PBS Holiday Bidding Tips
Friday, November 10, 2023
Bidding for holiday months may require a different bidding strategy than what you use during the rest of the year. First and foremost, it’s important to be aware of your relative seniority at your base. In this hotline we will cover some topics you may want to consider as you plan your December PBS bid.
- Coverage Needed Days for Lineholders
- Backing Yourself Up in the Event You are Held to CN Days
- Vacation Low
- Distribution of Open time (Half Month Logic)
Holiday Pay and Critical Period
Coverage Needed (CN) is a term applied to any day in a bid month when not enough Flight Attendants bid in PBS to fly on that day. PBS will award as many Flight Attendants as possible to be off on a particular day, whether it’s a holiday or not. However, the system may need to force coverage if too many pairings remain uncovered during the award.
A frequently asked question is: “Should I bid trips over the holiday just in case?” The short answer is: “It couldn’t hurt.” It is important to understand your seniority and bid accordingly. If you are relatively junior in your base, you are more likely to have to work a holiday. Even if you have not had to work holidays in the past, conditions change each month potentially impacting the trips you are able to hold.
If you want the holiday(s) off, bid trips in your earlier layers that don’t touch the holiday or surrounding days. However, it is recommended you back yourself up in your later layers, bidding trips close to or touching the actual holiday.
As a reference, we are including a link to the December 2022 CN Days Hotline.
If you have seven or more days of vacation in a bid month, you may bid for vacation low. A TCR bid of 69 hours or less is considered a low time bid (e.g. 40-50, 50-60, etc). By bidding vacation low, you will be given priority for a low credit line over more senior Flight Attendants who do not have seven or more vacation days in the month.
Vacation low is not guaranteed. Your bid for vacation low may not be awarded depending on your seniority, your TCR bid, the dates of your vacation, and/or if you have CN days. For additional bidding information, we are including this link to the PBS Guide.
Half Month Logic may be triggered when there is an uneven distribution of flying combined with Flight Attendant bidding behavior.
What does that mean? There is a slight increase in flying in the last part of December, and many Flight Attendants bid to work more during the first part of the month. The logic is in place to ensure that open time is spread evenly throughout the month rather than concentrated around the holiday.
If necessary, the system will limit the number of hours awarded to individual Flight Attendants during the first part of the month. The logic would start at a given seniority and apply to everyone junior (similar to CN days). It is impossible to predict at what seniority the logic would kick in.
When bidding for December, you may want to consider how this logic could affect you. For example, the logic could trigger a max award of 35 hours in the first part of the month. This means the remaining hours necessary to complete your bid would be awarded in the second part of the month.
First and foremost, ensure you are bidding your Reserve days off on the Reserve Tab:
All day off bids in a layer are considered equal and PBS does not prioritize days off within a layer. With that in mind, we recommend you only bid the most desired single day off in your first layer. If you can hold that day off at your seniority, PBS will award it to you.
If you bid two days off in a layer and there are reserve patterns allowing you to hold one or the other days (not both), the system would have to choose for you.
As an example: Let’s say you bid off December 24th and December 25th in layer one. If PBS can award you either the 24th OR the 25th, but not both, the system would not prioritize one over the other as all bids in a layer are considered of equal importance. It might lead to a less than satisfactory award if Christmas Day were more important to you than Christmas Eve, and the system ultimately awarded you off on December 24th from layer one.
This is why we recommend limiting the number of days off you bid in a single layer, especially in a holiday month. Use your remaining layers to bid additional days off.
Coverage needed (CN) days are a product of daily reserve targets, legalities, and Flight Attendant bidding behavior. The bottom line is, the more junior you are, the more likely you are to have multiple CN days in December.
PBS will first attempt to award a reserve schedule that covers all required CN days. If a legal reserve line cannot be built covering all CN days, designated holidays are the highest priority. This means reserve schedules are awarded ensuring designated holidays are covered first. A junior reserve will only be awarded a day off on a designated holiday if a planned absence creates an illegal reserve line.
As a reference, we are including the link to the December 2022 CN Days Hotline.
Holidays eligible for Holiday Pay are outlined in JCBA 3.J. and are as follows:
- December 24th
- December 25th
- December 26th
- December 31st
- January 1st
As a reference, we are including the link to the recent Holiday Pay Hotline.
The Attendance Critical Period is company policy and therefore separate from contractual holidays. From the company’s Attendance and Performance Policy regarding the December 22nd through January 3rd Critical Period:
Incentive Credit (Reward Bank)
Flight attendants that work all operational assignments (sequences, airport standby assignments, Reserve Availability Periods (“RAPs”), and special assignments) and have no absences or removals (e.g., Sick, FMLA, Jury Duty, Military, Personal, Bereavement, etc.), including pre-planned absences and removals, on days during a critical period accrue one (1) incentive credit that will reduce a future point-generating dependability event.
APFA National Contract Chair
APFA National Scheduling Chair