Mixed Pairings-APR19 Bid
The AFA Master Executive Council was recently informed by Inflight management that they are planning to build trips (pairings), starting with the APR19 bid, that will contain both E-175 and Q 400 flying. There may be delays with the timeline, but the current plan is to start using mixed pairings in April bid.
Your AFA MEC Scheduling Chair, Callie von Borstel, and LEC 17 Scheduling Committee Chair member, Peter Oxentenko, are currently working on mixed pairing solutions within the current bid(s) and past bids as a test. Testing mixed pairings within existing and past bids allows us a better understanding of the effects, if any, on overall domicile line credit values, aircraft swaps, duty time, and layovers (rest). Undergoing these test solutions is time consuming and involves many factors within the pairing optimizer. Once our AFA mixed pairing testing is complete your MEC should have a greater understanding of the overall result/impact per domicile.
As Inflight management moves forward with their plan of mixed pairings for the April bid they have assured us there will be many opportunities for those who do not regularly fly a specific aircraft type to reacquaint themselves before the April bid. We are not sure of the avenue(s) management may take in this regard, but they will outline a plan soon for distribution and implementation.
Mixed pairings can create greater efficiencies in scheduling of a flight attendant’s time given that there is greater opportunity for the scheduling software to develop trips from the number of flights available. This can have a positive affect for Flight Attendants, as it lowers trip sit times, decreases the number of DH’s, and other operational inconveniences that may impact your flying. Mixed pairings also increase flight attendant productivity which can translate into overall cost savings for the Company.
In our opinion there are also draw backs to mixed pairings. Flight Attendants who prefer a specific aircraft type may not be able to choose pairings without both aircraft types on his/her line, depending on seniority. We are also concerned that credit values, duty times, and layover (rest) as well as aircraft swaps, may be impacted. Your MEC scheduling chair will be looking at this very closely, domicile by domicile during the trip build test period. Remember it is the utmost importance that you do not rush and take the time to be safe when switching back and forth between equipment types on mixed pairing trips. Mistakes can happen when there is pressure to minimize a negative impact of departure times with aircraft swaps.
As a reminder, all Horizon Flight Attendants are qualified on both aircraft types in our current fleet and our collective bargaining agreement does not preclude trips that contain both aircraft types. However, we do have language that limits aircraft swaps. As we work through the AFA mixed pairings test builds, we will have a better understanding of the impacts and will work with inflight management to minimize those impacts to the greatest extent possible. Please reach out to your local officers if you have questions regarding your domicile and mixed pairings. Information on who your local officers may be found on www.afahorizon.org.
Thank you for reading and staying informed.