View Full Version : Bye Bye (BA) Bidline

15th Aug 2004, 14:30
Sources tell me that BA have employed a consulting Professor for three months to research every aspect of BA's Bidline Rules.

I can save him some time. Just tell BA that BLRs are outdated and pilots would prefer to be auto rostered.

15th Aug 2004, 15:05

Q Are you a BA pilot?

A Obviously not. Hence your views (and knowledge of the subject) are probably minimal and therefore irrelevant. So take your jealous agenda and shove it where the sun don't shine.

15th Aug 2004, 15:29
Top Bunk

I'm sure that Shaman was delighted with your considered and courteous response. I'm sorry that you feel it improper for mere outsiders to comment on the golden calf of bidline but actually the principles are quite well known to those of us who have not had the good fortune to work for BA.

In truth, it was only marginally equitable in the bygone era when a pilot joined an airline in his early twenties and stayed put for his entire career. With DEPs now coming in at a variety of points in the experience scale, it is good only for those who have been with BA from the beginning and therefore completely obsolete. I can understand the old hands wanting to hang on to it now that they can reap the benefits but it doesn't make it the right system for the 21st century.

If the airline grasped this particular nettle, I dare say that after the seismic eruptions had subsided, a much happier workforce would result. It might even save money.

15th Aug 2004, 15:46

So you'll be one of the ex-forces brigade who think that your 'experience' deserves more than you get.

Well, I would counter by saying that since the 2003 pay deal, which removed the association of money with long range trips, that people now bid for where they actually would like to go, rather than destinations that pay money. That translates into people going for lifestyle (golf in Africa, sun in Caribbean, time at home etc) rather than dosh.

What is wrong with that? Seniority determines fleet, days off, lifestyle.

What do you suggest?

The starter of this thread suggested that BA pilots wanted rid of bidline - I refute that allegation. And you? Ahh, but you're a LGW captain not working under bidline (if your profile is true),

15th Aug 2004, 16:00
BA are already using Carmen for Blind Line generation at LHR. They will use it increasingly to undermine Bidline until they turn round one day and tell us that itís simply uneconomic to run two systems.

Itís like being pick pocketed, theyíre stealing our T&Cís whilst we look the other way.

The only reason BA hate Bidline is that the pilots like it, so it must be bad.

Thatís the kind of Company we work for.


Iíll take on the opposition anyday. Itís my management I canít beat!

15th Aug 2004, 16:19
Quite agree, Pirate. Bidline is totally outmoded and needs to be dropped - then RE can start on the cash payments made to c/crew for just TURNING UP for their rostered duty.

Auto-rostering would at least allow the experienced ex-military men like Lord_F to have a crack at the honey-pot.

15th Aug 2004, 16:36
What honey pot?

Human Factor
15th Aug 2004, 16:48
Why dump a system which enables BA to roster it's longhaul crews to consistently achieve the 900 hour legal maximum per year? It is extremely efficient. Bidline also encourages people to stay with the company. Knowing you will, sooner or later, reach a point where you can choose when and where to work is well worth it to me.

Those who knock it presumably don't understand it. The main benefit however, is that rostering is COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT. There is no way a quiet word can be had in the ear of scheduling for a 'cushy' trip, for example. The principle of seniority ensures that if you bid for anything, no-one junior to you will get it instead of you.

I assure you it will be cheaper for BA to keep bidline than to pay for the strike which will result if they try to get rid of it.

So far they've shafted us on the following:

1) Pay - the reorganisation means that BA longhaul First Officers are paid broadly the same as VS First Officers but all BA flight crew are contracted for 900 hours per year instead of 750 hours at VS. It has also increased time to command.

2) Pensions - no Final Salary Scheme for new joiners which will inevitably mean that the FSS will eventually disappear for existing employees.

If you also add Bidline to the list, I and many of my compatriots will happily send the company to the wall as we will have nothing left to lose. Just watch us.


Please answer the following:

If Bidline is that inefficient, please explain how BA longhaul flight crew are consistently reaching the 900 hour legal maximum.

Oh yes. At the risk of thread creep, a very large number of ex military chaps joined at a similar time to me. Where did they go?

That's right, the -400, on the old pay deal (honey-pot?) by using their previous experience (ATPL). Sure some of them later moved to LGW to get an early command by using their previous experience (ATPL and required hours). All credit to them, they took the option that was there at the time. Indeed there are a number of LGW Captains (not including the CFE guys here as they came on board much later) who are junior to me, an ex cadet . However, there are a number of ex-mil people who remain in the RHS on longhaul who whine anonymously on this forum about what a raw deal they have and why they can't be longhaul Captains. If they were that desperate for a command, surely they would also be at LGW .... or maybe Virgin.

This is exactly why a seniority based system is important. I would not want to do 15 years with BA, to find someone who joined yesterday jumping into a command ahead of me, for which I was equally qualified. Just because you spent your formative years hurtling around in a grey pointy jet does not automatically give you the right to shaft people who joined the airline before you.

In answer to anyone who wonders why I don't have a LGW command, 737 LGW is not considered to be particularly popular. This meant that commands became pretty junior. At this point, I didn't have the required hours to be considered for a command there while the ex military guys did, hence the early commands. Now that I have the hours, the 'honey-pot' has been redistributed somewhat, which means LGW commands have gone senior (admittedly not as senior as LHR) and are out of my reach. So the 'honey-pot' has moved correctly, to the junior Captain's who were notably under paid, particularly at LGW.

To the ex military guys trying to change the rules, the old adage still applies:

If you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined.

16th Aug 2004, 10:34
Human Factor

I find it a little odd that the first half of your post is a moan about eroded Ts & Cs but you then go on to accuse others of whining.
Time to command apart, the BA package is probably the best on offer in the UK - not perfect, but look at the others!

I don't really think that bidline is a factor in achieving 900 hours per annum on long haul. Given the sector lengths, any competent rostering department will achieve that, whatever system is in use.

Jet A1
16th Aug 2004, 10:37
It's a good package if you're on the old pension deal and at a decent point on the seniority within your fleet !!

Otherwise, I find it hard to agree -- There is a lot more to airline flying in the UK besides BA !

16th Aug 2004, 13:38
I think it is outdated and unfair - the flights have got to be manned regardless peoples desires and wants......

I'm sure that a new system could achieve a consistency over the '900hours issue' as surely without a fixed line there will be more flexibilty and the rostering could become 'leaner' in that respect.

The cabin crew have a mixed roster with a 'preference bid' which probably accounts for 30-50% of achieved.
Its not destination only , its based on trip types etc....

There are many junior pilots who do week after week of the cr*p that nobody else wants to do.

Conversely , i (only) once did a Buenos Aires (when it was £££) and the Captain was operating there 4 times a month :mad:
Surely that is unfair and also means that in terms of the essential 'airfield familiarisations' he was operating solely to one place :rolleyes:
He was a * too !

Maybe it is time for a review.........

Nice style Top Bunk :rolleyes: I'm alright jack :zzz:

16th Aug 2004, 14:09
Hi guys,

Assuming most of the posts here will be from BA crew,after all you are the ones that would be affected,may i raise my head above the sand dune and add my Dirhams worth!
Having come from a UK charter operation,with automatic rosters,i relished the prospect of joining Emirates where there is a bid system.The system here also respects seniority but is much fairer in that it rotates around a 5 month group.ie all pilots split into 5 groups and these move up the line each month.You maintain seniority within you own group but will normally get you desires at top 2 months,poss3.The months when your group is bottom or next to bottom,you have less successful bids but still have some choice as to your work preferences.There are very few if any complaints and the system works well. I have never known a system like the one at B.A which appears to cause so much jealousy and resentment.( that last comment re. Captain who did 4 EZE /month said it all!).
I hope you manage to resolve your differences and get on with the job of flying Aeroplanes.Good luck!:ok:

16th Aug 2004, 14:23

They never mention their forces pension, just moan about bidline!

Just the same as those who buy their house near Heathrow and then moan about the noise.

I did my time on perminant reserve (three years), then when I got a Blind Line five 0540CDG's in a row!

Now it's payback time.

Note... Once you have done a few years of dross (my spelling) then you too will be given a beach lounger with your name on it.

Until then stop moaning...

PS I love the "essential 'airfield familiarisations' " quote

16th Aug 2004, 14:32
Leaving aside the usual self-interested, rather immature and mostly inaccurate stuff now so often apparent on PPRuNe I have only one point.

Bidline works very well IF everybody has a long career in BA and there is continual movement and/or expansion. Neither of which is the case.

It has many advantages, transparency being one of the most important. A rotating block system applied to Bidline, similar to that in EK, would remove so much of the bitterness engendered in the 'have nots'.

Unfortunately those blessed with long careers in BA would fight tooth and nail to prevent it.

Any possibility the, supposedly intelligent and educated, posters on this thread could attempt to have a rational debate instead of posting vitriol, abuse and immature jibes?

(Edited for spelling.)

17th Aug 2004, 08:38
Human Factor,

What I said was:

<<I can save him some time. Just tell BA that BLRs are outdated and pilots would prefer to be auto rostered.>>

Perhaps what I should have said was :

<<I can save him some time. Just tell BA what they would love to hear - that BLRs are outdated and pilots would prefer to be auto rostered.>>

Unfortunately, that is not what most pilots think.

I have experienced a number of different scheduling systems and I have no doubt that a Bidline work allocation system is the best.

17th Aug 2004, 19:12
I presume the "management" who would love to get rid of Bidline will be re-introducing the rule that recorded all return to base delays over two hours. Once the running total of delays reached eight hours the pilot concerned was allocated, on a day of his/her chosing, an extra day off.

19th Aug 2004, 09:47
I for one would like to see bidline remain but with the proviso that some or all of the service given to the Armed Forces is taken into account for seniority.

Then we would see the correct people rewarded. When young cadets have done enough years they too may get some benefits.

Ex-forces shouldn't be penalised. We have given up a large proportion of our adult working lives so you Civilians could sleep in your beds at night. and should be recognised thus.


19th Aug 2004, 14:57
Big Brutha

Oh dear we have touched a nerve haven't we?
When you say a DEP does that mean you failed both the RAF selection and the BA Cadet selection?


19th Aug 2004, 17:52
Big Brutha

I think you make a very valid point actually.....!

19th Aug 2004, 19:58
first of all, well done human factor,thats the best reply l have
read in many a month. For those in favour of rostering,have a look at the corruption still endemic in the cabin crew system,why only the other day l came across a lowly stewardess who has done 3 singapore australias in the last 2 months,and for those in ignorance,that amounts to over £1300 after tax for each one
,all for lying in bed for half the trip.
As for the whinging wingcos on this thread,bugger the lot of you when its the jolly chaps keeping me awake at night and terrifying all the livestock around with their silly war games.As for defending us in our beds,most tend to crash themselves without a war.Total tosh,what!

19th Aug 2004, 20:19
Well said BigBrutha!!

But what a shame it had to be said.

19th Aug 2004, 20:56
Oh dear.

If it was bait that you're not going to take then you fancied it but thought better of it.

True then.


19th Aug 2004, 23:43
LF - why should any airline bump you up the list for your time in the services? They don't owe you anything, they have given you the job you appled for with full knowledge of the t+cs.

In my opinion, actual flying experience accounts for only half of a good skipper, the other half relates to knowledge and application of SOPs, company politics and history etc etc, i.e big picture stuff relating to the individual company itself gained solely through experience of operating for said company.

Length of employment = Experience = Seniority, funny old thing!

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but I reckon this works for the majority.

20th Aug 2004, 11:15

Your reply holds valid points, particularly the statement

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but I reckon this works for the majority

The exceptions being people lke me who are a wasted resource with vast experience still in the right hand seat. This despite the best training in the world and vast experience-far in excess of many people I fly with.


20th Aug 2004, 14:40
That's just the point Lord F.....and you seem to be missing it again and again.....!

Your so called "vast experience" of flying a fast jet at 400kts at 250ft through the valleys of Wales is a million miles away from the experience required to operate (and I use that word, not "fly") a modern commercial airliner. My experience of ex-military guys I fly with find the transition of being a big fish in a small pond in the RAF to "being just another F/O" in the airline environment, very difficult. (You sound like you fall into this bracket yourself...?)
Their resource management skills with the rest of the crew is sometimes poorly lacking, and the tone in some of your posts just proves my point.

Of course, I am by no means putting all of you ex-forces guys in the same category, as I fly with some extremely competent and good blokes who are ex-mil as well. I am just saying that personally, although I'm not too bothered about it, I agree with Big Brutha's sentiments.

Your "vast experience" counts for pretty much nothing I'm afraid.... if you don't like it...don't leave the military.

Besides...I think we are drifting from the thread topic here....


Ok...he got me.....having stumbled upon some of Lord_flasharts previous dross, I\'ve been caught on the end of his fishing line....!

Oh well....instead of deleting the post, I\'ll see what Mr Mitty will throw at me......keeps him amused I guess. He does like a good wag...don\'t you Flashy !

20th Aug 2004, 17:16
Bid line will disappear over the corpses of the BA mainline.

Good thread Shaman, get a good scrap going! And for whats it's worth, I understood the sarcastic tone of your first post, and I bet that's what the fella will do!

I for one would like to see bidline remain but with the proviso that some or all of the service given to the Armed Forces is taken into account for seniority

That's a good one! I'm fairly sure you posted that in jest, as you couldn't possibly be serious! :D

From my experience the sorts of ex-forces chaps mentioned herein are in the minority thankfully!

Lots of love, A once Cadet who wouldn't particularly like to lose seniority in 15 years to someone who joined the RAF a few years ago because he couldn't get a BA sponsorship (oh yes!)

21st Aug 2004, 01:01
Never ceases to amaze how many are caught byL_F's 'long line' fishing method...:E

21st Aug 2004, 06:47
I'm an ex-mil 4-jet AT/AAR QFI with a few thousand hours and 20 years or so of world-trotting - but the idea of being locked in a broom cupboard with a stranger watching computer screens for 6 hours doesn't appeal, so my ATPL is purely used for GA instruction and I'm quite happy to let the youngsters 'enjoy' what nowadays passes for an airliner-driver's existence. No chip on the shoulder, therefore! I might have though about applying to an airline it if the lifestyle was still more like it was when James Robertson Justice was flying his Stratocruiser in 'Out of the Clouds' - but sadly it isn't.

Here's a suggestion. Why not specify a minimum qualifying period for the pilots employed by an airline before they then compete for the LHS on merit? No fast-track for ex-pointy jet drivers, no automatic consideration for long serving Hamsters (or whatever the current term is). Just do the qualifying time, then let merit selection be the LHS determinant.

Similarly, bidline. Why not factor it so that the only rostering during the minimum qualifying period would be automatic; therafter as seniority increases, so would bidline rights. But they should never exceed 50% choice, 50% auto-roster.

But I don't suppose that BALPA would be particularly happy....

Human Factor
21st Aug 2004, 13:27
Never ceases to amaze how many are caught byL_F's 'long line' fishing method...

Keeps me out of trouble elsewhere... :ok:

By the way, can someone explain why I've been moderated please?

Otherwise, I'll just have to ask Lord F the same question again....:E

Cpt CadetEntry Pilot
21st Aug 2004, 19:19
Dear Flashy,

I think I flew with you the a few months ago. Were you the one with the shiny shoes who said "When I was on Hercs..." and then flew like a C**T for 4 days?
I'm :rolleyes: really:rolleyes: sorry I was 12 years younger than you and that you felt it was OK to accept all the "Thankyou Captain. You kept us so well informed and that was a lovely landing" by replying "No problem madam". I remember when I was a co-pilot I learned to enhance team spirit by responding "You'll have to thank the Captain for that." But no, You steal the thunder of your more talented, younger, more senior colleagues.
I'll give you your dues. You look like a Captain (albeit with one less stripe). Your silver hair and handle bar moustache look like you've stepped out of a 1950's comic book.

The next time we fly, try a little harder to not fly with the speedbrakes out in V/S mode and flare about 3 ft earlier. We're not dropping para's into Papua New Guinea, dear chap, we're trying to avoid being sued for ruptured discs!

Perhaps when you do eventually get that first command when you're 50, try to do it without relying on the favours of your ex-squadron mates who manage training. They might overlook your incredibly non-standard way of flying but they won't be able to cover up your record number of SESMA events.

For all of you.

"Beware the man who says I was on Hercs for he is pants"

21st Aug 2004, 19:41
cpt cadet et al...
i have no doubt that your abilities are superior to mine and many other pilots who use to fly the hercules,but really,can we have some balance to this discussion.there are some very talented ex-military pilots-who possess both the people skills and flying skills to make a very good fist of the job,just like there are some very poor ones. the same applies to other groups within our profession-wherever they have come from.so please, lets show a little respect for one another.
jumbodriver(currently airbus driver)
and i don't have shiny shoes or a moustache..or a chip..or a cross to bear etc etc

21st Aug 2004, 21:49

no automatic consideration for long serving Hamsters (or whatever the current term is)

And only a few lines before this sentence you say you don't have a chip on your shoulder!

If you're going to pretend you aren't a little bitter and twisted to try and get people to have some respect for your opinions, you should at least remember what rubbish you've already written!


Isn't the gentleman you refer to now working for a charter company at a regional airport?


I think Cpt CEP does add balance to the discussion, as he is reversing the general cadet-bashing trend!

22nd Aug 2004, 12:13
Drivel and jealously


Cpt CadetEntry Pilot
22nd Aug 2004, 16:14
Flashy. I think I love you.

22nd Aug 2004, 22:28
Ex-harrier ace.

Flying manually, but still inputing all heading amd cleared level info into the Flight Director.

Quietly sitting with my arms folded I suggested this was a two crew operation.

The response was that he was used to single pilot operation and could easily handle both.

I nodded my head and suggested "You carry on Sunshine, but just wait until you do the same in the box or on your route check!"

A real ace, but a bloody awful airline pilot!

23rd Aug 2004, 17:48
Jeepers guys, what a load of prejudiced drivel (from both sides), no wonder management at Big Airways can run rings around the pilot community, ....now what was the original question?