Thursday, October 15, 2020
PBS Bidding Tips in a Holiday Month
With the holidays rapidly approaching, bidding for the holiday season may require a different bidding strategy than what is necessary during other times of the year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, American Airlines is currently operating at a fraction of what it was this time last year. Below are some tips when bidding during this time of year. As with any bidding strategy, it is important to keep in mind your relative seniority at your base.
Bidding Days Off as Lineholder
If having certain days off is important to you, the fewer properties you bid are often better. The more properties you add to your bid, the more it could decrease the number of trips in your pairing pools. You may want to bid all the days off you prefer in layer 1, remember all pairings that touch those days off will not be included in your pairing pools. Then bid fewer days off in each layer after that. If you were to bid the same days off in every layer, you are still keeping the pairings that touch those days off out of your pairing pools. By bidding fewer days off in later layers, you increase the pairings that PBS can award you.
If you do not bid enough pairings, you will be awarded pairings from outside of your pairing pools (PN). This may include any pairing on your requested days off. As a reminder, any bid for a specific pairing will override a request for an off day.
It’s important to realize there is a chance your seniority will have required coverage dates (CN) over the holidays. Relaxing your day off bids will help you by allowing PBS to award a trip from your pairing pool versus a trip you did not bid for.
Bidding Trips Over the Holiday
The age-old question is, “should I bid trips over the holiday just in case?” In a holiday month, it is crucial to understand your seniority and bid accordingly. If you are relatively junior in your base, you are very likely to work the holiday. If you have not had to work over the past holidays, this year may be a very different year. Do not try to avoid it. It is best practice to bid for something in your final layers that you would like to fly close to the holiday or touch the actual holiday.
Distribution of Open Time
The open time distribution logic (Half Month Max), when PBS is processing bids, can be 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 most flying is in the last 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.
If the Half Month Max logic is applied, the number of hours awarded for a specified number of days will be capped by the logic at a specific seniority. Depending on the open time for November, there may be a cap of 35 hours in the first 15 days in some bases for example.
When bidding in holiday months, 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.
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 only to 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, 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. If 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 before the designated holiday).
For further information on holiday bidding, please consult the PBS Guide.
APFA National Contract Chair
APFA National Scheduling Chair