Monday, February 6, 2023
March 2023 Staffing and Allocations
We had our monthly allocations call last week to discuss the trips for March. As you might have guessed, there were very little changes as we finish out the winter flying. April will have additional IPD flying as we begin to transition into the summer schedule. We are remaining strong with our winter schedule with 157,687 hours where in past years we would have seen a drop in flying time for the winter.
March is almost identical to the last two months, with two exceptions. The line average is down because there is less vacation time in March compared to February. With less vacation time, there are more bodies to fly, and the system reacts as if we had an increase in head count. We still anticipate a problem with people being able to hold low lines and held to 78 hours minimum, so bid accordingly.
The second concern is the increase in the number of Reserves. This is because of the high usage of the Reserves. The company maintains they factor in last year’s Reserve usage, but it is more likely due to the more recent events that have driven our staffing levels to critical. Our usage last year does not warrant a drastic increase in the reserve numbers. Year-over-year, we continue to see high amounts of systems trips covered by Reserves. The company pointed out that most Charlotte Reserves are flying Charlotte trips. This still doesn’t address the high number of systems trips. Whether the trip is broken from another base or one of our broken trips, the amount of systems trips is still a sign of a fragile construction system.
The fragile trip construction system is driving these numbers up; last week was a good example. Ice storms disrupted the DFW operations, but the impact was felt all over the system. They have built our system as if we are one big base rather than keeping flying for a particular base to their region of the country. When any weather event hits a base, it negatively impacts the entire system. 80% of aircraft that take off from CLT return to CLT. This is the nature of the hub and spoke system, but when it comes to crews, they build in aircraft swaps, and now all bases are flying routes out of other bases. If things go perfectly, the system works, but we all know things rarely go as planned. Weather is going to happen, and when it does, there is very little chance of isolating the impact to that one base. When the system does break down, the company scrambles to try and catch up. This negatively impacts our passengers and crews from all bases. Last week’s disruption was not isolated. It is now the new normal.
The company is driving up the Reserve numbers, which is alarming as we are not slated to get any new hire Flight Attendants from the first few classes this year. This will drive up the seniority of rotation slowly each month. Several bases are experiencing what we had just over a year ago, reserve rotation going back 30+ years. If the Reserve numbers keep climbing to cover weather events and a broken system, we could be back to where we were in a short period of time. There is a direct correlation between absenteeism and the seniority of rotation. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy the company is heading towards, and they continue to blame and punish the Flight Attendants. The preliminary seniority of the most senior Reserve in CLT for March is September 2, 2013.
- 1-days will make up 22% of our trips (No Change)
- 2-days will make up 32% of our trips (No Change)
- 3-days will make up 20% of our trips (No Change)
- 4-days will make up 4% of our trips (No Change)
- 2/3-days will make up 9% of our trips (Increase)
- 3/4-days will make up 2% of our trips (No Change)
- ODANs will make up 5.6% (Decrease)
- There are a few more pink eyes and bullets, but they will make up about 1% of the flying
- Traditional Red Eyes will make up 3% of our flying (Decrease)
The trips have the same problems with no improvement being planned. The sit times (more than 2:30 hours) remain in 25% of our trips, only 39% of our 4-day trips are commutable, the four leg days are still being made with no attention to the sit time between the turns, the long duty days and early reports are not being addressed.
The distribution of trips is about the same. The ODANs came in lower due to an increase in the banks of flights across the system. There were a few less traditional Red Eyes but slightly more Bullets and Pink eyes. The 1-days are about the same, with the 4-leg trips still making up a good portion. There are still a good amount of 30-hour layovers in the 2/3 and 3/4 days.
There are some small schedule changes throughout the month. The company is capitalizing on local events that are unique to each city and adding more flights when an event is scheduled. Most of these events fall on the weekends, where extra time is built into the system. Keep in mind the clocks spring forward on the 12th. Keep this in mind when calculating rest on the sequences when bidding for multiple pairings, double-ups, or back-to-back trips. St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th, and National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day is March 1st.
We don’t expect to see a major variance in the distribution of trips until the summer schedule adds more time to the system.
March 2023 Bidding Timelines
No real surprises for March. More of the same as we have seen all winter. We are not scheduled to get any new hires for a while. Our staffing is still low, and they are trying to do more with less people. This will mean fewer low lines (below 70 hours) available. Make sure you bid accordingly. The LRD tool is now open, don’t forget to toggle. We have had people pulled off Reserve every month and even had some of the most junior Flight Attendants assigned a line.
Thank you for your hard work. Charlotte has made significant progress over the last year in just about every category. Our importance to the financial future of this airline is evident, and that success is because of your hard work. We will continue to fight for a better contract, working conditions, and quality of life. If management won’t say it, we will. Thank you.
Take care of yourselves and each other,
The Charlotte APFA Team
APFA CLT Base President