Tuesday, February 8, 2022
APFA CLT Base Brief
Good Day CLT Flight Attendants,
This past weekend was a tremendous strain on everyone. The winter storms that disrupted DFW and several East Coast bases proved the company does not have the resources or the systems needed to handle such emergencies. With our system interlinked where we are functioning as one large “Base”, the fragility of our network was apparent. A weather event on one or more bases has repercussions on the whole system, and this weekend showed that. Your APFA leadership has been addressing the operational issues we keep experiencing, and will address this most recent disruption with management in the coming days. We want to thank everyone for their patience and professionalism during this crisis.
As we are adding new faces to our ranks and new hotel locations, it is important to remember to be safety conscious on your overnights. We are safety professionals on the airplane, and we need to keep our guard up as we venture out to explore new cities or new sections of cities. Mind your surroundings and situations and always stay safety vigilant. Share your concerns with your fellow crew members and report any suspicious activities to APFA and the Company.
We had our monthly call to discuss trips for March. There were no real surprises or changes from the trips in February. In March of 2020, our active headcount was 2,438. We had 1,906 Lineholders and 532 reserves. In March of 2022, we have 2,384 active Flight Attendants and 1,870 Lineholders with 514 Reserves.
We are almost at pre-COVID levels and have 58 new hire flight attendants scheduled to join our ranks in the upcoming weeks. IPD flying will slowly come back, with Madrid expected to begin on March 26th. If you look at the numbers, this is good news as it shows we are slowly getting back to pre-COVID levels in the number of trips and staffing levels. The Company canceled roughly 800 flights for March from the system, but we only saw about a 3% drop in trips. As we hire more Flight Attendants and move out of the winter season, we should continue to see our numbers grow.
March numbers are;
- Active head count: 2,384
- Lineholders: 1,870 (down from February)
- Reserves: 514 (21.6%- very consistent with what we had pre-COVID but up from February. They are using historical data and recent trends when setting the reserve numbers)
- Line Average: 77.7 (This is down from February and good news as it means less assigning of trips in PBS)
- There will be no VLOAs for March.
- The new hire Flight Attendants are now being added to the total Reserve count even though they have not graduated yet and are not part of the PBS process for March. They will be assigned Reserve lines so this should lower the coverage needed days for all the other Reserves. Our Reserve percentage for those active in PBS for March is actually 19%. While this is a positive trend, our Reserve numbers remain above the system average. The seniority cut off for Reserve rotation is April 2014.
Our trip distribution will be:
- 1-days will be 14% of our trips (Feb was 16%, pre-COVID was 13%)
- 2-days will be 28.6% of our trips (Feb was 19%, pre-COVID was 26%)
- 3-days will be 29.7% of our trips (Feb was 32%, pre-COVID was 29%)
- 4-days will be 6% of our trips (Same as February, pre-COVID was 7%)
- 2/3-days will be 8.3% of the trips (Feb was 6%. Long layovers include the usual suspects – ORF,MCI,PVD,CLE, BUF,TUL,JAX,BDL,MKE,IND,MYR,SYR,SDF,DTW,ALB,CVG)
- 3/4- Days will 3.2% of the trips (Same)
- ODANs will be 4.3% of our trips (Same, pre-COVID we had 7%)
- Red Eyes will be 3.8% of our trips (Increase from Feb, way down from pre-COVID)
- There are only a handful of pink eyes and bullets. These are the types of trips that have not come back to the pre-COVID levels.
From this distribution, you can see that we are very close to where we were prior to the pandemic. The niche flying has yet to make a comeback.
The only real shift from February to March is the slight shift from 1-days and 3-days to the red eyes and 2/3 days. The interesting change is the Company is anticipating the mandatory FAR rest of 10 hours to be in effect in March. They have constructed the trips with 10 hours of rest as the baseline for legalities. While this has been integrated into the construction for several months now, March will be the first month it is programmed with 10 hours as the FAR. Keep in mind, the 10-hour FAR rest is not in effect yet, this is being done with the anticipated implementation taking place in the near future.
The 10-hour rest will directly impact a Flight Attendant’s ability to fly back-to-back ODANs as multiple pairings. This will also impact your ability to wave down to fly back-to-back trips or multiple pairings in the same calendar day. Currently, if you wave down, you must have 9 hours and 30 minutes home base rest between ODANs and trips. With the new rest regulations, you will have to have 11 hours and 30 minutes home base rest between trips. The Company has stated they believe the new rules will create undesirable trips and the trips will end up in open time. This has significantly reduced ODANs for most of the bases and completely eliminated ODANs from some of the bases. Charlotte is in a unique geographic location to continue having ODANs but the threat to eliminate them is real. The Company will be setting up a meeting to discuss the future of ODAN flying before any decision is made. Rest assured, Charlotte APFA will be in these discussions.
The basic trip construction problems still remain. There are several issues we have with the trips that have not been addressed in moving us back to pre-COVID levels. The sit times remain a problem, prior to COVID, we had one trip that had more than a three hour sit, most had two-hour sits. March saw 14% of our trips having more than a three-hour sit and 29% of the total trips having more than a two hour sit. About 75% of the 4-days are not commutable on one end or the other, pre-COVID, almost all of the 4-days were commutable. We are still seeing long duty days on the first day of a trip followed by a short rest and four leg days are still in play. With the new rest rules coming, the staggering of departure times and arrival times of trips becomes a major factor in your ability to build a line with back-to-back trips. This must be addressed in future trip construction. While some of the numbers show we are returning to pre-COVID levels, there are still many areas we need to see improvement on.
The bidding timeline for March will be:
We still have a long way to go before we will fully return to our pre-COVID operation. Heavy reserve usage is still placing a strain on the system. COVID remains the X factor in where we will be in the near future and how our trips will look. The return of IPD flying is the strongest sign that we have turned the corner for the final lap but there is still a long road ahead. Recent disruptions to the system have shown the fragility of our network and systems we have in place to handle them. In simple terms, American can do better and should do better.
Take care of yourselves and each other.
The Charlotte APFA Team
APFA CLT Base President