Update on Minimum Reserve Levels and Impact on Trading
March 2, 2021
Over the course of the past several weeks, we’ve received a number of questions about the Reserve coverage levels that have been set by Crew Scheduling. More specifically, we’ve been asked why the levels are set as they are and when we might expect a loosening of the Reserve levels to increase flexibility in order to adjust our schedules.
Management has indicated that Flight Attendants should expect future minimum Reserve levels to be similar to the levels set for February and March. The previous minimum Reserve levels seen during the early days of the pandemic aren’t being viewed in the same light as current levels. As the airline schedule increases and, in some cases, instances of COVID-19 increase, the company seeks to ensure that adequate Reserve coverage is available to cover the operation without having to turn Reserves, assign Reserves into days off or to draft lineholders.
Section 8.J.1.d. of our Contract provides that the Crew Scheduling will determine minimum Reserve coverage by day and for the entire month. Some of the variables management considers when setting the levels include: special days during the month, including holidays; weekends; beginning and end of the month coverage; and, of course, flight schedule variations. Generally, more Flight Attendants are needed on weekends, holidays, special days (like St. Patrick’s Day), at the beginning and end of every month, and during periods of increased flying.
While the ability to adjust schedules through Reserve pool numbers and bad day/worse day trading are important tools to assist us in adjusting our schedule, Flight Attendants have other provisions in our Contract to attain the desired flexibility in their monthly schedules. Tools available to each Flight Attendant include unlimited Flight Attendant to Flight Attendant trading: unlimited Reserve to Reserve trading of days off; unlimited advertising trips; PTO; personal drops; and unlimited pick up of trips from advertisements.
These updated minimum Reserve levels are part of the “new normal” the Company communicated earlier this year in anticipation of a reduced population. We knew changes were coming. This particular change in minimum Reserve levels has arrived. Local Council Reserve Committees in conjunction with our MEC Reserve Committee will continue to monitor these levels and, where possible, will work to persuade management to consider alternate possibilities in order to address our overall quality of life.