PBS Bidding Tips
PBS Bid Guidance
Every month when the schedules come out, many flight attendants (FAs) express disappointment with their awards. Often, an individual’s line is a direct outcome of their knowledge–or lack of knowledge–of the Preferential Bidding System (PBS). The more accomplished bidders understand the logic behind PBS. The more effort every FA puts into gaining knowledge of good bidding practices, the more improved their resultant bid awards will become.
For March, I have reviewed the bidding procedures for the awards of MSP Line Holders #1 – 160. What I found was a significant number of faulty bids among this large sampling. The two areas that stand out the most relate to two Line Preferences:
- DAYS OFF
- TOTAL CREDIT HOURS
The resulting values of the faulty awards reviewed were more heavily influenced by bidding procedures, rather than by seniority. In other words, well-versed junior FAs received more rewarding lines than some senior coworkers. Below I will share a few tips to help guide you in bidding your future schedules.
Among bids of MSP Line Holders #1 – 160, ineffective bidding strategies for Days Off were frequent.
- If Days Off are important to you, bid each of the desired days off on every Layer 1–7 (L1-7).
- If you bid your days off on Layer 2 and/or lower layers, but your line award is satisfied on Layer 1, it is only sheer luck if you receive the days off that you wanted. PBS will look no further than the layer that satisfied your bid.
- If DAYS OFF are important to you, bid the off days bid on each layer, and make sure you don’t skip bids between layers.
- For example, if you bid your Days Off dates (and/or any bid preferences) on L1, 3, 4, and 7, and PBS cannot complete a line for you after L1, the system will then attempt to complete your line considering your L2 choices. If you have chosen other parameters at the second layer, PBS will attempt to complete your line at L2. If it needs to move on to L3, your day off has already been used as criteria to complete a line at L1, thus adding this information at any successive layer is a non-bid, and is thrown out. (At any layer if the optimizer sees no additional pairings to your pairing selection pool, it will create a “best fit” line.
Target Credit Line
Among MSP Line Holders #1 – 160, weak bidding practices of the Target Credit Line were equally prevalent.
- If the number of hours you work each month is important to you, bid at least 75 hours. PBS does not consider requests of less than 75 hours.
- For example, PBS will throw out an invalid 60–75 hours bid on L1-x.
- PBS requires a logical range of hours. The system is preset to consider a range of hours. From the lowest number of block hours you wish to work to the highest number of block hours that you wish to work. Make your range with at least 5 hours separation between the fewest hours and the maximum hours.
- For example, if you bid a Target Credit Range of 75-76 hours, it is unlikely the system will be able to combine any selection of pairings that will total this limited target range, much less a combination of the credit for your requested pairings. Thus, this is of no value, a non-bid.
- Additionally, if you are mid-level or lower in seniority, 95-105 can occur. If you bid 75-80 hours, it is highly doubtful this will happen. Suggestion: Overbid your seniority percentage if you want some control over your final award. (This is a good rule of thumb at any time, as bidding your seniority percentage does not guarantee that PBS can satisfy your bid at your specific percentage level.)
- It is to your advantage to bid a Target Credit Line. PBS will attempt to combine pairings from your bid that will satisfy the parameters you set.
- If you do not bid this option, PBS will award you a schedule containing anywhere from 75 hours to 105 flight hours. 105 is the current maximum scheduled flight hours per PBS.
Always check your reasons report if you have questions regarding your bid award.
Review your PBS View Pairing Set for every layer after you have completed your bid. The Pairing Set includes all of the pairings that you bid for based on the preferences you gave PBS.Please, refer to the PBS Online Documents for further details and information. Quite often disappointing awards are the result of bidding errors, rather than a PBS error. If you feel that the system is at fault you can challenge your award by notifying firstname.lastname@example.org within 48 hours of the release of the schedules. You will need to provide them with all the details.