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Interaction of Guarantee and 71-Hour Minimum Revisited

Date: March 9, 2021

For the April schedule month, line averages may be higher in some locations, with a system-wide average expected somewhere in the 80-hour range driven in large part due to the number of Flight Attendants who have returned from furlough requiring CQ or RQ classes.  While the company has increased the number of classes, it may take several months to get the training backlog cleared up.

If the Payroll Support Program (PSP) passes and we avert a new furlough, we should anticipate additional changes to line averages in the coming months in some locations. 

Remember, our Contract requires that the minimum line average by location is 69 hours and in achieving this line average, it is likely that some lines may end up having values below our 71-hour minimum pay guarantee.  For this reason, we would like to remind you about how our Contract addresses minimum pay and guarantee issues.


Section 4.C. (Compensation) requires a Flight Attendant awarded any line having less than seventy-one hours (71:00) original flight timeline projection will be pay protected up to seventy-one hours (71:00). The 71 hours establishes the ‘minimum’ pay to which a Flight Attendant is entitled for any schedule with a value below 71 hours.


To be clear about the interaction between guarantee and minimum pay protection and how one affects the value of the other; it is important to understand that a Flight Attendant will always be paid the greater of her/his guarantee (the sum total of the value of pairings and other assignments) or the 71-hour (or adjusted) minimum.


Picking up Trips – Impact on Guarantee and Minimum
For example, in a situation where the guarantee of your bid line is 61:00 and your minimum is 71:00, you are paid the greater of the two values. In this case, 71 hours.


Now, let’s assume you pick up a turn having a value of six (6) hours. The impact of picking up the 6 hours will be an increase in your guarantee to 67:00 whereas your 71-hour minimum value, will never increase.  In such as instance, you will be paid based on the greater of your guarantee or your minimum which is 71 hours.


If you subsequently picked up another trip having 20:00 your guarantee would increase from 67:00 to 87:00 and your minimum would remain at 71 hours.  You would now be paid the 87:00, which is the greater of the guarantee and minimum.


Trading Trips – Impact on Guarantee and Minimum
Using the same bid line with a value of 61:00 having a minimum of 71:00, if you trade (down) a 10-hour turn for a 5-hour turn, (trading into a trip of lesser value), both your guarantee and minimum will be reduced by the value of difference between the two pairings. In this case, the guarantee and minimum values will be reduced by 5 hours (10-5 = 5) to 56:00 and 66:00 hours, respectively.


If you were to trade the 10-hour trip (up) for a 12- hour trip, your guarantee will increase by 2 hours (to 63:00 from original guarantee) and your minimum will remain unchanged at 71 hours because your minimum never increases.


Advertising Trips to Give Away 
Using the same bid line with a guarantee of 61:00 hours and a minimum of 71:00, if you advertise a 10:00 hour pairing and give it away, the impact of that action is a reduction to both your guarantee and your minimum to 51:00 and 61:00 hours, respectively. In the same way, if you were to trade away all your original 61 hours, your guarantee will be reduced to zero and your minimum to 10:00.


The general rule to follow is – If you are going to adjust your schedule, trade equal or trade up in value. Make every effort to avoid giving pairings in your schedule away because not trading down or giving pairings away protects the 71-hour minimum value of your schedule. This may be particularly important because there may not be as much in open time available with which to rebuild your schedule.

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