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2018 Vacation Information

Source: AFA

Date: Aug 23, 2017

Source: unitedafa.org

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In anticipation of the start of the annual vacation process outlined in Section 12 of our JCBA, we highlight the following key dates that are critical components of the vacation timeline:

Event Date
Begin vacation buy back & Flex election period By September 25
Close election period On October 15
Begin first vacation bid period By October 23
Close first vacation bid period On October 31
Post first vacation awards By November 4
Begin second vacation bid period By November 8
Close second vacation bid period On November 16
Post second vacation awards By November 20
Vacation allocations published By November 24
Trades awarded by seniority On November 30
Final vacation allocations published By December 4
Instant trading opens On December 5

The JCBA vacation bidding process includes changes for Flight Attendants from all three of the pre-merger airlines.  It is anticipated that Flight Attendants will have more flexibility than ever before for bidding, buybacks, splitting, and trading. We encourage you to begin the process of reviewing the language in Section 12 of the JCBA for additional information regarding vacation accrual, pay, and processes.


As part of the next step in the process, 2018 Reserve Letters for pmUA Flight Attendants are expected to be available on or around September 23. This is the Contractual Reserve letter list that is required to be available in the month prior to the start of the annual vacation bidding process.  As we have every year, Reserve Letters will be assigned to every pm UA Flight Attendant with the exception of those in the top 25% of the domicile and those who have not yet achieved their fifth-year anniversary. 

A vacation instructional booklet containing the recommendations of the Joint Implementation Team (JIT) has been published. These publications include specific bidding details and emphasize important dates for the process. All Flight Attendants' 2018 vacation accrual will be based on the vacation accrual year from September 2016 – August 2017. Everyone will have the ability to "practice" the new vacation system via CCS, by the end of August.


2018 Vacation Bidding postcards listing the Contractual Vacation Timeline have been distributed and placed in Flight Attendant mail files to highlight the upcoming activities, deadlines and bid open, close and award dates.

Part One of the new Vacation Bidding Booklet - Accrual and Electionshas been published and is now available for your reference.  This publication includes the recommendations of the Joint Implementation Team (JIT) on information that all Flight Attendants will need in order to better understand the various aspects of the 2018 Vacation bidding process.

This is the first of three booklets published addressing our Contractual Vacation Bidding. Parts 2 & 3 will focus on the process of vacation bidding and monthly vacation options.

Part One of the Vacation Booklet focuses on vacation accrual and outlines the various election options available to Flight Attendants during the Vacation Election period.  These options include:

  1. Vacation Buy Back
  2. Deferral of Vacation as an employee 401(k) contribution
  3. Optional Flex Vacation Program

2018 Vacation accrual for all Flight Attendants is based on an evaluation of hours flown during the vacation accrual year which is defined as the Flight Attendant schedule months of September 2016 through August 2017.

In anticipation of the upcoming vacation bid, everyone will have the ability to "practice" using the new vacation bidding program that will be available in CCS.  This "practice" environment will be available by the end of August.

You are strongly encouraged to review all of the upcoming vacation publications.  If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council Office.


The Vacation Election period opens on September 25, 2017, and closes on October 15, 2017, twenty (20) days later.

The 2018 Vacation Bidding Booklet was published August 4, 2017 and contains information intended to guide Flight Attendants through the contractual vacation bidding process based on recommendations from the Joint Implementation Team (JIT). 

Everyone will have the ability for hands on experience with the new vacation bidding platform that will be available via CCS.  This "practice" environment is expected to be available by the end of August and will remain available until a few days prior to the opening of vacation bidding.

For additional information please, contact your Local Council representatives.


Shortly after Reserve Letters are published, the Vacation Buy Back and Flex Election period will open on September 25, 2017 and will remain open for twenty (20) days through October 15, 2017.  Why is this period twenty days long?

Prior to the annual vacation bid, the company shall offer a vacation buy back option that will provide Flight Attendants the opportunity to elect to take pay in lieu of accrued vacation that would otherwise be available for use in the next Scheduled Vacation Year. Section 12.D.1 of our Contract requires Flight Attendants be provided this twenty (20) day period to submit the vacation buy back request. In order to be awarded a vacation buy back request, a minimum of six (6) days of accrued vacation must be "sold".  Those Flight Attendants electing to sell vacation will receive their buy back payments in the first quarter of the Scheduled Vacation Year in which the vacation was to have taken.  That is, sometime during the period from January 2018 - March 2018.

It is important to note, if you elect to sell vacation through the vacation buy back program, you may not participate in the annual Flex Program in the same Scheduled Vacation Year.

Section 12.E. of our Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) provides for the Optional Flex Vacation Program where, prior to the annual vacation bid, the company must provide Flight Attendants with a twenty (20) day period to submit a Flex Vacation request.  The Flex Vacation program provides Flight Attendants with the ability to elect to take an additional seven (7) days of vacation.  These seven days are unpaid unless the Flight Attendant elects to have 1:54 of pay deducted from her/his earnings each month to set aside the pay for this Flex vacation week. 

For additional information please, Contact your Local Council Office.


A Flight Attendant's (base) vacation accrual is established by her/his completed years of service with the Company and may be adjusted in accordance with paid activity during the vacation accrual year.

Completed Years of Service Base Vacation Accrual
1-4 12 days
5-9 19 days
10-16 26 days
17-24 33 days
25+ 40 days

As a newly employed Flight Attendant, how do I accrue vacation?
Newly employed Flight Attendants accrue one (1) day of vacation for each full month of continuous employment during the remainder of the Vacation Accrual year after the date of their initial employment. If employed prior to the 15th day of the calendar month, vacation credit shall be given for the full month.

What is the Vacation Accrual Year? 
The Vacation Accrual Year is defined as the 12-month period beginning with the September 2016 bid month through the August 2017 bid month.  This is the "look back" period over which paid activity is evaluated to determine vacation accrual eligibility.

What are the vacation accrual quarters for the 2016 – 2017 Vacation Accrual Year?
For 2016 – 2017, vacation accrual quarters are tied to pre-merger affiliation and contractual bid months in effect for last year.


First Quarter Second Quarter Third Quarter Fourth Quarter
08/30/16 - 11/29/16 11/30/16 - 03/01/17 03/02/17 - 05/31/17 06/01/17 – 08/29/17

pmCO & pmCMI:

First Quarter Second Quarter Third Quarter Fourth Quarter
08/29/16 - 11/29/16 11/30/16 - 03/01/17 03/02/17 - 06/02/17 06/03/17 – 08/29/17

How does paid activity affect vacation accrual?
Your annual (base) vacation accrual will be reduced when the paid activity in each quarter of the Vacation Accrual year does not meet either the 60-hour – 119:59 hour or the 120 hour or greater metric for accrual as follows:

  • A Flight Attendant who completes one hundred twenty (120) hours or more of paid activity in each quarter of the 2016-2017 Vacation Accrual Year, will receive full vacation accrual (100% of base vacation accrual).
  • A Flight Attendant who completes fewer than one hundred twenty (120) hours but at least sixty (60) hours of paid activity in each quarter of the 2016 - 2017 Vacation Accrual Year, will receive fifty percent of vacation accrual (50% of the Base Vacation Accrual.)
  • A Flight Attendant who completes fewer than sixty (60) Hours of paid activity for each quarter of the 2016 – 2017 Vacation Accrual Year will accrue no vacation.
  • The following chart illustrates accrual based on Paid Activity:
Years of Completed Service Annual Base Vacation Accrual Accrual per Quarter
(<60 hours of paid activity)
Accrual per Quarter
(60 – 119:59 hrs.
of paid activity)
Accrual per Quarter
(120 hrs. or more of paid activity)
1-4 12 DAYS 0 1D 12H 3 DAYS
5-9 19 DAYS 0 2D 9H 4D 18H
10-16 26 DAYS 0 3D 6H 6D 12H
17-24 33 DAYS 0 4D 3H 8D 6H
25+ 40 DAYS 0 5 DAYS 10 DAYS

Vacations can also be reduced as a result of Leaves of Absence.


A Flight Attendant on a Leave of Absence (except occupational), furlough or disciplinary suspension will have her/his vacation reduced by 1/12th for each thirty (30) days or major portion on a prorated basis.

What happens to my vacation accrual if I take a Company Offered Leave (COLA)?
A Flight Attendant on a Company Offered Leave of Absence (COLA) will have her/his 2018 Vacation reduced for the period she/he is on the COLA.

What happens to my vacation accrual if I take a Special COLA?
A Flight Attendant on a Special COLA will not have her/his 2018 Vacation reduced for the period she/he is on the Special COLA.

Pre-merger CAL & CMI Flight Attendants - Evaluation Period
The evaluation period for the reduction due to leave of absence for the 2018 Vacation year will be December 30, 2016 - August 29, 2017.  (The period was shortened in order to bring all Flight Attendants into a single evaluation period.)

Pre-merger UAL Flight Attendants - 30 Day ANP
Flight Attendants on 30-day ANP will not have their 2018 Vacation reduced for the period while on ANP.  However, two (2) periods of 30-day ANP, back to back or 30-day ANP in conjunction with any other leave of absence or ANP will result in the 2018 Vacation accrual reduction.

Pre-merger UA Flight Attendants who have taken Day at a Time (DAT) Vacation
Flight Attendants may take up to ten (10) vacation days "borrowing" these from the next year's allotment. Day at a time (DAT) taken during the accrual period of August 30, 2016 – August 29, 2017 will reduce the 2018 Vacation on a day-for-day basis.

The following chart illustrates vacation reductions due to Leave of Absence:

Scheduled Vacation Days
Months on
Leave of






1 1 DAY 1D 14H 2D 04H 2D 18H 3D 08H
2 2 DAYS 3D 04H 4D 08H 5D 12H 6D 16H
3 3 DAYS 4D 18H 6D 12H 8D 06H 10D 00H
4 4 DAYS 6D 08H 8D 16H 11D 00H 13D 08H
5 5 DAYS 7D 22H 10D 20H 13D 18H 16D 16H
6 6 DAYS 9D 12H 13D 00H 16D 12H 20D 00H
7 7 DAYS 11D 02H 15D 04H 19D 06H 23D 08H
8 8 DAYS 12D 16H 17D 08H 22D 00H 26D 16H
9 9 DAYS 14D 06H 19D 12H 24D 18H 30D 00H
10 10 DAYS 15D 20H 21D 16H 27D 12H 33D 08H
11 11 DAYS 17D 10H 23D 20H 30D 06H 36D 16H
12 12 DAYS 19D 00H 26D 00H 33D 00H 40D 00H

The following is an example of a Flight Attendant who had a leave of absence and did not receive full accrual based on paid activity.  In this example, the Flight Attendant has completed thirty (30) years of service and has an annual base vacation of forty (40) days.  For each quarter where the Flight Attendant completes 120 hours or more of paid activity, the actual per quarter accrual is ten (10) days.

Quarter Paid Activity Accrual Total Days
1st 240 hours 100% 10 days
2nd 270 hours 100% 10 days
3rd 160 hours 100% 10 days
4th 115 hours 50% 5 days
Total Vacation Accrual based on Paid Activity 35 days

This same Flight Attendant was also on a non-occupational Medical Leave of Absence for ninety (90) days during the third (Q3) and fourth (Q4) quarters.  As a result of this Medical Leave of Absence, the vacation accrual is reduced by 3/12, that is, 1/12 reduction for each 30 days or major portion thereof.  The vacation accrual is reduced by 10 days.

The vacation accrual based on reductions for Leaves of Absences is a total of 30 days.

NOTE: When the base vacation for a Flight Attendant is reduced for paid activity and leaves of absence, the greatest reduction is applied.  In the above example, the 40-day vacation for the Flight Attendant is reduced to 30 days.


On September 25, 2017, Vacation Accrual Letters will be available for viewing by all Flight Attendants in CCS.  To access your personalized Vacation Accrual Letter in CCS:

Go to Bidding > My Vacation.

What is a Vacation Accrual Letter?
A vacation accrual letter is a personalized communication to each Flight Attendant consisting of the following information:

  • Your vacation accrual seniority date and the number of adjusted days, if any, for leave of absence (LOA).
  • Based on this seniority date, your 2018 base (annual) vacation accrual
  • Your paid activity for each quarter of the 2017 Vacation Accrual Year
  • The number of 2018 Vacation days reduced for any applicable leave(s) of absence
  • Your total 2018 Vacation accrual in days and hours

 From the Vacation Accrual Letter webpage, you are able to proceed to the Vacation Election options.


In preparation for the 2018 Vacation Bidding process, we will be publishing the 2018 Vacation Booklet in three (3) separate parts to help familiarize Flight Attendants with important information.

The first part of the Vacation booklet, which focuses on Vacation Accrual and Electionswas published on August 3, 2017.

The second part of the booklet focuses on the Vacation Bidding Process, and will address:

  • How to bid
  • Bidding options
  • Splitting your accrued vacation
  • Vacation day allocations
  • Vacation bidding for Reserves
  • No bid/insufficient bid
  • Vacation Pay

 Part two of the vacation bidding booklet can be downloaded here.

The third and final part of the booklet, focused on the Monthly Vacation Options, will be released at the end of this month.

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