Table of contents
Where to start?
Founding an airline
Cabins / service profiles
Stock exchange / AGEX
Ok, so far so good. We have discussed a lot of options, about some strategy and this and that. But we hardly have played the game. Bear with me a little longer, before we can actually get down to the core, the flight planning. Our aircraft still need seats. But what kind of seats?
In real life, airlines come up with ingenious ways to squeeze more and more people into those tiny tubes. The logic is simple. The cost to fly from A to B is more or less the same. If you can sell a few seats more (at the same cost), then your profit will be higher. Many passengers are quite oblivious in terms of the cabin product of an airline. They mostly care about the price, and possibly if the airline has a good image. Frequent flyer might be slightly different, but those hardly fly economy class.
In AirlineSim the passengers do NOT like small seats. They have plenty of cash and appreciate a little luxury. So if you want to be more successful, you better invest in a (very) good product. This pays off, as you can charge a little more leaving you in the end with a higher profit. Having bigger (and therefore fewer) seats in a plane has also another advantage. It is easier to fill, your ratio of flight attendants to passenger is better and you get a higher rating for the flight (which again will get you more pax).
If you want to know what your main competitor is doing, check out the fleet lists page.
Select a country and you will get a list of all aircraft registered in that country. While it doesn’t tell you what seats are built in, you will see the number of seats and in which class. Below we see some Airbus A320 that have 2 First Class seats, 20 Business Class seats and 72 in Economy Class. A total of 94 seats, whereas in real life an A320 usually has some 180 seats built in.
Let’s build some cabin configurations for our fleet first. Go to the cabin configuration screen and start selecting your seats/flight attendants.
On the left hand side you will see the existing configurations that you have already defined. To build a new, give it a name and select the aircraft type. The upper window lets you only select aircraft types which you already have in your fleet, while the other one will let you choose any aircraft type. Both get you to the next screen.
You can add a maximum of three classes (First, Business and Economy). There is no Premium Economy available in the game so far. The order doesn’t matter, but in real life the higher classes are further up the front, so that’s what I’m doing as well.
I usually only use Business and Economy classes. You can add a first, but I don’t have too much experience with it and it doesn’t make the game play easier.
Once you added a cabin (read class), you have to choose the seats. Click the link “select” on the left hand side and choose your seat for that class. Different seats have different sizes. Based on the width of the seat and aircraft, you will fit a given number of seats in one row. Select a multiple of the seats/row for the business class, and then use the “top up” button for the economy class to fill as many as possible.
Depending on your configuration, you will have a “Utilized Deck Length” in something less than 100%. The above configuration only uses 96.4%. You might want to add a few “Extra Pitch (in)” either in Business or Economy (or both) class to maximize the space available. Also don’t forget to add some additional F/As to your cabin.
Check the Ratings of your cabin. You want to have a good rating for the distances you fly to. The above configuration might not be very good in business class, as the ratings after 1,500km start to drop (and we will fly a bit further, up to 2,144km (remember from the wave planning tool?).
Be aware, that certain seats might have a similar rating, but fit better in a certain type of aircraft. Play around with given seats or search the forum for some hints/advice from other players.
Also note the cost for the cabin shown above. You will need that money to pay for the seats when you equip your aircraft with the seats. So don’t spend every single penny on deposits for aircraft, you also need to be able to add the seats.
I won’t show you the configuration I have chosen. This is up to you to find out or come up with your own choice. I believe I have given you enough hints to make a good choice.
Once completed, save the configuration and go back to the overview.
Now we are almost there. We just need to define a service profile to decide what kind of catering/amenities we want to offer our passengers.
Give it a name and set the various options in your different sections.
Again, while the AS passenger loves a good product, it will be impossible to get full ratings here in all cases. Make sure that you offer something decent, yet also consider the cost per passenger. Below you see the ratings for my short range (less than 800km) profile. I neither have full bars in Economy nor Business class, yet I still get a good overall rating. But I keep my expenses under control.
Depending on the distance of your flights, you can define three different service profiles. One for very short flights that are less than 800km. Then you can have a different profile for flights between 800km and 1,500km and at least a thirds one for flights above 1,500km. Of course you can define more profiles (say domestic or International, various distances, etc.) but in most cases the differentiation between the three is enough.
I usually define the following three which cover almost all of my flights:
Now we are ready to start planning our flights. Let’s go to the fleet management page and equip our aircraft with seats and let’s hire some pilots.
Select the aircraft that you want to build in the seats and select which cabin configuration (if you have defined more than one) you want to choose. Click also Assign Crew to hire pilots. The Flight Attendants are hired when you build in the seats, as we have defined how many we want as part of the cabin configuration. So as soon as you build in the seats, the F/As get hired and are on your payroll.
Click on execute and your aircraft are ready to fly! If you select an aircraft again on the left check box you could also remove the seating in case you no longer want to use an aircraft. This will release the F/As and you could use them on another aircraft or fire them. Be aware, that you will lose the investment into the seats and the seats get destroyed.
In case you want to withdraw pilots, you will have to click the Flight Planning button. In the flight planning page you can withdraw (or also assign) pilots to an aircraft.
The Fleet Management page also allows you to group your aircraft into fleets. If you have a lot of aircraft, and/or different hubs, then it is helpful to group them together. For now, with only six aircraft of all the same type, this is not really necessary.