Buckle up for a six-hour real-time commercial flight in Airplane Mode passenger simulator

Something to look forward to: Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is all the rage these days, given how it authentically maps the entire world for pilots to explore. But what about life as a passenger? In case you’ve forgotten due to flight restrictions this year, Hosni Auji’s Airplane Mode will be launching soon to help relive that experience. The game won’t be challenging Flight Simulator 2020 in terms of scale as there are only two flights to go through, but it will compete with Microsoft’s Bing-powered maps and Azure AI for realism by featuring crying baby screams, bad WiFi, in-flight meals, and delays, all from the (dis)comfort of an economy class seat.
The ongoing pandemic has made for a lot of travel-starved tourists this year, but thanks to the timely arrival of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, many PCs have now become jet engines that can take players anywhere in the world, to and from any airport, right from the comfort of their own home.

Piloting a plane with a joystick and trying out every switch and knob in the cockpit is all well and good, but flying isn’t just about the excitement, is it? There’s also the passenger side of things that goes from luxurious, relaxing and sometimes boring in business/first class to mostly boring, noisy and turbulent in the crowded coach/economy class at the rear.

Airplane Mode aims to replicate the latter experience by having players fly as economy passengers in a six-hour commute from JFK airport in the USA to Reykjavik, Iceland. Luckily, they’ll be given a window seat to help with patiently sitting through the entire flight, including taxi, take-off and landing. If they’re on a tight schedule, they can opt for a second flight that goes from JFK to Halifax, Canada, that takes around 2.5 hours to complete.

Players would need to kill time by getting comfortable with their surroundings, fumbling with the contents of their carry-on bag, and noticing details like their seat layout and the seatback in the front that’ll feature an in-flight entertainment system with a satellite journey tracker, in-flight safety video and hit movies from the 1930s.

They’d also be able to observe the cabin crew and would need to contend with fellow passengers, and occasionally, their crying toddler. In addition to snacks and premium beverages, players can opt for fish in their meal servings, which seems like a terrible idea in the face of randomized in-flight events like turbulence and delays. The game will cycle through these events to keep future playthroughs interesting.

Thankfully, the player’s carry-on bag will help pass the time as it’ll give them access to a pen, headphones and a book, which they can flick through easily with the help of an overhead reading light. There will also be an in-flight magazine filled with articles, crosswords and Sudoku.

Australian-American video game designer, Bennet Foddy, known for the popular ragdoll-based QWOP and Getting Over It platformer, will be accompanying players as their captain as they “stare in silence at the slowly passing clouds [and] try to make time go faster through sheer force of will.”

“Other flight simulators give you high-definition cockpits with a billion switches and dials,” says AMC, the game’s publisher, but cheekily boasts that this game “is the only one that offers a realistically rendered seatback trays.” Airplane Mode is expected to release this fall on PC and Mac with a TBD price.