More recently, I have found discovered a lot more use from the Crewsware site than in years past. As a junior guy, I haven't held high expectations as to how my block has been built. Previously, just having a block was all I needed to be happy. Then as I crawled up the list a little on the 320, I have discovered some great tools within Crewsware.
Firstly, since day one on crewsware, the Expense and Pay Tracker has been the most useful tool, always finding me much more unpaid expenses than the cost of the service. It is easy to use, well laid out and can be submitted with nothing more than printing, having the identical layout of the company form!
More recently I have been using the pairing tools to try to build something appealing in a block. I used to find it daunting looking through the pairing reports on PBS. To the point that I would not bother with the hassle. Then I discovered the Award Builder and associated filters on Crewsware. As previously stated, my expectations were not high in a block, and I am always working a 16 day month. So I decided to try to make those 16 days’ work for me. I started filtering the pairings into layover lengths in cities I wanted to spend time in, whether for the appeal of city or the fact that I could catch up with friends there. Then I could further filter the pairings looking at where I did/didn't want to go on that pairing before or after those longer layovers. In the last year I have spent more days 'working', waterskiing at a friends cottage near Calgary, than i did locally on days off. I see friends more 'working' than I do off and most live all across the country. I was bidding pairings in cities that I could rent mountain bikes while training for a big mountain biking holiday last fall and sometimes these spots were found on the 'my layover' section of the site with comments from other users.
Now once on those pairings, the pairing brief is far superior to the report link version and having all the van pickup times, layover amenities, inclusions, discounts, weather etc in your pocket is great.
Recently though I was released from my position freeze, and while still pay frozen, I had the ability to move equipment. I have wanted to do overseas since being hired but really hoped if I had to do it as an RP, I could do it while on flat salary. The Position Planner has been integral to this end and I am now making the move to the 777 based on the information obtained from Crewsware. Being able to see the difference between the Air Canada pay rates and what guys/girls are actually bringing home based on actual pay summaries was very valuable to me to justify choosing the 777 over the 787 and also justifying the move from the 320FO to 777RP. I am looking forward to looking at the pairings that my seniority can hold and exploring the world literally in this new position. It is also great to take a look at what I might be able to hold in the future and where I would potentially sit on that equipment.
The list is long Dave and your site is well thought out, laid out and informative. From the tools listed, to others such as logbook, calendars, which my wife loves, I get great use out of it and am happy to pass on my experiences with it.
P.S. I have to add this final comment in. I had written this email but not sent it yet and this morning found another beauty in the crewsware arsenal. Last night I operated the red eye back from YEG and realized when I got the plane that I had left my laptop at the hotel. Naturally this happened on my last pairing on the 320 and I will not be heading back any time soon to be able to pick it up. A call to the hotel confirmed they had found it and would hold it. As soon as I got back to YYZ, I logged into crewsware and pulled up the 'who's in town' list for YEG, found a YYZ crew member I knew, a quick email has been sent, and my laptop will be enroute to me in 24 hours! Thanks again!
I joined the company just over two years ago and navigating the companies electronic library of information is still challenging at times. Crewsware is the simplest and best way to keep your schedule in front of you and your family in a choice of formats. It lays out your month ahead and behind in detail and since joining Crewsware I have regained three times the value of membership in missed allowances. I am no bookkeeper so the Pay and Expense Tracker tool is invaluable. One click recovery of missed expenses, print and send, Awesome….
If you don’t have Crewsware yet, get it…….
My experience with your Crewsware product over the last several years has been fantastic.
I started out (like most, I suppose), using your software to help with building the best block of flying that I could hold at my seniority month after month. Let's face it, the Pairing Filter function is a must to allow an individual the ability to plow through the hundreds of possible flights and pairings from month to month and make sense of what's available.
As time went on I started using other functions such as Award Builder to fine-tune my bidding as my relative seniority increased on my equipment. The Pay and Expense Tracker was a God-sent, allowing us to track and then claim for lost pay and expenses that fell through the cracks from month to month.
I personally feel that the best feature that your software offers is that it is continually being improved and expanded upon. It's seems that you're never content with the current version, always looking for customer feedback and ways to fine-tune your product.
A few examples are "My Layover", great ideas here for new things to do while away from home. "Who's in Town" and "Friends Blocks" allow us to connect with buddies and keep in touch. I've even found the "Currency Converter" very helpful recently since the Canadian dollar has been fluctuating as of late against other world currencies.
The best new tool that you offer is the "Position Planner". Here I can take a snap-shot look to see what I could hold on equipment bids, allowing me to make an educated decision as to future moves.
To sum things up, your software is ever-improving and more and more useful every year. It's like opening up my tool-box at home and finding an cool, shiny new tool there and realizing "yes, I can definitely use that !!"
Thanks for not being content with mediocrity and continually striving towards putting the best tools in our hands year after year. I look forward to seeing what you have to offer in the years to come - keep up the great work !!
The very first time I used Crewsware's Pay & Expense Tracker, I recouped enough unpaid expenses from the company to cover my Crewsware subscription for the next 14 YEARS. Well worth the investment!
Dave, just figured out the Expense Tracker thanks to a guy who knows computers. That's slick, and quite easy once I saw it. Over $400 missed in the last six months. You are the best! Thanks.