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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 5th Feb 2019, 21:57
  #61 (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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Old 26th Feb 2019, 08:38
  #62 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Earth
Posts: 23
Hello there,
I've been reading this thread for a while and found out that most people here are from western countries. So I found it difficult to compare my company to CX.
I'd much appreciate if anyone can tell if things are better or worse at CX than my current situation.
I'm a 737 fo with 1800 hours tt of which 1500 hours on type, making 5,500-6,000 usd per month including every allowance, per-diem, etc and my wife is an office worker making 3,500 usd, so total monthly income 9-9.5k for my family.
We have two kids and live typical middle class life in a 650 sq ft apartment and save 3,000 usd.
Flying-wise, I fly 65 hours, 10 day offs, 8-9 nights layovers on monthly average.
I'm not american, australian, nor european so working in western world is not my option.
What I'm looking for if I work at CX are better crm, bigger jet, long haul experience, more time with family and my kids going to international school.
Would I better be CX or stay here?
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Old 26th Feb 2019, 14:14
  #63 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Polar Route
Posts: 1,816
Originally Posted by avi8safely View Post
Hello there,
I've been reading this thread for a while and found out that most people here are from western countries. So I found it difficult to compare my company to CX.
I'd much appreciate if anyone can tell if things are better or worse at CX than my current situation.
I'm a 737 fo with 1800 hours tt of which 1500 hours on type, making 5,500-6,000 usd per month including every allowance, per-diem, etc and my wife is an office worker making 3,500 usd, so total monthly income 9-9.5k for my family.
We have two kids and live typical middle class life in a 650 sq ft apartment and save 3,000 usd.
Flying-wise, I fly 65 hours, 10 day offs, 8-9 nights layovers on monthly average.
I'm not american, australian, nor european so working in western world is not my option.
What I'm looking for if I work at CX are better crm, bigger jet, long haul experience, more time with family and my kids going to international school.
Would I better be CX or stay here?
I would stay, assuming you can upgrade in due time. You certainly wonít be saving $3000usd / month in HK. Your place in HK will likely be smaller and/or lower quality. Schools will really set you back in HK. You will probably lose much of your savings to the debentures just getting them into internationals. Your wife will probably have a hard time replacing her income unless she has skills beyond that of a normal office worker. The culture in HK is not desirable for most, especially without excess income, but some do seem to genuinely enjoy it.
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Old 3rd Mar 2019, 15:02
  #64 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: The Twain
Posts: 75
Avi8safely, many posters here are honestly trying to give you the true story of what life is like in HKG on a CX salary
Iíll add my knowledge to help your decision.

I doubt whether any pilot with less that 5 years in CX is saving 3000 US per month. They get by, but there is often more month at the end of the money.

I rent a 580 sq ft 2 bedroom flat in Discovery bay, a half hour busride from the airport. For production living it is not bad. UK would class it as B2/C1 social. Safe, kids run around at night, surrounded by green hills and the sea. I pay close to 2500USD for this on the 6th floor of a 24 story block. I have no kids, and would not like to bring up two kids in the space- but HK people do it in much less space. The schooling is good and a short bus ride away but expensive by world standards. Having no kids I can only go on what my neighbours tell me. But a non pilot neighbour taking home 10,000 USD with two kids in the Discovery bay school confides that they are often in debt and are stressed because of this.

For your wife, an office manager may make 2,000 USD per month but it is very competitive to get that sum. A friend employs an admin clerk for 1500USD per month. The lady still lives with her parents as she cannot afford to rent anywhere in hk on that market salary.

HK is a great city for a couple of years when single and carefree. It is very difficult to provide for a family, make savings and live a decent life on the remuneration that CX offers. It is a McJob until you find a career.

As quoted on another forum, what is the difference between a (CX) pilot and a 12in pizza? You can feed a family of 4 with a 12 inch pizza.

Hard but true!
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Old 3rd Mar 2019, 15:13
  #65 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: underground
Posts: 98
To add my 2 cents, almost every FO I fly with who has a family with children on C scale (yet to fly with D scale FOs) has gone back to their homeland and is commuting. Yes ok, I accept single guys can bunk up together, enjoying the free training and getting on the aviation ladder, but eventually the reality hits home. Those on B scale are struggling to save a dime with children. There is no extra allowance at Cathay for families like Emirates. Long term this is something to think about when deciding the pros and cons of a home carrier.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 04:45
  #66 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Aus
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by quadspeed View Post
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.
Very well said.
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Old 4th May 2019, 08:06
  #67 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Brexitland
Posts: 1,109
That's it in a nutshell. Use Cathay just like they will use you. CX is not a career, it's a stepping stone to a proper job. Take the abuse and the mean spirited everything then move on.
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Old 4th May 2019, 14:45
  #68 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Earth
Posts: 96
Originally Posted by Arfur Dent View Post
That's it in a nutshell. Use Cathay just like they will use you. CX is not a career, it's a stepping stone to a proper job. Take the abuse and the mean spirited everything then move on.
Maybe for DFO, but if you come in as a SO your hours are worthless. By the time you become a FO you would have wasted a few years and to jump ship to another airline, youíd start at the bottom of seniority. CX is fully aware of this, they know once you sign up as a SO youíre stuck with them.
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Old 4th May 2019, 14:52
  #69 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Polar Route
Posts: 1,816
Originally Posted by Foxdeux View Post


Maybe for DFO, but if you come in as a SO your hours are worthless. By the time you become a FO you would have wasted a few years and to jump ship to another airline, youíd start at the bottom of seniority. CX is fully aware of this, they know once you sign up as a SO youíre stuck with them.
This is an excellent point and should be taken as a warning to those considering it. Imo, itís far better to cut your teeth anywhere else... GA, corporate, bush flying, regional, military. Any of these will enhance your actual flying skills that may someday save your life.
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Old 4th May 2019, 16:06
  #70 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Earth
Posts: 54
Hello all

Based on what i've been able to find out, an SO at CX isn't actually type rated, and the hours you log can only be counted as P2X time...

What on earth is P2X time in the rest of the world? From what i've read P2X time is something only found in HK logbooks made specifically for companies like CX.

I am currently sitting at 270 hours and i'm waiting to receive interview dates for the direct entry SO position. I am trying to wrap my head around why exactly SO P2X time is completely useless. Does it not count towards your total time at least? So let's say I hypothetically fly 700 hours in my first year as an SO and that's all P2X time, how would I log that in my Canadian logbook? Would I not technically have 970 hours total time at the end of the first year?

I would imagine that an SO that has logged say 2000 hours P2X time must have some sort of use with those hours elsewhere in the world, or does no one in the world recognize P2X time and that's why it's useless?
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Old 4th May 2019, 16:49
  #71 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: All over
Posts: 130
Originally Posted by a334 View Post
Hello all

Based on what i've been able to find out, an SO at CX isn't actually type rated, and the hours you log can only be counted as P2X time...

What on earth is P2X time in the rest of the world? From what i've read P2X time is something only found in HK logbooks made specifically for companies like CX.

I am currently sitting at 270 hours and i'm waiting to receive interview dates for the direct entry SO position. I am trying to wrap my head around why exactly SO P2X time is completely useless. Does it not count towards your total time at least? So let's say I hypothetically fly 700 hours in my first year as an SO and that's all P2X time, how would I log that in my Canadian logbook? Would I not technically have 970 hours total time at the end of the first year?

I would imagine that an SO that has logged say 2000 hours P2X time must have some sort of use with those hours elsewhere in the world, or does no one in the world recognize P2X time and that's why it's useless?
YGBSM.

You know, I often see folks get flamed on this section and think poorly of the flamers.

But you can't fix stupid.

You are on the "grass is really greener" thread from escapees. Yet are trying to somehow rationalize poking your nose into the same hornets' nest that so many others have (with a great deal more experience in aviation and life), escaped, and told their tale such that others might not fall off the same cliff. By people who've dumped a great deal of seniority and sometimes life to get out and finally be happy. And many are.

Have a look through the other threads and try to glean a glimpse of happiness with anything work-related. And maybe consider abandoning the "if I stick my hand into the boiling water perhaps I won't get burned THIS time" mentality.

Last edited by Slasher1; 4th May 2019 at 18:19.
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Old 4th May 2019, 17:19
  #72 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Earth
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by Slasher1 View Post
YGBSM.

You know, I often see folks get flamed on this section and think poorly of the flamers.

But you can't fix stupid.

You are on the "grass is really greener" thread from escapees. Yet are trying to somehow rationalize poking your nose into the same hornets' nest that so many others have (with a great deal more experience in aviation and life). By people who've dumped a great deal of seniority and sometimes life to get out and finally be happy. And many are.

Have a look through the other threads and try to glean a glimpse of happiness with anything work-related. And maybe consider abandoning the "if I stick my hand into the boiling water perhaps I won't get burned THIS time" mentality.


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Old 5th May 2019, 02:43
  #73 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: HKG
Posts: 135
In HKG SO log P2X time for only when they are in the seat (even though the company expects those watching from the back seats to be involved in the operation and monitoring).

I recommend you ask your local aviation authority how the view P2X time and what time you can log in your non-HKG logbook - many countries log total flight time, not just seat time.

Some airlines now accept P2X time as valid time when interviewing (supply and demand) - ask the real airlines you may wish to work at how they view P2X time.

You don't want to under log your time. CX can be useful for gaining some SIM experience and even some P2X time prior to getting the job you really want.
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Old 5th May 2019, 02:52
  #74 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Earth
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by controlledrest View Post
In HKG SO log P2X time for only when they are in the seat (even though the company expects those watching from the back seats to be involved in the operation and monitoring).

I recommend you ask your local aviation authority how the view P2X time and what time you can log in your non-HKG logbook - many countries log total flight time, not just seat time.

Some airlines now accept P2X time as valid time when interviewing (supply and demand) - ask the real airlines you may wish to work at how they view P2X time.

You don't want to under log your time. CX can be useful for gaining some SIM experience and even some P2X time prior to getting the job you really want.
Thank you for the info, much appreciated
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Old 5th May 2019, 02:54
  #75 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Krug departure, Merlot transition
Posts: 522
Originally Posted by a334 View Post
Hello all

Based on what i've been able to find out, an SO at CX isn't actually type rated, and the hours you log can only be counted as P2X time...

What on earth is P2X time in the rest of the world? From what i've read P2X time is something only found in HK logbooks made specifically for companies like CX.

I would imagine that an SO that has logged say 2000 hours P2X time must have some sort of use with those hours elsewhere in the world, or does no one in the world recognize P2X time and that's why it's useless?
You’ve basically answered your own question already, those hours are essentially useless and many/most airlines would not count them towards their hiring requirements (although sometimes a few desperate ones will accept some P2X/ cruise relief hours at, say, 1/3 the hours logged). Like controlledrest says, do your due diligence and canvass potential employers you like for whether they take this type of time into account. Consider that while some airlines may presently accept some P2X time due to the current worldwide need for pilots, this may no longer be the case a few years down the line.

With CX going two S/O operations on longhaul (thus fewer F/Os needed) you can expect 5+ years as an S/O accruing this fairly useless time.That said, if you’re very young and have time on your side, you will then slide into the right seat of a wide body airliner, and within 7-8 years of joining, start accumulating some valid experience for an employer elsewhere. But in view of the dire new POS18 “contract” I would still suggest other alternatives if available. You never know what the hiring situation will be in 8 years: if it’s the middle of a downturn you might find yourself stuck here for much longer than expected and suddenly find yourself trapped here by seniority.

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Old 5th May 2019, 03:16
  #76 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Earth
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by main_dog View Post


You’ve basically answered your own question already, those hours are essentially useless and many/most airlines would not count them towards their hiring requirements (although sometimes a few desperate ones will accept some P2X/ cruise relief hours at, say, 1/3 the hours logged). Like controlledrest says, do your due diligence and canvass potential employers you like for whether they take this type of time into account. Consider that while some airlines may presently accept some P2X time due to the current worldwide need for pilots, this may no longer be the case a few years down the line.

With CX going two S/O operations on longhaul (thus fewer F/Os needed) you can expect 5+ years as an S/O accruing this fairly useless time.That said, if you’re very young and have time on your side, you will then slide into the right seat of a wide body airliner, and within 7-8 years of joining, start accumulating some valid experience for an employer elsewhere. But in view of the dire new POS18 “contract” I would still suggest other alternatives if available. You never know what the hiring situation will be in 8 years: if it’s the middle of a downturn you might find yourself stuck here for much longer than expected and suddenly find yourself trapped here by seniority.


I did find some info regarding cruise relief time in Canada, and based on what the advisory circular states, cruise relief time counts in full, however the way it's explained seems a little murky. I wanted to ask here for those who have direct experience in logging P2X time. I will see if I can find someone at the regulations office who can maybe give me an answer, but at the same time what the regulators say may not matter to an airline all that much so I would have to see if I could find a way to talk directly to someone at a major airline

Anyways thank you as well for your help
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Old 5th May 2019, 03:53
  #77 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Polar Route
Posts: 1,816
Originally Posted by a334 View Post
I did find some info regarding cruise relief time in Canada, and based on what the advisory circular states, cruise relief time counts in full, however the way it's explained seems a little murky. I wanted to ask here for those who have direct experience in logging P2X time. I will see if I can find someone at the regulations office who can maybe give me an answer, but at the same time what the regulators say may not matter to an airline all that much so I would have to see if I could find a way to talk directly to someone at a major airline

Anyways thank you as well for your help
Itís pretty simple really. Get a real job in which you actually fly the aircraft. Handing whatever skills you have now to CX and autopilots where they can only be destroyed is worst thing you can do. Donít fool yourself... the money isnít there, the flying experience isnít there for many years, and you certainly wonít be getting a base in Canada or elsewhere anytime soon, if ever. HK is very undesirable on low pay. Itís truly a no brainer, but if youíre like every other dumb kid on these forums, you wonít listen, so Iím just wasting my time, again.
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Old 5th May 2019, 04:45
  #78 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: All over
Posts: 130
Originally Posted by cxorcist View Post


It’s pretty simple really. Get a real job in which you actually fly the aircraft. Handing whatever skills you have now to CX and autopilots where they can only be destroyed is worst thing you can do. Don’t fool yourself... the money isn’t there, the flying experience isn’t there for many years, and you certainly won’t be getting a base in Canada or elsewhere anytime soon, if ever. HK is very undesirable on low pay. It’s truly a no brainer, but if you’re like every other dumb kid on these forums, you won’t listen, so I’m just wasting my time, again.
I think that's what is both frustrating and comical about the situation at the same time. I did ALOT of dumb things as a kid, but can't remember being this willing to elaborately rationalize doing something really really dumb against just about everyones' better advice.

I get the image of an old timer looking at a kid with a can of gasoline he's about to use to start a bonfire. He carefully explains how gasoline more explodes than burns when you light it, and that the kid is about to hurt himself. He even leads him over to some kerosene to use instead (or maybe even diesel). The old timer goes as far as to show the kid scars on his hands and arms from when HE tried to light a bonfire with gasoline -- not having the benefit at the time of someone being there with experience and genuine concern.

But nothing he says or alternatives he suggests has any impact. The kid pours the gasoline on the wood, lights a match, a huge WHOOOOOOOOMP, and you get to read about him in the news.
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Old 5th May 2019, 05:56
  #79 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Earth
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by cxorcist View Post


Itís pretty simple really. Get a real job in which you actually fly the aircraft. Handing whatever skills you have now to CX and autopilots where they can only be destroyed is worst thing you can do. Donít fool yourself... the money isnít there, the flying experience isnít there for many years, and you certainly wonít be getting a base in Canada or elsewhere anytime soon, if ever. HK is very undesirable on low pay. Itís truly a no brainer, but if youíre like every other dumb kid on these forums, you wonít listen, so Iím just wasting my time, again.
I didn't say I was going to CX, I was looking for some clarification on P2X time. Thanks
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Old 5th May 2019, 10:58
  #80 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 11
Back to the original point of this whole thread. I used to work at this airline as an s/o and have left. Like someone else has posted previously the grass
is more or less the same but the main thing is Iím living where I want to be and have a good lifestyle and actually enjoy the challenges of flying in a window seat again.

When I say that the grass is more or less the same I am saying that thereís always going to be people complaining about rosters and time off ect. But itís nice to be in the flight deck talking about normal things as opposed to how awful the company is ect.

Regarding the p2x time I was surprised how much the airline I am now at regarded the so time and it
will count, if you like for company requirements for command ect however in terms or the relevant authority I am not sure they will ďcountĒ these hours toward ATPLl or maybe they will count half of it.

Regarding logging I logged the time in my home logbook as block to block and specified that it was SO time.

Finally to anyone considering moving on, I definitely do not regret my decision to move on and am thoroughly enjoying life in my home country.
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