When you start a flight on the Expert Server, a message reads, “Do not pause or leave the app while communicating with ATC.”
Duh! One might think. Of course, you shouldn’t leave the game while interacting with controllers! Doing so would disturb the flow of traffic and interrupt the experience of others, as has been rightly stated by Infinite Flight staff.
What this message does not tell you is that a failure to remain connected for more than a period of 1 minute will result in Infinite Flight disconnecting you from the server. Consequently, you will not be able to reconnect.
Fair enough. We need not discuss this scenario as it ensures, as best as possible, orderly aircraft handling in the heavy multiplayer environment.
But what about those situations where there isn’t ATC present or heavy traffic? What about those long-haul flights that take us over vast swaths of Earth that are in no way going to be all occupied by heavy traffic?
From this simple start message, one may get the impression that it is okay to leave the app momentarily during these times. Or check something else in the background. After all, there is no ATC or pressing traffic.
WRONG! Leave the app, or even put it in the background for over a minute, and you’re screwed! You just got disconnected. That 12-hour flight you were in the middle of just got ruined.
So Sad. Too Bad. You should’ve known better, some say in response. “This is a simulator!” they shout. A perfectly realistic, utterly holy flying simulator that can in no way be compromised to the real aviation world. The zeal of some is fantastic.
However, this approach is entirely false. It fails to recognize that most of us have a life outside of an electronic device, and however much we may want to be inside the cockpit of a real aircraft, we are often inside the confinement of a room. A room that is somewhere on the Earth. An Earth that demands responsibilities and has activities that take place outside of our little Infinite Flight Community.
Infinite Flight knows this. That is why the ‘away’ feature exists. It allows us “to pass through center airspace uninterrupted and presume all incidents unintentional,” according to the User Guide.
So here we have a bit of a contradiction. Or rather, an issue that needs to be addressed. Why is it that paying no attention to the game for hours at a time (as is permitted by the ‘away’ feature) is allowed, but leaving the app or checking something else in the background for more than a minute is not?
This isn’t to advocate for the “start a flight and pay no attention afterwards” behavior that comes to mind, but instead, to go against the disconnection by Infinite Flight of users who have briefly gone to check something else while they are halfway in a long flight, and then return to find they’ve been disconnect by the app.
Note the emphasis on Infinite Flight. This is not about leaving the app or putting it in the background for hours and hours to test the durability of your RAM. This is not about your device quitting the game or your device disconnecting you. This is about Infinite Flight intentionally disconnecting users and not allowing them to reconnect even though they allow you to pay no attention via the ‘away’ feature.
If this issue can’t be addressed, then at the very least there should be a clear warning BEFORE you start your flight that no activity outside of the app should be performed for more than a minute. Otherwise, you will be disconnected.
Halfway through a 14-hour flight. Over Russia. With no ATC. With no other traffic to be disturbed or impacted as a result of your disconnection.