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11.10.23 – APFA CLT Base Brief – December 2023 Staffing and Allocations

December 2023 CLT Staffing and Allocations

Friday, November 10, 2023

Good day,

We had the monthly call to discuss trips for December and this year is playing out a little differently than we have seen for some time. Our monthly hours are slightly down compared to November to 159,706 hours. This happens every year- December is a 30-day work month and November ends up a 31-day month, hence the slight loss in time. Last year, we saw fewer trips at the beginning of the month and a slow build in time that started around the 16th. It was uphill the second part of the month. This put more time in the second half of the month and triggered “Half Month Logic” in PBS for a good portion of our flight attendants. This year only has 3% more time in the second half of the month compared to the front half. This December looks like a normal month with the distribution of time; the only difference is the loss of banks of flying on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at the beginning of the month. The added time for the week of Christmas is the addition of the banks of flying on the Saturday before Christmas (Christmas in on Monday) and a large spike on the 26th, the Tuesday after Christmas. The peaks and valleys of this December mirror normal months with the traditional pull down on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve. I felt it was an important piece of information as December is one of the trickiest months of the year to bid an even, consistent schedule that allows for some holiday time.

Our reserve numbers are very high at 853 or 28.4%. The company sets the reserve numbers high every year for December and January to cover the holidays. The reserve numbers are not a direct reflection of the sick rate in Charlotte. The new holiday pay incentive is in place and has a proven track record of success. The company is using old logic to justify putting on more reserves during the holidays. Our reserve usage mirrors the number of trips per day. The planning of reserve coverage, setting the numbers, does not align with the actual usage. We have an increase in reserve usage for several factors that are not related to our sick rate. We expect the company to continue with high reserve numbers for January. The reserve cut off will be Nov. 4th, 2013.

There were no improvements to the trips for December. The sit time is actually worse. There were more four leg days built into the trips, and the commutability of the four days is non-existent. Why? The company enters panic mode every year during the holidays. They just naturally expect a higher sick rate even with incentive programs that have a proven track record. They place more people on reserve and try and make the trips as “productive” as possible. This means building more hard time into the trips, more legs, longer duty days, more connections. The Optimizer wants to build more four days and multiple day trips to cover the time allocated for a month. We advocated for more one and two days over the holidays. Creating more one and two days would use more heads, and the trade off is building more time into the trips to decrease the need for more staffing during the holidays. They anticipate higher usage because of the historical sick rate, but in the last few years with the incentives in place, the opposite has occurred. It’s just a hard habit to break for them and should come as no surprise.

The Incentive Days are different from the “Critical Period”. The Critical Period is from December 22nd to January 3rd. If you complete all assignments during this period and do not have a removal code, the company will award an incentive/bonus point to your attendance record. If you do have a removal code during this time, the company will also assess an extra point to any discipline related removal codes (such as sick or missed trip). The contractual pay incentive days are December 24th, 25th, 26th, 31st and January 1st. You will receive holiday pay for segments flown that touch these days (Reserve Standby counts also). This Holiday Pay hotline details how the holiday incentive pay is calculated. Holiday incentive pay and the critical period are two separate items; keep this in mind when bidding.

What is half month logic and how does it work?

Half month logic in PBS will kick in if the computer sees an unbalanced amount of time in the second half of the month. Basically, it will look at the month as two “mini” months. While it will process your bid using your layer preferences, it may limit the number of hours you are awarded in the first half of the month to ensure sufficient coverage for trips in the last half of the month. The good news is our time for December is not stacked over the second half of the month; it’s actually very even and consistent except for a few days over the holiday.

Half month logic is driven by bidding behavior, meaning if PBS is running and reaches a seniority where it sees an unbalanced amount of time, it will kick in at that seniority. We did not see half month logic kick in for November because many people took advantage to the incentive pay. We are hoping this continues in December and is one of the reasons we wanted more one and two days over the incentive time frame.

What you will probably see, depending on your seniority, is a few more coverage needed days. The following chart shows where the time is on each day of December. If you are trying to figure out where you will have the best chance of picking up trips, or being assigned trips/days on duty, look at the peaks and valleys on this graph.


click image to enlarge

The graph is a very simple way to view the month of December. The days of the month are across the bottom and the number of trips per day are plotted on the graph. If you look at the peaks and valleys, you can probably predict the coverage needed days or the best opportunity to get awarded the trips you want to fly and even out your month. For the most senior people, this graph means nothing because they can hold more. The most junior will get assigned flying at the peaks on the graph, regardless of where they bid. The best way to utilize the graph is to have a realistic approach to bidding based on your seniority. If you bid into where you are needed, you will have a better chance of holding what you want and spreading out your trips for an even month, including the holidays.

We thought this would be an easy way to predict the coverage needed days. If you look at December, the valleys coincide with the loss of banks of flying on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and the peaks mirror days with full banks of flights. The week of Christmas is the odd week out with the pull down on the 24th and 25th; a Sunday and Monday on that week.

Our trips break down as:

  • 1 days will make up 23% of our trips.
  • 2 days will make up 20% of our trips.
  • 2/3 days will make up 11% of our trips.
  • 3 days will make up 28% of our trips.
  • 3/4 days will make up 2% of our trips.
  • 4 days will make up 3.4% of our trips.
  • ODANs will come in at 7% of our trips.
  • Red Eyes will make up 3% of our trips.
  • Pink eyes and Bullets remain at less than 1% of our trips.

The trip distribution is about the same as we have been seeing with an increase in three days for the month. The three days are evenly distributed and are not bunched up during the holiday. The four leg one days were actually slightly down, but four legs a day were built into more three days. Not a trend we want to see.

The ODANs were slightly down. The amount of ODANs is directly connected to the banks of flying. Without the last banks on Tuesdays and Saturdays, the ability to build ODANs is reduced.

We have worked out several of the problems with the Red Eyes and they remain strong. We are trying for more Pink Eyes and Bullets (All Night Turns), but the schedule limits the ability to build more of these. We have advocated for more long-haul bullets to help out on the Red Eye problems, but the company seems to think this is not necessary at this time.

The 30-hour layovers continue to remain in about 13% of our total trips (excluding Red Eyes). These are popular and keep an eye out for the 30-hour layovers during the holiday. Depending on where you have family and friends, this is always an opportunity to get a layover (and paid) where you can spend quality time with people that matter. This is also an opportunity to buddy bid and fly with your company friends and have quality time with your work family.

Bidding Timeline

December is always a challenging month to bid and to hold good trips. This shouldn’t be the case, it is not the luck of the draw, it is the strategy you use for the best results. It is not a normal month, it is DECEMBER! The company has pitted the programing for coverage and nothing else matters for them. You need to know how to bid into their needs and balance your bidding for an outcome that you can live with, and they meet their metrics. The fact that they don’t understand the value of what we consider “good trips” is lost on this management group. The metrics are all they care about, this is evident in all aspects of the company, even in a customer service driven industry. Motivating the work groups to believe in the goals of the organization has become lost in the rhetoric of metrics. Short-term improvements can be achieved being metrics driven, but who is looking out for and playing the long game that is employee and customer satisfaction and pride.

We need a contract that will give us the tools to balance this management approach. Help us join the fight against metrics and come on out to the picketing event on November 16th. We are ready for a new contract, we are ready for a new approach that values our efforts, we are ready for respect!

Join a picket line! RSVP here!

Take care of yourselves and each other.

The Charlotte APFA Team

In Solidarity,

Scott Hazlewood
APFA CLT Base President

[email protected]

APFA Headquarters
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Euless, Texas 76040

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Phone: (817) 540-0108

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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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