Learning the ins and outs of Pocket Planes may feel a little daunting at first. Whether you’re a new player or someone looking for some advanced tips and tricks, our handy Pocket Planes strategy guide will set you on the right course to success. Learn how to get more bux, more money, and more overall efficiency out of your fleet.
Don’t sweat this decision too much; it’s not terribly important where you begin. Choose a location that seems most interesting to you – you’ll be spending the majority of your early flight time here until your global network expands later on.
Every available starting area has a good mix of large and small cities, both of which are crucial to your operation. You can’t go wrong!
Every time you gain a level, you’ll be able to buy a new airport in a city of your choosing. Resist the urge to purchase an airport in some exotic, distant locale; early on, your planes will have limited range and buying a faroff waypoint will just be a waste of money. Instead, choose cities that add to the length of your network but are close enough to comfortably reach. Chances are you won’t be able to afford setting up shop in the larger cities yet, so don’t be afraid to establish a presence in the littler places until you have more money to invest.
Once you’ve amassed a bunch of planes and have some Class 2 aircraft, you may consider shutting down littler airports and focus on buying new airports in larger cities. Class 2 aircraft cannot land in these tiny airports anyway, and they typically produce less jobs.
Class 2 airports are denoted by a blue dot, and Class 3 airports are denoted by a red dot. Remember this when purchasing airports in new cities.
To add planes to your fleet, you’ll need to buy them or build them out of spare parts. It takes three matching parts to build any model of plane – an engine, a control deck, and a body. Once you have all the parts necessary to build a specific model, you can combine them (for a small bux fee) and, for less than it would have cost if bought outright, you’ll have a brand-spanking new aircraft! Building planes instead of purchasing them can save you a ton of bux in the long run, so it’s often worth the work.
Building a plane will require patience – finding the pieces you need is usually determined by dumb luck. You can get a single random part whenever opening a new airport, and you can check the ever-changing marketplace when looking for specific pieces. If the parts you need aren’t showing up for sale, don’t fret. The marketplace inventory changes frequently, so come back in ten minutes or so and see what’s available then.
You can always buy completed planes to save yourself the work of collecting parts, but expect to pay up to twice as much doing so. Sometimes it’s worth buying a fully priced top-of-the-line model, though, versus trying to complete a mediocre plane on the cheap.
When a plane of is loaded up with multiple items all going to the same destination, you get a 25% fare bonus. This can really help to jack up your earnings for that particular flight, so always try to make this happen whenever possible. This is most easily accomplished when departing from larger cities, as they usually have the best job selection.
With planes that only have two or three holds, it’s pretty easy to find enough things going to the same city. But with larger planes, it can be tough. You may consider loading up a plane with as much matching stuff as possible, then waiting until new jobs are available to see if you can round out the flight with more people/stuff also going to the same place. Check how long the wait for new jobs is; if it’s less than one minute, then it’s worth it to see.
You could bring people and cargo in from other cities and do some strategic layovers, but it usually isn’t worth the trouble, at least not early in the game.
Once all your planes are in the air, there’s not much to do outside of browsing through menus and stats. One productive alternative is to grab the money that goes flying by your airborne planes. Every few seconds or so, you’ll see a coin floating by in the sky that you can collect by tapping it. Smaller coins are worth $1 while the bigger ones are worth $10. Every now and then, you’ll see a precious green buck swing by; make sure to grab it! You never know when these things are going to pop up, so always be ready to snag them.
It turns out that the faster your plane can travel, the faster coins and bux will fly by. So be sure to follow the plane with the highest MPH. Thanks, st8ordie!
If collecting parts and building planes is just more work than you’re willing to front, then you can liquidate any parts you come across for cash. You can also scrap any decommissioned planes into parts and sell them too.
You can also squeeze out a good amount of cash when closing airports, too; approximately half of what you paid for them originally. When Class 2 and Class 3 aircraft become available, you won’t be able to land them in some of your smaller cities, so it’s worth considering selling those airports at that time.
Upgrading a plane will set you back some bux, but you can improve its profitability by doing so. There are three parts of a plane you can upgrade: The fuel tanks, the engine, and the carbon fiber (weight). Upgrading the fuel tanks will increase the plane’s range, allowing it to travel farther without having to stop in out of the way places. Upgrading the engine will increase the plane’s speed, allowing it to reach its destination faster. Upgrading the carbon fiber aspect of the plane will reduce its weight and lower the operating cost to fly that plane. Upgrading can only be done when a plane is docked at an airport.
Upgrading an airport can be done by tapping the flight tower icon that appears at the bottom of the screen when viewing that airport. It can be expensive, but airport upgrades increase the amount of available jobs and layover slots in their respective cities, making them more ripe for profit overall.
Because of the expense involved with plane and airport upgrades, it’s not recommended to dump resources into them early in the game. You’ll need your bux for building planes and you’ll want coins to buy new airports across the globe. Upgrades are best done later in the game, once you’ve gotten past the hump of establishing your network.
Check the events log and see if a global event is happening in a city near you (this is the one at the top of the list, highlighted in light blue). If so, try purchasing an airport in that city (if you don’t already have one) so you can participate in that event and collect a reward when the event wraps up. You can get better rewards by joining up with a high-performing flight team. Flight teams are like clans, and joining is as easy as punching in the name of the team you want in on.
These events occur for a three-day period and when they end, another will begin in a different part of the world. The bigger your network, the more of these events you’ll be able to join, so keep expanding!
Get on the right flight team and you can nab a ton of bucks, and sometimes other prizes as well. Whenever one of the competitive global events is complete, the highest flight crews on the leaderboard are showered with obscene amounts of bux. While you could certainly join the DELTAATTACK flight team if you wished (you saucy beast), I would recommend that you joined up with the top team instead. Right now, that’s TOUCHARCADE.
Join the TOUCHARCADE flight crew and the next time a global event concludes, you are guaranteed to the most bang for your bux. Don’t horse around with anyone else, this is the easiest and best way to get free bux.
PLEASE NOTE: Just joining the flight team isn’t enough to share in the spoils – you also have to participate in the global event to earn a reward, which means you must do some special deliveries to that city during the event. When these special jobs appear, you’ll be able to identify them by their light blue color.
TIPS & TRICKS
- Personalize your planes: Pocket Planes lets you paint and name your aircraft; take advantage of these features to better keep track of your fleet.
- Go short: Sometimes it’s better to deliver short distances, especially when you can get that 25% bonus. The profit margin will be pretty good and your plane will touch down much sooner, meaning less wait and more fun.
- Always go for the bux: Whenever you see a job that pays in bux instead of coins, take it! Your profit will suffer, but since bux are worth about 500 coins each when exchanged, it’s almost always worth it. Which reminds me…
- Consider exchanging bux for coins: When you need a few extra thousand to build or upgrade an airport, bux can get you there faster. The more bux you exchange, the higher the conversion rate will be, although don’t expect to get much more than 500 coins per buck.
- Straight routes pay better: Maximize your earnings by choosing cargo that can be delivered with the least amount of wasted travel – for instance, the straighter the line of your route, the less you’ll spend on travel costs and the more you’ll earn in profit.
- Strategic distancing: When selecting a route, the closer you can keep all your destinations to the end point, the more profit you will get for that trip.
- Report your glitch: There have been an unlucky few complaining about awful glitches in Pocket Planes, totally game-ruining stuff like losing massive amounts of bux for no apparent reason. If anything catastrophic happens to you, write a review in the app store detailing your problem; it seems like a good way of getting NimbleBit’s attention and makes a fix that much more likely down the road.
- Late game strategy: Our friend Hans Christian has pioneered a very detailed and effective late game strategy here. If you’re looking to peak things out, be sure to read it. Thanks Hans!
About the Author
|Mark A. Brooks uses the A. initial in his name so as to seperate himself from the teeming legions of other Mark Brookses (there are at least 65,000 in the state of Michigan alone).
Keep up with him on twitter, because why not. @unoriginalG
Mark A. Brooks has written 642 posts on Delta Attack.