9.09.15 – (LUS) – PBS Logic Changes: High/Low Time Balance and Vacation Low Priority

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

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PBS Logic Changes: High/Low Time Balance and Vacation Low Priority

The October bid will have two significant logic changes that will have an effect on almost every bidder, though it may not necessarily affect the way you bid. The test results show less time being forced onto people’s lines, created a higher percentage of people awarded out of layer 1-3, and increased the total number of days off awarded per line. These are three of the biggest issues we have seen in the PBS awards so any changes that can improve them is a very positive step in the right direction. It is also important to point out that both changes follow the negotiated contractual language and the implementation of these items produces contractual adherence. 

Vacation Low Priority

For the former AWA Flight Attendants the concept of Vacation Low Priority was in the 1999 agreement and practiced for 15 years. There was a mathematical formula that determined how many people were awarded Vacation Low based on the amount of people that bid for High Time.   

When the logic was written for PBS it was supposed to have been similarly programmed to follow that concept from the 1999 AWA CBA. However, because the PBS vendor could not deliver “priority” logic, it was programmed to award anyone that asked for Low Time that met the vacation requirements, regardless of the number of people that bid for High Time. After several months all parties agree that this logic had an adverse effect on the remaining Lineholders because the flying that was not awarded to those with Vacation had to be flown by someone.

The programming logic will honor the negotiated language, which says: 

Section 10., D., 13., g., which states: 

“Flight Attendant(s) who select the (low option) during a given bid month and also hold at least seven (7) days or more of vacation during that month, shall be given priority to achieve a PBS result below the minimum line value ahead of other Flight Attendants who may be more senior but do not hold vacation …]”

High/Low Balance

Along with the VAC Low Priority, a second enhancement occurring is called the High/Low Balance. When we taught the training classes we did an exercise where people stood in the room in three separate groups: Low time flyers, High time flyers and those who like to fly somewhere in the default range of 70-90 hours. We matched up one Low Time flyers with one High Time flyers starting with the most senior people and working our way down the seniority list until there were not enough Low and High flyers to balance each other. Those remaining would all be awarded in the 70-90 default range. This exercise gave a very simple visual of who would have to fly the average based on who was left standing after the High and Low flyers balanced each other. 

That concept has been programmed and is going to be implemented in September for the October bid. It will be derived on an hour for hour balance. When someone bids for 100 hours they are taking 9 hours that would allow someone to be awarded 9 hours below the default range. If there are not enough people bidding outside the 70-90 average line value to award High Time or Low Time then those hours will have to be acquired or given up in the ISAP or ETB process. 
In the visual example, those who bid for Low Time must be balanced with those who bid for High Time. PBS will satisfy as many Low and High Time flyers to balance each other and everyone else will be awarded within the 70-90 default Target Credit Range. The biggest difference is that most people who fall in the default range will no longer be forced to the highest end of that range. The majority of those awarded in this range will be much closer to the line average than has happened previously.

Why is this important to change now?

The test runs that were done using these logic changes presented a much better distribution of pairings from the most senior down to the most junior. Where the change was most significant was in the middle 50% that were not forced into a higher line of flying. The “stuffing” of time we have seen for the last few months was significantly reduced if not completely eliminated. In the simplest terms, everyone in every base was awarded much closer to the Line Average versus being forced way above it. 

The benefit to this is a lower awarded line for the largest percentage of the base. In turn, this should help facilitate more ability to trade, drop and pickup pairings.

What does this means for you?

In general, this should not affect the way you bid unless you have seven or more days of vacation in the month. Based on your seniority, because it will no longer award VAC Low to everyone, it is recommended to include a portion of the default Target Credit Range in your layer seven bid in case you cannot hold VAC Low. The JIRC Weekly Update will include a few different bidding strategies to accommodate these changes. The FARC and the trainers will also be able to help make suggestions based on your seniority and preferences to create a bidding strategy.


Remember your ISAP cap is based on the award of 91 hours or higher giving you an ISAP cap of 115 hours, 90 hours or lower will cap you at 95 hours.  The more people that participate in ISAP the more success there is for a satisfying outcome for everyone.  If you find you have reached your maximum ISAP cap of flying based on your PBS award then the ETB can help you to acquire those hours above 95 or 115.


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