Sunday, September 4, 2022
APFA CLT Base Brief – October 2022 Staffing and Allocations
Good Day CLT Flight Attendants,
We had our monthly staffing and allocations call this week and we can expect much of the same flying for October as we have had for several months now. They added some time to our base as we are picking up express flying to mainline due to staffing issues at the regionals. The basic numbers break down as:
- Total available head count- 2,675
- Lineholders- 2,141
- Reserves- 534 (20%)
- Targeted Line average- 80.8 hours
Our total headcount went up by about 10-12 people and the number of lineholders increased by about 46 flight attendants. As a result, the reserve numbers dropped by about 35 people from September. Our initial concern was that due to the meltdown we had last October, they would push the reserve numbers off the charts this year. We took our concerns to the company, and they decided to use a two-year comparison (2019 and 2021) to determine our numbers. The interesting thing about determining our staffing needs for a month is that it does not flow top-down. Meaning that we see the available head count, see the number of trips for the month, factor in vacation, anticipated sick, etc., and then set the line average to fill those trips. Everyone left over would be the reserve count. This is the top-down model. The actual model they use is bottom to middle. They set the reserve numbers first, then set the line average and this determines the number of lineholders. Make sense? In a computer world, it makes perfect sense. What it does show the rest of us is how important the reserve system has become to covering our schedule. The company needs massive amounts of reserves every day to keep the airline flying. We find it hard to believe any system was designed to function this way.
Reserve seniority for October will be Oct 24, 2016. Don’t forget to toggle.
Our line average is about what we would expect, and the company did offer vacation flyback to help lower this. 142 vacation days were bought back in October for Charlotte which lowered the line average by 15 minutes.
Some of the significant changes we will see in October are a schedule change on the 6th and at the end of the month. The change on the 6th will add some time to the schedule and the schedule change at the end of the month is a big reduction in seasonal IPD flying. Our IPD schedule will be reduced from the current seven flights down to four flights for the winter. LHR to SEA will start up in November and this will most likely rotate between several bases for coverage. There will be extra sections added for charters, and special events around the country.
Our trips are broken down as:
- 1 days will make up 25% of our trips (slightly up from September)
- 2 days will make up 28% of our trips (slightly down)
- 3 days will make up 19% of our trips (slightly up)
- 4 days will make up 3% of our trips (slightly up)
- 2/3 days will make up 10% of our trips (slightly down)
- 3/4 days will make up 3% of our trips (slightly down)
- ODANs will make up 7% of our trips (slightly down)
- Red Eyes will make up 2% of our trips (slightly down)
- Bullets and pink eyes come in under 1% of the trips
No real big changes to the system are planned for October. We are maintaining the man hours we had throughout the summer even with some of the seasonal pulldowns in select markets already kicking in.
To understand why there were some slight changes in the trip distribution, you need to look no further than the balloon metaphor we have been using. Push on the balloon in one place, it will bulge out in another. For October, staffing decided to reduce the maximum sit times from 3 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours and 15 minutes (something we have been pushing for). This was done to eliminate the 3+ hour sit times. This move did cut the number of 3+ hour sits in half systemwide, but it also caused more 2+ hour sits and pushed the Optimizer to make more 3 days and reduced the 2 days. It also had the effect of creating more 4 leg days. They also decided to keep the crews with the airplanes more- this would cut the sit times, but it added legs on aircraft like the AB319 which is utilized for more short haul flying. Cutting the sit times was one of the things we have been pushing for, but with each change, it causes a push on the balloon- it will have consequences elsewhere. Reducing the duty days by half an hour will send the crews to a hotel sooner and create more 3- and 4-day trips. The changes to the rest parameters have also pushed on the balloon, but we are happy when we see the bulk of our overnights with a minimum of 12 to 18 hours, not the 10 we had last year.
It is encouraging to see the staffing department trying to make these changes, for the most part, the changes have been incremental month over month with the ultimate goal of finding a balance that everyone is happy with. Our trip distribution is spreading out which will also give some flexibility when creating your lines in PBS. We will keep pushing for the improvements until we have a balance on all aspects of our trips.
The October 2022 bidding timeline will be:
All in all, we are continuing to see the strength of our HUB continuing into the Fall. November will begin the start of the Winter flying with the holidays in November and December. We are optimistic that the positive trends we are seeing will continue for the remainder of the year.
Take care of yourselves and each other,
The Charlotte APFA Team
APFA CLT Base President