Tuesday, November 10, 2020
PBS: Holiday Bidding Tips
Bidding for December 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. The types of sequences currently available for bidding are drastically different than what we have been bidding for in the past. 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.
No Award Desired
If you are starting the bid month with 40+ hours of vacation or existing credit, you may bid to avoid receiving an award. To do this, you must select every single available day throughout the entire bid month OFF in layer 1. You must also bid a low Targeted Credit Range (TCR) that encompasses your existing credit in your layer 1.
Vacation Low Bid
If you have seven or more days of vacation in a single bid month, you may bid for vacation low. When doing so, you should bid a TCR anywhere within 40-69 hours. By doing so, you will be given priority for a low credit line over more senior flight attendants within your status who do not have seven or more vacation days in that month. Coverage needed days (CN) may also impact your award. Depending on your TCR, vacation days, and if you have CN days at your seniority, your desire for vacation low may not be able to be honored.
Note: vacation low awards are not a guarantee; they are dependent on the global parameters, targeted line average, status seniority, and open time limits for the bid month.
Bidding Days Off
If having certain days off is important to you, the fewer properties you bid, the 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 outside of your pairing pools (PN). This may include any type of pairing on your requested days off. As a reminder, any bid for a specific pairing will override a request for an off day.
It is 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 for which you did not bid.
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 holidays in the past, 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 touching the actual holiday.
Distribution of Open Time
The open time distribution logic 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, and sometimes in November, because the majority of 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 that can be awarded for a specified number of days will be capped by the logic at a specific seniority. For example, depending on the open time for December, there may be a cap of 35 hours in the first 15 days in some bases.
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.
For further information on holiday bidding, please consult the link to the PBS Guide on the APFA website by clicking here.
APFA National Contract Chair
APFA National Scheduling Chair