Selling your trip isn’t the only way it can be “crewed”. These are high demand trips. You don’t need to sell them to ensure they are crewed.
Put aside the pay issue for a moment; vacations are on a seniority bid as well. Is it unfair that someone with 20 years bids for two weeks around Christmas that a junior person can’t hold, but then decides to release it in October, after the junior person who wanted it already exhausted their vacation accrual?
No, it’s “fair” per the contract. The senior person bid it, and for whatever reason, later decided they didn’t want it and dropped it. The same is taking place her on trips, but sometimes really desirable trips find junior people who couldn’t have held it asking to have it and making an arrangement with the holder who drops it to them. And again, in many cases it’s the junior people who cause this - they’ve always wanted a CDG layover, so they pay someone so they can take over that trip. Also, employees on probationary periods defined by hours worked will sometimes pay to pick up shifts/trips to get through it faster.
Point being, this wouldn’t exist if there weren’t a “market” demand for it. If the junior people stopped picking up trades, the sellers wouldn’t have anything to sell. We see it all the time on the agent side; people wanting to pick up hours need lots of trades when OT isn’t being offered, but when OT is plentiful, people pay others to pick up the shifts they no longer want to work.
Market economics at work. Like it or not, it’s fair per the contract and just how it works. The confiscatory rates being asked for are the only issue, but again it works both ways; I’ve heard of agents asking for really high payback terms when picking up the shift of someone desperate to drop it.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group