Yes, another of my top lists related to flight simulation. This time, this is my top 5 list of passenger airlines I enjoy simulating their operations. I simply couldn’t narrow my list down to just five and I felt ten was just going to be a stretch. While I do simulate other airlines than those I’m listing here my typical go to airlines are always pretty much the same.
Honorable Mention – VLM
VLM was a small Belgian airline based in Antwerp. It ceased operations on 31 August 2018. Ironically, my wife and I used VLM in real life to fly from London City Airport to Antwerp when we visited her family. The last time we traveled on VLM was our return flight from Antwerp back to London City on 31 August 2018. Yep, that’s right! We were one of the last passengers. VLM operated the Fokker 50 turboprop aircraft and it was always a joy to fly both in the simulator and real life. My favorite VLM route of course is the London City (EGLC) to Antwerp (EBAW) and the return.
#5 – EasyJet
I consider EasyJet (EZY) to be the Southwest Airlines of the UK and Europe. They fly everywhere and they fly from many locations. like Southwest’s all Boeing fleet, EasyJet is an all Airbus fleet consisting of A319’s, A320’s and A321’s. A perfect airline if you have the FSLabs Airbus packages. While I don’t fly the FSLabs Airbus as much as I fly the Boeing 737, I do enjoy the time I spend in the aircraft. One of my favorite EasyJet routes is London Gatwick to Innsbruck, Austria (LOWI).
#4 Alaska Airlines
With the merger with Virgin America, Alaska Airlines (ASA) offers a variety of routes and a variety of aircraft to please just about any flight simulation enthusiast. Once an all Boeing fleet, Alaska Airlines now operates Airbus A319’s, A320, A321 and the fun to fly Bombardier Q400 along with the Embraer 175’s. Alaska Airlines offer short-haul routes of 1-2 hours up to medium haul routes of 4-6 hours. My favorite Alaska Airlines route is Seattle (KSEA) to Ketchikan, Alaska.
#3 Southwest Airlines
I absolutely love the Boeing 737 and it’s my all-time favorite aircraft to fly in the simulator. So simulating Southwest Airlines (SWA) shouldn’t come as a surprise. What I like most about Southwest is their routes. While I do enjoy the hub/spoke route model of airlines like American and British Airways, I also like to be able to fly point-to-point and SWA gives me this freedom while still simulating a real-world schedule. My favorite Southwest Airlines route is Denver (KDEN) to Austin (KAUS).
#2 British Airways
British Airways (BAW) ranks number two for many reasons. First, I’ve been a fan of BA for about as long as I’ve been involved in the flight simulation hobby. I loved flying the Concorde when it was first introduced in Flight Simulator 2000. Second, they are one of the only remaining airlines to still be flying the Queen of the Skies, the beautiful Boeing 747. Today I enjoy flying short to medium haul routes out of London Heathrow, Gatwick and London City. Between BA’s current and retro fleet of aircraft, there are tons of options to simulate. My favorite British Airways route is London Heathrow (EGLL) to Gibraltar (LXGB). For long-haul, of course that would be Denver (KDEN) to London Heathrow (EGLL) in the Boeing 747-400.
#1 American Airlines
In my early career, I spent lots of time flying in and out of Dallas/Ft. Worth on American Airlines (AAL). Back then most flights were either on the MD-80, Fokker 100 and the Boeing 727. After moving to Denver in 1998, I still flew American every chance I could. My first trip to England back in early 2001 was on American Airlines and a Boeing 777-200.
Around 1999-2000 timeframe was when virtual airlines became popular. Of course, with American being my favorite airline I enjoyed flying for several American Airline VA’s. I’ve logged many hundreds of hours flying AA aircraft around the virtual skies.
While I no longer fly for a virtual airline, American Airlines is my most frequently flown airline in the sim. I tend to fly the Boeing 737-800 the most, but also enjoy flying routes on the 787 and 777. My favorite American route is Denver (KDEN) to Dallas/Ft. Worth (KDFW). My second favorite route is Miami (KMIA) to Sint Maarten (TNCM). The approach into and departure out of this awesome airport never gets old.
There you go! These are my top 5 (plus an honorable mention) of my favorite passenger airlines to simulate. While this is certainly not an exclusive list of the only airlines I enjoy flying in the sim, these are my most frequent. But regardless of which airlines make up your top list, I hope you enjoy the time you spend in the simulator as much as I do.
Until next time…