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7.07.24 – APFA CLT Base Brief – August 2024 Staffing and Allocations

August 2024 CLT Staffing and Allocations

Sunday, July 7, 2024

Last week, we had our monthly call with the company to discuss the trips for August. There was nothing positive to report. No improvements were made, and in almost every category, things have worsened. The company continues to build fragile trips in the name of productivity, only to see them break at a very high rate. We are trying to run the largest schedule in years, and the strain has reached a breaking point. We continue to see technology failures every week. Our passengers see the failures and have sounded off. Their solution is to have more people on Reserve, yet we continue to cancel flights due to staffing issues.

August will have 30% of our base on Reserve, with 954 slated. We have the largest Reserve percentage in the system, finally beating out PHX, which we did not want to see. We expected high Reserves for the summer, but 30% shows a direct problem with the trips themselves, not the sick rate or other excuses used in other bases. Most of the data the company puts out will tout “system” improvements that do not apply to Charlotte. We have had the advantage of new hires every month that has offset the Reserve seniority getting out of control again. We will not be getting any new hires in the near future. When we have high Reserve numbers in months when we don’t use them, such as January, February, and March, it drives the seniority higher in the summer months. If we do not have new hires and the numbers are not reduced in September and October, the Reserve seniority will continue to rise. It is crucial that Reserve numbers are correct each month or the problem snowballs months down the road. The company says they need the numbers because they are using them in Charlotte. No one asks why you are using so many in Charlotte. The answer is the construction model; the schedule is too fragile and falls apart daily.

The summer schedule with nine banks will continue until the end of August, when the schedule finally drops right before the Labor Day holiday. During the last week of the month, we will see a bank reduction on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, as we have in the winter season. This small reduction has reduced our flight hours to 174,251 (down from 179,128 in July). The reduction is not really significant, but even with the reduction and no official holiday, our Reserve numbers continue to climb.

There is still a staffing problem in Charlotte. The company continues to push as much time into the trips as possible. Most of this was driven by budget constraints that were put in place during COVID. Those same budget constraints are still in place, and a general rule of doing more with less is still the norm. The trips are constructed to operate in a perfect world, with no room for a breakdown. We live this every day and know there is never a perfect day in this industry. Being adaptable is what we do. May had 21 weather days, and it was challenging for every department. June did not see the weather events, but the breakdowns and staffing issues continued. July had a minimum line constraint of 78 hours; this will most likely continue in August, so bid accordingly. Put in enough trips to cover a higher Target Credit Range (TCR), or more Layer None (LN) trips will be added to our schedules. Expect the system to award more trips in your line.

Our trips break down as:

  • 1-days will make up 22% of the trips (28% of these are 4 leggers)
  • 2-days will make up 16% of the trips. (Same as July)
  • 2/3-days will make up 17% of the trips (Up)
  • 3-days will make up 26% of the trips (Down)
  • 3/4-days will make up 3% of the trips (Up)
  • 4-days will make up 3% of the trips (Down)
  • ODANs will make up 7% of the trips (Up in number, down in positions)
  • Red eyes will make up 3% of the trips (Up)
  • 20% of the trips have sit time of more than 2+30 hours.
  • Rockets and pink eyes will make up less than 1% of our trips.

The 1-days still have a significant number of 4 legs. Be careful when bidding; some of the turns are released after midnight. These 1-days will not populate as 1-days, they will come up as two (2) calendar days with one (1) duty period. In order for a 1-day to be productive, they want it to have at least 5 hours of hard time. Given our geographic location, we have more short-haul flights. This is why we have more 4-leg/1-days than other bases. They continue to do nothing about the sit times in between the turns. There are some really easy 1-day turns that depart at all times of the day. There are only a few of them each day, and they seem to be related to the weekly schedule, schedule changes, and days of the week. These are the leftover flights that couldn’t be built into another trip.

The 2-day trips have the same amount as the last few months, but the 2/3 days have grown to 17%. This is something we have been warning about for over a year. We now have 20% of our trips with these whole day sits in the middle. These trips allow scheduling to use these crews in rescheduling events and they pay less than a traditional 3 or 4 day. If a reserve is given a whole month of these, their ability to break guarantee is affected and limits their earning power. These trips are popular but when one type of trip gets out of control, it throws off the balance. It wasn’t that long ago when we had to put limits on how many 4 days can be constructed. You are actually working more days for less money and the company frequently violates the rescheduling language to cover other flying.

There are more 3-day trips as the system tries to build more flying into the trips. This is where we see the most sit time and 4 legs built in (Outside of the 4 leg 1 days). These have become the workhorse trips for the company. There are still plenty of the 2/3 days with 25-to-30-hour layovers, but the pay is less because you only work two duty periods. The departure times on the 3 days vary and make them more favorable to the commuters. We are operating our full summer schedule of IPD flights including LHR out of RDU. Please be careful when bidding, many of our RDU flight attendants like to enjoy flying other trips during the summer. This puts a strain of the staffing to cover the RDU trip. Only bid this if you intend to fly it; there are no sick calls out of the satellite, and when open time is created, the RDU Flight Attendants have to cover it. If you get the message that this is a satellite trip, “are you sure”, don’t ignore it. We are getting more reports that people accidentally pick these trips up and then try to drop them. If you do get one of these trips, remember that RDU is only 2 hours down the road. We have had a few people who have flown these trips and enjoyed them enough to bid on them and make the drive every week.

The 4-day trips have a few that are commutable on the front end, but the overall commutability has gone down. The 3/4 days are all commutable but are worth less than the traditional 4 days.

The ODANs went down if you look at number of positions, but up in the number of actual trips. Most of the cuts coming at the end of the month when we reduce the banks on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There are still some 3-day ODANs. Be careful bidding generically, there are still some one days that will populate as ODANs because they release after midnight. Avoid city or prefer landing can eliminate these.

We still have a healthy number of Red Eyes, but they continue to be a problem. We are seeing the 21-hour layovers coming back and they are insisting on putting in turns before the flight out to the coast. We have seen the SEA Red Eye break several times a week because of a delay to the SEA flight. This has led to crew/trip swaps because of the staffing shortage. They continue to make turns before the Red Eye because of the productivity factor and an aversion to soft time, even when it creates larger problems in actual operations.

The Bullets and Pink eyes are the same and only have the usual mid-con cities.


August 2024 Bidding Timelines

This has been one of the busiest summers we have ever had. The company knew there would be challenges in making it work. It should not surprise anyone that what is happening has reached a breaking point. Our passengers see it also. Passenger complaints are skyrocketing, and they are backed up two months after processing the complaints (Maybe that department is also understaffed). Many Flight Attendants have said they are sick of apologizing for management’s failure to prepare for this schedule. Catering is now dictating our service standards; they have created “light catering” when the flight is scheduled for a full beverage service. Why? Perhaps the staffing problems extend into catering? Perhaps they didn’t order enough supplies or have enough trucks? We know scheduling can’t handle things because of staffing. The Charlotte airport has always been crowded, but this summer we actually see the crowds at a standstill at certain choke points in the airport. We were used to seeing a technology breakdown about every 3 months, now we expect to see them weekly. What doesn’t surprise anyone is the way the company is handling the meltdown. Our monocular visioned management continues on a path of excessive discipline where the front-line employees have become the scapegoat for management mishaps. You now have to document everything to protect yourself or you are held accountable. You are guilty before you even came to work, you have no assumption of innocence, but rather an assumption of guilt. Discipline will solve everything.

Accountability starts at the top. We know they don’t subscribe to this. With the fragile schedule they have built, we have to remind them that reliability also starts at the top.

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

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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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