Right, I can tell you how it works at BA
, for Cabin Crew.
Shorthaul (called EuroFleet and covers all of UK+European operations):
Bidding system called Carmen. Allows crew member to vote for days off (10 days per month on a full time contract) as well as trips by destinations, time of day, lenght away from home etc... It is done on a point system rather than seniority. You can make as many bids as you like, giving 200 points to your most important bid and working down from there.
Generally very good.
Longhaul (called WorldWide and covers everything else on 777/747/767)
No bidding system as such, but part of Rostar implemented. You can request 2 consecutive days per months at home (UK request), and main crew can request a specific trip (by flight number and date) twice a year. 3x per year for Pursers, and 4x per year for Cabin Service Directors. You can also make trip requests with other fellow crew members to be on the same trip at a choosen time. The airline is flexible when changing certain trip (generally back 2 back East US Coast). ie: you could change a BWI
back 2 back to a JFK
back to back if it's available.
The system tries to give everybody a FAIR SHARE of work, again, not based on seniority. ie: all crew should get at least 1 long range, 1 back 2 back per month on a full time contract. And the system tries to avoid long time zone change. (ie: LAX
(-8) followed by NRT
Still seen as very restrictive, this system allows very little control over cabin crew rosters. It's long due for a change to bidding as is on EuroFleet.
! As you can see, both systems are not seniority based at all. Seniority comes in handy when booking your holidays rather than getting "good" trips at BA