, RIC, ROC, RST, SDF, SGF, STL, SUX, SYR, TLH, TVC, TYS, XNA If Pairing Check-In Station LGA If Pairing Check-In Time > 09:59 If Pairing Check-Out Time < 12:01 If Pairing Length Between 3 days And 4 days

5. Award Pairings If All Aircraft Type C7R If Layover In ABQ, AMA, AZO, BHM, BNA, CHS, CID, CLE, CMH, CMI, CVG, CWA, DAY, DCA, DFW, DSM, DTW, ELP, EVV, FAR, FPO, FWA, GNV, GRB, GRR, GSO, HPN, HSV, IND, JAN, LEX, LIT, LSE, MAF, MEM, MHK, MIA, MQT, MSN, OKC, ORD, ORF, RDU, RIC, ROC, RST, SDF, SGF, STL, SUX, SYR, TLH, TVC, TYS, XNA If Pairing Check-In Station LGA If Pairing Check-In Time > 09:59 If Pairing Check-Out Time < 08:01 If Pairing Total Credit Between 018:00 And 025:00

6. Award Pairings If All Aircraft Type C7R If Layover In ABQ, AMA, AZO, BHM, BNA, CHS, CID, CLE, CMH, CMI, CVG, CWA, DAY, DCA, DFW, DSM, DTW, ELP, EVV, FAR, FPO, FWA, GNV, GRB, GRR, GSO, HPN, HSV, IND, JAN, LEX, LIT, LSE, MAF, MEM, MHK, MIA, MQT, MSN, OKC, ORD, ORF, RDU, RIC, ROC, RST, SDF, SGF, STL, SUX, SYR, TLH, TVC, TYS, XNA If Pairing Check-In Station LGA If Pairing Check-In Time > 09:59 If Pairing Check-Out Time < 12:01 If Pairing

Total Credit Between 018:00 And 025:00

7. Award Pairings If All Aircraft Type C7R If Layover In ABQ, AMA, AZO, BHM, BNA, CHS, CID, CLE, CMH, CMI, CVG, CWA, DAY, DCA, DFW, DSM, DTW, ELP, EVV, FAR, FPO, FWA, GNV, GRB, GRR, GSO, HPN, HSV, IND, JAN, LEX, LIT, LSE, MAF, MEM, MHK, MIA, MQT, MSN, OKC, ORD, ORF, RDU, RIC, ROC, RST, SDF, SGF, STL, SUX, SYR, TLH, TVC, TYS, XNA If Pairing Check-In Station LGA If Pairing Check-In Time > 09:59 If Pairing Check-Out Time < 08:01

8. Award Pairings If All Aircraft Type C7R If Layover In ABQ, AMA, AZO, BHM, BNA, CHS, CID, CLE, CMH, CMI, CVG, CWA, DAY, DCA, DFW, DSM, DTW, ELP, EVV, FAR, FPO, FWA, GNV, GRB, GRR, GSO, HPN, HSV, IND, JAN, LEX, LIT, LSE, MAF, MEM, MHK, MIA, MQT, MSN, OKC, ORD, ORF, RDU, RIC, ROC, RST, SDF, SGF, STL, SUX, SYR, TLH, TVC, TYS, XNA If Pairing Check-In Station LGA If Pairing Check-In Time > 09:59 If Pairing Check-Out Time < 12:01

9. Award Pairings If All Aircraft Type C7R If Pairing Check-In Station LGA If Pairing Check-In Time > 09:59 If Pairing Check-Out Time < 08:01

10. Award Pairings If All Aircraft Type C7R If Pairing Check-In Station LGA If Pairing Check-In Time > 09:59 If Pairing Check-Out Time < 12:01

11. Award Pairings If Duty Legs (Counting DeadHead Legs) < 5 legs

Award Pairings

Best Line Before:

17304 2014-11-11 (017:25) (Coverage)

17339 2014-11-19 (016:59) (Coverage)

25190 2014-11-26 (015:11) (Coverage)

Total Credit: (049:35)

-------------------------

12. Start Reserve

Now, clearly this FA has put a tremendous amount of time and effort into creating a meticulous bid which meets her/his preferences. The problem is that this FA is very junior in their base and is on the cusp of holding a line or being awarded Reserve. The logic basically ignored all of her/his preferences since there was very little flying left and tried to build a line from the remaining pairings which only resulted in 49:35 hours worth of credit. 49 hours is not enough to meet the 75 hour threshold, so the logic moved on to the Reserve group and made a RSV award.

So how the heck did folks junior to her/him wind up getting a line then?

The answer is: they did whatever it took.

Here is an actual reasons report from one of the junior FAs who DID score a line from the remaining pool:

1. Start Pairings

2. Waive Minimum 2 Days Off

Honored

3. Waive No Same Day Pairings

Honored

4. Waive 1 Day Off in 7

Honored

5. Set Condition Minimum Credit

Honored

6. Prefer Off Nov 26, 2014, Nov 27, 2014, Nov 28, 2014, Nov 29, 2014, Nov 30, 2014

Partially honored

7. Prefer Off Weekends

Not used

8. Prefer Off Nov 1, 2014

Honored

9. Award Pairings If Any Aircraft Type C7R If Pairing Check-In Time > 09:30 If

Pairing Length Between 2 days And 6 days

Not used

10. Avoid Pairings If Any Aircraft Type ERD If Pairing Check-In Time < 08:55

Honored

Award Pairings

Awarded for coverage: 5

Awarded to senior bidder: 1034

Item overlaps with another: 40

Below minimum domestic rest: 1

(0 Awarded, 1080 Matching, Running total: 075:03)

Can you spot the difference? I’ve bolded the relevant bits to help make it easier to spot. This FA, who is almost 20 numbers junior, selected key waivers which allowed the logic to piece together pairings in order to make an award which otherwise could not be built due to contractual protections. S/he also was awarded "Set Condition Minimum  Credit", which allowed for her/his bid to be built to a lower credit threshold.

In particular, this FA waived the minimum 2 days off and the 1 day off in 7. The resulting line award contained a stretch of 8 days in a row with the 24-hour period being in a hotel on a 30 hour overnight, but this bid returned a line when others did not.

Now, waiving contractual rights is not for everyone, so please consider your options carefully. If you are in that grey zone where you may or may not hold a line, selecting some carefully chosen waivers might just do the trick for you.