Lucky is a self-described AvGeek, but even he has his limits. He makes fun of me for playing an online airline management simulation called AirwaySim. But in my opinion, this computer game is great fun for anyone who loves airlines, even if you moved out of your mom’s basement years ago.
What is an online airline management simulation game?
Basically you run your own imaginary airline, typically competing against other players who are managing their own fake carriers. You buy or lease aircraft, establish routes, set fares, hire staff, advertise, and even make fuel hedging contracts.
There are variable weather and economic conditions that add another dimension of complexity to the simulation.
You can pick how many economy, business, and first class seats you want in each individual aircraft, and even whether the seats are fully flat, angled flat, or high-density.
And, if you want, you can even design a company logo and aircraft livery.
In my most recent game, I chose LAX as my home base airport, and eventually had a fleet of 170 aircraft.
The game advances in real time: one day in the game takes about 25 minutes of actual time, and the games have a start and an end year (for example, a game will begin in 2010 and end in 2020, which will take a few weeks in real time to play – and you can join the game anytime after it has begun).
Does it cost money to play?
Yes, but not a lot. AirwaySim, for example, gives you a free one-week trial, and after that it only costs a dollar or two per week to play.
A better long-term investment than buying stock in a real airline, in my opinion.
Is it realistic?
Of course not.
There are a lot of complexities that actual airlines contend with (like labor relations, regulatory restrictions, and co-branded credit cards) that the game doesn’t take into account. But probably the closest I’ll ever get to the real thing.
If you love airlines and think you can do a better job than Doug Parker, give it a go.
Does anyone else play airline management simulations?