PBS: Holiday Bidding Tips – Part 2
Last month we sent out a holiday bidding hotline. You may view that hotline by clicking this link.
Below is additional information to assist you during your bidding for December. Additional information may also be found in the PBS Guide.
Distribution of Open Time
The open time distribution logic is triggered when there is an uneven distribution of flying in the month combined with Flight Attendant bidding behavior. It is usually only applied in December, sometimes in November because the majority of flying is in the second half of the month, and most Flight Attendants bid to work the first half of the month. The logic spreads out the open time throughout the month rather than all of the open time being concentrated around the holiday.
The number of hours that can be awarded for a specified number of days will be capped by the logic at a specific seniority. The November cap was 37 hours in the first 15 days in some bases.
When bidding for December you may want to consider how this cap could affect you if you are bidding high time and bid to allow waivers, the majority of hours could be awarded in the second half of the month. If you choose waivers, please be aware you may be awarded the majority of your hours in the second half of the month.
Required coverage dates (CN) occur when not enough Flight Attendants bid to fly on that date. PBS will allow as many Flight Attendants to be off on a particular day (whether it is a holiday or not) as possible but will reach a point it must start forcing coverage because it cannot finish the award process with the number of pairings that remain in open time. CN dates can occur in any month, not just the holiday months.
During the award process, PBS will continually look forward to calculate the number of duty periods on each day that have not been covered versus the remaining Flight Attendants who are legal to cover those positions. At that seniority and below, awarding is altered to maintain legalities and award pairings that touch the required coverage dates. If by layer 7, your pairing pools do not include enough pairings that touch the required coverage date(s), PBS will be forced to award from outside of your layers and award a pairing without regard for your pairing or line preferences. This is why it is important to take into consideration your seniority in your base when bidding.If you believe you may be required to fly on a specific holiday, including pairings covering those dates will help to ensure PBS is awarding your trips you would like to fly. PBS will use your most relaxed line preferences or the system default settings and award coverage pairings. Coverage pairings, labeled on your award as “CN”, are a result of under bidding. PBS will select CN pairings from the undesired trips available at your seniority.
Multiple Coverage Dates
What often happens, holiday months have multiple coverage dates imposed due to bidding behavior. In most months all CN days are considered equal, however, in holiday months some dates may be weighted with a higher priority so that a more senior Flight Attendant is not required to fly over a given holiday while a more junior Flight Attendant may have it off because of additional CN days. December 25th is being treated as such for the December PBS run. PBS will attempt to use each Flight Attendant pairings to cover as many coverage dates possible. However, pairings awarded may not necessarily touch every single required coverage date because the system has to honor all legalities.
Your seniority is 600 out of 1200 lineholders. During the award process, the required coverage dates at your seniority are December 25th and 26th. You bid December 24th, 25th, and 26th as days off in all seven layers. You did not bid any specific pairings to touch any of those dates as a backup.
Because the 25th and 26th are required coverage dates for you, the system will select from the CN pairing pool and may award you a 4-day CN pairing originating on December 24th. The pairing would satisfy both required coverage dates and maintain all legalities. Since the system was forced to go outside of your layers, your preference for December 24th off was no longer considered (even though your only coverage dates were the 25th and 26th). To avoid this from happening, you may want to bid trips that touch the 25th or 26th in layer 7.
Holiday Bidding Strategy
Although coverage dates cannot be confirmed until after the award process is complete, holidays and weekends commonly become required coverage dates. Be realistic when determining whether or not your seniority may be required to cover a popular holiday and/or the dates surrounding it.
For example, if you are unsure if your seniority can hold January 1st off, plan your bid accordingly. You may choose to use a strategy similar to the bid below.
Bid the date off in layers 1-4, along with your regular bid preferences for pairings you know you can hold. Layers 3 and 4 should be very relaxed because those are your last layers before removing the January 1st bid. In the event you are required to cover January 1st, omit the day off request in layer 5. This gives the system options to satisfy the coverage date and award you a trip that you desire.
In layer 5, bid highly preferred specific pairings that also touch January 1st. Perhaps you have friends or family you would enjoy spending the holiday with who lives in a layover city. Look for pairings that layover in those cities on the 1st and bid for them specifically.
Finally, in layer 7, bid generic pairings you normally like to fly. This is your backup if you are unable to hold January 1st off or any of the specific pairings in layers 5 and 6. This gives the system some basic parameters for the type of trip you want, instead of having what is leftover awarded to you as a CN pairing.
Holiday Bidding for Reserves
During a holiday bid month, to ensure you have the best chance of receiving the desired holiday off, it is important to remember that all day off bids in a layer are considered equal. This is why it is important to only bid the most desired day off should be in your first layer. If PBS can award you the day off, it will. Keep in mind, if you request two days off in a layer and the system can only award one or the other, you may not be awarded the holiday off in order to be awarded the other requested day off. PBS does not prioritize days off within a layer.
Multiple Reserve Coverage Dates
Often times, holiday months have multiple coverage dates imposed due to required staffing and bidding behavior. PBS will attempt to award a line working all of the applicable coverage dates. In the event a legal reserve line cannot be built that covers all coverage dates, designated holidays are the highest priority. A junior reserve will only be awarded a day off on a designated holiday if their planned absences create an illegal reserve line (e.g. SA days and/or training the six days prior to the designated holiday).