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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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 email@example.com. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care of each other and fly safely!
John Carlos Metidieri
MEC Bid Planning Committee Chairperson
Joint PBS Committee Member
Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, AFL - CIO