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Old 01-10-2009, 10:12 AM   #1  
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Joined APC: Apr 2008
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Default Unofficial Guide to Delta PBS Bidding

Note 1 : NW pilots will soon get enough PBS info to choke a moose. This is by no means a complete guide.
Note 2 : I will type out some sample commands the computer uses to build your line. You do not need to memorize these commands (and I will most likely get them wrong). Bidding is all done by point and click and the computer builds the commands.

The best way to think about our PBS system is to imagine every rotation (pairing) that is available to your bid position for the month written on a playing card, and there is a giant spread of these playing cards on the table in front of you.

You can use commands like Prefer Off and Avoid to tell the computer to pick all the cards that meet your criteria up off the table and set them aside. For instance, you could say:

Prefer off Saturday

and the computer will pick up any cards that work on a Saturday and set them aside. You can also say:

Avoid Trips if Redeye

to make the computer set aside the all nighters.

After you have filtered out a bunch of cards, then you can tell the computer which of the cards that are left you would like to have. For instance you could say:

Award Trips if Layover in MIA, FLL, TPA

if you wanted to get some Florida layovers. (Yeah I know you guys love the cold weather).

These choices can be layered and get very complicated.

Award Trips if Layover in MIA, FLL, TPA if Trip Check In > 09:00 if Trip Length < 4

This would select out trips that sign in after 0900 that are 3 days or less that layover in those cities.

Most pilots will start their bid by putting in their prefer offs and avoids.

Prefer Off Saturday, Sunday
Avoid Trips if Layover in XXX
Avoid Trips if Redeye
Prefer Off February 1

and then they put in their Award Trips. The computer does each command in order and it stops as soon as you have a complete line. For instance, if you put

Award Trips if Trip Length > 1

if will look at all the trips left and build a line. It won't look at anything you have below. Most pilots put their more complicated (more restrictive) choices first and then get less picky as they move on. This way you can prioritize your preferences by layering them.

Award Trips if Trip Length = 3 If Trip Check in > 09:00
Award Trips if Trip Length = 3

You would rather have 3 day trips than later sign in times.

Denial mode.

If we go back to the card analogy, you have to remember that when pilots senior to you get awarded trips, then those cards are pulled out of the pot. More junior pilots can make their prefer offs and avoids so restrictive that the computer will not have enough cards left to build you a line. It will then start erasing the prefer offs and avoids until there are enough cards put back into the pot. This will make pilots layer their prefer offs. For instance around Christmas you could put:

Prefer off December 22-27
Prefer off December 24-26
Prefer off December 25


During holiday months, you have too many pilots trying to bid off for the same days. If there are too many trips stacked up on those days, then the computer will start by assigning junior pilots a trip on those days and then trying to build the rest of your schedule.

Common Mistakes

The most common mistake is not putting in enough Award Trips. Pilots don't have trouble saying what they don't want, but they often don't tell the computer exactly what they DO want. Only Award Trips commands actually give you trips.

Not having a plan B. If you are junior in category, you can try for those Caribbean turn on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but you are not going to get them. It is good to put in your top choices, but you need to have enough choices for what you want if you don't get your first choice.
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