Saturday, May 7, 2022
APFA CLT Base Brief – June 2022 Staffing and Allocations
Good Day CLT Flight Attendants,
We had our monthly call with the company this week and here is what you can expect for June.
- Active headcount – 2,524
- Lineholders – 1,924
- Reserves – 601 (23.8%)
- Expected Line Average – 85 hours
- The month has been Flexed by 2 hours
The company has added time to the schedule as expected and we should see about a 2% increase in the number of trips, we will have 159,829-man hours (152,854 in May). Our head count is 38 people less than we had in 2019 before the pandemic with more new hires slated to come our way. With the exception of IPD flying, we are back to pre-pandemic levels.
The company has decided to cut the Frankfurt flight from Charlotte for the summer and utilize the aircraft on another route that has higher yield. We are still short wide body aircraft as the back order with Boeing for 787s has not been filled. The good news for IPD is that RDU-LHR is back. There is a positioning trip at the beginning of the month that will include a deadhead from/to CLT and then it will run daily out of RDU. The satellite in RDU will have the majority of their flying as LHR IPD with only 2 domestic trips out of RDU. Be careful when placing bids in PBS and TTS for RDU trips as there are some rules for flying satellite trips. Only bid these trips if you want to fly them, there are no traditional sick calls as there are no reserves in the satellite. If you do have one of these trips and have an emergency, the coordinator must be notified, and every avenue is used to fill the trip. If the company has to cancel flights or add deadheads to staff the trip, it can put this trip in jeopardy of being pulled from the satellite and we may lose the flying. We are committed to the success of this flight and the success of our satellite. If you do pick up RDU trips, here is the parking info; Most CLT employees have parking passes in Charlotte, the parking for RDU will have to come out of pocket with no reimbursement or you can drop CLT parking and use the commuter parking policy and submit for reimbursement.
New RDU Employee Parking Rates
- Effective May 1st- employees will transition from Park Economy 4 back to Park Economy 3
- Effective July 1- New parking rates will be as follows.
- *Employee Economy – $28 dollars a month. Available to all employees who will share shuttle service with public parkers. (Rate is subject to annual review)
- * The new employee parking program does not differentiate between based and non-based employees. Additional parking information can be found by contacting the RDU Parking Division at 919-840-7596 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
New Public Parking Rates
Daily drive-up rates
- The current rate for premier is 22 dollars a day, new rate is $25.
- The current Rate for Central Parking is currently $15/day, new rate is $17
- Economy 3’s rate is currently 10 dollars a day, new rate is $11.
Daily online rates
- The current rate for premier is $18 dollars a day, ne rate is $22
- The current rate for Central is currently $12 /day, new rate is $15
- Economy 3’s rate is currently $8 /day, new rate is $9.
The company is continuing to move forward with a larger summer operation but if you look at the direction they are headed, it presents some problems. The number of Lineholders for June is actually less than the number in May but we have more time. They have raised the line average to 85 and placed more people on Reserve. They are using the JCBA Language in 10.d.13.d to flex the monthly max by 2 hours. This puts the PBS window of bidding at 72 to 92 hours. The Reserve call out of time will not change for June; Reserves will still be able to call out at 85.01.
What does this mean? We do not expect anyone to be able to hold a low line and you should bid accordingly by bidding enough trips in your PBS layers to achieve a higher line average. If you do not have enough trips in your layers, it will go outside of your choices and assign flying to bring you to a higher line average. The range will be from 72 to 92- they want more people to fly higher time and will assign this if needed.
We asked them to lower the Reserve number, build more lines and lower the line average, but they refused. We suggested vacation buyback, but they refused. The reliance on Reserves to cover our system has led to higher-than-normal Reserve usage, the company uses this and the absenteeism rate to justify raising the Reserve numbers. This doesn’t add up for Charlotte. Since January our absenteeism rate has been cut by more than half. Our sick rate is still being affected by the COVID virus and we continue to see outbreaks across the country. This pandemic is not over yet. The inherent problem continues to be poor trip construction. As a case in point, the last 3 days of April saw 55% of the trips that went to the Reserves on the 28th were systems trips, 33% on the 29th and 30th and 60% on May 1st. Systems trips are generally broken trips- this shows the fragility of the construction and scheduling model. I don’t think it was ever intended to have the Reserves covering a third or more of the system (unless a massive weather event knocked out an entire portion of the country). This is data we pulled from our own analysis of Reserve usage we started last year yet the company refuses to see our data and clings to a historical comparison model. If we used the historical model, Charlotte should have 19 to 21% Reserves if you compare pre-COVID 2019 to where we are today. Having 23.8% doesn’t seem like a big increase but we should be heading in a downward direction. 120 of the Reserves slated for June will be anticipated new hires. This is keeping the Reserve seniority for rotation to February of 2015. Compared to the seniority levels we saw last winter, this seems reasonable. Unless you were hired in 2015. The issue remains high Reserve numbers, not the hire date on the rotation cut off. We have been fortunate this year to get a mass influx of new hires, but it was only 3 years ago where we were the ones not getting any new hires. We watched the high Reserve numbers slowly catch up to rotation and we were one of the first 2 bases to have 30-year flight attendants rotating every 3 months. Our Reserve percentage should be more in line with our actual absenteeism rate. No one, no matter what hire date should have to serve Reserve simply to cover a broken system.
I have to be fair in addressing the construction model because we have seen some improvements over the last few months. We still have the inherent problems of sit times that lead to longer duty days in general, long duty days on the first day of a trip followed by a short overnight, multiple legs built into a duty period, and the commutability of the 4 days. We have seen the sit times over 3 hours drastically decrease and month by month we have seen small improvements in cutting the overall sit times.
The reality of having the FAR rest raised to 10 hours at any time has led to rest periods of 11 to 12 hours only making up 2.1% of the trips and 50% of the trips have between 12 to 16 hours. This has incrementally decreased the problem of long duty days followed by short rests. We have seen the 4 leg days decrease but limiting this completely would eliminate the 4 leg 1 days and cut our 1-days drastically. The improvements are evident when you do a month-by-month analysis over several months. We asked if these small improvements would continue and they said that is the overall goal, to keep pushing the system as much as they can until they can find a happy balance we can live with. This is encouraging given the fact that the folks in Manpower and Planning are still being guided by the overall productivity and budget constraints. The one constant we do know about the airline industry is that you never know what will happen in the next few months. Right now, the improvements are hinging on having a successful summer and being able to fully return the entire system to pre-pandemic levels. We shall see.
Our trips break down as:
- 1-days will make up 17% of our trips (slightly down)
- 2-days will make up 28% of our trips (up)
- 3-days will make up 25% of our trips (down)
- 4-days will make up 3% of our trips (slightly down)
- 2/3-days will make up 11.7% of our trips (up)
- 3/4-days will make up 4.2% of our trips (up)
- ODANs will make up 6% of our trips (UP)
- Pink eyes and bullets are less than 1 % and remain steady.
- There are just a few more red eyes.
The big news here is the return of the ODANs. All the bases saw the ODANs come back for June, we saw our number return to where they were just a few months ago.
We are still seeing the 2/3- and the 3/4-days increase each month. 30-hour layover cities include; GRR, STL, BNA, RDU, RIC, BWI, MEM, CMH, CLE, TPA, TUL, BDL. If you notice these are cities that traditionally have ODANs. We know many of you want the 30-hour layovers, the danger is watching the number of these grow. Just a few months ago, these trips made up about 3% of our flying, for June they will make up 15% of our flying. The danger with having too many of these types of trips is the pay. These trips do not pay as much as a full 3 or 4 day. If the number of these trips gets out of control, you could find yourself getting assigned these and working more days for less money. With an 85-hour line average, the reality of being assigned more time is real, if you were assigned a block of 92 hours of these trips, you would be at work 2 or 3 more days in a month than someone holding a traditional 3- or 4-day.
The key to any type of trip is balance. It was just a few years ago when we had way too many 4 days. It got to a point where we had to limit them with contractual language. We do not want to eliminate the 30-hour layovers, but we are watching this type of trip and raising the caution flag.
One of the things you may notice is the small fluctuations between the types of trips from month-to-month. For instance, in May we have 19% of our trips as 1-days and June will have 17% of the trips as 1-days. These month-to-month fluctuations are caused when they put pressure on the programing in one category and it pushes out in another. This is the bubble effect, push somewhere on the bubble and it will bulge out somewhere else. Pushing the bubble to decrease the 3 days may push up 1-days or 2-days, but it will bulge out in some form. (The best term I have heard is when Manpower said it’s like whack-a-mole). The key to the whole system is balance, elimination of one type of trip always leads to unintended consequences. During COVID, the Company put in new productivity parameters that threw the system into a new paradigm. We would like to jump back to many of the pre-COVID parameters, but we are more than likely to see the fluctuations (Whack-a-mole) continue until we can find the right balance and the bubble evens out.
Overall, our trips look much like they are in May. The commutability of the 4-days remains a concern with only small improvements in this area. The sit times have decreased but are still present in the multiple day trips. We will continue to mirror the pilots for a duty period and the connection times when you pass through a base are similar to theirs. IPD will be at full summer schedule for what we can expect to see this year. July will add more time and we do anticipate the Reserve numbers to rise even more. We have cautioned the company on creating an unrealistic package for the 4th of July holiday and push the system to make trips and balance the system to accommodate the holiday and our staffing. Our demand is up, and the airports and flights will be at maximum capacity. Hold onto your hats people, it looks like we may be in for one crazy summer.
June 2022 Bidding Timelines
The Charlotte APFA Team
APFA CLT Base President