Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Improving Allocations/ Forced Double-Ups
It is no secret that the parameters that the company is using to build sequences are severely lacking. This is evidenced by the sheer number of FOS “repair” sequences being built at many of our crew bases, which, on many days, cause the company to burn through their daily reserve list by noon. A significant number of our published sequences contain lengthy, unsustainable duty days that press right up to the maximum duty allowable, with little room for delays.
In a previous hotline, APFA Leadership outlined what is being done to move towards a more palatable sequence construction process. Each month, APFA Leadership has an opportunity to discuss sequence construction with the company. Base Representatives scour the current bid package for problematic sequences and point out problems with sequences from previous bid months, showing examples of excessive duty days and the resulting trip breakage. APFA has been having this conversation each month with the company, and until recently, our concerns and suggestions for quality of life improvements have fallen on deaf ears.
Recent company communication indicates that management realizes that trip construction is a major problem. This is a step in the right direction. APFA Leadership has requested that we waste no more time coming together to improve allocations. All through this process, your Base and National Leadership have been documenting ways to remedy these systemic problems plaguing our bid sheets.
The time for throwing around more ideas and suggestions has passed. Flight Attendants are being rescheduled with a frequency never seen before, trips are sitting in open time, even with the red flag premium attached days in advance, and Flight Attendants are exhausted.
Recently, APFA National President Julie Hedrick, National Vice President Larry Salas, Lead Negotiating Attorney Joe Burns, and APFA General Counsel Margot Nikitas met with Flight Service management to offer allocations remedies submitted by Marti McMillan, APFA National Scheduling Chair, Jeff Petersen, APFA National Contract Chair, and your base Leadership and Representatives. Improvements include, but are not limited to:
- Shorten duty days to allow for mechanical or weather delays.
- Four-leg turns with 1.30+ sit times which create an 11-12 hour duty day need to be reduced. These trips are creating significant issues, as there is little wiggle room for extending the duty time. They are fatigue-inducing and are not turns that anyone wants to fly.
- Isolate red-eye flying in a sequence, allowing for more consistent rest. Red-eye sequences should be 1-1 only.
- Build domestic maximum duty days to 10 hours, and set the optimizer for a minimum of 12 hours rest.
- The longest duty day of multiple day trips should be day one and gradually become shorter on subsequent days.
- Return to more hub-and-spoke base flying, or have crews follow the aircraft. There are too many aircraft swaps and too much sit time. The out-and-back flying that we had before created less havoc in irregular operations and also allowed for cleaner splits and repair sequences if needed.
- NIPD flying should be stand-alone turns when possible and not cobbled together with other flying. Since we have lost so much IPD flying, Flight Attendants prefer higher time turns. NIPD turn flying is more desirable but becomes less desirable when added into a three-day trip, as it allows for the duty day to be extended to 16 hours.
- Less four-day trips, and four-day trips should be commutable on both ends. When they aren’t commutable, they end up in open time and are given to Reserve Flight Attendants, which wipes out reserve coverage.
After a series of meetings involving our Flight Service management, Contract and Scheduling Representatives, National Leadership, and our Lead Negotiating attorney, we are pleased to report that Flight Attendants will no longer be forced into more flying at the conclusion of their sequence. Reserve Flight Attendants may only be used if the base is out of Reserves and there are no out-of-base Reserves to utilize.
In the past, the Legacy American contract allowed lineholding Flight Attendants to be assigned more flying upon arrival at base, so we want to ensure everyone understands that this is no longer permitted in the JCBA, regardless of crew tracking’s needs or wants. If you are a Reserve Flight Attendant being given more flying at the conclusion of a sequence, always question whether there are Reserve Flight Attendants available, and ask if they have correctly followed the Priority of Trip Assignment language contained in JCBA 12.M.3. When in doubt, please fill out a Rescheduling Issues Report form so our Contract and Scheduling department can research your specific incident. Filling out this form is critical because we use your examples and illegal reschedules to address rampant violations. Examining the past practice of this language in previous contracts helped us correct this problem, so we want to make sure we document each event and remedy each situation appropriately.
APFA has made it clear that the best way to avoid illegal reschedules is to arm you with the necessary knowledge to back up our JCBA language. You have seen a series of rescheduling hotlines in recent weeks, and you will continue to see those as issues arise. Additionally, APFA has requested that American Airlines arm their crew tracking department with this knowledge, so our rescheduling language is respected and followed.
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