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Dont Apply To Cathay

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.

Dont Apply To Cathay

Old 4th Jan 2019, 23:16
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Age: 48
Posts: 74
I totally understand guys wanting to come to CX, back in the day I would have done anything to get in, actually I did ! I studied for the interview for months, I had 5000 good hours & felt like the luckiest person I the world when I was offered a position. I was hired as B scale, I bought & sold in HK a few times etc, I made money, I flew all over the world. However, I can honestly say I don't think there are very many workplaces in, or out of aviation that is as as negative as the cockpit of a Cathay jet. It's a hard place to be, a lot of the time.
It truly is a toxic place to work & its getting worse, not better.
Pilots HATE management & management seem to HATE the Pilots. Cabin crew & ground staff have little regard for the Pilots & the culture is one of dobbing in & reporting work colleagues, (though not in the cockpit thankfully). I can't imagine many Pilots at Cathay would say "yeah come to CX you will like it" & at the end of the day, that's probably all you need to know. Sorry to tell you but coming to Cathay is very likely a decision you will regret a lot. CX will also leave you feeling very unhappy, financially stressed & worst of all your time could have been spent getting a better result elsewhere. It's probably a mistake to stay for most but that's a whole other, more complicated situation & story for most who have already travelled a long way down the CX path & invested a lot since joining........Nobody joining now can say they were not warned, nor should they complain when they get to HK & discover their new reality.
stevieboy330 is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2019, 00:11
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Hong Kong
Age: 51
Posts: 4
I have a different view for what it's worth.

There are two main problems with Cathay in my opinion, and I think both create negative views as above.


Numer one, and by far the biggest factor:

you will be based in Hong Kong if you start employment with Cathay. Forget basings, they will be out of reach for anyone joining now. This means you either accept this place as your residence, or you commute and become miserable from day one. Hong Kong can be a problematic city for Westerners. It is relatively expensive, heavily polluted at times, humid and very hot in summer, and if you don't commit yourself to years of studying Chinese, your social life will be comprised of other expats. Housing is usually a small flat in a high rise, international schools have high debentures and monthly fees, Western food is dear. You will live a typical expat life, because of the language barrier excluded from most cultural offerings, local people will likely remain a mystery to you. Most pilots do not get used to the city, regardless of their contract. That is the main problem. Cathay is based in Hong Kong and that is that. Check for yourself if you like it here, and most importantly, if your family does. I personally don't find it that bad, I like the mentality of the locals, I like the fact that I can travel around Asia easily, it is bearable for me here. I enjoy the comfort of a live-in nanny, the low tax system,the fantastic public transport, and the general international vibe. I married a local and my kids speak Chinese. I love the local kitchen and I buy most of my groceries on layovers. I am on B scale, so if the lower package you will get offered is sufficient to you is something you need to evaluate for yourself. It will largely depend on your alternatives of course, a point that many colleagues miracously find very hard to digest. Do not count on improvements of your package after joining, this will be in vain.Some C scale pilots are currently in the painfull process of realizing this, and some of the extreme comments are the result of it. Many colleagues, especially those in here, do not like Hong Kong, period. Fair enough. But in my observation, this is independent from the package they are on, lots of B scale pilots are miserable, see the commentator above. In my opinion, the crucial point is if you are really willed to spend your life in Hong Kong. Those who don't like the local people, the culture, the food or the density are having a hard time. These people end up frustrated, and some then go on to blame the company for their misery. Don't make this mistake. I have to honestly admit, I also have my days where I had it, but almost always is the reason not Cathay, but rather the job itself: the jetlag, the pollution, the weather etc. I sometimes miss my family, my friends, my car and my home country, but in general Cathay has treated me well. I really can't blame them for my decision to join.

Reason number two affects the entire industry. Conditions get worse, everywhere, since decades now, and except maybe at American majors there is no end in sight. This is a psychological burden that is very irritating. Cathay has to survive in this toxic market, plus unfortunately still suffers from serious management mistakes and other effects like increased local competition. Most pilots here see Cathay as the villain, but in my opinion this is largely scape goating for a very challenging industry as a whole. Tough labor negotiations taking place as we speak don't help either, and Hong Kong legislation is not very labour-friendly to put it mildly. Most colleagues been here so long, they don't know the reality outside of the bubble anymore. They have no idea what life at a low cost airline really means, at cargo airlines, in the corporate sector. They don't know how hard you have to work at most places, they don't know how meagre your net pay after massive taxes usually really is. They have, at least in my opinion, a nostalgic and at times sentimental viewpoint.

Take all insights with a pinch of salt, mine included. Make up your own mind.

Last edited by Sam Ting Wong; 5th Jan 2019 at 05:13.
Sam Ting Wong is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2019, 01:11
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Krug departure, Merlot transition
Posts: 539
STW, whilst I don’t always agree with you, the above is a very good and balanced post.
main_dog is online now  
Old 5th Jan 2019, 02:27
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: HKG
Posts: 12
STW, I understand your sentiment quite well as I have been surrounded by it for 10+ years.
I would rather look back at my career and look in the mirror knowing that I tried to push back against the deterioration of our contracts (or as a minimum slow down the rot) and the lies, deceit and immoral behavior of (y)our masters than give in to your defeatist attitude and/or the "I'm allright Jack-Syndrome".

You're not wrong, but the fact that your attitude is a majority one is the reason the profession is in decline.
Granted: you faired better than I did, since my efforts seem to have been in vain.
Good luck to you and yours in Hong Kong and cx.
Flaender is offline  
Old 5th Jan 2019, 09:34
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Greener Pastures
Posts: 56
Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
I personally don't find it that bad,.... it is bearable for me here.
STW - I find your summary generally accurate and balanced... however.... above I have taken a snippet from your post. Is it worth living a life that is 'not that bad' and 'bearable'?! You get one shot at it...

Personally, I have found Hong Kong hollow and boring. That's not to say we had a decent time there... it's just not somwhere I personally want to spend the rest of my life. Certainly not in this day and age. Maybe in the time of the A-Scalers when you work in HKG for 20 years make really good money and retire at 55. Those days are gone. Join CX with eyes wide open!

Otherwise, nice summary!
Roy De Kantzow is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2019, 04:37
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: uk
Posts: 524
STW

I think the question is " will you be able or want to retire here ?" For the vast majority the answer is "NO". HKG and CX is a temporary ( perhaps 30 year ) posting but definately not a place you want to retire to.
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 05:15
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Hong Kong
Age: 51
Posts: 4
Roy, totally agree. Best would be a place to live that you really like and enjoy. If the move to HK is worth it is up to the individual. I find my personal alternatives (low cost, contract or corporate) overall less attractive, even if they would allow me a residence somewhere else. In the end it is all about the options you have, isn't it? If my choice was the right one I will tell you after my last day at work

United, I do not want to retire to HK. But why would that be relevant? I totally agree, HK is a temporary place to live ( as all are:-), at least for me.
Sam Ting Wong is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2019, 06:25
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: uk
Posts: 524
Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
Roy, totally agree. Best would be a place to live that you really like and enjoy. If the move to HK is worth it is up to the individual. I find my personal alternatives (low cost, contract or corporate) overall less attractive, even if they would allow me a residence somewhere else. In the end it is all about the options you have, isn't it? If my choice was the right one I will tell you after my last day at work

United, I do not want to retire to HK. But why would that be relevant? I totally agree, HK is a temporary place to live ( as all are:-), at least for me.
STW my retire to Hong Kong point is " if it's so good here ( HKG ) then why do 99% of all expats leave ? Every local I talk to has the same plan ie to work until they can go elsewhere and work or retire. So for a pilot why would you come here in the first place only to spend the next 20-30 years planning your escape.
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 07:33
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Hong Kong
Age: 51
Posts: 4
United, if you read my post carefully, you will notice I never claimed that HK is great. Your argument, a city is only acceptable as residence if it is a place you would retire to would probably seen by many people on this planet as utopian luxury. After all, you joined yourself and I get a sense you might not retire here.

My point is that Cathay is based in Hong Kong and that is that. Anyone who wants to join has to accept HK as residence. I also mentioned that it is vital for every applicant to evaluate the available accomodation, the food price, the school fees etc. Only the individual can make a final judgement, simply because it depends on his or her other options, personal circumstances, preferences, goals etc.

May I ask you, united: why did YOU join?

Sam Ting Wong is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2019, 07:40
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: uk
Posts: 524
Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
United, if you read my post carefully, you will notice I never claimed that HK is great. Your argument, a city is only acceptable as residence if it is a place you would retire to would probably seen by many people on this planet as utopian luxury. After all, you joined yourself and I get a sense you might not retire here.

My point is that Cathay is based in Hong Kong and that is that. Anyone who wants to join has to accept HK as residence. I also mentioned that it is vital for every applicant to evaluate the available accomodation, the food price, the school fees etc. Only the individual can make a final judgement, simply because it depends on his or her other options, personal circumstances, preferences, goals etc.

May I ask you, united: why did YOU join?


STW I totally respect your opion and post. I joined back in the 1980's on A scale when CX was the airline of choice for every pilot in the world. A CX pilot was elite. 3000 hours minimum on a medium size jet to get an interview, unfrozen ATPL and the prospect of a quick command within 4 years. The good old days I know but they were great days when CX was great. It saddens me that in the last 20 years CX has gone from the very best airline in the world from every aspect to near the bottom if not the very bottom.
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 12:28
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: CLK
Posts: 311
United, I think you will find there are much worse gigs out there in the other reality.
I thought you had announced your retirement anyway?
Farman Biplane is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2019, 12:45
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 124
If itís that bad... why havenít the masses quit. Numbers speak volumes, and that ainít happening.
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 20:49
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: HKG
Posts: 151
Originally Posted by Flava Saver View Post
If itís that bad... why havenít the masses quit. Numbers speak volumes, and that ainít happening.
The only reason many of us stay is seniority. Have you heard of it? It is a scheme agreed by airline management at the introduction of jets when jet type ratings were conducted in the aircraft. The ratings were a major expense and at the time jet pilots were in high demand. With seniority if one changes companies one starts at the bottom. If I could change employer at the same rank or higher I would be gone. Economists will tell you one factor which gives employees power is 'mobility of labour' - the ability to change jobs. We don't have it. So year after year cost cutting focused management can screw us over. CX doesn't even have the supposed positives of seniority - we have had direct entry commands and first officers in the past, we can't use it for fleet changes, it doesn't really work for staff travel and we don't have it for leave and rostering. CX is a truely ****** place to work. I hate the company. I do nothing extra to help them and at the moment I can't move to a better job. No other profession has seniority. As an industry we have to get rid of it if we want to see conditions improve as we would have the power of mobility of labour.
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Old 7th Jan 2019, 02:35
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 401
All true, CR. Although I read (somewhere) that seniority was introduced even earlier, in the late '40s as startups scrambled for experienced war-time crews. Maybe that was only in the States, not world-wide.

If only I had the mobility that my 26 year old Doctor son has.
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Old 7th Jan 2019, 03:33
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: china
Age: 50
Posts: 68
Originally Posted by unitedabx View Post
I joined back in the 1980's on A scale when CX was the airline of choice for every pilot in the world. A CX pilot was elite. .
Rose tinted spectacles alert !

Elite? C'mon, working out in the far east, when HK was a dirty, down trodden colony?

Choice of every pilot? Not true, it was the choice some pilots had to make after failing to secure employment with their national airline. Or were ejected from the military, and called up their squadron mates.
Back in the '80s was the hey day of legacy pay in Europe. BA Captains lived very well, thank you. No need to sweat it out in HK.
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Old 7th Jan 2019, 04:20
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: The Twain
Posts: 101
Not necessarily true, Kaha.

I was around united's era in the early 80s and left BA to join CX. Best move I ever did. Lost 9 years of seniority in BA and got a 747 command after 8 years of seriously fun and professionaly challenging FO flying at CX. e.g. at BA you had to be a Captain to do the IGS approach, in CX you did them as a junior FO from day one.

Elite may be the wrong word I agree, but it was one of the best gigs on the planet for a single 30 year old pilot.

Since then it has been dragged down by management incompetence and venality. I would not leave Ryanair for CX now...
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Old 7th Jan 2019, 04:24
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: uk
Posts: 524
Originally Posted by kahaha View Post
Rose tinted spectacles alert !

Elite? C'mon, working out in the far east, when HK was a dirty, down trodden colony?

Choice of every pilot? Not true, it was the choice some pilots had to make after failing to secure employment with their national airline. Or were ejected from the military, and called up their squadron mates.
Back in the '80s was the hey day of legacy pay in Europe. BA Captains lived very well, thank you. No need to sweat it out in HK.
For any pilot who wanted to work outside their home country CX WAS the airline of choice. Outfits like Gulf Air and Saudia recruited but you always put your application in to CX just incase your number got called up. No failed military pilots in CX. Red Arrows leaders and Faulkland War heros maybe. In the 1980's there was one American pilot in the company, the vast majoity came from UK and Australia and a few refugees from SA. I sense in your reply that you were one of those who applied and got rejected, hence the sour grapes. But we were the elite and proud to be so.

Your referal to HKG as dirty and down trodden in the 1980's is totally false. It was the jewel in the SE Asia crown. Sorry you didn't get in when you first applied. Perhaps you had to wait until the standards dropped by which time the elite status had faded.
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Old 7th Jan 2019, 07:07
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 23
The standards were so high you didnít even need to be able to spell Falkland correctly......
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Old 7th Jan 2019, 07:28
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: uk
Posts: 524
Originally Posted by SandwichOfficer View Post
The standards were so high you didnít even need to be able to spell Falkland correctly......
jealous or what ? that's why you'll remain in the RHS. Can't see the wood for the trees. I have people like you to correct my spelling mistakes.
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Old 7th Jan 2019, 08:19
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Here ---> X
Posts: 439
Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
but in general Cathay has treated me well. I really can't blame them for my decision to join.
However much you may be enamored to your employer despite their constant attack on your CoS, your post and point of view is irrelevant here.
As a B scale, your contract is infinitely better than the one any new joiner will have to sign. Most importantly, you never had to worry about housing.

New joiners have a very different lifestyle to plan for. One that involves spending a not insignificant proportion of a salary scale that doesn't keep up with inflation into renting a space that would qualify as a walk-in closet elsewhere in the World. That's before considering housing a family with kids.
Education is getting more expensive as you said, yet the newer contract offers less compensation for tuition fees.
The only property ownership experience available is paying a 25 year, US$1 million mortgage for a 500 sq.ft. flat, if you've been thrifty enough to save up for the 40% deposit and stamp duty, and assuming you've been here more than 7 years continuously.
Hong Kong is not really getting any bigger, and as more people are coming in, the cost of life keeps increasing (way faster than the laughable official inflation rate), and quality of life keeps decreasing.
Life in HK on CoS18 will be a very far cry from what your experience has been, and will only get worse with time.

Then again, deterring the rosy-vision equipped wannabees is impossible. All they see is a big shiny jet. They tell themselves it'll be alright, that they'll commute to Phuket or that they'll go back home when they've had the P1 rating... Of course by then, years have passed and life has a way of making it hard to start over again somewhere else, and CX, along with every other airline, has taken advantage of another soul desperate to join the ranks at any cost to cheapen the profession.

On the whole, I agree with many. It's not just CX we're fighting against. They're just a greedy corporation doing what they do best: maximizing profit at the expense of their employees whenever they can get away with it (and aided by the very favorable local labor laws). As long as hordes of starry-eyed kids who still idolize the profession and lifestyle keep flocking in and signing any paper that's waved at them to get the chance to look through a windshield, things will just keep getting worse, regardless of how many of these threads warning them we post.

The profession as a whole is going down the drain. Airlines have found the solution to infinite and cheap workforce: hire anybody with a pulse. Those things fly themselves anyway, right?
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