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SO Cathay with family.

Fragrant Harbour A forum for the large number of pilots (expats and locals) based with the various airlines in Hong Kong. Air Traffic Controllers are also warmly welcomed into the forum.

SO Cathay with family.

Old 14th Apr 2015, 15:07
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: canada
Posts: 10
SO Cathay with family.


I got an interview offer in may for SO at CX. I'm looking for testimony from people working at cx with family.
Please MP me to share your experience on how to make it work.

Really appreciate your help

invitED is offline  
Old 14th Apr 2015, 16:25
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Polar Route
Posts: 6
On the CX cadet package, family does not work in Hong Kong unless you are independently wealthy. I have flown with a half dozen guys in this situation, and not one has indicated anything less than misery. Truly, if this is the best deal you can find in aviation, your best bet is to find a different line of work. Seriously! I cannot recommend CX's cadet scheme to anyone with family or over 30 years old. You will never, I repeat never, get a base in Canada. Unless you have a right to live and work in the US, that will not be an option either.
cxorcist is offline  
Old 14th Apr 2015, 16:29
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: HKG
Age: 44
Posts: 995
Join now and 2.5 years to right seat of wide body, will it work? You decide if you can move on in 4 years. Planning for a career here, I would say no it won't. Looking for a better job and have 4 years to waste getting hours then yes it will work.
SloppyJoe is offline  
Old 14th Apr 2015, 16:56
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Few place
Posts: 207
On current package, totally and utterly untenable. You WILL go backwards.

More so if you a bring a family along.

Accommodation options, will be on par of all of you in a flat that was likely the living room only in size of your home in Canada. Tiny shoeboxes here. V V. Unpleasant.

Very unhappy place here. Look elsewhere.

Cathay is not a good prospect. Not for a loooooong time, if ever.

Stay away and be glad you did.

It is an LLPCC now masquerading as a serious carrier.

Wish I could offer better.
monster330 is offline  
Old 14th Apr 2015, 18:00
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: HKG
Age: 44
Posts: 995
Most of guys posting here had better options when they were in your shoes. Do you have multi crew time in a jet? If yes then better options elsewhere.

Do you have fast jet military time? If yes better options elsewhere.

Do you have command time in a multi crew turboprop? If yes better options elsewhere.

If you have none of the above use it for what it is, there are no better options. Join and get your time in a multi crew jet and move on. It won't be easy but doable for 4 years. Don't spend the forgivable loan, pay it back when you have time in a jet and another job option and move on.

I was there 8 years ago, if you don't have multi crew time there was/is nothing better. Get the rating, get the time and move on. Yes it will be hard for your family but it is doable for a short time. As I said before, as a career, no way.
SloppyJoe is offline  
Old 14th Apr 2015, 18:03
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Brexitland
Posts: 1,136
Tick Tock, Tick Tock........... (stand by - incoming from STW)
Arfur Dent is offline  
Old 14th Apr 2015, 18:33
  #7 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: canada
Posts: 10
I'm Turbo-prop captain, but in freaking cold northern canada.
Thanks for all your answers but what exactly make this option not good ?

The money ? what they offer equal almost 6000$ canadian its pretty good, what is so expensive on a day to day life in HK ?

The work schedule ? hard to be worse than EK specially on wide bodies from what i understand we get super compact roster leaving some time free for family.

Also why not a career option ? After the 4 first years money get better as FO and i can get maybe an EU base (got a passport ) or canada

Thanks to be more specific on what makes it not a nice place to be. And leaving after 4 years of sweat and tears to start over all the way down the seniority ladder seems harsh
invitED is offline  
Old 14th Apr 2015, 21:55
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 38
Yes, you could make $6000 CAD a month, but your 900 square foot flat will cost you $3000 of it to rent. If you are currently living in Winnipeg, Montreal or Vancouver, your grocery bill will be double what you're spending now when you get to Hong Kong. If you're in Yellowknife, a third more. Further out, maybe about the same. Gym membership in HK is double the cost of Canada. Children's education comes partially out of your pocket every month and sports, dance or music lessons for your kids are double (or more) the cost in Canada as well. I've been at CX almost 10 years and no prospects of a Canadian base in the foreseeable future. London maybe, but not guaranteed. Ability to commute from HK and super compact rosters is a player as a SO, but as a FO would depend on what fleet you're on, which you have no control or say in. Airbus, not a prayer! 747 is now just a freighter fleet, probably not until about my seniority. 777 would have a good shot, but almost everybody in the company senior to you is trying to get on the 777.
To put it in perspective, an acquaintance (777 FO) just quit CX to join Encore. They see more future there than here. Feel free to PM me if I can help or you want more details.
bell1st is offline  
Old 14th Apr 2015, 23:16
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Godzone
Posts: 100
wow, this thread is going better than expected so far.

wantobe is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 00:02
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Polar Route
Posts: 6
EU base? Keep dreaming invitED. It won't be an option for you for decades. I promise. $6000 CAD does not buy you crap in Hong Kong. Super compact rosters? Only on the 777, what happens if you get the 747 or Airbus. No ultra long haul on those, at least until A350. You want to live on $3000/month after rent in Hong Kong? Be my guest, but don't you dare complain once you get here. You'll be wishing you never left the Great White North.
cxorcist is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 00:03
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 750
Ah yes, another candidate who takes the HK$ package and converts it into their home currency and believes it's reasonable.

What is so expensive in HK?? - Real Estate!!

I know SOs who are single and making ends meet by flat-sharing. That can't happen when you bring a family. To get a decent sized place to live in an area that's acceptable for your family, you'll be using the "allowance" plus a third to a half of your salary. And when you rent in HK, you need to 3 months up front - 2 months deposit plus the first month rent. So, to get a decent place for your family you're dropping more than a whole month of salary - a pretty significant amount of cash when you've only been here a month or 2.

Once you're in a flat, you need to pay for utilities. Electricity is not cheap here, and if you're from Canada, you'll probably struggle with the heat and humidity for 10 months of the year. Running the aircon 24/7 chews the power.

Groceries have already been mentioned. The family will want western food, and that's all imported and expensive.

And who's tried to sell super compact rosters to you?? If you're on the right fleet, and if you're senior enough, then maybe, but there's a few ifs in there. As a new joiner, no way in the world, for at least 3 years. Then maybe you'll get half a year as an SO of compacts, then you're a JFO and no compacts for another 6 years minimum.

Bases - another pipe dream you've been sold. There are guys who've been here 20 years who can't get a base.

You've tried to compare it all with EK, and you're right, it's not perfect there, but it isn't here either. Making an objective comparison shows most things are slightly better here, except housing. Salary vs cost of living is similarish, and rostering/lifestyle is crap at both places. But at least there, you get given a decent sized place to live in an area with other expat families. your accommodation costs there are $0. Your accommodation costs here are extortionate.

If you meet the entry requirements for EK, or any other major, then go there. If you come here, the only person likely to get a Canadian base is your wife when she gets the sh&ts with living here and takes the kids back home. Separations and divorces are not really talked about on here, but everyone knows someone who's ex-wife and kids are back in [insert country - Canada, NZ, Aus, UK etc], and they're spending all their days off commuting back to see their kids.

Don't do it......
broadband circuit is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 00:27
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: HK- A little bit of industrial China in every breath you take.
Posts: 515
Also think about the aircraft rating. Hong Kong airlines and Dragonair both hiring, and both give you a rating, and both pay more than CX SO. You can use either of them for a rating, then move somewhere liveable.

The medical for your family is inadequate, and getting less adequate. Get a genuine quote for health insurance that is transferable back to your country of origin. Subtract that not insignificant amount from your SO salary.

Start googling English speaking schools and their fees. Ask them about debentures and places available. Is your wife able to home school your kids?

You can not understate the pollution issue. There is a phenomenal array of chemicals in the air and the water in Hong Kong. The Legco responsible for alerting you, is also the same group that would be liable if there was a problem ever admitted to, so you can see the potential conflict of interest there.

Just across the border, (Air doesn't respect borders), we have this tragedy unfolding. An 8-Year-Old Girl Has Become China's Youngest Lung Cancer Patient - Business Insider Anecdotally, this record has already been broken. What price do you put on that?
Lowkoon is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 01:09
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Brexitland
Posts: 1,136
Very balanced so far. One thing about bases is that if you ever get one as an FO you will have to return to Hong Kong for your Command Upgrade and then start the process all over again to get on a Base. You will probably opt to stay on your Base for ever as an FO - hundreds are already making that choice.
Arfur Dent is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 01:39
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Asia
Posts: 526

Do you know anyone in CX? I suggest you speak to them and get a no BS assessment. If you can afford it why don't you come to HKG for a visit? Converting the salary on offer into your local currency is a fundamental mistake a lot of applicants make.

When you come here I recommend to do the following:

- see a few real estate agents so you can ascertain what you can (and unfortunately can't) afford.

- go to a few supermarkets and have a few meals in restaurants and get a feel for the cost of living.

- speak to some parents (plenty of them in DB) about schooling and what it takes to get a kid into a good (possibly Canadian) school; extra fees and debentures are just two things to consider.

Most SOs with family I fly with put up to 50% of their salary towards rent; with two kids there is not much spending money left afterwards.

Canadian base - forget it; EU base - well I just had a look at the current basings bid and there are over 90 pilots awaiting one. We hired a lot of ex-RAF pilots on C-scale a few years ago and I don't need to explain to you what that means in regards to your chance of a LHR base.

On the other hand there are plenty of people who just don't want to hear the truth; they come here, live in poverty and get the rating and then will most likely move on to another airline in the Middle East or their home country (recently two 777 FOs moved back to Canada to fly a D8) - if you are one of them and if you are successful and join CX I kindly ask you not bitch to me when we sit together in the cockpit in the middle of the night on our way to YVR.


Last edited by AQIS Boigu; 15th Apr 2015 at 02:50.
AQIS Boigu is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 01:40
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Here ---> X
Posts: 438
Join now and 2.5 years to right seat of wide body, will it work? You decide if you can move on in 4 years.
InvitED; Not only everything that has been said so far is very, very, very, VERY true, but if you do think of the '4 years and I'm out' option, I wouldn't recommend that either.

First of all, the upgrade time is closer to 3.5 years than 2.5. By the time you have upgraded and flown enough hours on the right seat to 'validate' all those semi-worthless SO hours and make you somewhat marketable to another airline, you are looking at something closer to 6 or 7 years.

By which time you're close to 40 and had better be certain there has not been a downturn...
Airlines have expanded more than ever in the last few years. Cadet pilots, MPLs and others have seen themselves propelled to the bottom of seniority lists of major airlines like in a dream. These will also be the ones suffering the redundancy axe when things turn sour again, and they will.

Being at the height of an 'up' cycle, you'd better ensure you join a place you'd enjoy long term, lest you find yourself stuck in a groundhog day nightmare, or end up fighting with thousands of similarly experienced pilots for the same job...
And by the way, the seniority list isn't moving north that fast as it is, with one of the fastest fleet growth and hiring cycle CX has ever known. Expect 13 to 15 years to command, if that's your goal, and assuming things don't start going limp again.

Oh, and let me join the chorus: Do NOT expect a base. Not anytime foreseeable, no matter what the hiring team might tell you. The only incentive for CX to open bases is to get rid of those on housing allowance, and that's proving barely worth the trouble to them as it is. You will not be one of them, and CX will have no incentive to post you out to where you want to be.
Compact rosters are in high demand by people a lot senior to you, if you even end up on the proper fleet.
Commuting across the Pacific is ill-advised at best, even if your roster allows it.

Heed everybody's warning on here. This is not necessarily the most impartial forum when it comes to CX, but if you have made an effort to reach out to the CX cadet / no-housing S/O community, you'll find their answers will sound familiar.
The recruitment team, on the other hand, is under pressure to find enough people to fill the seats on these terms and will happily distort the truth to try and polish that turd.

Transitioning to jets is not the easiest step in one's career. It doesn't mean you should bite the first shiny apple that's presented to you.

Last edited by Yonosoy Marinero; 15th Apr 2015 at 01:56.
Yonosoy Marinero is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 01:44
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2007
Location: CLK
Posts: 370
SO Cathay with family.

Compact rosters might not be available soon, never guaranteed!
Farman Biplane is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 02:42
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 353
That's a surprisingly balanced view you've got on this thread. I always say to people that if you're young, single and don't mind sharing a small flat with a bunch of mates then it's a good gig for a few years but if you've got any children then it's sadly not.
CX pay 70% of your basic school fees but the fees count as cash so you're taxed at 15% on those fees. Given HK$90k school fees, that's HK$36.5k/yr per child from your own pocket. In addition, every school also has some sort of debenture/levy and CX don't help with these at all. The cheapest of these is probably about HK$40/yr so that's a minimum of HK$76.5K per child per year.
If you've just the one child, don't plan on having any more and will be happy living in an 800sq/ft flat (check with wife!) then you might be able to make it work but I find it hard to believe there aren't more appealing options out there.
Good luck.
Loopdeloop is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 02:47
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: DT's cocaine mirror
Posts: 62

Very level headed replies so far!

I guess this is what happens when the post hits the web before noon HKG time instead of midnight… 3 coffees in the system instead of 15 beer.

IMHO: 3 options

1. Stay working in Canada and wait for AC or WJ to call.

2. Leave current company on good terms, come to cx to get a taste of the big airline environment, wait for AC or WJ to call.

Option 1 will be much less stressful on your marriage, family and finances.
If you choose option 2, all the information posted above is quite accurate.

Sorry, I forgot option 3: Stay working in Canada and wait for AC or WJ to call.

Good luck!
19weeler is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 03:12
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: DT's cocaine mirror
Posts: 62

CR, yes… what is our industry coming to when low cost carriers are starting low cost carriers??

Time for us to get our testicles back from the FAU and start costing this arrogant, control hungry, short sighted management, some money!

Sorry…. thread drift. Too much coffee!
19weeler is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2015, 03:36
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 25
invitED, I would really like to sit beside people like you but I will honestly say you might be better off trying Jazz/Encore as a route into AC/WS first.
bushbum is offline  

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