While I welcome efforts to curb constant expansion to megalomaniacal proportions, I'm finding the changes that have actually been implemented actually make it almost impossible to even get started - at least if one is playing realistically. Hiking lease prices and maintenance costs seems to actually discourage playing realistically, and just allows further domination by spamliners, using unrealistically dense seating layouts and unrealistically stingy IFS (for example, I've seen 8F 40C 315Y on an A340-300 more than once; in the real world you'd be lucky to get away with that even on an A340-600). Reputation seems to have very little effect on actual gameplay, as these spamliners still manage to win passengers away from competing airlines with realistic settings far too easily.
Sadly, the game has lost a lot of its fun for me as a result, as I can't even see a way of getting started playing with realistic settings.
So what should have been done instead? Here are a few of my suggestions:
1) Make legroom and IFS have more of an impact on competition. An airline running with seats crammed in as tightly as possible and offering a scam IFS should not successfully compete with an airline offering a proper IFS and reasonable density of seating, especially when the latter charges exactly the same price as the former!
2) Change the IFS configuration options to something a bit more like that of AirlineSim, with options for snacks, hot/cold meals, additional meals/snacks. Amenities such as pillows, headphones etc could be left as they are. This could be as detailed or as simple as the player chooses to make it.
3) No discounts for extending leases. That would make it a bit harder to continue to run older aircraft into the ground and would therefore encourage replacing aircraft rather than just continually expanding fleets.
4) Instead of having the maximum number of seats set as a default, make every player go through the aircraft configuration stage. Then we might see just a bit less of the lazy 0F 0C 660Y going on!
Feel free to disregard/debate any of the above.