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Old 10th Oct 2018, 13:44
  #5161 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Going East
Posts: 15
Does BA have a scheduling agreement with regards to how many days off you get between long haul trips? And if so, are the days off to EASA spec or are they slightly more generous, say, no report before 0700 local?
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 14:52
  #5162 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 316
Originally Posted by GS-Alpha View Post


I believe you have hit the nail firmly on the head there Wiggy. I see people who have come to the jumbo from short haul, or have just joined from other airlines. They think it is great and say it is a breeze. I always say to them “Yep, that is because it takes about five years for the long term fatigue to really hit you, but it you it will.” They don’t believe me, but give them five years and they’ll be begging for part time or a return to short haul because the current work rate is beyond what the human body can reasonably be expected to do.
i joined from another LH airline and this is the most knackered I’ve ever been. Partly my fault as I knew the method of the rosters. I think BA’s version of LH is elegantly draining. All the flip flop shift reversals with little time to recover for enough weeks to ensure when you do hit leave or a block off you sort of collapse over the line ha. They’re experts at it. I’ve got to admire that. 5 (a fifth of a month!) missing nights sleep a month becomes my problem, not theirs :0 .

What’s not my fault is it’s changed (ing) , optimising since I’ve arrived. What existed when I signed up is moving around under my feet a little. Bidline as a concept is (was) good, don’t get me wrong. But I am surprised at whoever agreed to the the whole CAP thing back in t’ day, emphasis on the number CAP is/ lack of blocks off after LH had their pants pulled right down. Maybe folk who’d never worked outside of BA and they thought they were onto a good number? God knows.

I know having been elsewhere flying life can be really amazingly bad outside of BA (been there, worn the cheap t shirt :o ). But that’s not really any kind of answer. Less gets said/ admitted but the ability to recover or actually use time off after trips can also be a lot better.

All the details and why’s and wherefores are by the by to me. It’s hardly entirely BA’s fault anyway. Money makers will always do what money makers will do. Business attracts naturally greedy people to the top table. And they will do what they will do. Squeeze. The whole idea is we need folk to protect the greedy ones from running amok, then it works well for everyone...

We do have a regulator. I personally think the regulators are a circus act with protecting health in the flying workplace. They’re fine keen about defining the high health standards they want yet notable by their sqirmyness when it comes to having the the brass balls to address the causes of issues the medical lot say kills people. Smoking ban? Yeah fine - ban that as it doesn’t harm the bottom line of big aviation firms. Fly with booze in your body? Oh no, ban that, that’s unsafe, plus the public friggin hate it like the devil. Easy one that to pop a rule on. Land with sleep deprivation equivalent to 5 glasses of wine? “Oh, Er, mm, what’s that over there? Moving on.... I know let’s call this line in the sand, “fatigue” and paint it into the corner along with what causes stress in flying (another thorny one). It’ll be a vague untouchable unreachable thing, a bit like unicorn tears. Yes, Lets define it as something impossible to get. All the rest is “tiredness” and, well, that’s easy. That’s just like you get after a fat man Sunday lunch. Yes those pilots shift reversing are all “tired” that’s it. We’ll also chuck in an after-the-fact approach - make up a few touchy feely “support” and monitoring systems. Essentially means airlines can quietly file reports of this mythical “fatigue” in the grey tin file unit by the desk. Means we don’t have to address the causes and look like a real British regulator anytime the press ask us about it. Job done. We can’t possibly admit the current set up with aviation needs a big kick in the balls”. Bloody useless...

I tend to look if I can enjoy home life and going to work. Im a bear of simple brain and my small brain is just telling me I’m frigging knackered Can you tell?


Last edited by Wireless; 10th Oct 2018 at 22:51.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 15:22
  #5163 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Posts: 32
Originally Posted by pilotpete123 View Post
Does BA have a scheduling agreement with regards to how many days off you get between long haul trips? And if so, are the days off to EASA spec or are they slightly more generous, say, no report before 0700 local?
BA has Bidline rules (BLR)...or what is left of them after Balpa have granted a whole series of alleviations (the reasons why they did this are often debated, but the hard working Balpa reps believe that they had very sound reasons for doing so).

One good thing about BA is that your roster will not be changed without your consent once the final rosters have been published.

BLR requires 2 days off between LH flights, however 3 years ago a temporary alleviation was granted allowing BA to assign trips to EASA rules in some circumstances. This means that a trip with no EASA days off requirement could be assigned against your will that returns the day before a trip on your roster or more commonly there will be a gap of only 1 day between a trip on your line and a force assigned trip. An Africa and some Middle East trips trip have no days off requirement under EASA as there is no relevant time change, so back to back trips can be force assigned.

The recent discussion on this thread about the number of trips on a LH line is very important. 6 LH trips of 3 days will take a pilot above the required amount of work allowing the excess hours to be exchanged for money in subsequent months (or bidding to fly less in a subsequent month with the significant risk of being force assigned a trip because there is a gap on your line). The maths is simple: 6 LH trips of 3 days take up 18 days, the return sectors will include a fatiguing flight on the vast majority of occasions, the first day off at home the pilots feels like death, that is 6 more days, the following day the pilot feels like death warmed up, that is another 6 days. In a 30 day month there are no days off at home when the pilot feels fine. Add cumulative effects of repeated months with 5 or more trips and there is no lifestyle left and the pilot is wondering why he feels wound up like a taught bow and is shouting at his/her kids for no good reason. This also leads to being unable to sleep for more than a few hours at a time, despite being unbelievably tired.

The BA 747 Classic fleet proved that pilots can't endure the kind of roster that junior 747-400 pilots are now suffering. The Classic experience lead to the "5 trip rule" that Buter has quoted above, however this rule will not be incorporated in the new JSS rostering system that takes over from the January rosters.

There are BA 747-400 pilots in their mid-thirties who are unable to cope and have opted for part time. Sadly the company is unable to grant part time in many cases due to the extraordinary shortage of pilots.

BA has much to offer but the pilots work extremely hard. It is an incredibly profitable airline and this is not due to generosity to it's staff.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 15:29
  #5164 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 1,632
Interesting post wireless you could do with a holiday. The sleepy folk are of the view that the worst problem for Nigel's is that you very rarely work the same schedule, so planning rest periods get very difficult albeit each individual manages it in their own different way. So a shift worker working earlies / lates / nights or days / nights know exactly what to do as there isn't that much variety. Then Crews have to deal with TZ transitions (sorry to say EASA FTL is much better than CAP371 in this respect), jet lag, delays, commuting, other hobbies / jobs etc.
I know a lot of LH crew who have worked out that staying adapted to UK local is often needed to manage such schedules - you have to be pretty hardcore to manage this though although the rewards can be you recover in BA's time rather than your own.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 15:40
  #5165 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 5,364
But I am surprised at whoever agreed to the the whole CAP thing back in t’ day, emphasis on the number CAP is/ lack of blocks off after LH had their pants pulled right down.
The whole thing worked when I was a lad (and at the risk of proving that the past is another country) because:

1. It was possible to work up to 15 hours below CAP whenever you fancied or needed to, safe in the knowledge that BA couldn’t stick another trip on your line, regardless of whether you had banked hours or not..OTOH the “Martinis” who wanted to pick up the leftover work for cash were nowhere near 900 hours so they could pick up the slack..

That flexibility has gone.

2. BA was willing to run the pilot establishment to some extent to allow point 1.

They are not now.

3. Less frequent services often meant longer trips with embedded shuttles (Up to a week in the likes of HRE or CCS, with a shuttle somewhere on just one or two of those days) . In other words a significant amount of credit towards CAP was earned downroute sitting on your backside by a pool, on a beach or playing golf (i.e. possibly the lifestyle some who are joining are expecting still to find at BA...well ..)...

There are a handful of those sort of trips still around (e.g. NAS with a shuttle, perhaps some longer slips on the 787, Some Caribbean and the 9 day SYD trip on the 777) OTOH long trips don’t appeal to some people but they have their uses for generating downtime whilst still on the company’s dollar, however because of the increase in frequency of services over the years there’s now a heck of a lot of three day stuff which only earns about 20% of CAP....which somebody has to do....

Now of course if JSS comes in and if it works as advertised things might change...

Last edited by wiggy; 10th Oct 2018 at 15:53.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 16:49
  #5166 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: South of the North pole
Posts: 212
Would a BA pilot mind explaining what JSS is and how SH and LH monthly trips work on a pilot schedule. Im not employed by BA so am keen to understand the rostering system.

I read a lot about 5 and 6 trips a month but at 900 hours a year one can fly 75 hours a month so I fail to see how you do 5 or 6 LH trips a month unless you are flying 6 hour legs.

Obviously people are not lying about that but as a potential future BA pilot Im trying to see whether SH or LH is for me. I have heard the 744 fleet and trips are terrible but then again I would not know.

What is a new hire likely to get in terms of fleet and base. In my case Im a relatively experienced pilot with jet experience and over 5000 hours but not rated on a BA type.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 17:45
  #5167 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: London
Posts: 66
Originally Posted by Daddy Fantastic View Post
Would a BA pilot mind explaining what JSS is and how SH and LH monthly trips work on a pilot schedule. Im not employed by BA so am keen to understand the rostering system.

I read a lot about 5 and 6 trips a month but at 900 hours a year one can fly 75 hours a month so I fail to see how you do 5 or 6 LH trips a month unless you are flying 6 hour legs.

Obviously people are not lying about that but as a potential future BA pilot Im trying to see whether SH or LH is for me. I have heard the 744 fleet and trips are terrible but then again I would not know.

What is a new hire likely to get in terms of fleet and base. In my case Im a relatively experienced pilot with jet experience and over 5000 hours but not rated on a BA type.
what airline have you come from ? With that many hours (if your used to SH) you may as well go SH and get command in a few years , Or slog it at the bottom of seniority for LH for a looooooong time
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 18:40
  #5168 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Home of the Gnomes
Posts: 361
I read a lot about 5 and 6 trips a month but at 900 hours a year one can fly 75 hours a month so I fail to see how you do 5 or 6 LH trips a month unless you are flying 6 hour legs.
It’s 900 hours over 10.5 months as you get four weeks of leave and two “duty free weeks” (which are broadly the same thing), meaning 85 hours per (worked) month. However, we work on credit hours not flown hours. The annual total target credit hours on longhaul is 1055 (I think), which also includes a credit hour value for leave, sims, etc. It’s no coincidence that when the leave credit, sim credit and so on are removed, the answer gets very close to 900 and as most trip credit is flying hour based (long trips of which there are few are calculated slightly differently), you need to average 85 flying hours per month worked.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 20:37
  #5169 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 5,364
Originally Posted by Daddy Fantastic View Post
Would a BA pilot mind explaining what JSS is and how SH and LH monthly trips work on a pilot schedule. Im not employed by BA so am keen to understand the rostering system.
.
At the risk of sounding flippant but in fact trying to be totally honest I’d say there are at about 4000 people who would also like to understand exactly how the rostering system known as JSS is going to work at BA ..i.e. most of the current pilot workforce.

It’s a trip preferencing system where supposedly you can express options for trips, days off, start times...blah blah..system works it’s way down the pilot seniority list trying to satisfy preferences in some way shape or form...the system is supposed to be introduced in about 4 weeks time so that the rosters it produces will be the one’s we are working to w.e.f. 1 Jan.

However:

At the time of writing there has been a first attempt at a dry run where there were insufficient participants to produce meaningful output, so we have no idea what those rosters would have looked like.

We then had a second dry run where there seems to have been a problem producing results..we are promised them any day now but as of yet nothing - so nobody has any idea what those rosters would have looked like.

We have been promised a third dry run before the system goes live for the January bid.......time is short.....


And now you know about as much about JSS as most of us do......


I read a lot about 5 and 6 trips a month but at 900 hours a year one can fly 75 hours a month so I fail to see how you do 5 or 6 LH trips a month unless you are flying 6 hour legs.
..and guess what? We fly 6 hour legs...

For those still wearing rose tinted glasses a warning.. Longhaul at BA is not all 10-14 hour plus sector lengths such as Singapore, Buenos Aries and Hong Kong etc

..Leaving aside the occasional outliers that appear on the 777 or 744 rosters as daytrips such as Madrid and Moscow BA longhaul covers the likes of:

Tel Aviv ( 5 hours, plus or minus), Cairo, (sometimes, 5 hours ish)

Abuja/Lagos/Accra/ Boston,/Montreal and countless others at around 6 hours, plus or minus.

Now the senior guys might pick up two or three Longish sector round trips in the month and then perhaps a short trip to finesse the hours..that works fine....OTOH if you get clobbered with a month of low flight time trips you need to do a lot of days and nights at work to achieve the target hours.

Last edited by wiggy; 14th Oct 2018 at 06:05.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 20:40
  #5170 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Botswana
Posts: 709
I’ll hopefully be moving over to Long Haul in two years time however looking at the rosters of the junior trash on LH leads me to believe that 75% Right to Request will be essential in order to cope and have a life outside of work as a bloke in my fourties by the time it comes around. With the process running at over a year from application to the part time being granted that means possibly banging in a request next year. Whether I’ll be able to afford it I’m not even sure but one thing is for sure, I’m not working myself into an early death just to line the pockets of Alex Cruz and Willie Walsh.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 21:30
  #5171 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 316
Originally Posted by Daddy Fantastic View Post
Would a BA pilot mind explaining what JSS is and how SH and LH monthly trips work on a pilot schedule. Im not employed by BA so am keen to understand the rostering system.

I read a lot about 5 and 6 trips a month but at 900 hours a year one can fly 75 hours a month so I fail to see how you do 5 or 6 LH trips a month unless you are flying 6 hour legs.

Obviously people are not lying about that but as a potential future BA pilot Im trying to see whether SH or LH is for me. I have heard the 744 fleet and trips are terrible but then again I would not know.

What is a new hire likely to get in terms of fleet and base. In my case Im a relatively experienced pilot with jet experience and over 5000 hours but not rated on a BA type.
As mentioned there are stacks of flights that aren’t long on flight time. In isolation block hours are a red herring of judging how throughly exhausting the style of LH BA flies is. You’re out of bed the whole second night of a 3 days trip regardless. its the amount of nights out of bed and the amount of time off between trips. Of course higher block hours per trip theoretically mean less trips required to make cap and less nights out of bed. But there simply aren’t enough (on my fleet anyway) to give respite. With a theoretical high credit, 3 day 20 hour credit trip you’d have to do 4 and a bit of them to make cap. 4.5 this summer. So that’s where the 5 plus trips comes from when you have a mixture. You don’t get many lines of 3 day 20 hour credit trips



Last edited by Wireless; 10th Oct 2018 at 22:02.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 22:44
  #5172 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Home
Posts: 894
How on earth has BALPA been allowed to agree such punishment on the rostering systems , especially in LH. I retired on the B744 when BA were only allowed to roster 4 Atlantic crossing trips per Bid Period. You could bid for more in MU1 or Open Time, but that was your choice.
Preumably todays pilots are suddenly immune to fatigue as far as BA/BALPA are concerned. And if you did agree to help BA on last minute uncovered trips you could pick up £2000ish overtime to Syd.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 22:49
  #5173 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Botswana
Posts: 709
Because Balpa in BA are A) Sh1t scared of the company and B) only interested in protecting the senior Long Haul boys and their terms and conditions and the rest of us can go hang (especially Short Haul as the general assumption is that nobody in BA really wants to be a Short Haul Pilot and everyone wants to be on a Long Haul fleet long term anyway so it’s an easy give away for concessions to the company). These are the reasons I won’t give Balpa a penny, go on tell me I’m wrong.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 23:26
  #5174 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 316
The union in this country is fecking useless. They dally and fiddle. You’ve only got to read the magazine to see they’re nibbling away at the small stuff whilst the big stuff sails by. They’re like a workman on the titanic worrying about wonky table legs. The rest of the world has become more enlightened and forward thinking regarding lifestyle issues and their impact on mortality and health.

Aviation. An arrogant hypocritical industry with regulators full of old flying boys who don’t like change. The attitude hasn’t changed since the 1930s. To prove how full of it they are, if damage to the public were a factor, whatever practice would be nipped in the bud. If it were found that running an engine beyond limits would blow it up, there’d be a rule. But when it comes to pilots health? The response is “it’s down to the pilots”. So compared to the public, you’re sacrificial. And the best bit is, pilots being institutionalised in their professionalism will absolutely not let this affect work. In fact, it’s their private life and own well being that suffers. Pilots will literally sacrifice their well being at the alter of their profession.

We”ve all seen it. The little talks during SEP about “managing fatigue” or “stress”. The pointing out there’s “support” for mental health. As if we’re meant to be wowed by this approach?? Yup, it’s down to you. We want the high standards, high medical levels but we’re blowed if we’re going to help you stand a chance of staying well by addressing the factors. That’s gonna cost too much and would mean the whole system needs rebooting (sharp intake of breath). Thats it, straight out of the 19th century. That’s it, the best a modern regulator and it’s industry can come up with in supposedly the most advanced forward thinking industry around. To paraphrase a film, Rumour control, here are the facts. Stress, fatigue and sleep deprivation shorten your life. And we let these clowns get away with this without blowing the whistle. Like I said, it’s not entirely BA’s fault. We have the CAA for a reason and they’re failing at keeping pace with the 21st century medical and wellbeing view outside of aviation.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 23:35
  #5175 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 563
Wireless, that is such an incredibly accurate description of the state of affairs 👍
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 23:42
  #5176 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Barcelona
Age: 36
Posts: 204
Hear Hear Wireless 👏
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 05:48
  #5177 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 5,364
Originally Posted by cessnapete View Post
How on earth has BALPA been allowed to agree such punishment on the rostering systems , especially in LH. I retired on the B744 when BA were only allowed to roster 4 Atlantic crossing trips per Bid Period.



Bidline began to be hollowed out 10-15 years ago CP., and the rate of hollowing out has increased over the years. I think it was effectively as dead as a Norwegian Blue once Roster Assign came in (the ability of the company to put extra work on your line after Stage 2, regardless of where you were relative to CAP) but the name was kept I think for political reasons, as in “under us you still have Bidline”.

The “why’s” have been hinted at by previous posters so I won’t pour any more fuel on that particular fire. Many of us hope that the recent changes at the top of BA BALPA might improve matters, but there also needs to a readjustment in attitude from some of the line membership who are perhaps still reluctant to appear to be unreasonable to friends and neighbours.

Last edited by wiggy; 11th Oct 2018 at 07:13.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 08:15
  #5178 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: In front of a computer
Posts: 1,853
These roster/fatigue examples are part of the reason I retired from BA 747 longhaul at age 60 - I could have continued to 65. My problem was the relatively easy time I had over the preceding years as a 767, 777, and 747 Captain enjoying reasonable seniority and usually max 4 trips a month. As the company began to increase the pressure I should have taken part time but the 5 trips in a month 900 hours sort of took me by surprise. My last 2 years both were 900 flying hours to the minute !!

I realise this is a "golden years" sort of post but I hope new joiners realise that things have changed in BA and are likely to remain so - part time is an answer but rostering changes are really the cure. Hope JSS at least shows BA they need more flight crew.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 12:11
  #5179 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 316
I was interested to see why I’m feeling so bushed at the min. I’ve just looked back at the past 28 days. In the previous rolling 23 day period there’s been 4 complete trips and one sim. After my next trip in the previous rolling 28 days it’ll be 5 whole trips and one sim.

Quite compact I suppose. But looking about that’s not anything unusual to other folk down the list. And my blindlines over the last 3 weeks look smiliar to how it’s been for people on reserve.

Last edited by Wireless; 11th Oct 2018 at 13:30.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 17:04
  #5180 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Under the table
Posts: 183
Originally Posted by wiggy View Post
I think it was effectively as dead as a Norwegian Blue once Roster Assign came in (the ability of the company to put extra work on your line after Stage 2, regardless of where you were relative to CAP) but the name was kept I think for political reasons, as in “under us you still have Bidline”.
Not forgetting of course that Roster Assign was brought in to alleviate the Force Draft epidemic that was so prevalent that summer, and to which so many members were vocal about at the time. At least now we get some advanced notice of being screwed over and the opportunity to swap work/life around a bit in advance, rather than being met at the end of one trip and being told "by the way, see the weekend plans you had with the family tomorrow? Sorry, but now you're off to Abuja".

I know which I'd prefer.
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