How does Emirates compare to Etihad? = From what I hear EK is far better organized and managed at all levels. Emirates is profitable, Etihad is not. Emirates has brand recognition, Etihad does not. Emirates is mature and stable in their HR practices, Etihad is not. Etihad has a Swiss/German Centric flight ops management while Emirates is more English/Australian/UAE local. Emirates has stamped out a lot of the corruption and petty theft endemic to any employer in the region. It's doubtful that Etihad has as their very own CEO participates in it. Those are more of the big picture type things.
It seems like Etihad may pay a little better but maybe Emirates has a superior quality of life??? The answer to this depends a lot on the make up of your family. When I last looked a few years ago Etihad did pay more if you were single. I.E., your take home after expenses was more. When children were brought into the equation the Emirates package became much better as Emirates benefits are far superior in regards to school, health care, retirement, etc.
Housing is obviously a problem for Etihad but are there any other glaring problems? General lack of organization and the aforementioned corruption.
Can you upgrade in 4 years or so at Emirates? Also been awhile since I've made this calculation, but probably not. It would be more like 6-7 for someone who joins today.
I've heard fo's can save 70k/year after expenses at Emirates. Is that realistic? Again, it depends on your family make up and which school you send your kids to. A single F.O. living in company accommodation can save a lot of money if he/she keeps their entertainment expenses low. When I joined I was married with no children and the pay was $5000/month. I easily saved $2500/month. Others were struggling to pay for two kids in the American school and keep up a more active lifestyle.
6-7 years for an upgrade? That is the most pessimistic prediction I have heard yet. Are the new A350 going to be for fleet renewal rather than growth?
I would agree with your assessment. The only thing for certain is uncertainty in this industry.
How many pilots are retiring with the passage of age 65? How many pilots get bypassed for upgrade?
Thanks for answering my many questions.