On Wednesday the 25th, Lee Wilkes, Diane Lyons, Breanne Martine, Mary Barnes, Becky Black and Bryan Henderson engaged in a meeting with company leadership in order to discuss how our monthly sessions with crew planning have enlightened us as to why are schedules are what they are. During our meetings with director of crew planning, Jim Schuck, we have collectively learned quite a bit about the pairing building process, from how they start as an assignment from AA and how they eventually end up in a line for our Flight Attendants. We explained that the communication from the company on these matters significantly helps us understand the reasoning behind our schedules and now that we know why certain things appear the way they do, we can work together to try and find solutions that will improve our efficiency and overall morale on the job.
To keep the communication open, we asked for further “sit-downs” with the company to work on on-going issues that arise. Deb Hoke agreed that we can have quarterly meetings. We have tentatively set dates for the rest of the year for these and hopefully this will be a positive experience during which we can address our concerns and continue to try and see improvements in areas that warrant them. As of now, the feedback from most of the Flight Attendants regarding the pairings had a common complaint-we do not like to start early and finish late on the last day. This is something we addressed during our first session with Jim and he did provide an answer as to why we are seeing this happen(included in a previous eline sent out regarding that meeting) but we brought it up to the company again in the hopes that we can try to find a solution for this that does not significantly reduce the block time for that pairing and overall the line.
We discussed the desire for more days off and while it is unlikely that we’ll see many lines with more days off simply based on the flying given to us, we stressed that even just a few more lines with 14-16 days could reward the senior bidders and also provide some variety among the lines, something we all could benefit from. We offered a solution to both inefficiency and potentially more days off but asking that CI days be used for more than just a roundtrip here and there. We’d like to see one Flight Attendant have a high-hour and thus high-paid trip during CI days and perhaps a different Flight Attendant having that day off, as opposed to both Flight Attendants working a low hour trip with sits or wasted time. Jim agreed to look into the CI days and if they can be modified. The scheduling committee will follow up on this at our next line review in February.
A concern from FAs based in outstations is the inability to split trips because the trip does not usually return to base until the last day. Deb responded that scheduling would likely allow splits and Flight Attendants picking up in outstations except too many situations where the Flight Attendant cannot get to the outstation and causes a canceled flight. We explained that a trip from CVG (for example) that goes into CLT should at least be allowed to be picked up by a Flight Attendant in CLT so that a partial swap of that kind could be allowed. She took down this information to look into it further.
Jim and Michael Scrobola shared with us that our crew planning department recently met with AA in Dallas in their efforts to build a rapport with AA. The stronger the working relationship between PSA and AA, the more leverage we have with being awarded certain flights that we need/want (i.e. we have the potential of gaining another originator in day and cvg which would help schedules there) so this is good news. AA is sending a full time schedule developer to act solely as a liaison between us and them who will help PSA with building the schedules from the flying AA gives to us. We asked that information such as this be given to us as soon as possible because as always solid communication helps in understanding and Jim set a goal of a monthly posting from his department that would talk about any new cities we gain, schedule development, objectives etc. He and Deb also agreed with us that some sort of Q and A session every now and then would be helpful as needed, so when you have questions that have not yet been answered regarding schedules we can get a response from the company. Please send those questions to Breanne@afapsa.org at any time. AFA will also ask for feedback periodically that we can use during our quarterly meetings.
Overall we feel the meeting went well in that we established a united front from AFA and represented all of the Flight Attendants working together for a common goal. The company takes notice when they see us all standing together and the management present seemed willing to work on each of our claims. We will continue to ensure they stand by their word.
Breanne Martine, AFA MEC Officers, and Scheduling Committee