Award Builder

Feature Set: 
Interactive Tools
  • "Drag and Drop" Pairings to build your Award
  • Protects you from Contract and other Bidding Rules
  • Shows you how much credit your need for a proper bid
  • Helps you maximize your block credit and pay cheque
  • Allows for unlimited senarios to help plan a bid
  • Shows how pairings can impact on each other

Award Builder

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How to use the Award Builder

There are numerous functions from Crewsware that I have benefited from, where do I begin?

When I was first starting off, knowing the contract inside and out for expenses was as difficult as learning to fly the plane. Crewsware hands down paid for itself with the expense recovery I achieved within the first year. Now that the expenses run in real time, and print the expense report directly it’s even better.

It became apparent the more senior I got on an aircraft, and to the point I was able to build my schedules,  it was now my responsibility to ask specifically for what I wanted or it was my fault for getting what I didn’t. The Award Builder and pairing filter saved me hours of sorting to find pairings that fit the DBM window and further down to the days I wanted to work/have off.

Then came the time I was looking at an overseas contract and realized I hadn’t updated my log book for 8 years. Yes, there are other functions through aeronet that would’ve worked, but not as easy as crewsware to print off and confirm.

Lastly, the monthly family schedules that show local times where I’ll be saves a lot of heartache.

There are a lot of other tools that Crewsware offers that I haven’t explored, but these are key to me.

R. - Thursday, June 30, 2016

When I think about how Crewsware has made my life at Air Canada easier, the toughest question to answer is "where to start?'.  I don't know that there's an aspect of the site that I don't use on a regular basis.

For starters, I simply could not bid every month if it weren't for the amazing pairing filters at our disposal.  With all the published pairings organized only by check-in time (and not by day, date, or anything else), finding pairings to bid for would be next to impossible.  Having the ability to use Crewsware's filters allows me to choose the days I want to work, then identify the best pairings for those days.  As a commuter, being able to filter pairings by date, number of days, check-in/check-out time, productivity, and layover destination/length (among others) is crucial to the way I bid.  I'd say that my schedule satisfaction has been far above average on the Embraer, and I can attribute that directly to the tools that Crewsware has to offer.

After the bid closes, I routinely have not only my family, but also our Nanny, constantly asking what my (and their) schedule is going to be for the following month.  Being able to generate a user-friendly copy of the schedule with the Award Builder as soon as it is released on PBS is a huge asset, as it allows me to share my schedule with those concerned parties a few days before Air Canada makes our schedule available in a similar format.

Once a month starts, Crewsware just keeps on giving.  The Pairing Briefs generated the day before a pairing starts are a huge help.  Being able to gather all the relevant information in one place is extremely useful.  I download it onto my phone, so that it's available offline (especially useful in regions where I don't have data).  This gives me access to everything I need -- phone numbers for hotel AND transportation companies, pick-up times, hotel discounts, etc...all in one place!  This, combined with the "Who's In Town" feature, gives us all the tools we need to make every layover better.

The "My Layover" section is a great tool as well...having one place that we can use to learn about great new spots to eat/drink/run/visit/avoid in every layover destination is fantastic.  I've discovered some of my favourite spots by following recommendations, and have been able to share some of my own discoveries the same way.  I've lost track of the number of times that I've heard colleagues say that they enjoyed trying one of the spots I wrote about -- it's a great feeling!

Being pilots, we know we have a reputation for not liking being separated from our money. ;)  The same goes for not being paid money that is owed to us!  This is yet another example of where Crewsware shines.  The Expense Tracker is extremely effective in finding all the missed per diems that would otherwise go unclaimed.  One expense claim per year can EASILY cover the far more than the cost of your Crewsware subscription, not to mention having the form automatically filled out for you.  Score one for the lazy (or smart) folks among us. :)

I also really enjoy having a look at the Position Planner every now and then.  Seeing as how I was hired at a slightly later age than most, it gives me an idea of where I can expect to be as my career progresses, which is nice because I know I won't be retiring after a decade in the left seat of the 777.  Knowing roughly how far up the seniority list I can expect to progress before my retirement is a great asset, and helps me have a rough plan of how to use my course rights going forward.

I haven't even touched on what many people see as the most important (and useful) tool on Crewsware, and that's the Electronic Logbook (eLog).  I am one of those throwback pilots who still carry a little red logbook with me, and fill it out on every leg.  Call me crazy (and delusional), but there's part of me who thinks that maybe one day my grandchildren will find Grandpa's logbooks, and find them interesting.  The looks I get from the majority of people I fly with are priceless.  Most of them laugh, and say "Umm...I haven't made a single logbook entry since I came to Air Canada, thanks to Crewsware."  If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that, I'd be able to pay for Crewsware for the rest of my career. ;)  Clearly, it must be an impressive tool.

In the last year, many of my former colleagues from Jazz have joined Air Canada.  When they ask about what's different at Air Canada, one of my first answers is usually that their work life is about to get far better/easier, thanks to Crewsware.  After a couple of minutes extolling the virtues of the site, they inevitably ask where/when they can sign up.  It's just that good.

As I've said in many emails to Dave over the past few years, I am extremely grateful for the work he puts into the site, as it truly is an indispensable tool in making our careers easier.  The fact that Dave is always available to answer any queries, and is constantly listening to (and implementing) suggestions to make Crewsware better, is the icing on the cake. 

Keep up the great work, Dave, and thanks again!

A.N. - Thursday, June 30, 2016

I just want to express my appreciation to Crewsware for making many things so much easier and organized.  It has so many great features to help me plan and organize my flying. From the Award Builder which I must say I love the most because it makes it so easy for me to plan the type of flying I want and on what days and make sure it fits in the block window, and fits all the legal windows.

Also the layout of the printable schedules which are great for me and the rest of my family. The family really likes the monthly calendar one which we tape to the fridge, it's easy for them to understand and tells them where I'm going and the hotels that I have my layover at just in case they need to get a hold of me. There are so many great and helpful features beyond just the few I have mentioned.

I just want to say thank you to Dave and the rest of the Crewsware team for such a great product and the work they do to bring it to all of us.

C.M. - Thursday, June 30, 2016

I've been a subscriber of Crewsware for a few years now and I can truly say that it has made my bidding life a lot easier. For one, pairings are usually made available earlier on Crewsware so it gives me extra time to bid. Under the Tools Tab, I extensively use the Pairing Filters and Award Builder. The Pairing Filters tool is so much more sophisticated than the one from PBS. I can add/remove columns of data, I can sort the columns by importance in an ascending or descending order. One of the sorting features I personally like to use is the Avoid Aircraft Type, in my case most specifically the 777HD. The Award Builder helps me "build" a potential block award and automatically calculates my flying time and notifies me when I have reach the minimum/maximum monthly limitations. Put simply, Crewsware has saved me a lot of time when bidding.

I have also used Crewsware to check my expenses and it helped me identify underpayments from time to time. Overall, Crewsware is a very intuitive, user-friendly complementary software I can no longer live without when it comes to bidding. I'm definately renewing my subscription!

M.C.M. - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I've been a Crewsware subscriber since I joined Air Canada, and what for me started out 10 years ago as a slick, well presented schedule package has aggressively transformed into a robust premier and feature packed service that touches on everything from my monthly bidding and schedule presentation to equipment bidding and layover information and tips.  Dave Neale's product has exceeded my expectations repeatedly, and has been enormously helpful whether I was junior or senior. 

Crewsware is often thought of merely as a means to beautify the company's raw schedule product.  It absolutely does this.  An example is the Family Calendar which I share with parents and crash pad hosts.  The raw company product would be indecipherable to them but I can simply forward them a single sheet Crewsware pdf and they're immediately aware of where I am, when I'm there and they rave at Crewsware's multi colored easy to read calendar.  Packed with features for family members, they can track me with easy to read information like arrival and departure times and hotel contact numbers.

For a crew member it's not always about visual presentation and this is where Crewsware steps in and far surpasses that visual presentation, enhancing our operational effectiveness with tools like the pairing briefing sheet with max duty times, hotel and transport numbers, exchange rates, hotel discounts and more.  At times I've noticed fellow crew members jotting on sheets of paper to determine when we might duty out and I can stop them right then; my pairing brief tells me with one glance.

Linkable to many online calendars all the schedule information available on printable schedules is embedded and can be linked to your phone, with available hotel and transport numbers, discounts, features and such.  I've noticed of late that even the most drastic and last minute changes to my block are almost immediately reflected in my linked online google calendar.

With monthly bidding, Crewsware is indispensable to me with tools like Pairing Filters and Award Builder.  Filters enable isolating exactly and only the pairings you want with screen to capture or avoid everything from dates, layover locations and length, credit, expenses, DH legs and the almost endless list goes on.  What starts as pages and pages to scroll through can be reduced down to the 3-4 pairings that fit my personal profile.

Award Builder enables one to drag and drop these pairings into a calendar while accounting for DBM, and every contract and CARS limitation, for vacation credits and such.  As is typical with Dave Neale, he immediately adjusted this programming to account for new FOS schedule limitations, limitations which many to this day are still unaware of.  If I mess up while building my desired block and bid something that will exceed any restrictions, Block Builder will provide an error flag and actually refuse addition of the pairing in question.  This has prevented numerous months of schedule misery for me, paying for my subscription in peace of mind alone many times over.

As is typical of the aggressively progressive nature of Crewsware's business model, Dave has stepped beyond the schedule world and now offers a tool that offers a fascinating projection within our equipment bidding with something called the Position Planner.  It is a helpful snapshot of what you could hold now or you can use drop downs to project the years ahead.  It facilitates a rough idea of where you would sit whether block holder or reserve and what one can expect salary wise.  This feature has filters which make it a highly useful tool come bid time or simply for dreaming of the years ahead.

From a support standpoint Crewsware sets the bar high.  At times I've needed clarification on tool features or wondered about the addition of new sub products.  Response time is lightning fast, usually answered by Dave himself.  Responsive and efficient I know that if I need help it’s always there.

I won't highlight every feature available in Crewsware but can attest that it is easily a product worth vastly more than the available subscription prices, and Dave offers discounts even then for longer terms.  If that's not enough his well-known pay and expense claim system makes the process as streamlined as possible, going so far as to print the claim forms filled out for you.  I estimate I've recovered over $1,000 in missing expenses in the past 5 years alone, paying for my Crewsware subscription many times over.

G.H. - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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