Block vs Credit Times

Trogdor

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I have a question about the legality of block and credit times established by airlines.

First some background information. My company uses "block" time to indicate when a flight departs and arrives. This time is established by the company based on what time they want the flight to depart and arrive. We also have "credit" times which is a historical average of the amount of time it takes to actually complete a flight leg. The credit time is generally higher than the block time.

I had a flight yesterday where the block time for the day was 7 hours and 53 minutes. However, the credit time was 8 hours and 28 minutes. So my question is this: How is it legal that I can fly a trip where the company indicates it will take under 8 hours to complete when the historical data proves it will take over 8 hours? Especially when the block time is something they arbitrarily come up with. Is this legal or is this something I need to fight?

By the way, the actual flight time yesterday was well over 9 hours thanks to the headwinds.
 

Andy Neill

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I have seen that also. I would imagine that as long as the block is reasonable in the FAA's eyes, it is legal. If they have a block of 7:59 and a credit of 12:15, I doubt that would fly.
 

JohnQ

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I have seen that also. I would imagine that as long as the block is reasonable in the FAA's eyes, it is legal. If they have a block of 7:59 and a credit of 12:15, I doubt that would fly.
The FAA monitors this stuff, and the catch phrase is what is "realistic." The occasional trip that flies over is acceptable, as stuff happens and weather occurs. However, if the trend is consistently above what is scheduled, and the end result could never have been scheduled in the first place (i.e. a one-day 2-man trip > 8 hours block) then they will crack down on that.

The key is to track the historical data and somehow inform the FAA in the first place.
 

SSDD

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At my company the computer shuffles the legs every month so that its very unusual to have the exact same trip from month to month.

It would be very difficult for an individual, or even the FAA, if they cared, to prove that the company was purposely fudging in their trip planning.
 

JohnQ

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It would be very difficult for an individual, or even the FAA, if they cared, to prove that the company was purposely fudging in their trip planning.
They don't have to prove what the company was purposely thinking--only the historical data. I think the number 30% has cropped up at some time in my brain. I.e. if over 30% of the 7.55 block turns (for example) actually overflew 8 hours, then you would have to change the trip.

This happened a couple of years ago at DAL. We had a daily ATL-SJO-ATL (San Jose, Costa Rica, for those interested) turn scheduled at 7.59. So many of these went over 8 hours that the FAA stepped in. The trip then became a 2-day that still blocked at ~ 8 hours, but paid 10.30 due to our duty period minimum guarantee.
 

Trogdor

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The key is to track the historical data and somehow inform the FAA in the first place.
This was my point. That we already have the historical data tracked, and the union and company review this data every 6 months and the credit times are adjusted to reflect the new average.

Thanks for all the other info, the 30% figure sounds interesting. Is this written in the Regs somewhere?
 
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