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View Full Version : Open time advice for probies


RJSAviator76
09-11-2017, 02:43 AM
First and foremost, welcome to Southwest Airlines ladies and gentlemen.

Now that you're settling in after the initial, I know many of you want to make some of that second-year money. I know I did, and I was there just last year, so let me share with you what I've learned. I've posted this before, but I think having its own thread may be more helpful and easier to find.

Yes, any trip or reserve block you pick up from open time, even at straight time, is paid at second-year rate provided you exceed your original line value. But for Pete's sakes, some of the things I see in Open Time really make me shake my head. For example, a first-year pilot bidding straight on a high block hour 2-day trip with no DH's for less than 12 TFP total is something that makes me cringe because I suspect he may not be aware he's getting shortchanged.

Here are some basics here. 6.5 TFP per day is our ADG (average daily guarantee) and trips are initially rigged to a minimum of 19.5 TFP for 3-day or 13 TFP for 2-day. Scheduling will break up a pairing and destroy that rig ending up with a trip that may be somewhat reasonable only at premium i.e. pay only slightly better than ADG, but would fall below 6.5 TFP per day minimum at straight time. They call it STC (split to cover).

So let's take a look at what happens here in two various examples of two Newbies being legal for 2 day trips:

Newbie 1 wants 2nd year pay and is bidding straight time for an STC 2-day trip that blocks say 8 hours that pays 11 TFP at straight for 2 days. Newbie 1 will fly 8 hours over 2 days to get paid 11 TFP at second year rate.

Newbie 2 also wants 2nd year pay, but he'll pick up a 2-day reserve block in DOT (closes at 0900 for the following day). Right there, Newbie 2 just made 12 TFP at second year rate without leaving his house, or $100 over Newbie 1 who's out flying. Let's say that Scheduling assigns Newbie 2 to do the same trip as Newbie 1, but now instead of 11 TFP as this trip would pay at straight time, Newbie 2 gets at least 13 TFP total because of ADG (6.5 TFP) minimum if you're used on reserve. Newbie 2 just made extra $200 (extra 2 TFP at second-year rate) over Newbie 1 for flying the exact same trip. Now, considering he's on reserve now, should scheduling alter Newbie 2's original schedule bringing him/her back to domicile after the originally assigned time, Newbie 2 would now be making premium, and all of this at second-year rate.

Remember, the second-year rate rule applies to ANYTHING picked up out of Open Time and that includes reserve blocks. This is in the contract, and you can call Payroll or SWAPA Contract Admin if you need any clarifications.

Also, please don't take this as a slam or griping about picking up second-year pay at straight time. Not even close! By all means, we've all been there... The sole purpose of my post is to help you make that extra money without engaging in unknowing charitable giving to the company, i.e. shortchanging yourself especially on days when there are reserve blocks available in DOT.


ZapBrannigan
09-11-2017, 04:00 AM
Great post. Some of the scraps that have ended up in open time are pretty bad.


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Sqwk7700
09-11-2017, 06:00 AM
Great post, thanks for taking the time to break it down. I'm sure this thread is going to be full of good info.


SmoothLanderJ
09-11-2017, 06:20 AM
Great info!

e6bpilot
09-11-2017, 06:23 AM
That is good advice above. Thanks for taking the time to post it.
First year open time has changed a lot since I was on probation. Reserve times are much shorter and the open time market has been really good for the last year or so.
Getting that second year pay gives guys the option of padding their first year earnings and maybe not making the pay cut they inevitably take when starting here not so bad.
I will also add that just because bidding straight virtually guarantees you the trip, don't overlook premium bids. If you look at the list of bidders prior to close and determine that you could win the trip over any other bidders, consider changing your bid to premium.
There are a couple of elements that go into this, but it can be done and I have seen first year guys score some pretty good premium trips.
If there are no bidders and they are out of reserves or it is a trip with a report or release that doesn't allow a reserve to fly it (for example an 11:30am report) it will almost always go premium.
If the only other bidders are above the open time cap (usually happens towards the end of the month) and you are bidding in domicile, the trip will be awarded to the most senior bidder under the cap (maybe you). That takes some legwork to figure out and depending on board blocking may be impossible, but you can pretty well surmise that anyone bidding premium with a blocked board towards the end of the month is over the cap.
If you are willing to shotgun bid the 0900 DOT close with premium bids, you will be surprised, especially on the weekends. If you don't get awarded anything, there will definitely be chances later on to snag hourly open time.
I am big on flying open time and especially 1.5x trips. Yes, it takes a little legwork, but I am all about maximizing my pay when I am away from home and, to me, that is the best way to do it.

Smooth at FL450
09-11-2017, 02:02 PM
Great post. I'll add this...don't bid straight until you need to. I've seen new guys bidding straight when they are the only one bidding. Go for premium and settle for straight if you get outbid.

RJSAviator76
09-11-2017, 05:36 PM
Great post. I'll add this...don't bid straight until you need to. I've seen new guys bidding straight when they are the only one bidding. Go for premium and settle for straight if you get outbid.



^^^^^ THIS

Someone in the training center keeps telling newhires that they only get second year if they bid straight, and that's false. If you pick up a premium trip in Open Time, you get premium value of that trip in second year pay.

Keyword here is Open Time.

hoover
09-11-2017, 07:36 PM
Now if we can get the 60xxx number FOs, that's right FOs to stop biding straight just because they are over the cap and need to get 180tfp

flyguy81
09-11-2017, 09:38 PM
I'm thinking if they need 180 tfp....maybe they should just upgrade....

ZapBrannigan
09-11-2017, 11:00 PM
Now if we can get the 60xxx number FOs, that's right FOs to stop biding straight just because they are over the cap and need to get 180tfp


Wait, does the cap not apply to straight time awards? Geez. Just when I think I've got things figured out around here I learn something new.


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e6bpilot
09-12-2017, 04:50 AM
Wait, does the cap not apply to straight time awards? Geez. Just when I think I've got things figured out around here I learn something new.


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It does if you are competing with other straight time bidders.
Awards go straight first and then premium. Both go in seniority order:
Under the cap in domicile
Over the cap in domicile
Under out of domicile
Over out of domicile

I don't personally care how others bid. If someone wants to take a pairing for partial credit straight time, I assume they have a reason. I have taken pairings with a deadhead to my commuter city for partial credit when there was no way I could get it at premium. The ones that crack me up that I actually saw twice yesterday are pairings that pay the same straight and premium due to rigs and there are twenty guys bidding premium on it and one junior guy bidding straight. Guess who wins?

ZapBrannigan
09-12-2017, 09:17 AM
I bid one at straight last night. I was below the cap (barely) winning bidder appeared to be over the cap. I am waiting for an explanation from CA. I'm sure I just don't understand how these things work, as usual.


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flyguy81
09-12-2017, 06:43 PM
I bid one at straight last night. I was below the cap (barely) winning bidder appeared to be over the cap. I am waiting for an explanation from CA. I'm sure I just don't understand how these things work, as usual.


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Were you both based in the same place? Only thing I can think of where a over the cap straight would beat a under the cap straight bidder would be if the over the cap guy was in base and the under wasn't. If you were both based in the same place call sked and they can tell you the reason why.

StayFrosty
09-16-2017, 07:39 AM
RJSAviator76 and many others - Thank you very much for all your insights. Many of your posts have helped me prepare for my future at SWA.

Jeff Lebowski
09-18-2017, 07:23 PM
They need to expand the bidding rules so they apply to guys still in ground school.

Like for instance: I cover your FlyDay at premium and you cover my systems oral at straight.

Or something like that.

Just a suggestion.

e6bpilot
09-19-2017, 04:46 AM
You would have to pay me Double Time to do fly day again.

flyguy81
09-19-2017, 05:48 AM
You would have to pay me Double Time to do fly day again.

Triple. We showed up with sunglasses on and hung over. It was rough.

TerrainTerrain
09-19-2017, 09:33 AM
You would have to pay me Double Time to do fly day again.

What is fly day?

WHACKMASTER
09-19-2017, 10:33 AM
What is fly day?

Probably the most painful day of "training" you'll ever sit through in your airline career. Think "full frontal lobotomy".

Warhawg01
09-19-2017, 03:06 PM
What is fly day?

Bring a CamelBak to hold all the Kool-Aid.

SlipKid
09-19-2017, 03:08 PM
Were you both based in the same place? Only thing I can think of where a over the cap straight would beat a under the cap straight bidder would be if the over the cap guy was in base and the under wasn't. If you were both based in the same place call sked and they can tell you the reason why.

It could also be a block time issue.

flyguy81
09-19-2017, 06:29 PM
It could also be a block time issue.

Yeah but that would've told him if he was legal when he bid if he checked.

e6bpilot
09-19-2017, 07:02 PM
Yeah but that would've told him if he was legal when he bid if he checked.



If he checked. I will sometimes bid on a trip I am close on even if it shows me slightly illegal just in case I under fly.

e6bpilot
09-19-2017, 07:05 PM
Bring a CamelBak to hold all the Kool-Aid.



If I had to do it over, I would have vodka in the camelback. Easily the most painful day of training. Fortunately there was a deck party with free booze at the end.

ROFF
09-19-2017, 07:41 PM
Ugh. Fly Day.

It's on the first floor so no one jumps.

WHACKMASTER
09-19-2017, 08:33 PM
Ugh. Fly Day.

It's on the first floor so no one jumps.

LMFAO. Yeah, but that makes it even easier to run out!

Twinjetav8r
09-20-2017, 08:35 AM
We got lucky, ours was on Labor Day, so we were let out about 1:45.


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SlipKid
09-20-2017, 11:30 AM
If he checked. I will sometimes bid on a trip I am close on even if it shows me slightly illegal just in case I under fly.

Exactly. I am rarely illegal, so I never check legality on open time but it has gotten me once, which is why I mentioned it.

flyguy81
09-20-2017, 02:24 PM
Exactly. I am rarely illegal, so I never check legality on open time but it has gotten me once, which is why I mentioned it.

I didn't have vacation last year and managed to not call in sick any so I was close every month due to picking up quite a bit for the 2nd yr pay and always checked. My 365 look back is now in the high 800's so I don't check as often since I'm more selective on what I bid for.

e6bpilot
09-20-2017, 03:56 PM
I was in the mid 900s my first year. I was basically trying to fly as much as I could and didnít call in sick.
Now I try to make as much money as I can without flying too much and call in sick when I have to. My lookback is in the low 700s currently. I am pretty much always legal for everything which comes in handy when bidding open time. Occasionally I will bid a line that has a lot of block so my buffer for the month gets kinda high, but I generally quickly remedy that with elitt.

SlipKid
09-20-2017, 04:20 PM
I am solidly into the yellow just thinking about more than about 600/365.......:eek:

at6d
09-20-2017, 09:41 PM
I hear you. I am at 900 block. Finally getting some stuff I can trade/give away and do the open time game.

Nutz
09-21-2017, 02:10 PM
What about a snot trip worth low tfp and no premium listed on the hourly? What's the deal with those?
Like a two day worth 2.8 tfp.
Rigs still apply ??

e6bpilot
09-21-2017, 04:26 PM
SNOT-S trips are allegedly trips that are going to be assigned to reserves on a short call out but instead they are offering them at straight time to the pilots in their great benevolence.
They almost always suck.
They rarely get any bids.
If they are partial trips then no, rigs do not apply.
The funny thing is, if you watch the trip, it sometimes goes from base to base, gets put up for SNOT S and then you see it again for SNOT P or VPF. The schedulers, when they arenít in panic mode, like to play games with exporting trips and acting like they are going to tag a reserve with it so you will bid straight.
If it has an employee number in the remarks, it will more than likely go to that reserve.

PropPiedmont
09-21-2017, 05:30 PM
Only at SWA, can a premium trip pay less than straight pay. It's rare, but does happen. More common are the premium trips that pay identical to straight pay.

e6bpilot
09-22-2017, 02:08 AM
Only at SWA, can a premium trip pay less than straight pay. It's rare, but does happen. More common are the premium trips that pay identical to straight pay.



In what instance can premium pay less than straight?
The only time I have seen something similar is a JA getting paid less than premium due to it being reconstructed as a reroute win no rig the first day.

RJSAviator76
12-05-2017, 10:02 AM
Digging up this thread back... Some new tips for probies.

When you see the list of bidders, that is not... RPT... NOT the order the trip will get awarded in. I saw newbies bidding straight on a trip that would have gotten awarded to them at premium because everyone else was over the cap. Or even worse, bidding straight on a DOT trip that closes in 2 days. It made absolutely ZERO sense. If someone has their board blocked, so what... still bid it at premium and let it ride, the senior board blocker may be playing shenanigans and over the cap. Don't get emotional about it.

Here's another tip.

If you haven't been successful in getting anything at straight because you'd get outbid, stop bidding straight. Bid premium. On certain days, plenty of reserves, so the trip won't likely go premium and it will be assigned to a reserve. As a first-year guy, you have a huge ace in the hole that apparently not many are aware of. Everyone knows that after the DOT/HOT trip has been awarded to a reserve pilot, you can call Scheduling and tell them you want to fly it. Not many senior people will do that. You will happily fly it at straight time, but what many people aren't aware of is that you will get paid second-year rate if you fly that trip. In CWA, look at Open Time Awards, and you're looking for trips with a label AR. No more bidding, no forcing senior guys to bid straight and beat you on a straight bid. Easiest second-year pay trip ever...

To the newcomers, welcome to Southwest! We are all happy you're here. Do us all and primarily yourself a HUGE favor though and crack open that contract and get familiar with it. On your EFB, go to MyMobile365>*NOT FLYING>Flight Ops Communication>Contract and type in first officer pay. Section 4, part D. All in there for you. If you have any questions, call SWAPA Contract Admin or you can call Scheduling and talk to Payroll. They'll clarify and answer any questions you may have.

Caveman
12-05-2017, 01:53 PM
As a first-year guy, you have a huge ace in the hole that apparently not many are aware of. Everyone knows that after the DOT/HOT trip has been awarded to a reserve pilot, you can call Scheduling and tell them you want to fly it. Not many senior people will do that. You will happily fly it at straight time, but what many people aren't aware of is that you will get paid second-year rate if you fly that trip. In CWA, look at Open Time Awards, and you're looking for trips with a label AR. No more bidding, no forcing senior guys to bid straight and beat you on a straight bid. Easiest second-year pay trip ever...



Pure SWA First Year Gold here...

Peacock
12-05-2017, 06:29 PM
How do you tell if someoneís over the cap?

e6bpilot
12-05-2017, 08:29 PM
How do you tell if someoneís over the cap?



The only way to tell is to look up the cap on the bid cover page or swapa website and look at that persons schedule. If their board is blocked, thatís a good indication that they are over the cap and think they are being sneaky. I asked a captain who admitted to this odd behavior one day why he did it and he said it was because then nobody could see if he was over the cap. Um, ok. Does anyone really change their bid because they think someone else may be under?
I just bid on trips I am willing to leave my house for and let the chips fall. I think some people put way too much strategizing into it.

SlipKid
12-06-2017, 08:11 AM
The only way to tell is to look up the cap on the bid cover page or swapa website and look at that persons schedule. If their board is blocked, thatís a good indication that they are over the cap and think they are being sneaky. I asked a captain who admitted to this odd behavior one day why he did it and he said it was because then nobody could see if he was over the cap. Um, ok. Does anyone really change their bid because they think someone else may be under?
I just bid on trips I am willing to leave my house for and let the chips fall. I think some people put way too much strategizing into it.

I am the same way. If I am willing to leave the house, I bid premium and if I get it, great, if not, I'll try to get the next one.

There are lots of weird things that folks do WRT blocking their boards, open time bidding etc. It really is a phallus measuring game for some of these guys. I'll never forget the first time I got a sweet 33 tfp 3 day out of daily open time (after 4 days of bidding on everything that popped up, and this was in the days before SWOTA, so you had to be checking it constantly), and for weeks afterwards, the "players" were asking me how I got the trip. It was kind of creepy.

There are a couple mega senior, high flying guys that bid on EVERY single open time trip.

When I first started playing the premium game, I'd try to take a look at their boards to see if they were already working the days I am trying to get. Of course, they are both blocked, so no insight there.

I realize that it's anecdotal, and not conclusive proof of anything, but neither of them have ever gotten an award over me anytime I've tried, and this is going back 5-6 years, even early in the month when they're more likely to be under the cap.

I haven't figured out the game there, unless they're trying to scare guys into bidding straight for some reason.


I initially assumed that they were auto bids. Out of curiosity, I took note of when one of the guys bid on them. The bid placement timing was random, anywhere from when they trips first appeared on the board, to the last minute, which indicates that he was doing it manually, but who knows?

There's another mega senior guy that waits until the last second to bid premium, which makes more sense, since it might discourage a junior guy from getting it at straight pay.

mainlineAF
12-06-2017, 09:07 AM
Can you guys explain to a non SWA guy how you get a premium trip and what being over/under the cap means?

At AA out premium is seriously lacking and one of the things we need to work on in the next contract.

e6bpilot
12-06-2017, 09:45 AM
Can you guys explain to a non SWA guy how you get a premium trip and what being over/under the cap means?

At AA out premium is seriously lacking and one of the things we need to work on in the next contract.



All uncovered flying from monthly overlap, military and vacation pulls, sick calls, weather reroutes, etc is essentially put in one pool that is bid on in different ways. To make an extremely long story short, in most of those open time bids, you can choose to bid either straight or premium (1.5x). If the trip has a legal straight bid, it will go to the senior straight bid. It will then go to a reserve if there is not a straight bid. If there are not reserves to cover it, then the same process applies for premium bids. If it doesnít get any bids, they may re run the trip or split it up and add it to someone already flying.
The open time cap was instituted to keep the same senior guys from getting all the open time trips. Anyone over 110 percent of their base average line total will be junior for bidding purposes on open time. It is not a perfect system, but it works ok to spread the wealth.
There are also various other rules like in domicile always gets the trip before a pilot bidding out of domicile.
In our normal manning over the last couple of years, it has been an open time bonanza. Even junior guys could get open time trips for premium year round. These last couple of months not so much.

mainlineAF
12-06-2017, 10:26 AM
Hey thanks. That sounds pretty confusing lol.

tr4a
12-06-2017, 11:33 AM
The open time cap was instituted to keep the same senior guys from getting all the open time trips.

It's 118%

11. The Open Time CAP:
a. Seniority for awards in MOT, DOT/POT, and HOT/POT and SNOT will be subordinated when a pilot's projected bid period TFP exceeds one hundred eighteen percent (118%) of the domicile bid line average. This is referred to as the CAP.

A few other other items.

Scheduling cannot just run again. If they assigned it to a Reserve and pulled it off, then it could get re-run again through open time.

An in-domicile pilot will get awarded a trip if above the CAP before an out of domicile pilot. Straight bid to staright bid or Premium to premium bid.

e6bpilot
12-06-2017, 11:48 AM
It's 118%



11. The Open Time CAP:

a. Seniority for awards in MOT, DOT/POT, and HOT/POT and SNOT will be subordinated when a pilot's projected bid period TFP exceeds one hundred eighteen percent (118%) of the domicile bid line average. This is referred to as the CAP.



A few other other items.



Scheduling cannot just run again. If they assigned it to a Reserve and pulled it off, then it could get re-run again through open time.



An in-domicile pilot will get awarded a trip if above the CAP before an out of domicile pilot. Straight bid to staright bid or Premium to premium bid.



Thanks for the corrections. My memory sucks.
As for scheduling running it again, that is a pretty fuzzy rule. They can pretty much do what they want with the trip. I have seen the same trip run multiple times in different bases with deadheads and then back to the same base as a VPF.

tr4a
12-06-2017, 01:46 PM
As for scheduling running it again, that is a pretty fuzzy rule. They can pretty much do what they want with the trip. I have seen the same trip run multiple times in different bases with deadheads and then back to the same base as a VPF.I think they get away with it by assigning it to a Reserve and then change that assignment.The pairing gets put back in OT. The pairing also gets imported to another base because there is a Reserve available.

11. Reserves will not be used to originate a pairing other than in their own domicile unless the domicile importing the Reserve is down to one (1) Reserve in the RAP that would be able to fly that pairing. Time permitting, Scheduling will offer the pairing through the OTA (Open Time Alert) system...

WarEagle1
12-08-2017, 10:13 PM
Hey guys, newbie here. Finished IOE almost a month ago. MDW based for Dec. HOU for Jan. Live in Dallas. My question is can you bid and be awarded reserve days in open time that's out of your assigned domicile? I would obviously rather sit reserve in Dallas since I live here if that's an option for open time. Flew my first 1 day open time trip today out of DAL. Drove to the airport, then drove home. Pretty sweet. Thanks!

Burton78
12-08-2017, 11:28 PM
Hey guys, newbie here. Finished IOE almost a month ago. MDW based for Dec. HOU for Jan. Live in Dallas. My question is can you bid and be awarded reserve days in open time that's out of your assigned domicile? I would obviously rather sit reserve in Dallas since I live here if that's an option for open time. Flew my first 1 day open time trip today out of DAL. Drove to the airport, then drove home. Pretty sweet. Thanks!

If you're legal, yes. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but even reserve out of open time and whatever flying you may be assigned with it will be second year pay. Congrats and welcome aboard!

RJSAviator76
12-09-2017, 05:27 AM
Yes, you can pick up stuff including reserve in other bases. If your reserve comes from Open Time, anything you do during that block including sitting at home will be paid at second year rate.

As I mentioned in a previous post, if you want to fly, donít forget to look at Open Time Awards in CWA for that day. You can take an assigned trip from a reserve and itíll be paid at second year rate. Theyíre labeled AR in the Open Time Awards report. Generally, senior guys who bid reserve will appreciate that and youíll get second year pay. To pick up a trip thatís assigned to a reserve requires a call to Scheduling. You may also let the reserve guy know that youíre interested in flying it for him. But thatís the easiest way to get second year rate these days.

Congratulations and welcome to the line!

Smooth at FL450
12-09-2017, 07:20 AM
Hey guys, newbie here. Finished IOE almost a month ago. MDW based for Dec. HOU for Jan. Live in Dallas. My question is can you bid and be awarded reserve days in open time that's out of your assigned domicile? I would obviously rather sit reserve in Dallas since I live here if that's an option for open time. Flew my first 1 day open time trip today out of DAL. Drove to the airport, then drove home. Pretty sweet. Thanks!

Welcome aboard. Keep in mind as you pick up reserve blocks in DAL...you could find yourself called in for simulator seat support on an LOE event. There has been conversation about whether or not this is a crew or individual jeopardy event, since AQP is evaluating the crew as a whole.

e6bpilot
12-09-2017, 08:26 AM
Welcome aboard. Keep in mind as you pick up reserve blocks in DAL...you could find yourself called in for simulator seat support on an LOE event. There has been conversation about whether or not this is a crew or individual jeopardy event, since AQP is evaluating the crew as a whole.



I would never voluntarily subject myself to such torture, but everyone I know who has done one has said it is as low threat for the seat support pilot as possible. They do not treat it as a jeopardy event although I am sure if you did something really boneheaded you could find yourself with some explaining to do. Like everything, I suppose it is all check airman dependent, but all the check airpeople I have simmed with (excepting one) have been great big picture pilots.

WarEagle1
12-09-2017, 09:11 AM
Great info and thanks for the responses! I wasnít aware of being able to pick up open time for trips assigned in open time reserve. Having just recently finishing training Iíve been told by more than one person from the schoolhouse that sim sessions are double jeopardy, but as mentioned before I believe youíd really have to muck something up for that to happen. Glad to be here! :)