Airline Tycoon is a managerial simulation in which the player is the manager of an airline company. This game features six missions (plus a tutorial) in which the player needs to fulfil different goals to win. Of course it offers all usual options for business games: fire and hire personnel, taking commissions (while considering the capabilities of the own fleet) or buying, repairing and upgrading airplanes. Every day has two recurring activities: receiving feedback for the past work and planning the routes for every plane. This can be a challenging task because the 48 airports along with an unlimited number of planes (18 different models) give a lot of opportunities. The player also has the option to cooperate with one of the three AI competitors.
Besides the usual office and statistics screen this game also features an animated airport view in which the player receives optical feedback, e.g. potential customers which think about the stuff they like and dislike. On this screen the player has direct control over his character and moves him to the places where the above mentioned actions are performed.