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Is the grass really greener? Perspectives from an escapee.

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.

Is the grass really greener? Perspectives from an escapee.

Old 15th Sep 2018, 03:38
  #41 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 5
I personally know several former CX'ers now working at FedEx and Delta. Reach out to them if you know them about the current state of hiring in the US. If you are eligible for employment there, my experience has been your flying skills and work ethic honed at CX will be welcomed and well respected at US carriers.

I have enjoyed your product as a customer, but seeing the erosion of benefits and respect for the men and women who make it happen is depressing. I trust my family in your hands regularly, and respect the hell out of the effort you guys put into your training and work. I enjoy living here in Hong Kong, but unlike many of you I can leave without a loss of pay or seniority. I feel more like a tourist or long term visitor than a resident, and that makes the 2047 countdown and some of the day to day tribulations easier to take, because I know when it reaches my threshold I am out of here. Whether its the HKR closing the DB marina, another move to silence local politicians, or a new construction like the Lantau metropolis project going in despite the objections of the locals, there is a pattern to why things seem to happen here. It is "**** you--that's why!..." I don't harbor any illusions about the impending loss of civil liberties and the push by China to simply make HK another one of its cities. I have spent enough time in Guangzhou and Shanghai to know that while those cities have their charms, they will never be a place I want to call home.

We all have our own inertia, and I understand why many of you with years here are reluctant to leave. For some of you--its still "home" or "...a solid job...". What I will say is that if I can help any of you network with US carriers or assist in any way, I'm glad to do so. At least in our corner of aviation, things have been looking up and improving the last decade. Nobody wants to start over, but ask your contacts what they are making in year two at FedEx or Delta and at least for some you it might be an option worth considering. I can also say that the US supplemental carriers (Kalitta, Altas, Polar, etc) have been desperate for pilots and while their benefits won't make the elite jobs they are a solid place to go and make the transition.

In full disclosure, I run an interview prep service, primarily focused on US carriers although we've helped people prepare for interviews at CX, Emirates, Virgin, and some other places. That is NOT why I am posting. I'm not here to sell services--I'm here to help you network if it helps. Networking is free.

Again--if anyone wants to chat over a beer on South Lantau or in Central, I'm glad to offer what I can and help you expand your network. The best way to make a change at CX is for some of you to leave. Good luck to all of you....
Ahaganf15 is offline  
Old 15th Sep 2018, 19:55
  #42 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: UK
Age: 44
Posts: 64
I left CX 6 months ago for a LH FO role with my national carrier and it has been the best decision I made. Yes you get a few less days off and money is down but the atmosphere is much more relaxed, training was a breath of fresh air and the routes are fantastic. Had a good time at CX due to the friends I made there but am happy to be out. Best of luck to all
looking to leave and hopefully the AOA can do something about COS18 shambles!
CXKA is offline  
Old 16th Sep 2018, 01:38
  #43 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Rabbit Hutch
Posts: 66
Congratulations CXKA. I think the majority of pilots here are rejects from their national airline, Qantas, BA etc who either failed on application or for whom the timing wasnít right. We were at least consoled by CX being considered a first tier airline where you could hold your head up and say that you had made the grade and were adequately compensated. Many of us have made a few millions to take home in the process.
CoS18 now makes this an employment shelter of last resort with no consolation prize. It is now only good for getting a type rating and a bit of experience then off.
Dragon Pacific is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2019, 04:44
  #44 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Not in JFK
Posts: 45
Iím out

After 10+ years Iím escaping. Iíll miss some things but I highly doubt Iíll ever regret it.
letsfly75 is offline  
Old 20th Jan 2019, 23:04
  #45 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: far west
Posts: 145
Snowball effect

2 CNís resigned in the last week, one more to follow shorty. Also 3 FO with 10+ years seniority out in the last 3 weeks. Not sure what the third floor is planning to do about it
positionalpor is offline  
Old 21st Jan 2019, 00:44
  #46 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Polar Route
Posts: 1,821
Originally Posted by positionalpor View Post
2 CNís resigned in the last week, one more to follow shorty. Also 3 FO with 10+ years seniority out in the last 3 weeks. Not sure what the third floor is planning to do about it
Theyíll do nothing. The poor morale and deteriorating conditions are predominantly from the 9th floor, not the 3rd (exception for MICM which is gross mismanagement). The 3rd floor can only watch while Rome burns.
cxorcist is offline  
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 21:34
  #47 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Calgary
Posts: 15
Perspectives from the ďgreener sideĒ

Here is my greener perspective form over here in Canada.. not meant to be a gripe, I truly love flying. Iím trying to compare to see if CX is a better path for me.

My previous job was flying the summer season on a light twin, doing fire mapping and low lever LIDAR work. My working conditions were such that I had no days off and was on the road for 6 months straight. My legal ďdays offĒ weíre weather days that we couldnít fly. My flying days were 14hrs a day everyday that weather permitted, and expected to fly every day that I could. My salary was $2800 a month for the summer, and then laid off for the winter.

Now Iím at a regional carrier, whoís name I will not mention for obvious reasons. I fly 80hrs min a month minimum, average 6 legs a day, and make slightly less. I am scheduled to fly 18 days a month off, unless overtime is available. If I make captain I will make roughly 80k a year.

Iím trying to look objectively here and hereís what I see.. At Cathay I will make substantially more, and fly a lot less days.

Living in a major Canadian city, is not cheap I pay $1600 a month for 800sq ft pad nowhere near the airport I work out of. Itís a 2 hour drive in rush hour for me. Granted Hong Kong is more expensive.. so letís call the increase in pay as a SO a wash for the cost of living.

I used to do long haul flying for a short time as a flight attendant and know all about the jet lag, and sleep cycle disruption. However, the long days I fly and the short rest in between leaves me just as exhausted. Itís a different kind of tired granted.. but Iím going to call that a wash as well.

Living in Hong Kong vs. Canada.. Canada is a great nation I love my country.. I also love experiencing new countries and parts of the world. Itís part of why I love to fly. The temperature for me in Canada today is -35C.. the warmer days hover around -10 at best. What I call winter, that being snow on the ground and temps below 0C is roughly 7 months long. Summers are epic mind you, theyíre just fleetingly short. Living somewhere different, especially on days like today, sounds fantastic.

Looking at it longer term, Iíll upgrade.. make more money.. eventually get a base outside of HK.. (anyone know how long of a wait that currently is?) who knows, Australia sounds like a pretty swell place to live. On top of which Iíll get experience on large Jets that puts me in the market for countless other carriers that are just getting more and more hungry for pilots.

Is there anything Iím missing here? Or should consider? Do you CX guys and gals out there think things will improve in time or get worse?

TT 1200hrs frozen ATPL
Chadflies is offline  
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 22:00
  #48 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Polar Route
Posts: 1,821
Originally Posted by Chadflies View Post
Here is my greener perspective form over here in Canada.. not meant to be a gripe, I truly love flying. Iím trying to compare to see if CX is a better path for me.

My previous job was flying the summer season on a light twin, doing fire mapping and low lever LIDAR work. My working conditions were such that I had no days off and was on the road for 6 months straight. My legal ďdays offĒ weíre weather days that we couldnít fly. My flying days were 14hrs a day everyday that weather permitted, and expected to fly every day that I could. My salary was $2800 a month for the summer, and then laid off for the winter.

Now Iím at a regional carrier, whoís name I will not mention for obvious reasons. I fly 80hrs min a month minimum, average 6 legs a day, and make slightly less. I am scheduled to fly 18 days a month off, unless overtime is available. If I make captain I will make roughly 80k a year.

Iím trying to look objectively here and hereís what I see.. At Cathay I will make substantially more, and fly a lot less days.

Living in a major Canadian city, is not cheap I pay $1600 a month for 800sq ft pad nowhere near the airport I work out of. Itís a 2 hour drive in rush hour for me. Granted Hong Kong is more expensive.. so letís call the increase in pay as a SO a wash for the cost of living.

I used to do long haul flying for a short time as a flight attendant and know all about the jet lag, and sleep cycle disruption. However, the long days I fly and the short rest in between leaves me just as exhausted. Itís a different kind of tired granted.. but Iím going to call that a wash as well.

Living in Hong Kong vs. Canada.. Canada is a great nation I love my country.. I also love experiencing new countries and parts of the world. Itís part of why I love to fly. The temperature for me in Canada today is -35C.. the warmer days hover around -10 at best. What I call winter, that being snow on the ground and temps below 0C is roughly 7 months long. Summers are epic mind you, theyíre just fleetingly short. Living somewhere different, especially on days like today, sounds fantastic.

Looking at it longer term, Iíll upgrade.. make more money.. eventually get a base outside of HK.. (anyone know how long of a wait that currently is?) who knows, Australia sounds like a pretty swell place to live. On top of which Iíll get experience on large Jets that puts me in the market for countless other carriers that are just getting more and more hungry for pilots.

Is there anything Iím missing here? Or should consider? Do you CX guys and gals out there think things will improve in time or get worse?

TT 1200hrs frozen ATPL
Well, youíre looking at being an SO with NO stick time for 5 years. You said you love to fly. Youíre looking at another 10+ as an FO, so 15+ to captain. Oh, and you will NEVER get a base! Those are meant for senior (expensive) pilots on expat benefits. Youíll be nicely cheap, very poor, and perfectly located in HK for life...
cxorcist is offline  
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 22:29
  #49 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Calgary
Posts: 15
Hummm interesting cxorcist, thanks for that. My buddy is interviewing with them next month and was told 2yrs as SO, and bases would be an option after a year or two as an FO
Chadflies is offline  
Old 4th Feb 2019, 00:13
  #50 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Polar Route
Posts: 1,821
Originally Posted by Chadflies View Post
Hummm interesting cxorcist, thanks for that. My buddy is interviewing with them next month and was told 2yrs as SO, and bases would be an option after a year or two as an FO
Those are utter lies, no other word for them. Recruitment will say anything to get decent pilots to apply. They are very desperate, and itís only getting worse. Captain upgrade time is currently over 12 years and going up rapidly. JFO upgrades are running at 4 years and also going up. I think CX will probably have no choice but to contract. There are lots of rumors about more leased aircraft being returned, although the Management try to keep a lid on this. Pilot morale is in the toilet, and a new TA was just voted down by nearly 80% of the HKAOA membership. This Company, despite operating in a healthy market, is really struggling. They are on the tail end of losing well over $3B US in fuel hedges in the last 4 years. Now they want their employees to help pay for that. Pilots are not buying, well most of us anyways. Youíre better off flying RJs and then getting a real job with AC or Westjet.
cxorcist is offline  
Old 4th Feb 2019, 01:40
  #51 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 1,114
Cxocist is correct...it’s a lie! There have been no bases for almost 10 years. They promised to look at opening the bases again if we accepted the last TA. They were promising 10...yes only 10 captain bases in Australia. I’ve been here for more than 20 years and I have zero chance of getting on a base. You will also not get one in your time at CX. Don’t believe what recruitment is promising you, especially on COS 18, which is a vastly inferior contract compared to the current one.
Frogman1484 is offline  
Old 4th Feb 2019, 02:24
  #52 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: uk
Posts: 503
Listen to the advice being given. If your mate attended or is about to attend an interview ask for these basing and time to upgrade promises in writing. Of course you will not get this and more to the point if you/he did then thosespromises would be broken during your training. This company lies and lies and lies then intimidates and bullies. Over the weekend 80% of the unionised pilots voted to reject a new contract. The company which the previous day had promised respect towards the pilot group going forward immediately put out a press release attacking the pilot body. If you like flying get a flying job. CX doesn't offer that.
unitedabx is offline  
Old 4th Feb 2019, 05:28
  #53 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Calgary
Posts: 15
Thanks Unitedabx and Cxorcist,

Sounds quote toxic to work there.. I appreciate the inside viewpoints as outside you get quite the rosy picture.

well I shouldnít go so far as to say that.. looking at the boards, I canít find very many positive comments about Cathay.

How is it.. with a global shortage of pilots.. companies still treat a diminishing resource so poorly? One would assume, attracting the dwindling talent available would be top priority. I know some carriers are waking up to this.. but so many arenít?

Further, why would CX lie about bases out of HK? If they want to attract ppl, wouldnít it make sense for them to offer those bases? Not only for employee satisfaction, but cost?

If pilots can live outside of HK.. itís more affordable for them.. and CX wouldnít have to pay a accommodation stipend.

Bit it I digress.. I must be crazy to think of things in simply logical terms
Chadflies is offline  
Old 4th Feb 2019, 11:13
  #54 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 1,114
Chadflies,

For years, they have been telling us it is cheaper to keep everyone in Hong Kong and not on the bases. You just have to do some simple math to figure out that the savings are huge by putting everyone on the base. Last year Jepperson recommended that they put 800 pilots on bases and that it will save them a boatload of cash. The biggest reason they do not want to let the majority of us go and live in our home countries is that they will then have to abide by first world labour laws and by doing that, they will lose control of their crews! Swire, who manages CX, thrive on division and control. They will contest the smallest of cases in court rather than giving something to a staff group for free. A real petty example of this is that the cabin crew had to go to court and fight with them, just so that they could choose to wear long pants rather than skirts during the flight. They also fought the retirement age case in the human's right court in New Zealand, to the cost of thousands of dollars, knowing that they were going to lose. This case would have only benefited about 30 pilots at most, but they fought it. The cabin crew also had to give concessions to them, so that they could extend their retirement age to 60! Where anywhere else in the world, it is illegal to age discriminate. The Paris base closure is another example, but I will not bore you with the details. look if you want to come here, do so, but be aware that you will not be getting a base. You will be earning significantly less than they promised you, as the hourly threshold you have to reach is very high. For an example, on the Airbus, you will have to fly 840 hours per year just to make your basic salary. I've been on the Airbus for 19 years plus and I have never hit that target. At best I have had 780 hours in a year, and I probably only go sick for 5-7 days a year. You will never make a cent in over time even when flying 100 hours a month, as they control the hours and are free to work stack you before or after you leave. Your HKPA, or "housing allowance, will not be sufficient for you to live in a spacious apartment..never. It is not indexed to the housing market, and it goes for years without being increased. When they do increase it, they will expect you to offer something in return in the form of more productivity. In a nutshell, this is what you will be signing up for, not what they promise you at your interview.
Frogman1484 is offline  
Old 4th Feb 2019, 11:44
  #55 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Hong Kong, SAR.
Posts: 535
Originally Posted by Chadflies View Post
and bases would be an option after a year or two as an FO
That is such horseshit, I canít believe they are telling him that.
They must be so desperate to be lying to that extent.
Oasis is offline  
Old 4th Feb 2019, 14:47
  #56 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 38
I'm not surprised at all at what they are telling the recruits. No one would come if they told the truth!
bell1st is offline  
Old 4th Feb 2019, 15:18
  #57 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Polar Route
Posts: 1,821
Originally Posted by bell1st View Post
I'm not surprised at all at what they are telling the recruits. No one would come if they told the truth!
Isnít that the truth? CX is in shambles.

You should have seen the Jellyfish slink around yesterday. Talk about a fish out of water, looks like heís about to get sacked. I sure hope he stays. I think he genuinely wants to repair the relationship with the pilots, but that might be impossible given the cannibals he works for on the 9th floor. Heís like a car salesman stuck between his bosses and a determined buyer, not much he can do when neither side will budge. So heís out hunting for new suckers to join on POS18. I canít say that I blame him, which is why our job is to educate these guys and gals about the extreme shortcomings of the offer.
cxorcist is offline  
Old 5th Feb 2019, 07:59
  #58 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: uk
Posts: 503
Originally Posted by bell1st View Post
I'm not surprised at all at what they are telling the recruits. No one would come if they told the truth!
I say again. Ask for these promises in writing. You'll not get them and then ask them why not ? You won't get the job offer because they don't want thinking pilots they want compliant under 25's with nowhere else to go.
unitedabx is offline  
Old 5th Feb 2019, 11:37
  #59 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: crewbag
Age: 47
Posts: 292
It's utterly pathetic to ask lowtimers to fight your battles for you.

A 20-something with wet ink on his license will take a job with Cathay regardless of the conditions. I did many, many years of flying with basicly no renumination. I propably made less money in total during my first 3000 hours than these kids make in their first year. Fly the jets, get the ratings, and you've still got 30 years to figure out lifestyle and retirement. Most of us have been there.

Whatever sh1tstorm is currently brewing, its all on the current pilots who didn't stomach fighting B-scale, nor C, nor D, nor this. Get over yourselves and come to terms with the 3-month contract you've signed. This is not Australia, not New-Zealand and certainly not the US wherer prostitution for flight-hours has been the standard for decades. This is Hong Kong where you offer your services to a cynical employer on a rolling 3-month contract. Making a deal with the devil certainly clings silver in the coffer, but don't come complaining when he comes to claim what's due.

Based on tens of thousands of comments on these forums, I'm sure any potential new-hire knows exactly what he's getting into. And if he's fine with that, then all the better for everybody. Current pilots should keep their mouths shut, as they lost this fight a long, long time ago.
quadspeed is offline  
Old 5th Feb 2019, 21:57
  #60 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: 3000 BR
Posts: 12
Originally Posted by Chadflies View Post
Living in a major Canadian city, is not cheap I pay $1600 a month for 800sq ft pad nowhere near the airport I work out of. Itís a 2 hour drive in rush hour for me. Granted Hong Kong is more expensive.. so letís call the increase in pay as a SO a wash for the cost of living.
You mentioned 800sq ft - may I ask if that was meant to stress how small the pad is? In Hong Kong, families rarely live in a flat as big as 800 sq ft. If you want something this size in Tung Chung, which is right next to the airport, it is CAD 3600 per month minimum. Half an hour on the bus from there to the briefing room, but on your days off what are you going to do? Takes you one hour on the metro to get into town. Since CX SOs only do long haul flights they fly very little per month, and you are coming for the lifestyle, perhaps you would like to consider living a bit downtown? I will name a few places along the edge of downtown i.e. 15 mins away on the metro, namely Olympic, Kennedy Town, Happy Valley. You are looking at CAD 7000-8000 per month for these ones.

A while ago there was an urban myth some of the CX SOs live in Hokkaido, Japan and used staff travel to commute to Hong Kong for work because "that was the only affordable dignified accommodation option for their salary".
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