Before the acquisition we used Ad-Opt Pref Bidding. It is one of the single most important quality-of-life factors out there. We sorely miss it! However it is fairly complicated to learn so it's going to take a lot of practice (and a few lousy trips) to get the hang of it. Keep in mind also that it's fully customizable so every airline will get something different.
Anyone who doesn't want Pref Bidding doesn't understand it.
You claim Ad Opt is the best PBS out there. May I ask what other system you have used of seriously tested?
I know you evaluated/used Airwares before the company "forced" you to change to Ad Opt. Which of the two do you feel was the better system? Why?
DeltaXpress used Ad Opt (don't know if they still do) and I never heard a good word about it from them.
It is true (as TWADude stated) that a PBS system is tailored to the contract of a specific airline. If not, it can't work.
IMO, Preferential Bidding is far better than bidding hard lines. It is also substantially different. There is a serious learning curve for the pilot and more importantly, all of the systems include features and controls that can be easily manipulated by the Company to alter the bid results and the resulting line awards.What's more, the average line pilot won't have a clue that they did it or how.
Before you agree to any PBS, you had better be certain that your scheduling committee (assuming you have one) thorougly understands the particular system and that your contract gives the pilot group control of the parameters that are deemed appropriate by the pilots. If you fail to do this, PBS can reak havoc with seniority in bidding for schedules. You will be told over and over again that your bid was denied (and awarded to a much junior pilot) because "you bid wrong". Ad Opt is one of the most difficult to bid in and the easiest to deny your bid because you "bid wrong".
Everyone has their preferences (management's is Ad Opt --- I wonder why) but I wouldn't touch Ad Opt with a 20 foot pole. Take a look at Airwares. In my opinion, its the most user friendly interface and you can control the benefits of your seniority with relative ease. It may not be as management friendly but it is definetly more pilot friendly than any other. To me it's a hands-down winner. NWA uses Airwares, ask them what they think.
The moral is don't buy a pig in a poke. Know what you're getting before you sign on to any PBS system. If you've done your homework, you should easily learn to love it.
One of my favorite features (available in any of the systems) is that the same dude NEVER gets stuck flying with me for an entire bid period.