Expert pilots - how do you choose your airports

Depends. Often I will fly career mode, so my origin airfield is the same as my previous destination airfield. But this put a limit on my exposure to ATC regions (e.g. if USA is the ATC region one day and India is the region the next day, I would have to fly to India from the USA).

But if I’m not flying career mode and don’t care where I spawn, I will try to fly between less crowded airfields. I really don’t like flying in an approach pattern or waiting in line for takeoff for 30+ minutes.

To do this, I first check to see which ATC frequencies are active. If two smaller airfields are active, and one has only been open for a few minutes, I’ll try to fly to that one because there is a higher chance the controller will be there when I arrive since we can expect at least one hour of active ATC service per controller.

However, if it’s in the evening (US time) and activity is beginning to die down, I will usually fly my last flight to the main hub as that nearly guarantees ATC service, then depart from there (usually a long haul) to tomorrow’s ATC region.

Further, I like flying to the smaller regional airfields because I will run into other frequent users and can tell that the ATC controllers appreciate the traffic.

Last point: The majority of IF pilots still fly to the hubs, but I’ve noticed that the non-hub featured airports are getting more traffic and more consistent ATC service in the last year or so. My best guess is that there are simply more available controllers and more pilot traffic due to COVID-19.

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I usually tend to lean towards smaller airports that have ATC, simply because I enjoy a realistic experience. I have found that at the mega hubs, the amount of inexperienced pilots is insane, and I just don’t really enjoy having someone sniffing my APU while I’m waiting for 30 minutes to take off. Every now and then I attend a FNF, but not very often, so for the controllers who open up smaller airports in the schedule, thank you :)

This is something I’ve noticed, and have even pointed out, yet have been shot down as well numerous time. Linked below is a topic I created about a very similar issue:

What I have found, time and time again, is that these pointers fall on deaf ears. I have now quit trying to convince the unconvince-able!

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On Tuesday of last week I was flying KSEA-KANC and upon landing at KANC I decided to do some plane spotting. While doing this I noticed 15 planes on the ground at KANC 12 of them were flying to KORD. This surprised me a lot considering that the controller was allowing Pattern work. Once I was done plane spotting I looked at the amount of planes arriving at KORD and the number was 176. I then proceeded to look at the number of planes on the ground at KORD and saw that already 46 planes were on the ground at gates, taxiing or on the runways. I agree with what this topic is about and hope that people will start to fly to smaller controlled airports.


Give them the love and support you would give your self if you were controlling and that includes going to the smaller airports and showing that we appreciate that they open there aswell.

I love going to the smaller airports and running patterns for them but then end up closing because of lack of traffic after I will fly the pattern for 30+ min.



Without an inbound cap, they’ll go where the party is. The poll confirms it, we’re all 🐑.


The 1 reason I fly into busy airports is to butter some bread in front of pilots.

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One day, I takeoff from the HUB airport and land at an non-serviced airport-nonhub airport.
Next time, I land into an HUB airport from a non-serviced airport or non-hub airport
(vice versa basically)

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I have made the decision to completely avoid hubs due to the fact that it takes like forever to land and that unrealistic procedures are always used. When I approach an airport, I like to follow the STAR, and then do the approach and land. I also like to be able to plan my taxi routes and park wherever I need.

I do think everyone should take a look as this post:

So everyone’s complaining about how tiny airports as hubs don’t work, but maybe we should complain about how we can’t think of anything better to fly than heavy aircraft when general aviation is featured on the schedule. Ya’ll are complaining about how the airport is completely full and you need to divert. Well maybe you should think about flying your 777 to the tiny hub (which is already completely full) when general aviation is clearly featured for that day.
If you choose to fly to the hub when it’s full, how can you complain about long approaches? You made that choice. Instead, you could have flown to another ATC staffed airport where the controller is probably crying for traffic because no one’s there. Trust me, it would make a real difference to them to see that at least someone took the time to fly to their airport.

To summarize, it’s really all in the hands of the pilots. If you wanna fly to the hub, go ahead! But don’t come complaining about how it was disorganized when you could have flown to a smaller airport and have received better service.


oLd ToPIc. ;)

I do have to disagree at a point, however I think that the type of aircraft chosen doesn’t really influence the way you think it does. Having GA can help out with service standards as there is twice as much time to manage aircraft. However it doesn’t really matter if there are 200 C172s in the airspace or 200 A380s. There will still be huge lines no matter what.

Everyone. If you do want action, you can always try out a new aircraft like the spitfire or even a CRJ. Maybe do a new approach or departure? There are many possibilities in IF.

I started that thread 4 months ago and haven’t complained since, did you really need to bring that back up?

Check out Heathrow, LAX, San Francisco in real life, guess what, it’s not much different. Welcome to the world of aviation :)

Unlike real world aviation ATC, IFATC don’t stay at one airport and work that same airport for every single shift. We don’t study thick manuals for every single airport we open. Simple plan and it’s go time. However, we do like to use “realistic” procedures (example: point-merge), and whenever I control SoCal, you bet I’m using realistic procedures and configurations.

Why are you chastising others for complaining about long approaches…when you complained about it a few lines earlier? Honestly, sure there are people that complain here and there, but honestly, you’re the one causing the problem in this scenario. You turned a simple poll topic into a full on rant.

I don’t even recall the last time that someone complained on the forum about this issue - I mean, @LazyGuy222’s topic, but you saw his comments just now. It’s accepted these days, if you can’t get with the times, sorry. I posted in that topic about the chaos in Tahiti. I’ve accepted that fact now, that is the new normal of the expert server. If you can’t accept it, unfortunately, your opinions and feelings won’t change. That’s the reality of it all. Same goes for the comment below.


Their choice, honestly, that’s nothing that you should be worrying about, considering you said that you would be avoiding our airspaces in the first place.


I avoid ATC hubs because it’s too crazy for me. However, I’ll gladly fly into the smaller ATC -controlled airports to give em some love.

To be honest I enjoy flying to hubs because its make me feel like I’m flying the real route i.e. hub to hub, And sometimes I just enjoy the long haul flights and seeing what those pax on those route would see during the flight, i.e. LAX to Heathrow and flying over the Atlantic for hours.

I know its not the topic to say this, but I would love to see taxi lights, our landing lights showing in front of the A/C and then buildings just to make these kinds of flights more realistic.

Having said that, I wouldn’t mind flying in and out of smaller airports, but if there is no one there its tends to be a tad boring, you’re broadcasting blind, no holding, you’re able to do what you want (Not that I do that) So I prefer flying to and from airports that have some activity just to feel like im flying at a busy airport.

But great topic, Im sure this has been a very long time coming.

Personally I just like the atmosphere and the general feel of flying to a HUB. Of course you have to expect delays. But if I have the option I’d always fly to a featured HUB. The only time I avoid a HUB is when it’s FNF. As it’s just too much for me. Props to the IFATC as they do and unreal job specially at smaller HUBS where there’s usually a holding pattern and an unrealistic amount of traffic. This is where there skills really show. Don’t know how you do it. Honestly think I’d have a heart attack 😂😂😅


Beautifully said

If I can fly a plane I like with a correct livery, I tend to fly to or from manned airports, however, i prefer to takoff from the main hub if it is ludicrously busy than towards it!
Otherwise, I fly a route I like!

It’s featured, so it’s going to get traffic. It may be on your mistake, but every airport gets featured usually once a year at least

Generally, people will fly to or from large airport to the ATC hub Airport for the day

I’m sorry, but that’s how the world works in infinite flight. People will go to the hug because people want to see other people and have traffic

Basically, we want to see other people fly as well, it’s fun to fly to the hub

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