Are Virtual Airlines Still Relevant Today?

I became first acquainted with a virtual airline or VA for short in the 1999 or early 2000 timeframe.  During these past 24-25 years, with exception for a year to two when life was so busy that I didn’t spend much time at all with flight sim,  I’ve belonged to one or more VA’s.  Today I fly exclusively for a popular VA that mirrors the day-to-day operations of American Airlines.  More about this in a minute.

The Competition

But the question at hand is are VA’s still relevant today?  Without any hesitation I say, absolutely YES!  But in recent years the virtual airline concept has been met with some strong competition from various 3rd party add-on products which simulate your own airline career.  One of the more popular of these add-ons is called “A Pilot’s Life” by SimBitWorld.  I actually wrote a review back in 2019 which you can read here.  Since that time, Simbitworld has released an even more popular “A Pilot’s Life – Chapter 2” which I’ve also used from time to time.  There are a few others that have come onto the scene since MSFS2020 was released.  I’ve used a few and in time I’ll probably write up a review of these standalone applications for your consideration.

It’s Fun until the loneliness sets in

A Pilot’s Life and other standalone products are great until the loneliness sets in and what I mean by this is a good virtual airline will also have a vibrant community of virtual pilots to interact with within their forums or Discord channels.  They may also regularly schedule VA group flights, but generally there’s almost always someone willing to fly with you if that is what you like.

Like I stated previously, over the past 24+ years I’ve been involved with virtual airlines in the capacity of just a pilot all the way to operating my own fictional virtual airline for a number of years.  For the past three years I’ve belonged to American Virtual Airline.  At this VA I’ve served as pilot, Hub Manager, VP of Operations and Chief Operating Officer (COO).  Today, I serve as the Chief Training Development Officer.  I oversee our new hire training academy where new applicants will spend their first 15 days or so.  Our training academy is brand new and allows new hire candidates to receive training on not only our VA systems/tools including our website, ACARs system and an all important overview of our policies and procedures followed by an overview of the Boeing 737.  Additionally, all new pilot candidates will submit a Boeing 737 check-ride flight before graduating into the mainline airline operations.

In Summary

Yes, I still believe all these years later that joining a good virtual airline is a great way to enhance your virtual aviation experience.  Keep in mind that most VA’s will require a minimum level of participation.  This is generally 1-2 flights per month to remain active.  At American Virtual Airlines we require just one flight every 30 days to remain in active status.  Many of our pilots fly daily as we’re a very airline.  If you’re interested in joining American Virtual Airlines, just go here and submit an application.  Upon submitting your application, it will be reviewed and approved in a timely manner.

If you have never experienced a virtual airline, I encourage you to join one. Regardless if it’s American Virtual (which I mentioned above) or any which represent your prefer airline…try it.  I think you’ll like it.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!



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