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8.06.23 – APFA CLT Base Brief – September 2023 Staffing and Allocations

September 2023 CLT Staffing and Allocations

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Good day,

In this base brief:

  • Strike authorization vote: Have you voted?
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  • I’m on probation. Am I allowed to vote?
  • September 2023 Staffing and Allocations information

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All APFA Members in good standing, including probationary Flight Attendants, may participate in the strike authorization vote. Your vote is completely confidential. Neither APFA nor the election vendor will be able to access how anyone voted. Management will not have access either. 

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September 2023 Staffing and Allocations

We had our monthly call with the company this week to discuss the trips for September. No real big surprises, but some of the things we have been needing are slowly getting addressed. We will see a small drop in time, but our number of trips are higher. The drop in time can be attributed to the end of Paris on the 4th and a drop in Island flights for the season. This will be a 31-day month, this usually adds hours, but the 31 days has just off set the usual drop of seasonal flying. There is a schedule change on the 6th after the Labor Day holiday weekend on the 4th. This will be the only drop in time and will affect the overall system more than Charlotte locally. Our largest change will be the elimination of the late bank of flying on Tuesdays and Saturdays like what we saw in the winter and spring. Bottom line, we are still picking up the express flying and our schedule will remain strong for mainline for the remainder of the year. The only real drops we will feel are the loss of seasonal IPD flights over the next 2 months.

Our reserve numbers have dropped to 725 or 24.7% but the overall percentage is way above the other bases. Charlotte is using the reserves for several reasons and the company is maintaining its position in keeping the numbers higher than other bases. The reserve cut off for rotation will be 01 March of 01. With the high numbers, we are watching the seniority for rotation slip back farther and farther as the year progresses. Keep this in mind when considering bidding down to protect the holidays. We will not be getting any new hires in Sept. The company will start up new hire classes again next week but there is no guarantee Charlotte will be getting any of these to offset our staffing shortage. This places a strain on the rotation model and will force more and more senior people onto reserve as the year progresses. There is no predictive model that can estimate where the seniority cut off will land for December or January- the only control on this is the number of reserves that is set by the company each month. This is why, if left unchecked earlier in the year, the seniority of reserves can change drastically over the course of a year.

Our head count went down for September. Charlotte is seeing more transfers out than people transferring in. Without new hires to fill the gap, our staffing shortage will continue to cause problems. The company has used past models to explain the shortage, but we are in a new reality and the standard models no longer apply. Until they commit to increasing our numbers in CLT, we can expect double constraints on the TCR in PBS, not many low lines awarded and more forcing time into the lines until they commit to bringing our staffing numbers up for the long haul. We are catching a break with a lower line average set at 80.9 for September. Historically, this would have reduced significantly due to a huge drop in time, the lower average this year is caused by the reduced number of reserves. This is something we have been advocating for lowering the line average, pull people off reserve and make more lines. This can improve several quality-of-life issues such as more flexibility in picking up, trading and dropping trips. The ability to manipulate one’s schedule to work around our busy lives is a major plus to being a flight attendant in the first place and helps balance the trade off we’ve made of being away from home and family multiple days a week. When the flexibility is gone, the desired productivity numbers suffer as well, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy continuing with the current staffing model.

Our numbers break down as:

Active headcount- 2,918 (slightly down)
Line holders- 2,213 (more)
Reserves – 725 (down)
Line average – 80.9 (down)

The breakdown of trips will be:

  • 1 days will make up 22% of our flying.
  • 2 days will make up 31% of our flying.
  • 2/3 days will make up 7% of our flying.
  • 3 days will make up 23% of our flying.
  • 3/4 days saw a decrease to 2% of our flying.
  • 4 days will make up 4% of our flying.
  • ODANs will make up 6.5% of our flying.
  • Red Eyes will make up 2% of our flying.
  • Pink Eyes and Bullets have a few more and are something we are working on.

The one days have the same amount of trips but there are more 4 leggers. We have the schedule change on the 6th that should cut some frequency to the islands, thus eliminating the turns. We are making up for the shortage over at express, so we have more small cities in close proximity geographically. This means they can build more 4 leg one days to these small cities. We don’t like the 4 leggers, especially because they have sit time built into the middle of the trip. If it means cutting the number of one days, we would rather keep the 4 leggers. What we have done locally is take a list of the ones with large sit times and target them to be broken up or removed. The company has cut the sit times on the ones we have brought to their attention. One of the problems is they can’t cut sit times on one type of trip, the connection time is programmed for all trip types, all they can do is try and tweak until we find some workable solution.

The 2 days were diverse with differing report times, like any type of trip, there are some stinkers and some gems. We try and look for long duty days (long sits) with multiple legs and short rest. We want to keep the number of these trips high.

2/3 and 3/4 days are still there and have the same list of 30-hour layovers as we have seen since picking up the express routes. The number of these has slightly gone down due to the increase in schedule for the summer, now that we are drifting into the *Fall schedule- (* Technically there is only a summer and winter schedule), the reduced banks and frequency of flights should keep these trips intact.

The 3 days remain steady, and this is where we see the hardest flying or the ugliest trips. When we do identify some brutal trips, the company does look to see if they can break it up. NIPD 3 days are sometimes the hardest to break up and if the trip is following the routing of the airplane, it gets tricky.

The 4 days have not changed, they remain at about 4 to 5% of our flying. The commutability of these has always been a problem so we have asked for a concentration on commutability on the front end of the trips. This has not fully been experimented with so there are still some early check ins on these. Our logic is, we have a lot of commuters who drive. They may be more inclined to pick up a late departure 4 day on day one, so they don’t have to get up at 1am to come to work. These same commuters may not mind a late drive home at the end of the trip. We are willing to try anything that works for our flight attendants and maintains the diversity of our trips.

ODANs, Red Eyes, Bullets, and Pink Eyes. Over the last few months, we have been sending you our concerns for keeping these trip types. The largest concern we have with any trip is whether a majority of them remain in open time after PBS closes. The larger the amount of open time, the less flexibility you have when TTS opens for the next month. A large amount of open time in these categories may prevent the company from building more lines unless the FA has hit some waivers that allow multiple pairings. For example, if all the open time is Red Eyes, then they can’t build another 70-hour block and pull someone off reserve, unless the most junior bidders have hit the waiver for multiple pairings. This led to some infeasible solutions last month which the company and the union detest.  We have seen a large amount of Red Eyes and ODANs in open time this summer. We sat with the company and came up with some possible solutions. First, we targeted certain trips- The Red Eyes with 2 legs back were almost all in open time. We have brought this to their attention before but now that we are moving into a new season, we hope to get rid of these. The turns at the beginning of a red eye and the 2 legs out were not as big a problem as anticipated. A Red Eye should be a hard time trip to keep it productive for the company. Those turns are crucial to keeping some of the mid-con Red Eyes intact. We did say some of these cities are ripe for making more Pink Eyes or all-night turns (Bullets), so there were just a few more of these in the September package. The fact that a large portion of the Red Eyes did not have a full 24-hour break was another problem. We asked for some changes, and you can see in the September package that the 24-hour breaks are back. For some of the Red Eyes, this meant building almost 30 hours into making a Red Eye. There were some other changes we proposed and are hopeful all our changes will come to fruition, and we have success in cutting down the less desirable trips and reducing the open time for these types of trips. We also have to consider the bad side of protecting these trips. That is cutting out the problems. The Seattle Red Eye was the largest offender for Red Eyes followed by SFO. Rather than cut these out completely, we did propose some changes to those trips that we hope will be implemented fully. If our proposals are tried and not successful, the future of those trips may be in jeopardy. Take a look at the Red Eyes when you bid, there are some changes. We hope the tweaking will create better trips and protect flying.

The ODANs were next on the open time hit list. The first thing that stood out was the BWI ODAN. #1 offender for open time. Surprisingly, the rest were not linked to a certain city, only day of the week and where the time was stacked for the month. The problem child was in the longer rest on the ODANs, having 9 hours of rest sounds great on an ODAN, but the new reality of the 10 hour FAR rest and required home base rest, made flying multiple pairings on ODANs more tricky when bidding. The problem was bad when the new rest rules came into play but has subsided as the learning curve on how to bid them improved. The longer ODANs get back to base too late to allow multiple pairings. This is something we have to look at to keep the ODANs in general. We will not have a 9th bank of flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays; this curbs some of the ODANs naturally, but we are hoping we can target Sunday ODANs as a good portion of the open time was on Sunday. Rather than cut all ODANs we are asking to surgically cut the largest offenders. Right now, there are no plans to eliminate any type of flying but we have to address this.

Bidding Timeline:

Each month when we receive the trip package, your Charlotte APFA Team takes 2 days and breaks down the trips. We all enter our data into a spread sheet and the full picture emerges of what our bid package will look like. We have refined our criteria over the last few years but every now and again an anomaly starts to appear. We are always looking for improvements and addressing any negative changes we see. Sometimes there are things that we can’t see on a piece of paper or on a spread sheet. That is where we rely on flight attendants to provide feedback. Hotels are probably where we get the most feedback. If you fly a particular type of trip and notice changes that are having a negative impact, drop us an e-mail so we can take a look and get ahead of any problems. We crunch data on reserve usage, TTS/UBL and safety events also and use the data when we formulate our arguments for improvement. Many times, we are limited by the contract and what we have a say in. That is why it is so important that we get a contract that we deserve in our current negotiations. Our strike authorization vote is now open on APFA.org and I encourage everyone to cast their ballot. We want to send a strong message to the company that we are ready for significant changes that will improve our quality of life.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

The Charlotte APFA Team

In Solidarity,

Scott Hazlewood
APFA CLT Base President

[email protected]

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APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Currently, no scheduled events...

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

Currently, no scheduled events...

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