Three things Crew Tracker really hate!

Three things Crew Trackers really hate!


The Crew Tracker´s working life consists of plenty of surprises, and for dealing with them fast and efficient decision-making skills are necessary. What they technically call unforeseen circumstances happens every day and can create a lot of problems to the Airlines operations. Let's have a look at the easiest situations that Crew Trackers have to face but really hate:



1) Lack of Reservers

One of the simplest situations that can happen during a normal day is to run out of standbys. The worst thing is that this lack of resources is often linked to major disruption events such as storms, strikes or when the final of the World football Championship is ongoing.
A good planning process integrated with the Crew Operation process as well as a careful predictive analysis should avoid these situations. Unfortunately, events don´t follow statistics and it is quite common that the policy of airlines allow the Crew Tracker to contact crew members during their off days to ask for their willingness to work. The off day will then be rescheduled to another day or paid as overtime.
"Hello John we're in trouble. Would you give us a hand today? Would you like to fly on your day off?"
"Hello Michael, I would like to help you but I was wondering if you can help me as well with that early duty the day after tomorrow. In that case I would be really happy to help you out today!!" (Laughing..).
"You mean the next Sunday morning duty?" ("Why didn´t I accept that shift change that my dude proposed to me yesterday morning?") (Crying..).
Never ending story..


2) Reserves at the wrong place

Buy a pack of 25 pens at a special price and forget them at home instead of bring them to the office. This is the feeling a Crew Tracker has when he discovers to have standbys available but at the wrong home base.

"I must remember to report this distribution issue to the planning department for the next month". This is a task a Crew Tracker tends to postpone because it´s too far away  from the daily business management.

A possible approach to such kind of situations is:

     A) Complain with the planning department (but it doesn´t solve his current problem).
     B) Use positioning flights, use positioning flights and discover that no more positioning flights are available.
     C) Read the point 1).


3) Wrong time slot reserve

"It's too late for him…"
"It's too early for him…"
This type of reasoning is repeated dozens of times during the day from the Crew Tracker.
A good pre-assignment process (today for tomorrow) and again a well-integrated process between planning and operational management can help to address this problem.
Not the case? Then the only alternative is to go back and apply point 1)


Which other insane situation do you hate most? What are typical tasks or situations in which you really don´t feel comfortable? I am waiting your comments and point of views!


Marco Sessi's picture

Bravo Emanuele,

Nice article - looks like been diplomatic is key in the life of a crew tracker.....that´s why it must be a very popular job in Italy :-)

Emanuele Esposito's picture

Thank you very much Marco!!
Oh yes you are right, diplomacy is one of the required skills for a Crew Tracker.

marianna craglietto's picture

Great Emanuele,
very interesting ! Crew Tracker is definitely not an easy job.
According to your experience, I'm curios to know how much predictive analysis can help here.
Thank you !!!!

Emanuele Esposito's picture

Thank you very much Marianna!
Predictive analysis is absolutely important to distribute correctly resources within homebases and plan them correctly at daily basis. Post analysis and feedback to the Planning from Operations is the key.
This can be only achieved with a good integrated process between Planning and Tracking as well as a good integrated tool to support it.

Eduardo Casalini's picture

Ciao Emanuele,

Amazing how your observations are true on airlines daily basis!

In my opinion the key could be the appropriate testing cases… where we can show at early stage our solution is the correct one, like this explanation here:

"Is the first impression right or wrong? Neither is the answer for the software as it might look good but functioning terribly and vice versa. Normally for first crewing software insights you would ask for presentation to understand how the system works. Afterwards you may want to have a demo and try it yourself. Ok, sounds good, but does not prove anything as it’s only clicking around the various modules based on which right decision can’t be made. Here is what should be done: get the system set-up for you for 1-3 months, use it completely for crew management of one vessel, gather feedback from people involved in the testing and make your final decision on further cooperation with the vendor or wait so you can try another one. Your patience and dedication will reward you in the long term."