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22 minutes ago, torqued said:

If there is a correlation between line bidding and being vulnerable to furlough, how would you reconcile that the big airlines which have furloughed and/or declared bankruptcy use PBS while airlines which have never furloughed use line bidding?

You answer this question below. My broader point was that I'm not against things that make the company more efficient (financially successful) because the more successful the company is, the less likely I am to get furloughed. PBS is just one way a company can become more efficient. And, it gives me more control over my schedule. Win win.

I believe a company's financial health has more to do with it's business model, strategic plan, and quality of management than the different methods by which the same flying schedule is executed. If the company has an apple at the beginning of the month, is it better for them to turn their back, peel it, slice it, and distribute the different pieces among the pilots... or is it better for them to simply hand the apple to the pilots? Opinions vary depending somewhat on your idea of fairness.

Not sure what you are getting at with the apple. 

Now things have changed, but many pilots who have been in the industry a while are not looking at Delta captains with a longing gaze as they remember, circa 2005, when thousands of Delta captains had multi-million dollar retirement accounts wiped out for pennies on the dollar.

I said "our 30-year captains" which was dumb, because I didn't say where I work. I meant AA captains. But the point stands for other examples. Unions prevent us from being able to go to another airline without a massive financial penalty. Pros and cons.

 

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28 minutes ago, torqued said:

If there is a correlation between line bidding and being vulnerable to furlough, how would you reconcile that the big airlines which have furloughed and/or declared bankruptcy use PBS while airlines which have never furloughed use line bidding?

When I was furloughed by my airline... both times... they were line bidding. So I’d say your theory is false. 

A strong airline needs to be profitable. Efficiency aids that profitability. If we only need 1000 pilots to meet flying within the limits of the collective bargaining agreement, I don’t believe we should have 1200 pilots. That doesn’t help. 

From what I’ve seen, the bigger problem in this industry are Captains that just don’t give a shit. They are wasteful. And they do nothing to engage with the people that get me my salary. They just don’t get it. 

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16 minutes ago, Lord Ratner said:

You answer this question below. My broader point was that I'm not against things that make the company more efficient (financially successful) because the more successful the company is, the less likely I am to get furloughed. PBS is just one way a company can become more efficient. And, it gives me more control over my schedule. Win win.

Not sure what you are getting at with the apple. 

I said "our 30-year captains" which was dumb, because I didn't say where I work. I meant AA captains. But the point stands for other examples. Unions prevent us from being able to go to another airline without a massive financial penalty. Pros and cons.

Roger. But I would counter that if PBS makes a weak company strong, larger more important problems lie elsewhere. Looking at the historical data, fundamentally strong companies have not required PBS to grow and increase profitability.

Let's say, for argument's sake, PBS gives a pilot more control over his schedule. You're also saying PBS is also more efficient for the company. That has to mean more productivity per unit of labor. In other words, employees are required to work more. So yes, if I were to concede (which I'm not 😄 ) a pilot may have somewhat greater control, but it would be over more required work.

The apple was a poor analogy to the monthly schedule. I'm abandoning it. 

28 minutes ago, HuggyU2 said:

When I was furloughed by my airline... both times... they were line bidding. So I’d say your theory is false. 

A strong airline needs to be profitable. Efficiency aids that profitability. If we only need 1000 pilots to meet flying within the limits of the collective bargaining agreement, I don’t believe we should have 1200 pilots. That doesn’t help. 

From what I’ve seen, the bigger problem in this industry are Captains that just don’t give a shit. They are wasteful. And they do nothing to engage with the people that get me my salary. They just don’t get it. 

As above, line bidding was likely not the cause of the furlough. Just because a company failed during line bidding doesn't mean it's a fantastic business model under PBS. You're right about the number of pilots. Why not require an even fewer number of pilots to fly a schedule every month that will max out thier FAR work/rest limits for the benefit of the company? Blaming fellow pilots for the woes of the industry? That's a conversation better had on your union message board. Just kidding! Don't ever do that!

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I think I work pretty hard already. I’m not really willing to be more productive just so my company (which makes a BILLION dollars a quarter in PROFITS) can be that much more efficient. I’ll concede that PBS may be workable, and even preferable to some at many airlines.  I don’t work for an airline though.  I work for a trucking company that happens to run an airline and tends to view me as an overpaid hourly that should be frisked every time I leave the property just in case I’m stealing toilet paper from the lav. Our lines are constructed with many night hub turns and often have us flipping between those and second day air (day flying) over the course of a trip. Better schedules are a non starter during negotiations with this company which fought hard to keep us out of Part 117 because apparently freight pilots are unaffected by scientifically proven rest and circadian requirements. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great job. One of the best in the industry. But it’s great because of the many benefits that our union has negotiated and protected, one of which is is the ability to turn vacation or training events into much needed additional opportunities to rest. 

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11 hours ago, Lord Ratner said:

And before someone calls me anti-union (I am), I'm a volunteer in mine. It's the way it is, so I will do my best to support it. But unions are also why our 30-year captains can only look at Delta's profit sharing with a longing gaze instead of jump ship and reap the benefits. Everything has a cost.

Leaves non-union gig for cushy, higher paying/less working union gig...is anti-union.  🤣 Mostly messing with you Ratner, but I'm quite surprised by the amount of anti-union guys I've ran into, almost all of which seem to be former mil. 

 

6 hours ago, HuggyU2 said:

He said his ability to get specific days off is reduced, and that finding a trip without a one-day and without a redeye was difficult.

This was my heart burn with LOT.  There would be a few good lines, a few more REALLY shitty lines, then the vast majority of the lines were just OK and often spread the crap evenly.  I'm 91% in my seat and I finish a trip tomorrow and don't go back to work until after the new year (though a 42 hour 3-day will be tough to pass as long as I can still make the family shindig).  This is all based on my regularly awarded lines for each month.  

I do like the idea of how quickly the schedules were released with LOT.
 

3 hours ago, Prozac said:

...one of which is is the ability to turn vacation or training events into much needed additional opportunities to rest. 

If your union negotiates that, you can still have this with PBS.  But ya, I wouldn't switch to PBS unless you kept trips touching or the sweet ass deal UPS has wrt 2 weeks vacation in one month. 

 

No matter what side you like better, these are some good discussions for all the dudes looking to make to jump to the airlines. 

Edited by SocialD
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Why would that be surprising? Like so many things, unions have outlived their utility. They were great in the era of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Now? Not so much.

 

But I have no choice in the matter, all airlines are union, so I will do what I can to keep mine functional.

 

I'm against socialism too, but I joined the military. The more you develop your beliefs, the harder it is to adhere to them in an imperfect world.

 

Agreed though, this is a very good conversation.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lord Ratner said:

Why would that be surprising? Like so many things, unions have outlived their utility. They were great in the era of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Now? Not so much.

Why do you think they're not so great?  Do you believe that we would continue to have many of the contractual items that make our QOL so nice?  Tomorrow I get to rest in an actual bunk, rather than the 1st class seat right in front of the mid galley (banging carts/dishes) that the company fought hard for us to use.   On my next trip I'll get to enjoy using KCM to go to work.  I'm certain we'd lose many of our contractual flight duty period limitations.  Hell management applied for an exemption so they could block us up to 9+45 hours (2 pilot), until the union found the filling on the web.  It caught the company with their pants down and they quickly retracted it.  I'm also guessing that section 1 would be completely dismantled ASAP. 

I'm all for helping the company run an efficient operation, but we're running pretty damn good and giving back Billions to shareholders.  IMHO this gig wouldn't be anywhere near as nice if our unions go away.  I have friends who have worked for non-union operators in this industry and it isn't pretty.  I'm guessing the UPS guys are extremely happy they have IPA.  Having done union work as well, I'm damn glad we have a union.  Glad to hear you're doing what you can to help as well.

Edited by SocialD
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I'm against socialism too, but I joined the military..
 
 

One of the most socialist organizations in the government?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Why do you think they're not so great?  Do you believe that we would continue to have many of the contractual items that make our QOL so nice?  Tomorrow I get to rest in an actual bunk, rather than the 1st class seat right in front of the mid galley (banging carts/dishes) that the company fought hard for us to use.   On my next trip I'll get to enjoy using KCM to go to work.  I'm certain we'd lose many of our contractual flight duty period limitations.  Hell management applied for an exemption so they could block us up to 9+45 hours (2 pilot), until the union found the filling on the web.  It caught the company with their pants down and they quickly retracted it.  I'm also guessing that section 1 would be completely dismantled ASAP. 
I'm all for helping the company run an efficient operation, but we're running pretty damn good and giving back Billions to shareholders.  IMHO this gig wouldn't be anywhere near as nice if our unions go away.  I have friends who have worked for non-union operators in this industry and it isn't pretty.  I'm guessing the UPS guys are extremely happy they have IPA.  Having done union work as well, I'm damn glad we have a union.  Glad to hear you're doing what you can to help as well.
In short, yes, I think we'd have those things, or some other mixture of perks. You think the highly skilled employees at Amazon and Google are languishing away under harsh work conditions because they have no union? When your talent is free to leave to better compensating employers, you need to compensate better. Unions make it easy for many to do nothing and reap the benefits of the few that bust their ass negotiating, but it also traps us at a certain company, and delays improvements until the contract is up for negotiation.

It's a logical fallacy to assume we only have the things we do because of a union. That doesn't mean there aren't benefits, but way too many things are attributed to unions in the airlines in my opinion. We're not grocery baggers. Our skill set is in high demand and limited in supply.

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In short, yes, I think we'd have those things, or some other mixture of perks. You think the highly skilled employees at Amazon and Google are languishing away under harsh work conditions because they have no union? When your talent is free to leave to better compensating employers, you need to compensate better. Unions make it easy for many to do nothing and reap the benefits of the few that bust their ass negotiating, but it also traps us at a certain company, and delays improvements until the contract is up for negotiation.

It's a logical fallacy to assume we only have the things we do because of a union. That doesn't mean there aren't benefits, but way too many things are attributed to unions in the airlines in my opinion. We're not grocery baggers. Our skill set is in high demand and limited in supply.


No, but the rank and file Amazonians are toiling away. It sucks to be a picker. Or even a floor manager. Not everyone gets the Tony Carr job.

It is even worse for all the Amazon version of TCNs...the third company employees who don’t get $15/hr or any benefits to work just as hard as throes getting that cash. Speaking of $15/hr...the rank and file lost their “pay” of shares when Amazon went to the new $15/hr. They’re actually making less now but it looks better.

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10 hours ago, SocialD said:

Why do you think they're not so great?  Do you believe that we would continue to have many of the contractual items that make our QOL so nice?  Tomorrow I get to rest in an actual bunk, rather than the 1st class seat right in front of the mid galley (banging carts/dishes) that the company fought hard for us to use.   On my next trip I'll get to enjoy using KCM to go to work.  I'm certain we'd lose many of our contractual flight duty period limitations.  Hell management applied for an exemption so they could block us up to 9+45 hours (2 pilot), until the union found the filling on the web.  It caught the company with their pants down and they quickly retracted it.  I'm also guessing that section 1 would be completely dismantled ASAP. 

I'm all for helping the company run an efficient operation, but we're running pretty damn good and giving back Billions to shareholders.  IMHO this gig wouldn't be anywhere near as nice if our unions go away.  I have friends who have worked for non-union operators in this industry and it isn't pretty.  I'm guessing the UPS guys are extremely happy they have IPA.  Having done union work as well, I'm damn glad we have a union.  Glad to hear you're doing what you can to help as well.

I think it's a matter of strength of union and work rules.

You work for an airline with a contract that is decent and management / middle management / scheduling that doesn't openly hate you.

APA is not a union.  They're a widebody CA protection group. The work rules are protected only by FAR 117, beyond that, it's mostly a scheduling free for all or "not implemented yet" (after 6 years) or "IT issues" for stuff that would help the pilots.

From this perspective, I absolutely agree with Ratner on this. Without unions artificially propping up the weak sisters whose only accomplishment is to be hired first, the strong would thrive and the weak would be gone.  Some of the nonsensical language this group agreed to often makes me wonder if we'd be better off without any union at all.  Because when you call the company on their BS, the union's response is typically "we asked and they said no" or "fly it and we'll grieve it later" or "sorry but there's no language for that."

If we had a union that could actually stand up to the company (as opposed to being in bed with them as a flow-thru program to management positions), it might seem worth it.

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On 12/19/2018 at 11:44 AM, HuggyU2 said:

I'll admit that it seems that the System Scheduling Committee should work harder to push the company to build better lines, and that I was at a loss to understand why it couldn't be much better.

Found the reason.....

This is another example of why it's difficult to have a generic PBS vs Line discussion across airlines and the industry in general.  There are way too many nuances associated with a particular airline's schedule structure, trips, fly window and contract.

At FedEx, the pilots build the lines.  The company builds the trips, gives the scheduling committee the opportunity to ID problem trips, get them changed and then the build begins.  Who better to understand what is going to work best than the pilots in each fleet who will fly those lines.  I'd probably have the same complaints as that AS Captain if I relied on people who've never flown an airline schedule to build them for me.

There's a very simple solution to his woes but it will have to get by the "we've always done it this way" crowd.

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On 12/19/2018 at 10:24 PM, Lord Ratner said:

In short, yes, I think we'd have those things, or some other mixture of perks. You think the highly skilled employees at Amazon and Google are languishing away under harsh work conditions because they have no union? When your talent is free to leave to better compensating employers, you need to compensate better. Unions make it easy for many to do nothing and reap the benefits of the few that bust their ass negotiating, but it also traps us at a certain company, and delays improvements until the contract is up for negotiation.


It's a logical fallacy to assume we only have the things we do because of a union. That doesn't mean there aren't benefits, but way too many things are attributed to unions in the airlines in my opinion. We're not grocery baggers. Our skill set is in high demand and limited in supply.

Ya, I don't compare myself to other industries because it's a massively different dynamic and set of nuances.  I guess if I were going to look at another industry I would also look at the Maritime industry and see how that has worked out for the American worker.  In their case, only the Jones act has saved what is left, and even that is under attack.  But again, lots of different dynamics. 

I don't disagree about our inability to change between airlines, but I don't see that changing if unions were eliminated because you'd still have to contend with seniority issues wrt to basing and upgrade.  F/As have no union, yet have the same issues and get treated infinitely worse than us.  How do we decide on schedules, upgrades, etc....merit, the pilot willing to fly more overtime for single pay, the pilot who has the biggest kneepads?  That seems to be working out well for the AF right now.

I'm certain of one thing, DAL management would be salivating over the idea of no union on property.  They've already stated that if they could, DAL pilots would be flying about half as much of our current international flying.  If that were to happen, I'm guessing our hiring woes would be solved overnight for at least the next decade.  Along with slashing our section 1, I can see them dismantling many of our QOL items yet still be able to make it bearable.   IMHO (which isn't worth much), we'd lose big on QOL and pay and only potentially gain the ability to move between airlines.  By chance, did you go to B school?  Either way, interesting discussion. 

 

On 12/20/2018 at 8:44 AM, Buddy Spike said:

I think it's a matter of strength of union and work rules.

You work for an airline with a contract that is decent and management / middle management / scheduling that doesn't openly hate you.

Openly is a relative term.  Fighting to force us into shittier rest facilities.  Building trips in the quest to cut credit, with zero regard to fatigue.  Attempting to completely disregard the contract.  Trying to readjust profit sharing rules so they can take management bonus money from the PS pool, also lets me know how they feel.  Many have been squashed by then union, while some still need work.   

 

Quote

APA is not a union.  They're a widebody CA protection group. The work rules are protected only by FAR 117, beyond that, it's mostly a scheduling free for all or "not implemented yet" (after 6 years) or "IT issues" for stuff that would help the pilots.

Imagine if we weren't governed by an archaic and extremely employer friendly law called the Railway Labor act and we could more freely exercise even the most basic form of self help.   Many places do have protections over and above FAR 117, just because APA is faltering doesn't mean unions are useless.  Protecting WB CA spots is huge with respect to jobs and will always be a fight worth fighting.  That said, the work rules need to be good for the entire work group.  Remember that WB CA spots at AAL make up < 10% of the pilot group...you can easily out vote that demographic.  If your union isn't listening to the majority, it's time for a change.

 

Quote

From this perspective, I absolutely agree with Ratner on this. Without unions artificially propping up the weak sisters whose only accomplishment is to be hired first, the strong would thrive and the weak would be gone.  Some of the nonsensical language this group agreed to often makes me wonder if we'd be better off without any union at all.  Because when you call the company on their BS, the union's response is typically "we asked and they said no" or "fly it and we'll grieve it later" or "sorry but there's no language for that."

I don't disagree with you there, I briefly worked for AAL and saw that act when they wouldn't adjust our pay dates to align with the USAir hired guys that were in our very own indoc class.  However, the union does so much more than just the bullshit politics you see.  If you want change, start a grass roots effort.  You're airline is about to go through a massive transformation in age demographics over the next decade with LOTS of young blood.  Reach out to IPA for some lessons...while their contract isn't perfect, those dudes have a good idea of what it means to run a union.

 

Quote

If we had a union that could actually stand up to the company (as opposed to being in bed with them as a flow-thru program to management positions), it might seem worth it.

Again, we're cut off at the knees by the Railway Labor Act.  It's a relic that needs some serious updating to allow some basic forms of self-help, short of a full blown strike.  As it's written now, we're hamstrung by this employer friendly law.  Our effort should be more focused on changing the law, not getting rid of the union.    

UPDATE:

Just learned about another employer friendly section of the RLA.  We must file a grievance within 120 days of the issue, but the company has no requirement on their response time...Awesome!     

Edited by SocialD
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Can anyone explain the differences between line bidding and PBS to an idiot like myself?  Pretend like you're explaining it to a 5th grader.  Examples would be great.

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50 minutes ago, BADFNZ said:

Can anyone explain the differences between line bidding and PBS to an idiot like myself?  Pretend like you're explaining it to a 5th grader.  Examples would be great.

Those are methods for getting a monthly airline schedule.

A "line" is a month's (typically) worth of trips.  When someone talks about a "line" they are usually referring to actual trips all month.  There are also "lines" of reserve "on call" days but those usually aren't referred to in the same context as "holding a line" - which means you can avoid reserve and actually go fly regularly for the month.

So - line bidding means that someone (union pilots, company workers, a combination) builds schedules using a series of individual trips that have already been constructed before they get put into lines.  They do the same thing with schedules of reserve days.  This is done for every aircraft type and each seat in that aircraft.  Enough schedules (of both flying and reserve) are built so that there are enough for almost every pilot in whatever aircraft and seat they fly.  So, the 767 Captains in a particular base can look at their February bid pack and see each individual flying line and reserve line available to them.  The #1 seniority pilot picks first and so on.  Once the schedules are awarded in seniority order, everyone has their schedule except for maybe 5-20% of the pilots in each fleet/seat (depending on airline).  Those who don't are the ones who couldn't hold one of the pre-set schedules or chose not to.  Their schedules (typically called secondary lines) will be determined later once the line holders and reserve pilot's schedules have dealt with known conflicts between trips or reserve days and other events like mil leave, recurrent training, vacation and conflicts with trips from the current month carrying over into the new month for which they just bid.  The unassigned trips and reserve days that results from those conflicts will be built into new schedules for those 5-20% of the pilots still waiting for their schedules using inputs for what they want (again in seniority order) that they give to the planners.

PBS is essentially the secondary process I just described for the 5-20% applied to the entire pilot group.  The flying and reserve days are not built into pre-determined lines (schedules).  As a result, the schedules are built to avoid conflicts from the start and there is no need for the secondary process I described above.  This is obviously more efficient and requires fewer pilots overall.  Instead, everyone inputs their desires for types of trips, days on, days off, reserve if they want it, etc.  The schedules are then built using a program that considers seniority, pilot's inputs, FAR legality, contractual rules such as minimum days off, etc.  The key driver, as always, is seniority.  The number one guy gets pretty much what he asks for as long as it's legal with the FARs and contract.  The guys at the bottom get what's left. 

You've probably read the pros/cons of each system and the various opinions of each, so I won't go into that again.

Edited by JeremiahWeed
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Mostly what Weed said.  Line bidding has a packet of pre-built monthly schedules.  Then you just rank order the lines and they award them down the list.

PBS - you put in your preferences and and the system builds you a line.   What weed said about it avoiding conflicts is true, but it is a contractual thing.  You most certainly CAN have conflict bidding with PBS but most do not right now based on current contracts.  An example my monthly bid looks something like this....

Set condition to min credit

Prefer off Saturdays

Prefer off 17Jan, 18Jan, 19Jan

Avoid if layover in GRU, LOS

Avoid if layover >48 hours

Avoid if trip length > 6 days

Award if HNL limit 1

Award if 4-day if DH day if layover in AMS

Award if 3-day if layover in AMS

Award if layover in FCO

 

PBS will then start at the top and try to honor every possible line from top to bottom.  Even at 90% in my category I can generally build a line within the parameters I ask for...for example in December I was able to build a line that gave me from 20Dec to 31Dec off and gave me the layovers I wanted.  Some months are better than others.   

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So why do people not like PBS (so I've read)?  It seems like a nice ability to list all of your desired trip criteria, then get some % of your list based on seniority.  Seems like it allows for more customizability of trips vs. having to choose between pre-determined, monthly schedules, though it does seem like more up front effort required.

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"I turned down 100 grand because their bidding wasn't [line/PBS]"...said no one, ever.

 

just saying. It reminds me of my back and forth I have with other airplane owners when it comes to Lycoming vs Continental (for the record, go Lyco!). It's a captive audience argument, since in order to get the airplane you want you have to accept the engine they come with (on the non-experimental side of the hobby at least) or just do without. Ditto for these airline considerations. You can't cherry pick it, so why cry over spilt milk. But maybe I'm wrong, and there are folks out there who wouldn't apply to an airline because it has PBS (the one usually hated more, anecdotally at least).

Edited by hindsight2020

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Personally I like PBS. I don't have to browse a bunch of lines.. I just tell it what I want, and make it less restrictive for the next bid, and so forth. Sometimes a few gems will fall through the cracks.

But, I just trade into what I want if I don't like it anyway. 

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1 hour ago, hindsight2020 said:

"I turned down 100 grand because their bidding wasn't [line/PBS]"...said no one, ever.

^^^^ This ^^^^

There are way too many variables to have a discussion across airline borders.  I can tell you why I don't want it and why it would diminish QOL and QO-Schedules for the mid-level to junior pilots at FedEx if we accepted PBS.  But that doesn't mean most pilots at Delta or AA aren't happy and getting schedules they like using it.

Where it really matters is if you're working somewhere and the powers that be are considering going from line bidding to PBS (it never, ever will go the other way.... so that tells you a little something 😉).  In that case and if you have a vote in the decision, it would be important for you to understand what the ramifications of that change would truly mean to your scheduling process, manning, etc.  Lots of moving parts, different labor contracts, different PBS software, different programming and the end result may be very, very different at Airline X even though all the guys from Airline Y are here on baseops singing the praises of PBS.  Most of the bigs have already made the move, so it's probably not a high threat scenario, generally speaking.

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17 hours ago, brabus said:

So why do people not like PBS (so I've read)?  It seems like a nice ability to list all of your desired trip criteria, then get some % of your list based on seniority.  Seems like it allows for more customizability of trips vs. having to choose between pre-determined, monthly schedules, though it does seem like more up front effort required.

Where the "hate" comes from is the fact that most places that have switched to PBS have also given up conflict bidding.  Line/conflict bidding is HIGHLY inefficient, which is a good thing for pilots.  Some guys also don't like the uncertainty of PBS, whereas with line bidding, even if you don't know which line you'll get, you likely have a good idea of what the line will look like.  If I were at a place with line bidding, I wouldn't want to transition to PBS unless conflict bidding stayed.  I most definitely wouldn't pick my job based on line vs PBS bidding....and again, what Weed said. 

 

Edited by SocialD

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