Job Shadowing

I can’t really speak for other airlines, but at my airline crew members do not get along with crew schedulers.  For various reasons we feel like they’re out to get us . . . at least the reserves anyway.  As a reserve flight attendant I’m at the mercy of our schedulers.  As long as they schedule me legally and according to Federal Aviation Regulations then I have to do what they tell me.  That means if they schedule me for six legs and 14 hours of duty with a 9 hour overnight only to work another 6 six legs and be on duty 14 more hours the next day I have to do it; that’s legal.

Also, because I work for a small airline there is more interaction on a human level; our scheduling is system is not done by a computer but by actual people.  A computer wouldn’t allow illegal schedules to be built, but because a human is doing the building “mistakes” can be made.  I use quotation marks because sometimes it’s not a mistake.  Just recently my roommate was assigned hot reserve at 5:00am.  For hot reserve, duty starts at 5:00am so the latest we can be scheduled to work is 7:00pm.  They tried to schedule her until 9:00pm, and when she called them out on it they acted like they didn’t know.  When they finally changed her schedule to be legal and got her back into base, they tried to cut her rest short.  Our contract says that rest in base will be at least 10 hours.  When she arrived in base and checked out of her trip at 8:00pm, they had assigned 5:00am regular reserve.  She called them on this illegality and the scheduler quickly backpedaled (but not without copping an attitude).

The way the schedulers arrive at their decisions when assigning flying is something that boggles my mind, too.  Yesterday was my third day of reserve in a block of six.  There was a four-day trip that started yesterday, but instead of giving it to me (I was legal for the trip) they instead gave it to someone junior to me who couldn’t finish the entire four days; she could only complete the first two days and then had to deadhead back on the third day.  Guess who has been given the rest of her trip?  Yours truly.  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Crew Scheduling?  Are you all braindead?

So in an effort to help crew members and crew schedulers understand each other’s job, our management has decided to let crew members shadow schedulers and vice-versa.  From what I hear the schedulers will be following Check Flight Attendants – of which I am one – on trips (with overnights), and these aren’t the nice, cushy, easy trips but the ones with 14 hour duty days with short overnights.  They won’t be allowed to sleep or sit on the flights but must actually help with boarding, beverage service, trash collection, and whatever else may arise.  I hope I get one, but being on reserve I might (and probably) won’t.

I’ve also requested to shadow a scheduler.  I realize that many of them are doing a job and sometimes we don’t like what we have to do.  I also realize that some of them are jerks because they can be.  Maybe by doing this I’ll be able to better understand why junior FAs are given flying that I feel I should get and why I ALWAYS get hot reserve.  We’ll see how it goes.  I just hope those schedulers are given hell when they have to fly and that they are as tired as we are at the end of the day.  Perhaps by putting a face to a name and voice we can better understand each other and not have such animosity towards each other.

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2 Responses to “Job Shadowing”

  1. Rachael Fitts Says:

    Well aren’t you just so positive, “perhaps by putting a face to a name and voice we can better understand each other and not have such animosity towards each other.”

    I sure hope this improves things. The situation you described is unbelievable…

    Until I have reason to feel otherwise, I hate scheduling.

    • I may sound positive, but that’s just spin. Those schedulers who actually need to understand are too dense to get anything out of it. The only thing I can hope for is to get one I don’t like so I can put her in her place. And you should totally hate scheduling.

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