Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

9.09.20 – APFA CLT Base Brief – October Allocations

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

October 2020 Allocations

Good Day CLT Flight Attendants,

We had our monthly trip allocations call with the Company yesterday, and the news was not good. While we wait to see if the Federal Government will extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP) under the Cares Act, the Company had to schedule October as if the PSP would expire on October 1st. The reductions in personnel will go into effect.

The Company made primary changes to the way trips are constructed, allowing the computer program (the optimizer) to create trips with maximum productivity as a cost-saving measure. One of the main changes was a reduction of 35,000 man-hours system-wide. We have had almost 13% soft or rig time built into our trips for the last few months. This has been removed. One of the first things we saw was that most trips are challenging time trips with multiple legs. There are five leg days, longer duty days, and shorter overnights. The sit time between flights was raised to 3+45, and Charlotte saw about 13% of our trips sitting over 3 hours, another 30% have sits of 2 to 3 hours. 43% of our trips have duty days that include long productivity breaks when you change planes in a hub. This is a drastic increase to the 28% we had just a few months ago. We were promised this practice would eventually be phased out, but it looks like they doubled down on this, and it may be part of trip construction for years to come. They have decided to stretch the Contract’s limits by building duty days right up to the max allowable by the JCBA. This has also created shorter overnights, eliminating the rules that limited a duty period to no more than the previous night’s rest. Charlotte will now have 10% of our trips with short overnights followed by a very long duty day. The Company acknowledged there would be “less desirable” trips and cited reducing costs as the driving factor, and they mention nothing about how this will affect safety.

Here are how the trips break down. We have roughly the same number of trips in October as we did in September, with our man-hours dropping from 62,959 in September to 61,232 in October.

  • 1-days will make up 15% of our trips (down from  20% in September)
  • 2-days will make up 33% of the trips (down 53% of the trips in September)
  • 3-days will make up 20% of the trips (up from 16% of the trips in September)
  • 4-day trips are back and will make up 8% of our trips.
  • 2/3-day trips make up 6% of the trips.
  • 3/4-day trips are less than 1%
  • ODANs will make up 5% of the trips (roughly the same)
  • Pink Eyes will make up 6% of the trips.
  • Red Eyes are down to less than 1%, and a few have a turn on the front of them.

 

The 4-day trips are not commutable on one end or the other, and the 3-day trips are not much different. Max duty days and short rests. A few of the 2/3 days and 3/4  days have long overnights in IND, PDX, MEM, BDL, DEN and PWM, but for the most part, the 4-days are where we see the short overnights followed by long duty days. Why the computer likes to spit out these trips is controversial if you are a real human being, but manpower insists multiple day trips are more productive. We did see many of the trips with higher-paying values, which should mean fewer days at work for the same amount of pay, but the longer duty days increases our risk of exposure having to serve more food on more flights. We must remain vigilant and take precautions to protect ourselves, no matter how fatigued we may feel. Wear your masks, wash your hands, use the disinfectants, social distance as best you can. Do not become complacent. The last thing we need to see is a Corona spike in our ranks.

The Reserve number remains high, with 17% of the base being placed on reserve. A more realistic number should be based on usage which would put this around 10 to 14%. One of the consequences of building more “productive” trips is that they are extremely fragile. When a duty day is stretched to the contractual max, there is no wiggle room when a storm or mechanical delay pops up. The 3-hour sits are built in to provide a way to catch up, but we need to be careful that scheduling doesn’t abuse the rescheduling language and use the long sits as a means of creating an extra standby shift.  If a trip falls apart, they need to be calling out the reserves to replace the crew on the broken trip. When the Company does this type of fragile construction and the trips break, they use this as an excuse to increase the number of reserves. We have seen this before and APFA has told the Company we are disappointed in their direction. These high numbers will continue to push the reserve seniority higher and higher. Every employee should have a chance to make an honest day pay for an honest day’s work. Allowing huge numbers of people to sit around and only be used to pick up the pieces of a system that was broken in the first place is unacceptable. It is not known if the cost savings from reprogramming the optimizer will offset the larger amounts of Reserve Flight Attendants collecting the 75 hour guarantee or how making non-commutable, high exposure, high fatigue trips will factor in to the bottom line.

In many ways, this type of trip construction does not make sense. We have roughly the same active staffing and the same amount of time, yet they decided to make the trips less desirable.

We were anticipating a vote on the PSP by now, but Congress comes back this week, and we are hoping for a vote early next week. Regardless of the outcome, the trips for October are complete, and this is the schedule we have. We were hoping the Company could offset some of the pain with more diverse trips, but they went right back to the bottom line and allowed the optimizer to make the decisions. We will see red eyes built into 3- and 4-day trips, we will see behind the clock flying and a computer-generated disregard for consistent sleep patterns. All of these mistakes have been made before, and it looks like they are starting from scratch and ignoring the learning curve that has taught them we are not numbers, not data, but are real people that have to live the trips they are making.

We have enjoyed the benefits of being overstaffed for the last few months. Now the reality of the crisis the industry is facing is hitting home. Trip construction and furloughs may be the start of the struggles to come.

Take care of yourselves and each other. ~ The Charlotte APFA Team

In Solidarity,

Scott Hazlewood
APFA CLT Base President

shazlewood@apfa.org

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