We are a flight simulator enthusiasts site; this Virtual Airline (VA) has its heritage from way back in 2006 when we first created the Virtual Airline.
We have various members, from real-world airline pilots to aspiring pilots and everything in between. This virtual airline prides itself on accurate flight operations; we score your flight using specific parameters available to members, dedicated SOP and our custom-created flight tracking system, "BlueSky".
If you want to add meaning to your Virtual Airline Career, join us; we have real-world schedules, Tour flights and a custom flight assignment so you will never have to ponder your next destination.
If you are looking for a great and friendly Flight Simulator community, come and join us; we support P3D, X-Plane, Microsoft Flight Simulator; we ask you to file 1 flight every 90 days to remain active.
Full support is available in our Virtual Airline Forum anytime. We have dedicated staff to answer any questions you have.
You have seen the rest, come and join the best TUI Virtual, the original and best since 2006.
Names are often important and TUI Virtual started life as Thomson Virtual. Thomson was one of the UK’s biggest charter airlines with a history that stretched back to the 1960s when Thomson was called Britannia Airways. I have fond memories of travelling with Britannia, as did hundreds of thousands of UK package holidaymakers who flew with the airline. When Britannia joined competitor airline First Choice, Thomson Airways was born. Since then, a further merger took place in 2017, and Thomson became TUI Airways UK - part of the much larger TUI Group of airlines that operate in Europe. For Thomson Virtual, though, it all began in 2006. Like its real-world counterpart, the VA has had to go through many changes over its 17-year history, but it’s still here and boasts around 275 active pilots on its roster.
Today, as the newly renamed TUI Virtual, pilots can choose from a huge range of destinations and aircraft to fly and for any number of subsidiaries found in the TUI Group. Plus, if 150- plus scheduled destinations aren’t enough, then there’s always the option to fly a charter to a new destination thanks to a random flight generator.
Fleeting fancy or fancy fleet?
With such a diverse choice of routes and airlines, it’s no surprise that TUI Virtual’s fleet is large. The current line-up includes almost all the modern Boeing fleet, starting with the little 737-700 and reaching the Queen herself, the 747-400. Only the 777 is missing, but the 787 means you won’t miss the twin-engined wonder for long. Alongside the Boeings are a few Airbus A330s and the Embraer ERJ- 190, should you feel the need for something a bit different. Classics also appear alongside the modern bedfellows, and here you’ll find the Airbus A320 and A321 and two models of the 737’s, the -300 and -500 and the good old 767-200. The airline may not fly them any more, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. No matter what aircraft a pilot owns, they're good to go as long as it’s in the fleet and the pilot uses the correct identifiers.
Routes can take us to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
The 737 is integral to TUI’s fleet.
Names not numbers
Community is always the most important part of any VA, and TUI Virtual prides itself on being as community-orientated as possible. Pilots are always treated as people, not numbers. It doesn’t matter what a pilot’s ability is, a warm welcome is always available, with plenty of advice and help if required. To ensure things are never dull and that there’s something for everyone, TUI Virtual provides its pilots with plenty to keep them busy. Every two weeks there are events that can be both fun and challenging. Once a month, there’s a challenge, helping to flex the pilots muscles, flying into a tight airport and beyond. The top pilots from the challenges get a prize too! To help get the information out to pilots, events and challenges have their own ‘QRB’ or Quick Reference Briefing to peruse.
Alongside the challenges and events, there are tours that set out to see the world. These tours vary in length and theme. For example, the CAT C airport tour will test your piloting skill to the limit with difficult approaches scattered worldwide. Completing a tour, pilots get a special badge of recognition for their profile. Pilots can opt to generate an itinerary of consecutive flights for the ultimate in freewheeling flying. That certainly takes away the ‘Where should I go today?’ factor of flight planning.
In common with a few Virtual Airlines, pilots can earn virtual money flying routes. TUI Virtual is one of the few I’ve seen that uses all that virtual cash. It has a virtual pilot’s shop where pilots can exchange that virtual cash for manuals, documents and exclusive TUI stuff.
If earning the virtual bucks isn’t really your thing, or you need a break from the big aircraft and big airports, then the VA offers its own flying club based at Cranwell. Britannia Airways operated its own flying club at Cranwell back in the 1960s, and it’s nice to see it here. With a small fleet of PA28s and C172s, pilots can take the time to enjoy the scenery at a few thousand feet rather than from high above the clouds.
Pilots can participate in a little extra virtual training online, with TUI Virtual being registered as an Air Training Organisation or ATO. Pilots can train for their pilot ratings for VATSIM. Currently, only P1 and P2 ratings are available, but the P3 and P4 programs are in the planning phase. Pilots can also request training on all sorts of aviation issues, from navigation to weather and more. This commitment by the management to offer help and advice when it’s requested sets TUI Virtual apart from most. The management team may be small, but it’s always available via email or the VA’s discord server.
Group flights, events and challenges all serve to keep pilots happy.
The latest addition to the TUI fleet is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
TUI has some fairly interesting liveries on a number of its aircraft.
Real world facts
In the real world, TUI is now a huge airline that specialises in package holidays worldwide. It isn’t just a single airline; it’s actually a collection of different operators with a single owner to hold them together. Above, I’ve already mentioned TUI Airways UK as dependent on Britannia Airways. There’s also TUI Fly Deutschland, TUI Fly Belgium, TUI Fly Netherlands, TUI Fly Nordic and, completing the list, Corsair International. Each of these airlines has its own unique history. Take TUI Fly Nordic, for example. Originally called Transwede and based at Stockholm Arlanda, the airline was taken over in 1996, becoming Blue Scandinavia. In 1998, Thomson bought the airline, and it was once again rebranded, this time oddly enough as Britannia Airways.
While other airlines in the group can provide similar stories, Hapag-Lloyd Flug in Germany, for example, only Corsair has survived the take-over with its own brand intact. The Paris-based airline is also the only one in the group to operate a fleet of three 747-400s. The fleet, shared across the entire group, comprises the Boeing 737 and the newer 737-MAX. Sprinkled among the baby Boeings are a few 757s operated from the UK and more than a few 767s. The 787 Dreamliner is now replacing many of the older 767s, and they’ve proved to be a big hit with the passengers.
Despite being one super group of a company, each airline has its unique personality, typified by the routes it flies.
TUI Airways UK has most of its routes taking people to the ‘Med’ for a break or as far afield as Orlando. Nordic flies passengers anywhere that’s not Scandinavia in winter, while Deutschland joins them on the beach, flying German passengers off for a break. In contrast, the Netherlands offers the most diverse selection of destinations, with routes to South America and North Africa. Lastly, Corsair heads to exotic places like Thailand, Africa as well as North America.
The airline world is known to be a volatile place, and change is inevitable. One of the challenges in running a successful VA that models real life is in how well you can keep pace with the real thing. TUI Virtual has had more than its fair share of obstacles to overcome. From Thomson to a global conglomerate, the VA has grown to become a fantastic place to fly. Importantly, alongside that growth, the VA has kept an eye on what’s really important, its members. A friendly atmosphere and a keen sense of what the membership would enjoy or what they need have kept this VA running since 2006. The sense of community and openness make this one of the best VAs around, no matter what your skill level. If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat as a pilot and one which boasts a huge range of aircraft, a diverse selection of routes, great events and get-togethers, and the opportunity to grow and learn, then TUI Virtual is the place for you. No matter what happens in the real world, I’m certain that the management team will happily keep pace.