Hello, this is Denise Pointer, DFW InfoRep, with an InfoRep Hotline message for Thursday, December 8, 2005.
Last week, Rick Musica and I completed our system wide recruiting trip. We were on the road for two months visiting each of the bases at least once * and some of the larger bases more frequently. I would like to thank each and every flight attendant who made the decision to sign up to become part of the InfoRep program. Also, I would like to thank everyone who chose to participate in APFA’s Political Action Committee by making monthly contributions to this very important program. Our efforts in Washington D.C., have become very evident these past few months and your commitment to being a part of this solution is critical to our careers.
If you were one of the dozens of flight attendants who were still making a $5.00 per month “donation” to AA for PCFOS (an unnecessary expense since we can access SABRE free through aaflightservice.com) and requested our assistance in stopping this payroll deduction, be sure to check your paycheck stub this month to ensure this deduction has been stopped. If you have any questions, contact Rick Musica at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com.
I sent out an InfoRep blast last week urging everyone to contact their congressperson regarding the upcoming vote in The House of Representatives on their version of the Pension Reform Bill – HR 2830. If you haven’t already done so, please go to www.apfa.org and click the link entitled: "Contact Your U.S. Representative about Pension Reform." As you know, we already have the Senate’s support so this is the next step in the process.
As was announced last week, the TSA plans to lift the ban on 4" scissors and 7"tools in just a few weeks. The TSA believes that by lifting the ban on these items, it will help them detect explosives more effectively in carry-ons. There is a bill in the House right now (H.R. 4452) that, if successful, would be the first step in the process of freezing the current list of banned weapons on board the aircraft. Please go to www.apfa.org and click on the link entitled: Contact Your Congressperson About Weapons In The Cabin. Ask your Congressperson to sponsor H.R. 4452 today. This Bill could come to the floor as early as next week.
Two weeks ago, President Bush signed into law the 2006 Transportation Appropriations Bill, which includes a provision that added Missouri to the list of states exempt from the Wright Amendment. This means that Southwest may now fly non-stop flights into Missouri from Dallas Love Field. Their new service to STL and MCI was announced last week and will begin mid-December.
As soon as this happened, AA announced plans to move flights to Love Field and reduce service from DFW. AA has formally notified Love Field that it intends to start service from the airport as soon as possible, probably in January. There is no word yet on how these changes may affect our St. Louis hub.
The Senate Bill S.1424 to lift Wright Amendment restrictions has not come up for a vote in committee since the November 10th Senate Commerce hearing. Many of the committee members agreed the need for more discussion on the issue. Please continue to contact your representatives in Washington, D.C., and encourage them to keep the Wright Amendment intact.
As an InfoRep, please help us get the word out to any Flight Attendant on furlough status. All AA Flight Attendants on furlough should have just received their 2006 Supplemental Medical Retiree Insurance bill. Be advised that the envelope is marked Healthfirst in the top left corner and should not be mistaken for junk mail! If you did not receive your bill or discarded it by mistake, according to this letter, the contact should be Beatrice Geissal at (800) 711-7083, ext. 85748. The letter must be returned no later than January 31, 2006, or your coverage will be terminated without provisions for reinstatement.
From the contract department, remember that some Flight Attendants fail to earn any vacation or sick accrual due to the fact they missed their eligibility hour threshold by just a few hours. In some cases this causes a Flight Attendant to be in an overpayment situation due to PVD usage. Many times flying one trip would make the difference in full accrual versus no accrual. If you are a low-time flyer, please review your HISK to determine whether you should consider flying an extra trip or two before the end of the year.
From the scheduling department, it is important to note that four of the five Holiday Staffing Initiatives we first tested in July 2005 are still in effect today. They are summarized for you below.
1) Intl to Dom Option II – effective July 1, 2005 – January 31, 2006 can be used anytime coverage is critical during the 4 designated holiday months of January, July, September, and December. Allows Intl Flight Attendants to fly Dom Option II after it has been proffered at the Dom base.
2) Dom to Intl Option II – effective July 1, 2005 – January 31, 2006 can be used anytime coverage is critical during the 4 designated holiday months of January, July, September, and December. Allows Dom flight attendants who have maintained their international qualification to fly International Option II after it has been proffered at the International base.
3) Schedule Conflict Trip Drop – moved up from 48 to 72 hours prior to the beginning of the contractual month, effective July 2005 – January 2006 for all 7 months. Allows AA to remove schedule conflict trips 24 hours earlier to allow better coverage planning for the beginning of the month. 4) Flight Time Credit for PO’s – ability to makeup PO removals by requesting that they are un-credited, as well as unpaid, effective July 2, 2005, and can be modified my mutual agreement thereafter.
AA has agreed to keep Option II open at all bases from December 16, 2005, to January 5, 2006. To add your name to the Option II list, type HIHP/DATE/DATE/II. Don’t forget that out-of-division flying could be offered in December per the Holiday Initiatives. For those interested in flying Option II in the opposite division, watch the Crew Resources page on the Flight Service website. The procedures for requesting the flying through HISEND are explained in the letters posted on the Scheduling Department Web page at www.www.apfa.org.
As many of you all ready know from your HI6 messages, TTOT experienced a problem on November 29 which allowed three times more open time than normal to be Open Dropped. Luckily, restrictions were in place that did not allow trips starting after the 19th to be dropped, so our holiday coverage is still reasonably good, although Crew Schedule does not anticipate PVD’s to be available for the remainder of the month. But the large amount of Domestic open time has required that AVBL flight attendants be pre-plotted for many days from December 2-19th. AA does have the right to do this with proper notice to APFA, and holiday months are historically the times that Crew Schedule has taken this step. The TTOT situation only compounded the usual December coverage problems.
Because Open Replacement flight attendants are not allowed to pre-plot turns prior to 0001 on the fourth day prior to the period of availability (Article 9.K.e.(3).(a)), Crew Schedule has agreed to honor that limitation. They should only be plotting multi-day sequences.
Flight Attendants are not precluded from trading trips with Open Time after trips have been pre-plotted. The trip may be traded, lights permitting, until 0001 local base time the day before the departure of the earliest leg of the trip sequence (for example, TTOT for Saturday will be open until 0001 on Friday). Please review Article 25.C for details of TTOT.
As for the programming errors that allowed the time to be dropped, American Airlines Crew Resources is meeting with EDS to work out a solution.
From the Hotel department * We will be changing our layover hotel in Calgary, Canada effective January 1, 2006. Our new layover will be the Executive Inn. All crews laying over in ACA for the month of December will be at the Hyatt Regency, located from the Fiesta Americana. ACA crews are to go directly to the Regency Club Lounge on the 21st floor where check-in will be taken care of. It is not necessary to stop at the front desk in the main lobby.
And finally, there have been many emails received regarding the recent publicity in the news and on network morning TV news programs regarding the insurgence of bed bugs in America.
Our intent is not to spread panic on this subject, yet, this seems to be a trend. For years, these little pesky critters were basically under control, but recently they have begun to spread. Bed bugs can be found in the most expensive or the cheapest hotels or in hostels worldwide. They are typically transferred to properties and homes via luggage. One helpful hint would be to use the luggage rack in the closet * rather than placing your suitcase on the bed or floor.
We have only had one hotel property in the past few years with this problem, and our crews are no longer staying at that hotel.
Bed bugs are visible to the naked eye. They are not known to carry disease but they are completely disgusting. If you suspect that you have been bitten by bed bugs or suspect an infestation, please report it immediately to the hotel management prior to your checking out of the hotel. Hotels have strict protocol for handling this problem. Additionally, be go to www.www.apfa.org, and complete an on-line debrief as well.
And finally, Westin hotels have banned all smoking indoors and poolside at all of its 77 properties. If you laying over at a Westin, you will have to go to an outdoor designated area to smoke. A charge of $200.00 will be assessed by Westin if you smoke in your room.
That’s it for now. I wish you and your family a wonderful Holiday Season.
Thanks for all you do for the InfoRep program.
Denise Pointer, DFW InfoRep
1004 W. Euless Boulevard
Euless, TX 76040
817-540-0108 Ext. 8743
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