Getting flown into your day off

This is the airline industry — getting reassigned, rerouted or flown into your day off happens. But it doesn’t have to “just happen.”

Without a contract, Delta management has total control to set the rules and change them on a dime in the actual operation – as many of us experienced over the Christmas, New Years, and even this weekend.  

That doesn’t happen with a Flight Attendant contract that covers reserve rules, lineholder reassignment, and lineholder reroute rules. All transparent, trackable, and they minimize schedule disruptions for Flight Attendants. When the operation is in meltdown, the contract gives schedulers clear rules to put it back together. When that includes getting flown into a day off or your next assignment, there are also pay penalties for the company and clear procedures that give Flight Attendants choice, pay, and some control in the reassignment process.

Let’s look at getting flown into your day off on a trip as a lineholder. With a contract, we would have very specific rules for how and when we could be extended and compensation for being flown into our day off.

Some contracts negotiated over decades have different sections with rules that work together, and requires reviewing each contract section to get the full picture. For example, you can see all the provisions that come into play to minimize or prevent a Flight Attendant from getting flown unnecessarily into a day off at Spirit Airlines. Working for an “ultra low cost carrier” (ULCC) doesn’t mean Flight Attendants can’t have clear protections. Check out this portion from the Spirit AFA Flight Attendant Contract where we can see the rules related to rescheduling, rerouting, and day off language in one place — Section 8: Scheduling, Q. Rescheduling/Rerouting:

Reroute/Reschedule is anytime a Flight Attendant is involuntarily assigned to an uncovered segment(s) or trip(s) or the original trip is modified. After the order of assignment in paragraph M. has been followed, Flight Attendants may be subject to Reroute/Reschedule in inverse seniority order away from base among Flight Attendants that are legal pursuant to the FARs and the Agreement, and available.

1. A Flight Attendant is entitled to schedule integrity which is defined as the right to fly his or her bid trip and not be rescheduled provided that his or her trip operates and he or she is legal to fly it.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph Q.1. above, in the absence of a Flight Attendant, an uncovered flight segment or trip may be filled by reassigning the most junior Flight Attendant who is already present at the airport or city in which the uncovered flight segment is scheduled, who is legal, qualified, and available to fly the uncovered flight segment or trip provided that:

a. There are no Ready Reserves available; and

b. There are no Reserve Flight Attendants available; or

c. If the Flight Attendant is present at the airport, and the uncovered segment or trip is scheduled to depart in less than two (2) hours. If the Flight Attendant is present in the city but not at the airport, the two (2) hour limitation does not apply. The new assignment must be scheduled to arrive no later than two (2) hours after the Flight Attendant’s original trip termination.

d. The assignment pursuant to this Section 8.Q.2 is made by positive Contact.

3. When assigning or rescheduling a Flight Attendant for uncovered segment(s) or trip(s), the following guidelines will be observed to the extent possible:

a. Restore the Flight Attendant to his or her original trip as soon as possible if economically and logistically feasible.

b. Assign the Flight Attendant to a segment(s) or trip which will return him or her closest to the return date/time of their original trip.

4. Only Crew Scheduling may initiate reroute/rescheduling calls. Crew Scheduling must make positive contact with the Flight Attendant to confirm the assignment. A Flight Attendant shall not be rerouted/rescheduled because he or she has contacted Crew Scheduling unless he or she was returning a call from Crew Scheduling. Crew Scheduling will leave a message for the Flight Attendant to notify him or her of a Reschedule/Reroute if the Flight Attendant is unable to be reached. The message will include the specifics of the Reschedule/Reroute.

5. A Flight Attendant may only be rerouted/rescheduled once per bid period and only five (5) times per year.

6. A Flight Attendant who is rerouted/rescheduled shall have an equal number of days off restored during the bid period or during the next bid period. The Flight Attendant shall receive pay and credit protection for the trip dropped due to day-off restoration. He or she may be subject to Time Recoverable provisions of paragraph N. of this Section.

7. Flight Attendants who are Rerouted/Rescheduled shall be compensated at one hundred fifty percent (150%) of their current hourly rate for all additional block hours flown.

Section 7: Hours of Service, D. Days Off

5. For the purpose of determining days off, if a flight is scheduled to terminate before 2400, and actually terminates after 0200 the Flight Attendant may designate when the lost day off shall be restored during the bid period subject to critical day considerations. The Flight Attendant shall receive pay and credit protection for the trip dropped due to day-off restoration. He or she may be subject to Time Recoverable provisions of Section 8.N.

Here's two more contract examples from United AFA and Endeavor AFA.

Order of Assignment is crucial in the operation, and it's why having and using A-Day Flight Attendants (or reserves) efficiently is important for every Flight Attendant on the line. Having a process in place also helps the company know what to do next. When management abandons processes like this during an operational meltdown it typically makes the situation worse because Flight Attendants aren’t scheduled properly or efficiently, or they get lost in the system.

Delta likes to claim that Flight Attendants at other airlines are subject to the same change of rules with the phrase “fly it and grieve it later” from schedulers — so there’s "no point" in having a contract. FALSE! First, if a Flight Attendant knows their contract, the scheduler doesn’t get away with this AND there’s a union rep to call and help intervene if necessary. In cases where there’s a scheduler that doesn’t understand the rules, that gets corrected so others aren’t subject to their lack of knowledge. A union Flight Attendant can also ask, “Are you giving me a direct order to fly and violate my contract?” This usually fixes the issue. In the rare case that a manager directs a crew to work a flight in violation of the contract there’s a corrective action that often includes pay, but definitely fixes the issue. You’re always better off with the contract.

ENDEAVOR: At Delta’a wholly-owned regional Endeavor, the AFA Flight Attendant contract has these protections in Section 5 – Scheduling, 5. Extensions:

b. A Flight Attendant is entitled to decline an extension assignment three (3) times in a calendar year, but no more than one (1) time in a Bid Month. The last available Flight Attendant may not decline an extension assignment; however, such a Flight Attendant will have the extension assignment paid at two hundred percent (200%) and shall not be deemed to have declined the extension.

c. A Flight Attendant will not be extended more than two (2) times in any month.

d. A Flight Attendant will not be extended to perform additional duties following a Continuous Duty Overnight, (aka “illegal,” “lean over,” “stand up” at mainline)

e. A Flight Attendant who is extended will be compensated at one hundred fifty percent (150%) of his/her applicable hourly pay rate, commencing with the first leg that operates one hours beyond his/her original trip. Such pay will be in addition to the Flight Attendant’s monthly guarantee.

Section 18 — Compensation, G. CANCELLATION AND REASSIGNMENT PAY

3. If, in actual operation, delays or cancellations cause a Flight Attendant to work into a scheduled day off, the Flight Attendant will be paid no less than one hundred fifty percent (150%) for all flying performed on the scheduled day off. The Flight Attendant will be released after the first flight that returns the Flight Attendant to his/her domicile.

UNITED: Under the United AFA Contract, SECTION 7 SCHEDULING, Q. Loss of Flight Time, 5. Reassignments which occur after leaving the Base will comply with the following:

a. If, after leaving her/his Base, a Flight Attendant loses a portion of a scheduled trip, she/he may be reassigned other flying provided the trip is scheduled to return the Flight Attendant to her/his Base within twelve hours (12:00) of her/his original scheduled arrival. The assignment cannot be scheduled to extend more than eight hours (8:00) into a Flight Attendant’s calendar day off.

b. If the reassigned trip causes a Flight Attendant to be on duty four hours (4:00) or more into the Flight Attendant’s calendar day off, or past midnight if her/his originally scheduled arrival time was 1900 local time or earlier, the Flight Attendant will have her/his day off restored through mutual arrangement with Scheduling or receive five hours (5:00) pay and credit in lieu of restoring the day off (providing she/he maintains the ten (10) day off minimum). Flight Attendants who are so reassigned to Domestic trips, shall receive $15.00 per hour and fraction thereof (prorated), in addition to their regular rate of pay, for all time on duty beyond the original scheduled arrival time of the trip lost.

R. Restoration of Days Off

1. A Flight Attendant who is entitled to restoration of a day(s) off and who declines payment for the day must be given the day off within ninety (90) days after the original day(s) was lost, on a regular scheduled work day(s). When there is a choice of days off to be restored, the restoration will be given on a day(s) mutually agreed upon by Scheduling and the Flight Attendant.

2. Restoration of a day(s) off during a multiple day pairing will be either the first or last day of the pairing subject to mutual agreement between the Flight Attendant and Scheduling. A Flight Attendant who desires a day off restored in the following bid period may also call Crew Scheduling during the ‘work with’ window on the 22nd day of the month, which is the day prior to the open time window opening to adjust her/his schedule. A Flight Attendant will receive pay and credit for the value of the flight time lost on the restored day(s). If a Flight Attendant must drop a multiple day pairing to restore a day(s) off, she/he will have the option of not accepting reassignment for the remainder of the dropped pairing. In this case the Flight Attendant will either have her/his guarantee reduced or receive her/his pay guarantee in accordance with Paragraph Q. Unless a Flight Attendant declines payment or will be unable to maintain her/his applicable day minimum, she/he will receive five hours (5:00) pay in addition to all other pay for the month in lieu of a restored day(s) off.

3. If the day being restored was a Reserve Flight Attendant’s Set day off, the restored day will likewise be Set. If the lost day off is not restored as provided above within ninety (90) days, the Flight Attendant will be paid five hours (5:00) pay in addition to all other pay for the month for the lost day off.

4. A Lineholder must have a minimum of ten (10) calendar days free from duty at her/his Base within each bid period, unless waived by the Flight Attendant per Section 6.Q.2. If in actual operations, the Flight Attendant works past midnight on her/his day off her/his schedule will be adjusted to restore the minimum day(s) off. If such rescheduling results in the substitution of pairing(s) of less scheduled flight time than the pairing dropped, or in dropping a pairing without substitution of another pairing, she/he will receive the scheduled flight time credit and pay of the pairing(s) dropped. A Flight Attendant may choose to be paid five hours (5:00) for the day off or have the day off restored within ninety (90) days per Paragraph 1 above.

I. Special Reserve Legalities, G. In blocks of days off other than the Set block of days off listed in Paragraph I.1.b. above, assignments for more than the first day off in a block of days off will be as follows:

(1). The Company will not assign a Reserve into her/his day(s) off if there is another Reserve in the Base who is legal and available to be assigned and able to report in accordance with the call-out procedures set forth in Paragraph K.2., below (including any Ready Reserve or Standby Reserve.)

(2). Assignments into the second or third days off will be pursuant to the order of assignment in The order of assignment among Reserves covered by Section 7.S.6. shall be as follows:

(a). Reserves volunteering to be assigned into two (2) or more days in a block of days off.

(b). A Reserve in time accrued order who will be assigned into two (2) or more days in a block of days off.

(3). When a Reserve is assigned to work into two (2) or more days in a block of days off, whether voluntary or involuntary, in addition to her/his regular pay, she/he will receive add pay equal to the actual value of the trip she/he flies.

SECTION 7 SCHEDULING, R. Restoration of Reserve Days Off

(1). When a Reserve is reassigned into a day(s) off, the day(s) off will be restored at the end of the block of days off; or

(2). Notwithstanding above Paragraph 8.I.1.a. above and Section 6.Q.1.b., if the day(s) off are at the end of the month and there are no days available to restore, they will be restored on the next Reserve availability days in the following month if the Flight Attendant is on Reserve, or the day(s) off will be restored according Section 7.R., Restoration of Days Off for Lineholders. The Company may not make assignments that would require more than two (2) days to be restored in the following month under the terms of this Paragraph.

(3). A Reserve may not be assigned into a day(s) off that has been restored.

S. Assignment of Open Pairings, Order of Assignment

  1. A Home Lineholder who desires to increase time. (picking up open flying)
  2. A Flight Attendant who has lost Flight Time (Subject to the provisions of Section 7.Q.)
  3. Lost a scheduled outbound flight or whose outbound flight is delayed such that she/he cannot connect to scheduled return flight
  4. Lost her/his flight or pairing and not cause her/him to be illegal for her/his next pairing
  5. Reassigned to restore calendar days off
  6. A Home Reserve Flight Attendant
  7. A Reserve picking up open flying
  8. Picking up once a month basis on days off (Section 8.L.) or
  9. Picking up open flying on scheduled days off in order to prevent drafting
  10. A Reserve assigned into her/his first day off in a block of days off – Section 8.I.1.f.
  11. A Reserve assigned into her/his second or third day off in a block of day off – Section 8.I.1.g Drafting
  12. The most junior home Flight Attendant who can work the flight and still be legal for her/his next scheduled pairing – time permitting.
  13. The most junior home Flight Attendant available.
  14. Any Flight Attendant legal for the flight in inverse order of seniority, if possible.

Let’s make 2022 the year we secure our union at Delta—sign your card, update your card, and join our campaign today. It's good for Flight Attendants, good for the company, and good for our future.