ckfred wrote:A friend of mine has been a pilot with AA for more than 25 years. I think the bid sheets for any given month come out around the middle of the prior month. Pilots have 5 to 7 days to submit the lines they would like to fly. So, if you are very, very senior on your aircraft type at your base, you might only submit a few lines, knowing that you will get one of those lines. If you are typically flying reserve, you might submit a number of lines, knowing that you probably won't get a line with a schedule.
Proposed schedules come out around the 20th of the prior month. Normally, the proposed schedule that a pilot receives is the schedule he flies. There might be changes, if American makes changes between the 20th and the end of a month. Pilots can also try to drop a trip or pick up a trip.
The fact that it became public knowledge of the scheduling issue on November 29 is putting AA in a bind, because it's 9 days after the proposed schedules were sent to pilots. To rebid the month would be very difficult.
What has me scratching my head is the fact that a number of lines would have flying throughout the month. Years ago, my friend used to fly to the Caribbean out of the ORD crew base. If he had solely 3-days trips in a month, he would have had 4 trips, each starting on the same day of the week. So, getting a schedule with only 3 trips, when the lines he bid had 4 trips would have caught his attention.
Here comes the problem with reserves. They can get maxed out around the holidays. Once, I was flying ORD-ATL on December 26th. The MD-80 arrived from STL, and the captain was unable to fly because of hourly limits. The problem was that ORD had no more reserve pilots. The captain schedule to fly to ATL was deadheading from DFW, and that flight was running about 10 minutes late. Couple that with the captain needing to check in at Ops before walking down to K1, and our flight wound up 30 minutes late, despite it getting in from STL 15 minutes early.
Depending on how the 150% pay offer goes, AA could still burn through reserve pilots rather quickly.
The monthly scheduling process to which you refer is the old system. AA pilots now use preferential bidding, rather than traditional line bidding. Also, to answer another question, this system was implemented in the last year, so it is certainly post-merger. However, the problem had nothing to do with the monthly scheduling process, it was the trip-trading system that led to the problem. The window for modifying one's monthly schedule opened up on the morning of the 24th. The usual safeguards that protect holidays along with any other days that the company determines to be coverage critical were not in place, and the computer allowed the pilots to swap and drop trips at will. After a few hours had passed, someone in crew planning apparently saw what had happened and deactivated the trip trading system. Even though only a few hours had passed, the damage was done.