Monday, August 8, 2022
Reserve Numbers and the Impact on Line Averages and Lineholder PBS Awards
Flight Attendants are frustrated by the high line averages and the increased number of hours forced onto their schedules in PBS. APFA continues to offer solutions to management to provide relief by reducing the number of Reserves, which would lower the line averages and spread the flying to a larger pool of Lineholders.
Management has repeatedly stated that they will lower reserve percentages when they see a drop in absenteeism. By some metrics, systemwide absenteeism is down approximately 10% since January of this year, yet reserve numbers are up 4.6% year-over-year (September 2021 as compared to September 2022). Faced with these facts, management trotted out a new set of excuses, including maintenance issues, increased vacation, weather, and the Labor Day holiday.
APFA continues to point out management’s hypocrisy. This management team is not interested in caring for its employees and is only concerned with stuffing as much time as possible into monthly lines with zero consideration for the well-being of our Flight Attendants.
APFA has pointed out ways to make our flying more efficient. Every Flight Attendant can see that the number of sequences that fall apart is a major factor driving Reserve numbers. Each month, the APFA Contract and Scheduling Department, National, and Base Leadership offer solutions to management to help alleviate the number of broken trips by challenging poor sequence construction in each base.
Management has the power to reduce reserve percentages but refuses to do so. Make no mistake: management’s staffing decisions are forcing more Flight Attendants onto reserve, thereby pushing more time onto Lineholders in PBS.
What do higher line averages mean for Lineholders?
Fewer Lineholders translates into more flying, on average, for each Flight Attendant. This is one of the reasons we have seen Lineholders at every single base being held to a minimum of at least 70 hours in PBS. In most bases, more junior Flight Attendants are being forced to a minimum of 78 hours. These minimums, in some cases, impact the most senior Lineholder at the base.
These minimums are sometimes called different things. Can you explain the terminology?
We refer to these “minimums” as Line Constraints (on the PBS Award Summary) or Required Minimum Line Credit Value (in your PBS Award). More to the point, a required minimum occurs when the system can no longer award low time and a line “constraint” is triggered. From that seniority onward, Flight Attendants are required to hold a minimum number of hours. This is particularly frustrating to those who want a low line of flying but are forced to cover more hours than they bid.
Will I know when bidding if I will be held to a Line Constraint/Required Minimum Line Credit Value?
No. These constraints are unknown until PBS processes Flight Attendant bids.
Once awards are posted, how do I know if I have been held to a Required Minimum Line Credit Value?
Any required minimum or maximum line credit value will be listed on the Reason Report under the Award tab:
Additionally, information regarding line constraints for each base is detailed in the PBS Award Summary published monthly in an APFA hotline once awards are posted.
Looking at CLT in the below screenshot from the August PBS Award Summary, there are two constraints:
- Min 70:00: Lineholders in CLT, starting at system seniority number 1170, were required to be awarded at least 70 credit hours.
- Min 78:00: Lineholders in CLT, starting at system seniority number 4963, were required to be awarded at least 78 credit hours.
Our concerns and logical arguments fall on deaf ears, especially with the allocations department. Blatantly ignoring APFA’s input every month, the allocations department continues to build sequences that cannot withstand weather and air traffic delays. As a result, these broken sequences require AA to call out an entire new Reserve crew to complete the sequence, and our reserve numbers keep climbing with poorly constructed sequences. The sheer number of Reserve Flight Attendants used to complete these fragile sequences is shocking. American management needs to address the root problems in staffing and allocations. The operation is suffering every time we have a weather event. Management can take steps to recover more smoothly, considering the needs of our passengers and Flight Attendant well-being.
APFA National Officers
APFA Base Presidents
Jeff Petersen, APFA National Contract Chair
Marti McMillan, APFA National Scheduling Chair