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Vacation Buy Back Explained

Date: October 29, 2020

We have received questions from many of you asking for an explanation as to why Vacation Buy Back shall not be utilized during a Flight Attendant furlough as set forth in Section 12.D.7. of the Contract.  The short and simple answer is this; not using vacation buy back preserves jobs.  

The greater the amount of Vacation “sold back” through Vacation Buy Back, the fewer vacation days will be included in the monthly schedule, and, as a consequence, the number of Flight Attendants needed to fly those schedules is reduced.

On October 13, prior to the Vacation Election process closing on October 15th, we communicated about this.  At that time, the Payroll Support Program was still unresolved; had we received an extension, Flight Attendants would have been recalled from furloughs and the Vacation Buy Back would have moved forward.  Between the close of the Election process on October 15th and the opening of the first Vacation bid period on October 23rd, the company needed to make a decision about how many days to allocate and make available for bidding at each base.  When it became clear that the CARES Act extension would not be in place when first round vacation bidding opened, backing out the Vacation Buy Back days became necessary.

Keep in mind, in addition to Vacation Buy Back, the options of Advanced or Operational Vacation Fly Through will be available and these provide options on a month-to-month basis to determine if having the time off, or having additional income available is your priority.

2021 Flight Attendant Vacation Timeline

Vacation Timeline



Open Vacation Election Period

By September 25


Close Election Period

On October 15

0800 HDT

Begin First Vacation Bid Period

By October 23


Close First Vacation Bid Period

On October 31

0800 HDT

Post First Vacation Awards

By November 4


Begin Second Vacation Bid Period

By November 8


Close Second Vacation Bid Period

On November 16

0800 HDT

Post Second Vacation Awards

By November 20


Vacation Allocations Published

By November 24


Trades Awarded by Seniority

On November 30


Final Vacation Allocations Published

By December 4


Instant Trading Open

On December 5



For additional information regarding 2021 Vacation bidding reference the 2021 vacation page on Unitedafa.org. 

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