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"Right Of Return"
Updated On: Nov 15, 2013

Now that the Southwest ATL Domicile has been announced for May 2014, there seems to be a lot of misinformation and confusion about the Right Of Return for AirTran Flight Attendants.  We hope this communication will provide clarification.

So what is the Right of Return (ROR) exactly?

Pursuant to the Seniority List Integration and Transition Agreement ratified by AirTran and Southwest Flight Attendants in January of 2012, all AirTran Flight Attendants are considered "displaced" from their AirTran bases at the time they cross the SWA partition, regardless of when.

  • If they were formerly based at the AirTran ATL Domicile, they have a Right Of Return to any vacancies at the Southwest ATL Domicile. 
     
  • If they were formerly based at the AirTran MCO Domicile (or had a bid in for the AirTran MCO Domicile as of 12/31/11), they have Rights Of Return to any vacancies at both the SWA ATL Domicile and/or the SWA MCO Domicile

Thus once they cross the partition and submit domicile bids, they "leap frog" over any Southwest Flight Attendants who also have bids for the SWA ATL or MCO Domiciles.  They are awarded those domiciles in their former AirTran seniority order.  If there are no fomer AirTran Flight Attendants who have an ROR in the domicile bid list, then the domiciles are simply awarded in straight SWA seniority.  While this may seem a bit complicated, the Right Of Return is actually quite simple:

EVERY former AirTran Flight Attendant has a permanent Right Of Return to their ROR base(s) until they "use it" or "lose it", regardless of when they transition.

There is only one way a Flight Attendant can "lose" their Right Of Return:  by not bidding for the domicile when he or she can hold it.

So how does a Flight Attendant "use" their RIght Of Return?  By bidding for the domicile as their highest preference when they are eligible to bid for Southwest Bases.  There is only one way for an AirTran Flight Attendant to be eligible to bid for Southwest Bases - by being awarded an SMT class slot.

There has been much discussion about AirTran Flight Attendants who have not yet crossed the partition at the time the ATL domicile opens possibly losing their ROR.  THIS IS FICTION.  Since any AirTran Flight Attendant who has not been awarded an SMT class slot is not eligible to bid for any SWA base, they can not "use" their ROR, thus they can not "lose" their ROR.

To reiterate - the Right Of Return is permanent until you "use it" or "lose it".

Let's look at some examples:

EXAMPLE ONE:
Former ATL AirTran Flight Attendant submits their SWA Domicile Bid in the following order:

ATL
MDW
BWI
DAL
HOU
OAK
DEN
PHX
LAS
MCO

At the time the bids are awarded, there are no vacancies at the ATL domicile, but the Flight Attendant is able to hold the MDW domicile.  The Flight Attendant has not "used" their ROR yet, so it remains in place until a vacancy opens the Flight Attendant can hold
.

EXAMPLE TWO:
Former ATL AirTran Flight Attendant submits their SWA Domicile Bid in the following order:

ATL
MDW
BWI
DAL
HOU
OAK
DEN
PHX
LAS
MCO

At the time the bids are awarded, there are vacancies at the ATL domicile, but the Flight Attendant is not senior enough to hold the bid.  The Flight Attendant has not "used" their ROR yet, so it remains in place until a vacancy opens the Flight Attendant can hold.



EXAMPLE THREE:
Former ATL AirTran Flight Attendant submits their SWA Domicile Bid in the following order:

BWI
ATL
MDW
DAL
HOU
OAK
DEN
PHX
LAS
MCO

At the time the bids are awarded, there are vacancies at both the BWI and ATL domiciles that the Flight Attendant is senior enough to hold.  Since the Flight Attendant could have used their ATL ROR, but instead placed BWI as a higher preference, they are awarded BWI and considered to have "lost" their ATL ROR.



EXAMPLE FOUR:
Former MCO AirTran Flight Attendant submits their SWA Domicile Bid in the following order:

MCO
ATL
BWI
MDW
DAL
HOU
OAK
DEN
PHX
LAS

At the time the bids are awarded, there is a vacancy at  the ATL domicile that the Flight Attendant is senior enough to hold, but not the MCO domicile.  The Flight Attendant is awarded the ATL domicile but still maintains their ROR to MCO.



EXAMPLE FIVE:
Former MCO AirTran Flight Attendant submits their SWA Domicile Bid in the following order:

MCO
ATL
BWI
MDW
DAL
HOU
OAK
DEN
PHX
LAS

At the time the bids are awarded, there are vacancies at both  the ATL and MCO domiciles that the Flight Attendant is senior enough to hold.  Since the Flight Attendant can hold both, they are awarded MCO since it is their higher preference, but lose their ROR to ATL.


EXAMPLE SIX
Former ATL AirTran Flight Attendant submits their SWA Domicile Bid in the following order:

ATL
MCO
BWI
MDW
DAL
HOU
OAK
DEN
PHX
LAS

At the time the bids are awarded, there is a vacancy at the ATL Domicile that the Flight Attendant is senior enough to hold.  The Flight Attendant thus "uses" their ATL ROR is awarded ATL.

Some other important notes pursuant to the SLI Agreement:

  • No Flight Attendant can be displaced out of an SWA Domicile in order for another Flight Attendant to utilize their ROR.
     
  • Why the MCO double ROR?  Because DOH Bidding is only available in ATL.
     
  • Former MKE Flight Attendants have an ROR based on their Domicile of Record, or MCO Bidding Preference as of 12/31/11.
     
  • Simply put - a Flight Attendant should keep the base they want to be awarded as their first choice.  You can not lose your ROR if you do this.

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