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New player's guide - do's and dont's

EDIT: I update this list when other players suggest corrections or provide tips. If you find an error please post below so I can fix it. Thanks.

I'm a relative new player so some of you veteran fliers will will want to make corrections to this list. I'm listing what I have learned though trial and error. Second - I'm a mid to high maintenance player so if you only access the game say once daily to do maintenance ( a low maintenance player), this guide will have some tips that will not help you.
This guide is for the person who is strapped for real money. Now I'm not saying one should not support the developers who make this game - YOU SHOULD! They do a great job and should be rewarded for their work. What this guide is for is when you don't have the funds to support them but you want to play.

This list is mainly directed to a player is in the level 1 to 30ish area. Second - This game is about the journey, NOT about getting somewhere. Third - if you see something wrong - tell me so I can update it.

I play the game on an Samsung Galaxy Tab A android tablet. For some players on other platforms things like videos may not be available to you.

  1. Time is your friend. You will have to wait for stuff. Get used to it.
  2. There is no "goal" in this game. It is a journey. Some people complain they can't "level up" quickly. Again, get used to it. Remember - enjoy the journey of the game and make it your own.
  3. Green backs - On the lower levels - NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use for anything when asked by the game like an upgrade or a speedup. Save them for later so you can get land.
  4. Gold - NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use to speed things up construction time of a new building. Remember - time is your friend. You need the gold for other more important things.
    Note: On higher levels this may no longer be available if you decide to do the speedup, but on lower levels it most certainly is. I just tested this with a power plant and if I spend 20 gold it will complete construction right away.
  5. When you need stuff you have the option several times a day to watch a video ad first. DO IT. (Note: windows devices do not have the video option). On upper levels it is difficult to get the item you need and this may be your only option to complete said building or quest.
  6. Neighbors - GET THEM AS FAST AS YOU CAN. They make all the difference. I wish I did this early on. It would have saved me loads of trouble.
  7. Weather:
    • Build your weather station asap
    • If you have loads of neighbors then weather is a non factor for you will always have enough gifts from neighbors to deal with weather incidents.
  8. Land EVERY guest plane and hears why:
    • You will get fuel or passengers and ALWAYS get experience to level up.
    • You gather hearts so you can visit more neighbors when your level goes up. (Note, you will cap out at 9 hearts and can visit a max of I think 12 neighbors to get stuff)
    • Bonus stuff - I get LOTS of items by landing planes. Right now I already have 6 smart houses that have a high passenger per hour ratio from them.
    • I NEVER have to wait to repair a plane for I have so many spare part items to repair planes from the bonus stuff I got from landing planes. In fact to this day I've never added a second slot to repair planes.
    • You can earn fuel even when your max fuel allotment is met. Right now I'm at 97/89 and that is ONLY due to landing guest planes
  9. Gifts:
    • If you want a specific gift - try sending what you want to your neighbors*. On average you have a %50 chance of getting back what you want. Its best to do this to lower level neighbors. like level 30 and below and even then don't abuse it.
    • If a neighbor sends you an item - send them back what they sent you IF AND ONLY IF they keep sending you the same thing over and over. It is likely they need this item themselves.
    • Send as many gifts you can each day.
    * NOTE: Be careful on who you send gifts to. Many higher level players do NOT want certain items for they have a glut of specific items. Look to see if the player in question has an account here and see if they need something specific.
  10. You really only need one runway. It may seem better to have multiple runways but don't do it. Most of the time your runway will sit idle and will not make you gold.
    Note: there is discussion on if the drop rate for items goes up for multiple runways. To each their own. I do not think this is the case for I noticed no difference when I tested it.
  11. Fuel, fuel, fuel:
    • I will most of the time will gift fuel for I know the % chance of the person gifting fuel back is really good. On average I will get over %50 fuel gifts back each day. Yes, I "could" setup a fuel ring but for me, the gift method I use works out fine.
    • Fuel station - I do the 3 unit fuel for 10 gold constantly. You can get up to 18 extra fuel units per hour doing this. If you will be gone for more than an hour, do the 10 units but never do more than that for it is a waste of time UNLESS you know you will be away for 8 hours or more. Remember - this is for mid to high maintenance players, not once a day players.
    • Refineries - when you can, get them. The small will add 15 units when you first get it and only cost you gold. If you want to spend greenbacks, get the large refinery. When you upgrade them, you get more fuel
    • Speeding up flights - unless you are doing the daily mission or something specific and it ask for it, DON'T. This just waste fuel and it will take you time to build your fuel back up.
  12. Land:
    • Use gold to get it AS LONG AS YOU CAN USE GOLD TO GET IT. Each time you buy, the price for the next lot goes up if you gold. That is OK. Remember - time is your friend and you can build up gold from anything that gives gold. Green backs are a lot harder to get so save them for later when you want land and they are the only way to pay for it. When land is on sale and up to Expansion 80 land only cost 10 greenies if you decide to use greenies
    • Keep the airport side as small as you can. You can make more gold per hour on the city side.
    • If you use greenbacks for land - WAIT for the %50 off sale. They happen every 2 or 3 weeks on the weekend. When you get to higher levels - well worth it.
  13. Daily reward - Right now I try to earn them for I do not have buildings that give me free stuff. When you get to the higher levels and have buildings that give you bonus stuff - it most likely won't matter anymore.
  14. Duty free store - I have it fully upgraded but I don't run it. The reason is I may need the good elsewhere so the store just sits. You may want to wait until later to get a duty free and save the land for something more important. Many players hate the thing for they think of it as a waste. What I've found is every so often after you neighbors have given you the right stuff you can do a max drop run on it. That makes the building somewhat valuable but if you can do it only a week or so apart, it is really crappy.
  15. Space port stuff - Build it ASAP. Get launching as fast as you can but be forewarned - The more neighbors you have, the more likely you will be successful in your launch. It is extremely difficult on lower levels simply for yo don't have the stuff you need to launch. That is where your neighbors come in).
    • Mission control center - not sure if this is a bug or not but the game says it needs a road yet I can still launch. So far I've left it without a road and I've not had an issue.
    • Space ports - Get a green pad and get started.
    • IMPORTANT - In my experience the fastest was to assemble collections for items to have a successful rocket launch are neighbor's planetariums and flying to destinations that drop items for launches.
  16. Quest - make sure when a new quest open it and click OK so it is active. It make no difference if you are really trying to do it or not.
  17. Roads and building placement -
    • You only need one square to have a needed road for an item.
    • Look in the forum for post on how to maximize land usage.
  18. Do the math on how much gold an item gives you per hour. For the items that do a high amount but only once per day - I avoid them for now. When I get enough real estate where I can devote some land for that, I will but for now, I want the high gold per hour stuff. Again, this is for a high maintenance player.
  19. Warehouse - This thing is GREAT for parking certain buildings. One thing you can park in there is things that generate power. Right now I'm upgrading all my power items to coal plants. I'm taking the older stuff and moving them into the warehouse. If I need them, I can take them out and use them in a pinch until I get the stuff I need to put them away again. Remember - parking a building in the warehouse will usually cost you gold.
  20. Sending out flights - I keep as many flights in the air as I can. They bring back stuff I can use. Yes I have to wait but that is OK. You will usually run out of fuel before all your flights can be sent out. In that case you have to build up fuel again before sending out the next plane.
  21. Hangers -
    • If you have repair part items, then the hanger level makes no difference on repair times. Use the repair part item to get your planes in the air fast.
    • Don't waste gold on higher level hangers UNLESS you want your planes you send out to load faster. Personally I don't mind waiting.
  22. Just because an item is cheap does NOT mean you should use it. For example power. Yes the power plant is only 100 gold. It only gives you 6 electricity and that sucks. Use the Wind Turbine which give you 10 per square until you get to level 20 and then switch to Coal stations which give you 15 per square. Take any Wind Turbines you built and warehouse them. You may need them later in a pinch.
  23. Decorations - use them on buildings that generate a high passenger output per pickup. For example I have 2 Trees next to a house of disturbance and that gives me 9 extra on each pickup.
  24. Planes - For each destination group I plan to fly the same type of plane from all my hangers to that group. The goal is to get all the stars I can so at the higher levels I can actually fly to them. Higher level destinations require a certain level of stars so you have to work the flights to get them.
  25. Greenbacks on buildings - Just don't do it. It will seem like a good idea but don't. You need them for land later.
  26. Building upgrades -
    • If you don't have the item you need, watch the video if available. It may take a few days to upgrade the building but you will get there.
    • Never upgrade a building on impulse. Carefully decide what is the most important and do that first. For example if your Terminal is level 5 and it cost you 180000 gold to upgrade it yet it only cost you 50000 to get land and you have 200000 gold on hand - get the land.
  27. Population - upgrade the town hall early so that you have enough people to man the buildings. Also there are buildings that give bonuses.
  28. Terminal upgrades - right now I have a level 4 terminal. For 80,000 gold I can get it upgraded but that is a low priority. I need land much more so I can earn more gold per hour and have buildings that kick me more passengers. Remember - a building can provide you passengers (like a storage battery) but not be able to give you the passengers for your terminal is full. As soon as you send a flight, you now have space to send your passengers from the building(s). I've been doing this for a while now and it works out fine. Also, landing guest planes adds to the total number of passengers I have ready to board my planes so the need to upgrade the terminal is less. I've had at times over 300/180 passengers ready to go and that doesn't count the buildings ready to provide additional passengers when I got under the 180 threshold.
  29. The game will pester you to build the Airship dock. Don't do it early on. The reason is simple - The game WANTS you to spend greenbacks. DON'T. It will NOT help you. Remember - you need land first and foremost. Planes bring you items and you only get them when your planes are in the air and return.
    Note: There are items in the Airship store you can buy with coin that will help you but they are usually needed for higher level flights or the Mystery Bonus item that cost 8000 gold.
  30. Helping others with their cities - DO IT. I will usually go for fuel UNLESS I have a specific quest I'm doing. Remember - Fuel is usually a high priority for you.
I will post more tips that I learn but this is my first list. Enjoy and if you have the cash - support the developers. They really do a great job.

-M
 
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PhactorPhil

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I learned a lesson today that hopefully others can avoid. It's often recommended that you build your Flight Catering, Laundry, Sweets Factory, Furniture Factory, and Pharmaceutical Lab before you start flying to those destinations where you need the flight catering, blankets, lollipops, beds, and pills. This is a good strategy to use, as you can build up a supply of flight items before you need them. However, you should not start asking for the construction items until you have reached the game level necessary to start building these special buildings.

Here's why: If a player at a higher level than you attempts to send you a gift for a special building like these before you have reached the level necessary to purchase them, their gift will be converted to 3 units of Fuel.

So the strategy is once you reach the appropriate levels (20) Flight Catering, (41) Laundry, (51) Sweets Factory, (61) Furniture Factory, and (71) Pharmaceutical Lab, start asking for the required items to construct the building.

And the tactic is to get enough of the required items before you purchase the building in the store so that once the construction is done, the building can be opened and start producing without delay.
 

Fencat

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I learned a lesson today that hopefully others can avoid. It's often recommended that you build your Flight Catering, Laundry, Sweets Factory, Furniture Factory, and Pharmaceutical Lab before you start flying to those destinations where you need the flight catering, blankets, lollipops, beds, and pills. This is a good strategy to use, as you can build up a supply of flight items before you need them. However, you should not start asking for the construction items until you have reached the game level necessary to start building these special buildings.

Here's why: If a player at a higher level than you attempts to send you a gift for a special building like these before you have reached the level necessary to purchase them, their gift will be converted to 3 units of Fuel.

So the strategy is once you reach the appropriate levels (20) Flight Catering, (41) Laundry, (51) Sweets Factory, (61) Furniture Factory, and (71) Pharmaceutical Lab, start asking for the required items to construct the building.

And the tactic is to get enough of the required items before you purchase the building in the store so that once the construction is done, the building can be opened and start producing without delay.
A small addition to this, if you dont accept the gifts before you gain the right level they will magically turn back to the original item once you level up. You can then accept the gift.
Not really recommended if you are a long way of leveling up because there is a limit on how many gifts you can have in the queue but once you start to get close to the level it works (y)
 
A small addition to this, if you dont accept the gifts before you gain the right level they will magically turn back to the original item once you level up. You can then accept the gift.
Not really recommended if you are a long way of leveling up because there is a limit on how many gifts you can have in the queue but once you start to get close to the level it works (y)
I would go crazy having a pile of F3s just sitting there and not being allowed to tap on them :confused:
 

PhactorPhil

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A small addition to this, if you dont accept the gifts before you gain the right level they will magically turn back to the original item once you level up. You can then accept the gift.
Not really recommended if you are a long way of leveling up because there is a limit on how many gifts you can have in the queue but once you start to get close to the level it works (y)

I can confirm what Fencat said. I kept thee of the Fuel 3 in my incoming gifts inbox until I reached Level 61. The gifts then converted to Hammer Drills as originally intended.

I would definitely agree not to keep them for long, as it was so hard to bypass these gifts when accepting new ones. In this case, I was only one level shy.
 
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A small addition to this, if you dont accept the gifts before you gain the right level they will magically turn back to the original item once you level up. You can then accept the gift.
Not really recommended if you are a long way of leveling up because there is a limit on how many gifts you can have in the queue but once you start to get close to the level it works (y)

I created a new account mainly because I cannot keep up with gifting any more and feel guilty for the gifts I cannot return.
When the account was just a couple of hours old, the new event started and I am now curious to see if I manage to get a stadium on it anyway. ;)
To be able to build more on it, I need the town hall on level 3.
The account is at level 11 and the town hall upgrade is built, just missing the items needed for it, so it shows a red arrow and among others 2 whiteboards missing.
A friend sent me a whiteboard but I received a "gift" of 5 passengers instead. Since I'm on level 11 and could build the upgrade, I should be able to accept a whiteboard or is there something else I miss why this does not work?
 
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This was really useful when I started, thanks for taking the time.

A couple of comments on what I found, which people are certainly free to ignore.
Use gold to get it AS LONG AS YOU CAN USE GOLD TO GET IT.
Strategically, that makes perfect sense. But, if I didn't use greens to buy land early on, I think I would have given up, as it took so long to earn any coins. I'd have had no land and have been unable to do anything except launch and a plane. I think I tended to alternate, which worked OK.

Upgrade your fuel station ASAP
I'm not sure upgrading it gives that much of an advantage, but the key thing is not to start upgrading it until the items to complete it have been collected. Whilst it's upgrading, it can't be used to produce fuel. I think it would be useful to mention that the items to upgrade the Fuel Station are only available from flight drops, they can't be gifted.

Something else that could be useful is to use the wiki to look at the missions, to see which ones come next. Specifically, to see whether flights will be required, and which planes are needed. This may save needing to buy planes again, once they have all been sold.
 
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For those that like to do the daily tasks for 2 collectibles, the basic helicopter flying a training flight is very cheap — even with instant returns. It’s a good way to complete the challenges for sending planes, returning planes and speed ups. And it doesn’t burn valuable aeroplane fuel :).
I use videos to change the fuel speed ups daily mission, except when I’m planning to do map runs.
But helis training flights are a handy and cheap way to complete the challenges for sending planes or complete flights. Especially when you’re doing almost only long flights (which also means less flights per day...)
 

exwhy

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Having started the game 1 week ago, i'm really thankful for the tips here! A few more that i suggest from my experience.

  1. Helicopter buildings are not worth the investments in early levels. Flights bring net losses (taking into account resource costs) and they take up valuable airport space. Don't build the terminal H, fuel H, and control centre as they can't be sold.
  2. Meteorological office: can't be sold, and must be used in conjunction with resource base H to produce weather items. Again it takes up two 2x2 spaces at airport. Skip it if you have reliable neighbors to send you the items or if you don't mind waiting for bad weather to be over.
  3. Powerful oil refinery is a good investment of 10 greenies in early levels. Having ~50 fuel capacity at level 15, +25 is a big bonus. For a player who checks back every 1-2 hours and unable to stagger landing times, a full tank can fly 5x TPs all at once.
  4. While guest planes bring in valuable resources, don't upgrade the runway just to accommodate them if you're not flying the upgraded planes yourself. For example I'm skipping runway 3 right now, as i worked on 3-starring the early TP flights and was already at level 17 when building the flight school. Planning to buy jet and runway 4 at level 19 so i can also land delta planes. It's a pity/hassle to refuse guest jets from level 13-18 but it saved me 10000 coins.
  5. The game username can be set to let neighbors know what gifts you need. For now my name is exwhy-LL,catly (indicating i need landing lamp and fuel catalyst). A list of shortened names is at (https://www.airportcitygame.com/threads/ac-shortcut-items-with-multi-language-descriptions.21637/).
  6. Gifting building items: players are only able to gift building items for their current/pending upgrades.
 
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Bigglesbaz

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For those that like to do the daily tasks for 2 collectibles, the basic helicopter flying a training flight is very cheap — even with instant returns. It’s a good way to complete the challenges for sending planes, returning planes and speed ups. And it doesn’t burn valuable aeroplane fuel :).
Yes, you're dead right T. I use them for just that reason with regular flights to Yellowstone. The advantage of the first two stages in the helo program certainly helps to bring up the Skill Stars. I've given up on the more advanced helo flights as the missions and resources are too cumbersome/convoluted and time-killing for little reward -- hopefully, they'll revamp this soon so it becomes fun again. Baz :)
 
Having started the game 1 week ago, i'm really thankful for the tips here! A few more that i suggest from my experience.
  1. Meteorological office: can't be sold, and must be used in conjunction with resource base H to produce weather items. Again it takes up two 2x2 spaces at airport. Skip it if you have reliable neighbors to send you the items or if you don't mind waiting for bad weather to be over.

Build your Meteo Lab as soon as possible. Bad weather is suck, believe me. :)
 

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Build your Meteo Lab as soon as possible. Bad weather is suck, believe me. :)

Yes, it sucks. But for early level player, you can simply let the bad weather pass after few hours. Especially for a F2P players. There are more destinations to fly to. So, I agree with @exwhy that in the beginning, you can just skip your Meteo Lab.
 
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I hope that we'll get that option soon as well on windows. It works in other games, so why not in airport city?
I play on a Chromebook so it might be different but I get a video option and it just has a five second loading screen and then does whatever the video was supposed to do.
 
I play on a Chromebook so it might be different but I get a video option and it just has a five second loading screen and then does whatever the video was supposed to do.
You noticed you’re replying to a post back from 2017, didn’t you? A lot of stuff changed since then…
on Windows you also get a 5 sec loading screen, and that’s enough to get the stuff
 
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You noticed you’re replying to a post back from 2017, didn’t you? A lot of stuff changed since then…
on Windows you also get a 5 sec loading screen, and that’s enough to get the stuff
Did notice it but I know the games not been changed in like forever so.
 
Did notice it but I know the games not been changed in like forever so.
Not from that long 😂
from 2016, when I started playing, until, I’d say, 2021, lots of relevant changes occurred. Especially during the period 2017-2019, so I remember (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong @Madge59230 @Jenn B and others…)
so, forever is more like 2-3 years, which is in any case too much time without relevant updates for a game
 
Did notice it but I know the games not been changed in like forever so.
@LX Air - Teresa is correct. There have been many changes to the game since this post originated. It is good to seek knowledge about the game from posts like these, but be careful because changes to the game make some of these older tips and strategies obsolete. If you have questions about strategy in the current game, it is best to look to current posts or the Wiki, or just ask a question about strategies now. Happy flying! :)
 
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Not from that long 😂
from 2016, when I started playing, until, I’d say, 2021, lots of relevant changes occurred. Especially during the period 2017-2019, so I remember (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong @Madge59230 @Jenn B and others…)
so, forever is more like 2-3 years, which is in any case too much time without relevant updates for a game
To make things worse I don’t get events because I play on a Chromebook! People take events for granted. Progress is slow without them.