Skip to content

12.07.23 – APFA CLT Base Brief – January 2024 Staffing and Allocations

January 2024 CLT Staffing and Allocations

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Good day,

This week, we had our monthly call with the company to discuss the schedule for January. There were a few new developments that will affect the schedule for next month. The first item is the number of flight hours allocated to our base. We will have 159,339 hours. December had 159,760. This is a minor reduction in time which means our base will continue to have a robust schedule like we have seen for the past year. Some bases will see the historic winter drop in time, but we do not anticipate Charlotte having any large reductions for the winter months. We will have our IPD flying reduced, Frankfurt stops on the 16th(It’s a 4-day trip), and early London doesn’t operate after the 25th. This should cause a large decrease of several thousand hours and is what we usually see in the winter. This January, the offset in time is replaced by more domestic flying that allows us to keep the high flight hours. Charlotte will use all the real estate it has, even with the loss of IPD flying. Not to worry, Early London is scheduled to come back in February and so is Frankfurt. This tells us the flight hours will remain strong for the entire winter.

We have lost a few heads in our total head count due to transfers and the company is offering VLOAs for January. What is a VLOA? This is a voluntary leave of absence for one month without pay.

Bidding for January 2024 full month, unpaid VLOAs will close Thursday, December 7 at 1200 (CT). You may access the ballot in Comply365 > My Forms > AAFA > FA Voluntary Leave of Absence (VLOA). For more information, refer to: Unpaid VLOA Bidding Open for January 2024

Our count is down, our hours have not changed, our line average is set at 79.5 hours and our reserve numbers are 29.9%. How did we go from understaffed to over staffed enough to offer monthly leaves? By cramming more time into the trips. January will see a 17% increase in 4 leg one days, about 35% of the one days are 4 leggers. There is also a 271% increase in 4 legs built into the multiple day trips. More hard time has been built into the trips to cover the additional domestic time added to our base. This is how they measure productivity, not synthetic or rig time, just add higher paying trips with more hard time built in.

The only reason they are offering VLOA’s is because enough people have asked for them. So the most senior people will have leaves and the trips will suffer. We did ask if VLOAs were not offered, could this reduce the reserve numbers? The answer was no. It would only lower the line average, the reserve number will stay high to cover the first week of January where they anticipate a high sick rate based on past years.

The projected VLOAs will result in people being designated as Tentative Reserves. If you are a tentative, the only way you will be on reserve is if NOT enough people sign up for the VLOAs. This has never happened in CLT as we have a strong appetite for VLOAs. We have advocated for pulling people off reserve, lowering the line average and building more humane trips by reducing the number of legs per day and building more one day turns. This is not the avenue the company wants to take. With the continued fragile construction model, they see the need to have more reserves to cover the amount of open time that is created when these trips break rather than offer red flag and other incentives.

Let’s talk reserve. Our reserve numbers are the highest in the system with 29.5%. The rest of the system is averaging 22.7% including PHX and LAX. They have communicated to the base that our sick rate is the cause along with the need to cover more trips in the first week of January. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our sick rate was about 1/2 of what it had been just 2 years ago. We were the most improved base for this metric. While we slipped a little last summer when they really started the high line averages and cramming more time into the trips, our sick rate has decreased significantly over the last few months. Total absenteeism also includes special project flight attendants, and anyone removed for a disciplinary meeting. We have the highest rates in both those categories. With a culture predicated to discipline, it should come as no surprise that CLT leads in this category.

So why the need for so many reserves? They claim they are using the reserves at a higher rate in CLT. We break down the reserve usage each month and wanted to show you some of the numbers we found. September was a good month to look at, so here is the graph we used to show usage verses need.

click image to enlarge

The graph is simple, the first line is the number of trips per day. You can see the reduction of trips on Tuesdays and Saturdays when there are fewer banks of flights. You can also see the spike on the first day of the month and the reduction on the last day of the month (This has been a problem since last winter). This is where the time is for the month.

The next line is the planned reserves for each day of the month. This is what is used to set the reserve numbers for the entire month.

The third line is the actual reserve usage we had for the month, including standby shifts.

There were no significant weather events in September, so it was no surprise that the number of trips per day mirrors the actual reserve usage. What doesn’t add up is the planned reserves. They had too many reserves planned for the first 4 days of the month and the last week of the month. The reserve numbers are set by the planned reserves per day and determine the total amount of reserves for the month. All 3 lines on the graph should semi mirror each other outside of small external factors or significant weather/emergency events, they do not. Our conclusion, too many reserves were slated for September.

Keep in mind the rotation factor of reserve. If the numbers are inflated in winter/spring months, then the seniority for rotation will trickle to months into the summer. If the fall numbers are inflated, the seniority will increase for December and January. That is what we are seeing now.

Now take a look at November usage.

click image to enlarge

You can see the direct correlation again. You can also see where there was very little usage of reserves during paid incentive days. This tells us, the holiday paid incentive works as expected and the reserve numbers were set too high.

The company has told us the high reserve numbers for January are to cover the first week. The only problem is the 1st has fewer trips than we have been seeing and the first few days are flat or even on the number of trips. Charlotte actually has a steady uphill climb in number of trips towards the end of the month. Don’t forget January 1st is a paid incentive day. Our conclusion, Charlotte has the highest reserve percentage and way too many reserves slated for January. We have proposed several ideas in the past to help offset the imbalance for January and are met with complicated equations that are unacceptable. The only thing that offsets higher and higher seniorities having to serve reserve rotation is the addition of new hire flight attendants. We are not slated for new hires in December and January. If the reserve numbers remain high, this will affect the seniority of the rotation for months to come.

The company has provided reserve usage numbers up to last summer. They have not provided numbers that justify what is happening in Charlotte. We derive these numbers from contractually guaranteed data provided. Keep in mind, the other bases are seeing a reduction in reserve numbers, we continue to see increases.

Our trips break down as,

  • 1 days will make up 20% of our trips (Down)
  • 2 days will make up 20% of our trips (Down)
  • 3 days will make up 27% of our trips (Up)
  • 4 days will make up 3.5% of our trips (Slightly down)
  • 2/3 days will make up 15% of our trips (Up)
  • 3/4 days will make up 4% of our trips (Up)
  • Red Eyes will make up 2% of our trips (Down)
  • ODANs remain strong at 7% of our trips.
  • There are just a few Bullets and Pink Eyes.

21% of our trips have more than a 2+30-hour sit built into the days.

We will only see the reduction in banks of flying on Tuesdays, not Saturdays. This has contributed to keeping the ODAN numbers higher.

The one days are dominated by 4-leg trips, commutability of the 4 days has gotten worse, any significant changes we were advocating for fell on deaf ears once again. Fewer Red eyes, pink eyes and bullets have taken away some flexibility that we have always advocated for. IPD has some disruptions that should be short lived but look at the number of legs built into each duty period. Longer duty days and more legs are the key to running a synthetic free month and achieving maximum productivity by company standards.

Historically, January should be a month where the schedule is reduced, and staffing can tweak the trip construction and try and find some new parameters that work for the company and the flight attendants. It looks like they have their formula and are not willing to change the status quo as long as we have a full schedule in Charlotte. They do feel the need, however, to allow a few people to have a month off while the construction metrics continue to build brutal trips.

January 2024 Bidding Timeline

We continue to struggle with a fragile trip construction model, high reserve numbers, and face discipline for just about every decision we make at work. Every day we continue working under an outdated contract and the company saves millions of dollars. We are ready for a contract to change these working conditions and come to an even balance that both the company can live with, and we can have a better quality of life.

Continue to wear your Union pins and lanyards, show them we mean business and are ready for a contract. We are ready for change.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

The Charlotte APFA Team

In Solidarity,

Scott Hazlewood
APFA CLT Base President

[email protected]

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

Virtual Quarterly Membership Meeting – July 11

July 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

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

Virtual Quarterly Membership Meeting – July 11

July 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

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

Virtual Quarterly Membership Meeting – July 11

July 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Scroll To Top