Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

5.10.18 – (LAA/LUS) – PBS Bases – Before You Bid

APFA Hotline

PBS Bases- Before You Bid

Last month, the bid and award process went smoothly! I can tell that you are making it a priority to educate yourselves and become better bidders. There are still quite a few people who are running into bidding problems when there is training on their line. Please read that section of this hotline if you have training coming up.

At many PBS bases, lines of flying went junior. Congratulations new line holders! Because lines went junior, I looked to make sure that anyone who was senior enough to hold a line, but got reserve, had bid for it. I looked at the reserves who got L1, L2, and L3 awards and I’m glad that I did. It was surprising—like opening a can full of snakes! Hundreds of people who bid reserve don’t know how to bid MUST off & PREFER off days properly.

If you bid reserve, you NEED to read the section on reserve bidding. Feel free to post it in all the reserve groups you belong to. This information will only apply to CURRENT PBS. JCBA PBS ensures that these issues will not be a problem going forward, so LAA Flight Attendants who are reading this hotline should not pay attention to Reserve or LODO, as this will not apply to PBS for you.

Training for JCBA PBS is currently being offered at ALL LUS bases. For the most part, LUS line holders will think it is a great refresher class. For anyone who is planning to bid onto reserve or are unsure if they will be included in the Reserve rotation, this class is a MUST. There are some major logic changes to bidding reserve days off. You do not want to miss out on that information.

In unity,

Alana Billingsley
APFA PBS Specialist


Check your Standing Bid– Summer travel is on the horizon. The flying at your base could change. Check to make sure your standing bid is still beneficial to you with all the changes. If you haven’t touched your standing bid in a while, it is time to clean it up. Call the FABRC so they can look over your standing bid and make sure it’s good. There are many Flight Attendants who are letting bad standing bids run every month, not knowing that they are bad bids. Some standing bids are so old, some of the property values aren’t valid anymore. Any time the flying in your base changes, you should review your standing bid.

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Training on your schedule? Read this- For line holders, all training is consuming days off from your monthly schedule. This can affect your bid in many ways. A few of the most commonly overlooked ways are:

  • If you have been assigned a travel day with your training, but do not need it, you may want to consider having it removed. The travel days can conflict with trips that you wish to bid for. If you aren’t sure if your travel day will interfere with your strategy, call the FABRC. To have your travel date removed, contact the Training Support Desk as soon as possible before the bid closes.
  • Work Block Size- Although training takes up your days off, it can have effects on your work block size. Training is considered part of your work block. If you have 2 days of training (for example CQ or Elevate Training for commuters or for out of base assignments) you may need to relax your work block size requirements depending on the pairing lengths that you are bidding. Remember by L7, you want to have your Line Properties and Pairing Properties as relaxed as they can be to still achieve an award.
  • Target Credit Range- If you are bidding for high time, you may need to use your Waive Minimum Days Off property. This can be found in the Days off tab. Don’t forget the other waivers you will need for your award. Waive 35/7, Waive 24/7, Allow Double Ups etc. If you have any questions about which waivers to apply to your bid, call the FABRC to discuss your needs. If your award goes LN, you may be held to the 70-90 average TCR instead of the high line of flying you desire.
  • TI Pairings- If you are bidding for TI Pairings, you may need to use the Waive Minimum Days Off waiver to fit a full line of TI flying as well as the required days for training.
  • Reserve- Training days are counted towards your available days. Remember that you can have no fewer than 3 days available and no more than 6 days available to create a legal pattern.

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Reserve – Since the May bid went smoothly, I was able to do an in-depth analysis on how people are bidding on reserve. It was alarming for me to see that hundreds of Flight Attendants are bidding improperly. This issue will only affect us until the FOI version of PBS is implemented. If you are not currently at a PBS Base, please skip over this section as it will not apply to you. The JCBA version of PBS resolves all of this. This part of the hotline is intended to assist current PBS bidders. If you are currently bidding reserve at a PBS Base, you need this information.

Please pass this information on to your fellow reserves as well:

  • MUST OFF- Bidding Must off is an all or nothing request. This means that to be awarded out of a layer with Must Off requests, you must be able to hold every Must Off.PREFER OFF- Prefer Off is a request, but it is not guaranteed. Prefer Off requests gives PBS the flexibility to award all, some, or none of the Prefer day off requests. You can be awarded any days off in a layer that you have ALL prefer off requests.
    • Since bidding ALL Must Offs in a layer means that you MUST hold ALL your day off requests to be awarded from that layer, if you bid a Must Off on a day that became a CN date, PBS will move on to the next layer.
  • You should NEVER bid all prefer off’s in your Layer 1. Doing so is a waste of all your other layers! If the reserve requirement has not been met in a layer with all Prefer Off, that layer will always be awarded. You may not get the exact days you ask for, but PBS will not move to the next layer. This strategy should be reserved for your last layer of reserve bidding.
  • Bidding all prefer off days is also the PBS version of “avoid Line Holder” If you bid all prefer off days and PBS gets to your seniority, it will award you any reserve days off it needs to if the reserve requirement for your base has not already been met.
  • You should only bid all Prefer Off day off requests in your final layer of reserve bidding.
  • If you are senior enough to hold a block, but want reserve, you need to make sure that your final reserve bidding layer is all Prefer Off. Otherwise, you could be awarded a line through the LN process.
  • Below is a picture of my reserve bidding strategy as someone who is on the cusp.
    • I attempt to hold a line in several layers.
    • In my first layer of reserve I ask for the exact line I want by designating them ALL as Must Off.
    • In my last layer of reserve bidding, I changed all the days off requests to Prefer Off to allow for a reserve award, asking PBS to honor as many of the days I want as a Prefer Off request.


In this example, the Flight Attendant bid all Prefer off in their first reserve bidding layer. This means they wasted their layer 7. They also didn’t bid a legal reserve pattern as outlined in Section 12 of the Redbook Contract.

Remember, to be contractually compliant, you must be available no fewer than 3 days of reserve and no more than 6 days. Training counts as a reserve day for the purpose of creating your patterns.

You may bid for no fewer than 2 days off in a row and no more than 8 days off in a row.

In this next example, the Flight Attendant is bidding all 7 layers as reserve. They only cared about 11 days and let PBS place the 12th day. They bid all Must Off in Layer 1 and then did an excellent job of following the reserve pattern rules as well as applying system knowledge to appropriately bid Must off and Prefer Off through each layer after that. In Layer 7, they bid all Prefer Off requests on the dates they care about most. If you have a question about bidding reserve in Redbook PBS, please reach out to the FABRC before bidding closes. If you are bidding 2 or more layers of reserve, it makes sense to use all Must Off requests in your first reserve bidding layer so that you can attempt to be awarded the exact schedule you prefer.


There are many improvements coming in the JCBA version of PBS. If you are going to be bidding reserve or want to be prepared for the possibility of your seniority being required to take part in reserve rotation, I strongly encourage you to sign up for a PBS Class.

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LOD/O- Currently the language speaker, or LOD/O Flight Attendants, may choose to bid completely within their language, completely outside of their language, or a hybrid of both. Being awarded non-LODO pairings depends on a few factors.

  • The seniority of the LOD/O within the language qualification they hold
  • The total number of LOD/Os in your specific program
  • How many LOD/O pairings are available
  • Required LOD/O staffing of Line holders and Reserves

If their seniority allows, a LOD/O line holder may be awarded non-LOD/O pairings if the PBS solution can distribute a substantial number of LOD/O trips to LODO line holders. As your APFA PBS Specialist, I work closely with the PBS Admin Team to review the PBS System and vendor recommendations to ensure that the numbers for each language at each base are consistent with the base needs.

If there aren’t enough LOD/Os bidding in the language they are qualified, it is possible that a LOD/O could be forced into LOD/O pairings. This follows the Redbook language on page 15-5.

Conversely, it could be possible for a LOD/O Flight Attendant to be forced into a LOD/O reserve requirement if they fail to bid enough pairings, do not expand their target credit range, or don’t include non-LOD/O pairings and positions in their bid. As mentioned above, there is not a requirement to bid a certain way. It may be advisable to bid non-LOD/O pairings if holding a line with both LODO and non-LOD/O pairings is more desired than LOD/O reserve.

If the LOD/O position pairings are bid in the same layer as non-LOD/O pairings, they will be considered equally. Your position preference order will not dictate which pairing is placed on your line. Make sure that you consider all pairings in a layer to be equally satisfactory for an award in that layer, and be sure to bid for any positions that you would like to be considered for.

Currently, CATCREW is restricted to only recognizing one qualification.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all LOD/O Flight Attendants to learn about the changes coming in the JCBA. The PBS WBT has been loaded to all LUS Flight Attendants’ learning Hub. At FOI the LOD/O program goes away and the Speaker Program will begin. It is important to read the JCBA and start to familiarize yourself with the changes.

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Vacation Low Priority- There are many Flight Attendants with vacation coming up who would like to bid to take advantage of Vacation Low Priority. Remember, to qualify for Vacation Low priority, you must have 7 or more days of vacation in the bid month. Unfortunately, there is a PBS limitation to vacation low. It will only recognize someone as eligible for Vacation Low Priority if they bid a TCR anywhere between 40-69 in their layer 1. You may not bid for Reserve prior to any Line Bids if you are requesting Vacation Low. If you do not bid for low time in layer 1, PBS will not recognize your vacation low eligibility.

  • On a vacation month, do not bid for reserve unless you have completed all your line bidding layers.
  • Bid your Target Credit Range in increments of at least 5 credits starting at a minimum of 40 hours.
  • When bidding your Target Credit Range, do not bid more than 69 hours until a layer you have designated that you have stopped trying to get Vacation Low Priority.
  • Keep in mind your total credit will include your vacation credit as well as any carry in credit you have for the month.

In this example, the Flight Attendant stepped the TCR up in each layer, paying attention to the Credit Value of their vacation, carry in credit, and the trips they are bidding in each layer. By Layer 7, they decided to give up on Vacation Low Priority assuming by this point they couldn’t hold it. By bidding a TCR they knew they could hold, they may prevent their award from going LN. This may also protect them from getting PN pairings and can help manage the credit value they are awarded in their line.

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Core Pairings in the same layer as FK or FM pairings- As you know, in PBS your layers are what determines the priority PBS places on the trips you want to be awarded. We are not able to prioritize the pairings within a layer.

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Red Eyes Defined-  Last September, both LAA and LUS Redeye pairings (sequences) were aligned. This was communicated by the the Company in August 2017.

A letter of agreement dated August 20, 2017 served to clarify the language in Section 11.K.1. As of the September bid period, Redeye duty periods are defined as any duty touching 0100 through 0101 home base time (HBT). This letter of agreement does not change the language in 11.K.2.

When bidding Regular pairings, it is important to keep this new definition in mind. There are now trips in the regular pairing pool that were once considered Redeyes. To remove these pairings from your pairing pools, using the “View Pairing Set” button on your layer tab. Refer to pg.50 of the PBS Bidding Guide for more information.

Conversely, if you want to fly trips that depart the west coast later in the evening (example: LAS-PHL departing 0245 EST), these are no longer categorized as red eyes, and therefore will not populate in a PBS search when you enter “Prefer Pairing Type: Redeye”. These trips will populate in PBS under a search for a regular pairing type.

As always, make sure you review your pairing set under the layer tab before finishing your bid. Contact the FABRC for further assistance.

Bidding High Time (91-110 hours)- There are many Flight Attendants with bidding errors that are keeping them from getting awarded high time when their seniority would allow for it. Refer to the PBS Bidding Guide and contact the FABRC if you have questions bidding.
*Remember that if you are flying a high line of TI pairings, you may need to waive your minimum days off to fit enough flying into your schedule.

If you are a high time flyer, I recommend you use the following check list:

  • Bid a Target Credit Range in all layers. If you leave your TCR blank, PBS uses the default of 70-90.
  • Make sure that your TCR allows enough of a credit window (minimum of 5 hours) to be awarded the types of pairings you are requesting in each layer.
  • Use all contractual waivers that would be required to get your desired award. Check what you are bidding to see if you need any of the following:
    • Waive 35 hours in 7 days
    • Waive 24 hours rest in domicile
    • Waive Minimum Domicile Rest
    • Allow Multiple Pairings
    • Allow Multiple Pairings on Date
    • Allow Double-Up on Date
    • Waive Minimum Days Off (this waiver is in the Days Off Tab)

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If you think you were misawarded- The only way to dispute your award is to contact the FABRC. You are required to contact them by 12:00 PHX on the 23rd, unless you are on vacation. In that case, you must dispute your award within 24 hours of your return to work. Even though emotions can run high, remain professional. The calls are being answered by your fellow Flight Attendants who want to ensure the contract is being followed and the system is awarding properly.

  • Do as much research as you can prior to contacting the FABRC.
  • If you are not sure why you were not awarded a pairing:When you call the FABRC tell them why you feel you were misawarded. While discussing your award with the FABRC, if you still believe your award is incorrect, simply request that they escalate your award challenge. The PBS Admin team and/or AOS will review your bid and award. I will monitor the progress of your award challenge.
    • check that the proper waivers were bid in that layer to allow the pairing to be awarded
    • if attempting a double up, check that the pairing honors double up requirements such as duty day limitations
    • Ensure the proper target credit range was used
    • Verify that you bid a prefer position order for the pairing (for example it is common that a Flight Attendant bid K Position Pairings, but failed to include FK in their Prefer Position Preference)

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FABRC Hours- The FABRC is open 7 days a week. You can reach a Flight Attendant in the FABRC every day from 0800-2000 (Central Time)

Call 1-800-327-0117 option 5

Did you know that if you have a question for the FABRC outside of their hours, you can call and leave a voicemail? If you leave a voicemail with your question, CATCREW number or your 6-digit employee number (you can use either your AA ID or your US Airways badge number) and a return phone number, the FABRC will return your call the next day. This is very important to keep in mind during the award dispute period. The voicemails are timestamped and will serve as notification for your intent to dispute.

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