Live traffic seems very inconsistent. Why?

It seems like every time I see a thread about traffic, I read posts from both ends of the spectrum. Personally, my experience has been hit and miss as well. I fly around Canada a lot and even some of the smaller regional airports can be fairly busy while I have been in/out of CYVR and encountered very little traffic. Most days, seem to be reasonably true to life, however. My last flight into CYYJ encountered a handful of other aircraft both arriving and departing. As I flew over CYVR on the way, I could see multiple aircraft on the ground and the airspace was appropriately busy.

I recently made an “Around the Pacific” trip, flying from Australia to Northern BC, Canada, in the Baron. I made stops in a dozen airports, including Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Russia, Alaska. Departing Melbourne I was stacked up behind three departing flights all waiting to be slotted in-between almost a steady stream of inbound flights. I was about 20 minutes from my #4 slot to actually rolling.

Luzon was dead, Manilla a zoo, Tokyo was a mess, I was waved off 3 times and I finally diverted to Narita. Even arrival into Anchorage at sunset was interrupted by two arriving flights.

I am at a loss as to why some of us are seeing a reasonable amount of traffic and others are flying the empty skies. There must be some common denominator. The server we are connected to, the quality, (not speed), of our connection? Maybe settings in the sim or even available memory? It makes no sense that my experience is interrupted by too many aircraft being poorly handled, while the next user can’t find another plane.

Bruh Vancouver is insanely busy for me every time, looking at VFR map I can always see minimum ten to fifteen other planes on approach or taking off.

I think the other random blips are perhaps momentary data streaming issues - not necessarily on the fault or end of the user, but also serverside. Toronto Pearson is generally very busy for me as well, but there are also days where I’ll load in at 9am and see no live traffic, which is literally not ever going to be the case IRL lol. But usually I find these don’t last long and are temporary, whatever causes it.


For me, it’s been very consistent. When it works, it works. When it doesn’t (like the weekend I escalated the data feed failure from the provider to the sim), it doesn’t.

I fly in the NE US region, and I always see cool things like “pearls on a string” - 3 to 4 jetliners inbound to KBOS, or long-haulers from Europe headed to JFK or points south exiting the Great Circle route from Newfoundland. I don’t see as much GA traffic as I’d like, but when I look at FlightAware on a typical day, that’s pretty true if I superimpose the 50 mile radius around my imaginary aircraft posit.


I have only seen AI aircraft at big international airports, never at smaller regional airports.


It’s truly bizarre how everyone has such varying experiences with this issue.

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sums up MSFS as a whole…


Part of the inconsistency is terminology inconsistency:
Who is talking about Live traffic and who is talking about AI traffic?

“Do you see any Live traffic?” “Yes, I see plenty of AI traffic”

^^^ Clearly a misunderstanding, but it is not always clear when it is just terminology misuse and when they are actually talking about different things.

Not sure I know what you mean. Most of the divergent experiences are “summed up” by differences in individual hardware and/or settings. This one does not seem to care. That is why I asked the question. While the sim is virtually the same for users with similar setups, traffic seems to vary tremendously. Why?

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If I had to guess - I’d say the issue could lie in the individual configuration settings.

I remember way back in the first few months of MSFS. I took off from KBUR (Burbank CA) and was actually third in line at the runway behind a couple of prop planes and I thought that was pretty cool. Since then, I don’t believe I’ve encountered any other planes taking off at all, much less taxiing in front of me.

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i haven’t even got any! in australia anyway. Sydney and adelaide had none whatsoever


There were times when I was seeing other NPC planes. These times have mostly been forgotten.

Although I keep seeing like occasional 1 or 2 other planes and some players.

This is what I am talking about. Australia was stupid busy at both Melbourne and Darwin when I did my trip through Australia. Why for me and not for you?

Not sure.

Checked Miami and they had some, went back to Aus and Sydney and some flashed up. Went to Fukuoka and none. None in Osaka either….even though when I clicked on the live tab it said there was international flights but nothing in game.

My issue isnt live traffic, my issue is the traffic being dumb.

Dont know if its just me, but i have 4 airplanes doing circles around the airport for 30 minutes with zero intention to land… its weird and broken…

I dunno where they get it, but it would e great if live traffic showed all activity like flightradar24 etc… no matter if the aircraft has or does not have a flightplan, just all broadcasting vehicles with the fastest position updates. So much interesting stuff flying out there which would add so much to the 'sim, granted we’d need a way to associate custom models to the wide variety or types out there in the real world… but that is what makes it fun!

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