What is involved with pairing construction?
Approximately one month prior to the bid month, Network Planning provides a Standard Schedules Information Manual (SIMM), which includes all of the scheduled legs in the system on a daily basis for FA 1-Position, FA Combi and FA 3-Position. Each of the legs are formatted as a single line item, such as one leg flight AS 320 SEA-SFO. For October 2016 there were 18,741 single legs in the FA 3-Position used for optimization of the pairing solution. For October pairings, we build the schedules and submit our solutions in the month of August, and in September 2016 we submit pairing solutions for November, et cetera.
What metrics do the crew planners and AFA pairing analyst input into the solution to build the pairings?
Most of the time we utilize the same metrics into the solutions but change the parameters. Examples include but are not limited to:
Hotel costs, per diem, aircraft swaps, minimum layover, maximum duty day, maximum layover, sit premium, soft time (minimum pay rules such as Multi-day Sequence Minimum, Duty Period Minimum, Extended Overnight Rule, Average Duty Period Guarantee), penalties for trip length, hard locks (defined pairings), soft locks (suggested leg combinations), deadhead and other contractual or Federal Air Regulation (FAR) requirements. All of these are built into the optimizer and sent into the system to build the final solution.
How long does it take to submit a solution?
It takes approximately 1 – 2 hours each time one run is sent to the optimizer. Pilot and Flight Attendant Crew Planning along with the AFA Pairing Analyst share the optimizer. There are a limited amount of servers available to submit solutions. Typically, the AFA analyst will submit her/his solutions in the evening during non business hours
How is a solution chosen?
The AFA Pairing Analyst and each of the Crew Planners submit a solution for consideration. The Crew Planning department filters through the solution and provides a cost comparison document that shows the overall cost of the solutions submitted. This document contains important financial information and is not shared with the public, as it requires the AFA Pairing Analyst to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). The comparison document is used for our joint monthly pairing selection meeting with Director of Flight Operations Planning and Resource Allocation, Chad Koehnke, and Vice President of Inflight Services, Andy Schneider. For transparency the MEC Officers also receive a copy of the comparison document. It is important to note that both AFA and management are working together to review the comparison document, however, management has final selection authority for the pairing solution.
What happens after the solution is chosen?
The AFA Pairing Analyst receives confirmation of the solution selection from management. The AFA Pairing Analyst then goes into the solution and reviews each domicile and the pairings created to write the monthly pairings report. It takes approximately 2 – 3 hours to review in depth the final solution of the pairings created. After the report is finalized it is emailed to Crew Planning who then adds in the statistics of the duty periods, calendar days, average TFP per duty period by base and trip length of trip, average sit time, average duty day, average swap and average layover. Kelly Whitacre-Yeager then emails the Pairing Report and Statistics to the Flight Attendants via Outlook.
The Master Executive Council (MEC) thanks MEC Scheduling Committee Chairperson Jake Jones for submitting the AFA pairings solutions while MEC Pairing Analyst Karen Ferrell has been in training. Going forward Karen will be the primary submitting on behalf of the Association. If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions about pairings, contact your local Scheduling Committee representatives.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Satterlee, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Tim Green and Brice McGee; MEC Scheduling Committee Chairperson Jake Jones and MEC Scheduling Committee Vice Chairperson/Pairing Analyst Karen Farrell