Friday, July 5, 2019
Allocations for August
We had our monthly allocations call and the numbers break down as follows:
We have 2,783 Flight Attendants in Charlotte, 2,564 are active.
There will be 1,981 lineholders and 583 reserves
Line average of 80.8.
22.7% of the base will be on reserve.
So much for the new reality of 20% on reserve. Since the inception of PBS and the new reserve system, we have seen our numbers creep up year over year. Last year, in July, we had a lot of weather events and high usage of reserves. This year the numbers reflected the weather events. Historically they place more people on reserve to cover the holiday and then they sit the rest of the month. Last year they were used consistently throughout the month because of the weather events.
If you are trying to look for a predictability model to figure out your rotation and see “how far back” it might go, look at last year’s numbers. Our head count numbers for August and total flying time are consistent with last year and the reserve numbers are about the same. We have no data from last August on actual reserve utilization to make an argument to lower the numbers this year. Keep in mind what has happened in the last 2 months. May and June of this year, we got overrun with weather, as well as a new model of trip construction that resulted in maximum usage for reserves. Remember this for next year and don’t expect the numbers to go down anytime soon.
We asked for a small amount of VLOAs. They assured us these won’t affect the reserve numbers which goes against what they have said in the past. If we have VLOAs, the line average will go up slightly. Charlotte is not a high time flying base, the last thing we wanted was to raise the required flying during the summer, but we agreed to some leaves in hopes it will free up some premium trips to those who might not be able to hold them otherwise. There are some premium trips that are only available during the summer. The reserve numbers should allow reserves to fly while on duty (make money) and possibly “time out”. Offering VLOAs is similar to having senior people off the books for a month and freeing up their trips to someone else. We will wait to see if this actually has a big impact on the overall block average. If the impact is low, we will continue to ask for these as we know, some of you just need a break. The LRD tool opened the 3rd and will have a higher number than 583 because it is including the language speakers that may not be affected by rotation after PBS distributes the awards.
The trips break down as follows:
22% one days, 55 percent two days, 17.5% 3 days and 5% four days.
This is very consistent with July as we are in the peak of the summer flying and this will continue through August with a small schedule change at the beginning of the month and another towards the end of August. The big change will come after the holiday in September. Our total man hours have increased slightly to 49,000 hours, if we hadn’t had the 737MAX cancellations scramble, this increased time would have also been reflected in July and June. The increase in 2 days is the return of some of the ODAN flying. When you bid, that 2 days also include pink eyes, same duty red eyes and ODANs. Filter accordingly. Remember this for the new generic bidding on the UBL as well. Putting in for any 2 day might award one of these. Look closely at the ODANs also, we saw a Denver red eye thrown in the mix of ODANs. A better classification system and breakdown would solve some of these problems in bidding, but I don’t think it’s on the company radar.
Long sits are still there when you have an aircraft change in a base. There was some improvement to the number of trips that had double sits in one day, but we still see them. Most of the long sits are scheduled before noon, the trips we saw with double sits in one day are scheduled on the last duty period. This means a longer duty day at the end of the trip and adds to the fragile trip construction. Think about it, most of the normal trips check in early. In a PBS world most people build their flying in blocks (three 1 days, back-to-back 2 days etc.) If you have a long duty day at the end of one trip with an early departure scheduled for the next and the first trip get delayed, you just went illegal for the next trip and are removed. Good for you (if you are pay protected) but it creates a slew of open time. If the long sits are in the middle of a trip, with a long duty day and it gets delayed, we go illegal and either VE or drop dead. You only need to look at the open trips everyday to see the high number of systems trips (they start with a 31 number). Combine fragile construction with weather events and the red flags start flowing along with the creative interpretation of the contract by scheduling. All the red flagging will push the reserve numbers up. Good news if you want to get your time in on reserve, but if the numbers go too high, then the reserves are just sitting around. This is going to be a long summer.
We pushed for commutable 4 days so those who want them can fly them. We also asked to stop punishing the commuters with long duty days and shorter rest on the 4 days. We ran several trips that had the double long sits through the fatigue software and sure enough, they red lined. This begs the question: Do they build trips like this for the pilots? Every aircraft has to be staffed with 2 crews, pilots and Flight Attendants. With such different legalities and aircraft types it’s impossible to completely build mirrored pairings but we asked about the possibility of building mirrored days. They are still trying to keep the pilots with the airplane, which creates less sit time and more rest. If the unscheduled plane changes weren’t a problem, they would consider doing this for us as they have in the past. We have complained about not having enough time to eat during the day, the long sits solve this problem from their perspective. The pilots have crew meals to solve this problem and they don’t have a boarding time. One of the other problems with not mirroring our pilots is we are at the end of our duty day and get fresh pilots, or they are at the end of theirs and we are fresh. Throw in a delay and watch one side or the other bust. Busted trips cause split trips and a higher need for people. This is another fragile factor to the trip construction not to mention the safety factor.
Keeping the same pilots, Flight Attendants and airplanes together on a duty day was a key factor in building productive trips a few months ago, but with a few new factors thrown in the mix, this model has been abandoned for the foreseeable future. Until there is real change, expect much of the same types of trips for now and read your contract, section 10-Scheduling and more importantly, RESCHEDULING. This is going to be a long year.
APFA CLT Base President