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Old 01-04-2019, 12:54 PM   #1  
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Default VAC Bid - Thanksgiving

There are a few days left in primary vacation bidding this year. Just a friendly reminder of this technique if you are semi-junior and want to get Thanksgiving off.

Also, FEB Bid packages are uploaded to the AE Tool and available for free if you like using the pairing sorter for PBS bidding. Just open the AE Tool and select FEB2019 and your category. We'll leave FEB up through the bid window:

Flight Crew Tools - Pairing Sorter


Happy Bidding
-FCT


(Reposted from last year's vacation bidding)
Delta Vacation Bidding Ė How to maximize your chances of getting Thanksgiving Off, Regardless of Seniority
Want to avoid another year of working EVERY holiday?

Do you perennially throw in the towel after the first round (Primary) awards are out? All the good weeks are gone anyways, right? Wrong.

Here we're going to outline a bidding technique that Iíve been using for several years (including a few as a category plug) to ensure that I wouldnít spend another Thanksgiving eating Snickers bars from a vending machine in Fargo.

This post is broken down into 3 sections:
1. The applicable PWA provisions required to execute this maneuver. These are the tools in your toolkit.

2. How the technique works

3. When you should look to implement it


#1. Know the Contract
There are many vacation related PWA sections. ALPA has put out reams of comm on the subject, but if youíre like me, your eyes probably glaze over immediately from all the legalese.

Here are the high points, in plain English, that you need to know to get Thanksgiving off:

a) Vacation Bidding Rounds Ė there are 5 of them. If you havenít pulled this off by the end of Secondary bidding, youíre likely too late. Primary bidding closes on January 8th. Secondary closes on January 19th.

b) Vacation Weeks Ė all but the very newest new-hires have at least 2 weeks. All vacation weeks begin on a Sunday. Your primary & secondary weeks are your greatest vacation asset. Have a plan for them.

c) Purchased/Supplemental (SUPP) Days - You can purchase up to 10 days (at 3:30/day) every vacation year through the Full Service Bank. SUPP days are Payback Days (usually from GS/IA trips or Qualification Training over X-days/OFF days) from the previous year that have converted into extra vacation days. For brevity, letís refer to these as Extra VAC Days.

d) Placement of Extra VAC Days Ė This is where the magic happens. If you can tip-toe through the (2) date carve-outs, and place your Extra VAC Days in a timely manner, you can guarantee yourself certain time off. Even if you couldnít normally hold it in the Vacation or PBS bidding processes. More on this in a minute.

#2. How the Thanksgiving technique works
This section covers how to actually execute this technique. I find it makes the most sense to work through the process chronologically:

Step 1
Your first objective should always be to attempt to grab the weeks you want during the Bidding Rounds. Huddle with your spouse, your calendar, and your crystal ball, and see what you can get on your Primary award. Senior pilots generally snap up summer, spring break, Christmas & Thanksgiving in Round 1. If those are your priorities, your primary bid should be entered as follows:

1) Summer Weeks
2) Spring Break
3) Christmas
4) Thanksgiving
5) The week beginning on Sunday AFTER Thanksgiving
6) Other weeks youíd like in priority orderÖ

Step 2
You likely noticed priority #5 and, being a smart pilot, are already starting to put this all together. (Spoiler alert: it has to do with placing Extra VAC days) The primary award is now out, and you either got something you really wanted, or most likely ended up with that funny week beginning on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Letís take that fork in the road, since thatís what this entire post is about. So what do you do with this week?

Step 3
Assuming you take action prior to April 1st, you can place your Extra VAC Days at the beginning or end of an awarded vacation week. Since you were on top of it, and placed your days prior to the start of the next vacation year (April 1st) there is no need for company concurrence!

Since there is an exception in the PWA prohibiting placing Extra VAC Days in December (and the first 10 days of January), you canít add them at the end of this week. Instead, add them to the beginning of your primary week.

There is no prohibition on placing days in November, so pick a nice round number like 3 and start adding them to the front of your week: 1) Saturday, 2) Black Friday and finally 3) Thursday, aka Thanksgiving! Of course you can keep adding more days if you want more time off to get to your mother-in-lawís houseÖ

#3. When to Consider Using This Technique
Like everything in our lives, vacation awards come down to seniority and preference. With that in mind, we can further break this section down into senior and junior pilot considerations:

Senior
Life is good at the top of the rock pile. You got that sweet 3-week block of Vacation in the summer, and plan to disappear on a ski trip to South America for all of July.

You didnít want, or need, to use this technique in round 1. However, itís now round 2 and all the good stuff appears to be gone. You could bid a week in December and just have PBS slide it later, or you could run this technique to guarantee Thanksgiving off. Certainly if the Sunday-After-Thanksgiving week is still available going into round 3, you probably want to shoot for it.

Junior
Your primary bid is probably going to look a lot like the priorities laid out in Part #2, Step 1. The Bidding Rounds are working in your favor here. Even the most senior pilot canít bid for a summer week AND Thanksgiving off in the same round. Either way, itís unlikely ALL of your priorities are gone when the computer gets to you. If you end up with the Sunday-after-Thanksgiving week you execute this technique, using the steps outlined above.

Summary
Hopefully you found this post helpful. Do you have any tips that could benefit other pilots? If so, please send them in to [email protected] and we will incorporate them into future posts. Happy bidding!
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:03 AM   #2  
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Do the extra vacation day(s) from category sick usage qualify under the same ďExtra VAC DayĒ as stated above?

Additionally, how do we place these extra VAC days AFTER the vacations awards are published (but prior to April 1)?
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:11 AM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gspeed View Post
Do the extra vacation day(s) from category sick usage qualify under the same ďExtra VAC DayĒ as stated above?

Additionally, how do we place these extra VAC days AFTER the vacations awards are published (but prior to April 1)?
I just wait and see what vacation I get awarded then email [email protected] and tell them where to put the supp days.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:49 AM   #4  
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I just wait and see what vacation I get awarded then email [email protected] and tell them where to put the supp days.
Just to be clear, if I donít specify during the vac bid where to put my supp days they are automatically added to the front or back of my last vac week. So I can later move them to the awarded week of my choice by email, after the bid is over?
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:35 AM   #5  
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Thatís what Iíve done the last 2 years. Iím junior and have no idea what vacation week Iím going to get, so how can I possibly decide where Iím putting supp days? So far itís been a painless process, sorry but youíll have to do your own due diligence if you want a contractual reference.
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:37 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gspeed View Post
Do the extra vacation day(s) from category sick usage qualify under the same “Extra VAC Day” as stated above?

Additionally, how do we place these extra VAC days AFTER the vacations awards are published (but prior to April 1)?
To the first part, yes. Those extra vacation day(s) from the sick leave metric should appear as Supplemental Vacation Days. They can be placed just the same as rolled over payback days or purchased bank days.

To the second part see Han Solo's answer below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Han Solo View Post
I just wait and see what vacation I get awarded then email [email protected] and tell them where to put the supp days.
^^^This. Just make sure you do it before the end of March (prior to the beginning of the vacation year on April 1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by UGBSM View Post
Just to be clear, if I don’t specify during the vac bid where to put my supp days they are automatically added to the front or back of my last vac week. So I can later move them to the awarded week of my choice by email, after the bid is over?
Yes. This happened with my vacation bid last year and I was able to call the vacation desk and move them where I wanted them - as long as you do it prior to April 1, and subject to the PWA carveouts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Han Solo View Post
That’s what I’ve done the last 2 years. I’m junior and have no idea what vacation week I’m going to get, so how can I possibly decide where I’m putting supp days? So far it’s been a painless process, sorry but you’ll have to do your own due diligence if you want a contractual reference.
Contractual Reference: PWA 12.N.4.b (Full Service Bank) & just as important 7.E.4 (placement of purchased & supplement vacation days at pilot's option)
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:49 PM   #7  
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Thanks!

/filler
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:55 AM   #8  
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I bid vacation over Turkey day and Christmas and it cost me at least 2 Green slips! NOT worth it!
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:44 PM   #9  
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Dumb question.. Since PVAC bid is coming up.. IN the Bid section on iCrew, It allows me to select how many weeks I want.

I thought we were just bidding for one week, or can I say bid week x , 2 weeks?

Number of weeks is what's throwing me, I thought it is one.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:21 PM   #10  
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Default VAC Bid - Thanksgiving

Quote:
Originally Posted by CX500T View Post
Dumb question.. Since PVAC bid is coming up.. IN the Bid section on iCrew, It allows me to select how many weeks I want.



I thought we were just bidding for one week, or can I say bid week x , 2 weeks?



Number of weeks is what's throwing me, I thought it is one.


You can indeed bid for more than one week in your primary bid. If you have 4 weeks of vacation, you can bid all 4 weeks together. The bid must be in 7-day increments. You must be able to hold all weeks you bid for, i.e. you canít bid the first week of December and tack on 3 more weeks if you canít hold the Xmas week.

Edit: you are correct that you bid for total weeks desired when submitting your bid.


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