11.14.16 – (LUS) – PBS December Holiday Bidding Tips

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Monday, November 14, 2016

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The Holiday Bidding timeframe is well underway, and APFA wants to make sure that you have all the tools available to assist you in bidding for your December schedule. 

PBS trainers are in the crew rooms to assist anyone having difficulty entering their bids. The FABRC is available to answer any questions that may arise as you work through your bid. 

The Company has provided the Holiday Bidding Guide and a guide showing the December 2016 Open Duties per Day

Due to the Christmas holiday, December is a month where there is not an even distribution of flying throughout the month. There is more flying in the last 12 days than there is in the first 18 days. This results in more flying being awarded over the later portion of the month where the flying exists.  Please keep this in mind when you build your strategy for a favorable bid result. Also, be mindful of your relative seniority when making bid selections.


Bid for your days off in your earlier layers and then relax these bids as you move through the 7 layers. Layer 1 should contain your most desirable days off, relaxing those in layer 2 and subsequent layers. If days off are most important to you, the less restrictive properties you bid, the better.

Use caution when bidding the same day(s) off in every layer. Any pairing that is not bid for specifically that touches those selected days off, will not be considered in your pairing pools. If you do not have enough pairings in your pools to build a line, you will be awarded pairings from outside your pairing pools. This may include any type of pairing on your requested days off.

As a lineholder, if there is a chance that, at your seniority, you will have required coverage over the holiday, relaxing your day off bids will provide a safeguard for you. Relaxing days off may allow PBS to award a more desirable trip that meets your pairing preferences rather than award a leftover trip that you deem undesirable.


As a Reserve bidder, bidding for Must Off over a holiday in every layer is not recommended.  Must Off days should always be relaxed to Prefer Off days in later layers.

Keep in mind the following factors when bidding reserve:

  • PBS must be able to satisfy all Must Off days in order to award from that layer
  • PBS does not accumulate reserve day off bids from layer to layer
  • Bidding an illegal line with all Must Off days (e.g., not having the necessary waivers, only two available days, etc.) will void that layer and PBS will move to the next layer.
  • You can bid a combination of Prefer Off days and Must Off days in the same layer
  • Use the layer concept when bidding reserve lines – the first layer should contain the most Must Off days, then relax each subsequent layer by changing your desired days off from Must Off, to Prefer Off.
  • A Prefer Off day does not set any conditions for your awarded reserve line – Prefer Off days are similar to a day off wish list
  • PBS will award all, some, or NONE of your Prefer Off days requested
  • The only way to guarantee being awarded a reserve line, when your seniority would otherwise hold a regular line, is to bid all Prefer Off days in your last reserve layer. In fact, this is good practice at any seniority.

*NOTE:  A lineholder bidding for a reserve line with a Must Off day bid in every reserve layer that cannot be granted, will be awarded a regular line.


Required Coverage is applied to a date in a bid month where not enough Flight Attendants bid to fly on that particular date. PBS will allow as many Flight Attendants as possible to bid off on a particular date, but will reach a point where it has to force coverage because it cannot finish the award with the amount of pairings that remain in open time. Basically put, the trips have to be covered.

During the award process, PBS will look forward to calculate the number of duty periods on each day that have not been covered and compare that number with the remaining Flight Attendants who are legal to cover these pairings.  If PBS reaches layer 7 and your pairing pools do not include enough pairings that touch required coverage dates, PBS will be forced to award outside your layers and assign a pairing without regard for your pairing or line preferences.

All required coverage dates are considered equal. PBS will try to use each Flight Attendant that is assigned CN (Coverage Needed) dates on as many coverage dates as possible. Pairings that are awarded may not touch every required coverage date because all legalities must be honored. 

Honored legalities include 24 hrs rest in Domicile and 35 hrs in 7 Days, and could result in a less senior Flight Attendant being assigned a day off on a holiday in order to satisfy the most coverage dates. The best rule of thumb is to bid, in your later layers, pairings that you would prefer to fly over the period that you may not be able to hold off. If after bidding in earlier layers to not fly, you have at least given the system your choices of desirable options to choose from.


PBS will try to accomplish your bid and provide the greatest satisfaction possible based on your bid and your pairing pools. It will avoid assigning you an undesirable pairing that you did not bid for by automatically utilizing the pairing shuffle feature. The following is an explanation on how the pairing shuffle works during the award process:

    1. If the system cannot complete your award by layer 7, before going outside of your seven layers, pairings will be awarded from any of the pairings within your pairing pools. In other words, pairings from an earlier layer may not be awarded so that pairings from a later layer may be awarded. This shuffle process is so that PBS will award the pairings in your pairing pools to prevent a PN pairing from being assigned.  


  1.  If the system is unable to complete your line using any combination of pairings from within your pairing pools, PN (Pairing None) pairing(s) will be awarded.

  *NOTE:  If the shuffle occurs, PBS will award a completed line from the earliest layer possible.


If you receive a LN (Layer None) award, this means that your award was completed outside your seven layers. At this point, the TCR (Target Credit Range) will come from layer 7. This means that if you stepped up your TCR in all seven layers, your TCR window starts with your lowest request and moves to your highest request. If you do not bid a TCR at all in layer 7, the TCR applied to that layer and/or a LN award will be 70-90 hours (default range). 

The following describes the process for awarding LN trips:
1.  Your line is processed using the TCR from layer 7. Pairings will be awarded from any of the pairings within your pairing pools. Pairings from an earlier layer may not be awarded, and pairings from a later layer could be awarded to prevent a PN pairing from being assigned.
2.  If the system is unable to complete your line using any combination of pairings from within your pairing pools, your award will still be processed using the TCR from layer 7. Pairings will be awarded from both within and outside of your pairing pools in order to achieve your TCR. Keep this in mind when bidding for a high TCR in layer 7.
3.  If the system is unable to complete your line within your TCR from layer 7, your award will be processed using the default credit range of 70-90 hours. First, PBS will attempt to use all pairings from your pairing pools. If it is unable to find enough pairings to build a line within 70-90 hours, PN pairings will be awarded.


There are three types of bids that you may useCURRENT BID, STANDING BID and DEFAULT BID. PBS will never use a combination of bid types. Only one bid type will be used per month.

The Current Bid, or Monthly Bid, is the primary bid used by PBS. This bid can be viewed from the Layer Tab. Use your Current Bid when bidding for specific day(s) off and/or specific pairings. A Current Bid can also be used for bidding generic pairings and line properties.

There are four tabs on the PBS dashboard for use when creating a current bidDays Off, Pairing, Line, and Reserve.

The Standing Bid is your back up bid if you have not entered a current bid for the month. As flying changes from season to season, it is a good idea to monitor your Standing Bid to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and make any necessary adjustments. Altering your Standing Bid can be accomplished at any time.

A Default Bid is a predetermined bid used to award your schedule only when a current bid is not entered and a Standing Bid does not exist.  The default bid is awarded as follows:
1. Highest credit 1-day pairings
2. Highest credit 2-day pairings
3. Highest credit 3-day pairings
4. Highest credit 4-day pairings
5. Target Credit Range of 75-85 hours


Keep in mind that the default pairing types that are programmed in PBS include the following pairing types:  Regular, NTI, TI, Charter, and Shuttle

The system default excludes ODAN and red-eye pairings. If you desire to have these included in a layer, they must be added individually to the layer where you wish them to be included in your pairing pools.

The following links will to take you to the bidding tools that will help you successfully bid for December or any month of the year:  

PBS Bidding Manual (WINGS)

PBS Holiday Bidding Guide (WINGS)

Duties per Day (WINGS)

December 2016 Adjusted Timeline (WINGS)

PBS Trainer Hours by Base:

FABRC Phone Numbers and Hours


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