There is a constant tug-of-war against the two sides. Personally, I'd rather play with the best players here and have a cut-throat type of competition. In no way am I one of the best here.. I'd call myself a medium player at best, but I have a lot more fun when I'm competing against other airlines instead of "trying to play nice so I don't get kicked out" kind of thing.
Welcome to FCO, I like a nice, long, cut-throat competition too.
For the rest, I agree slots could be done better. Airlines flying in should be charged a lot more. Inability to purchase slots when too far into the red (though I'd want it to be easier to know what the slot cost will be, in that case) in order to slow down that initial rush (I too went to -12 million buying slots last night). Some sort of option system, where a new slot increase in an airport is spread between all airlines HQed there (airline A gets an 06xx set, 13xx set, 20xx set, airline B gets an 07xx, 14xx, 21xx, airline G gets 12xx, 19xx. Next increase, airline G gets the 08xx, 15xx, 22xx, etc Or possibly 2 per airline as options, the rest released to general pop) Each airline would have 6-8 weeks to buy the slot, then the normal 1 month to actually make use of it. That'd mean you'd need to log in at least once per 24 hours to see your new slot and buy it, and refreshing will still be of some use to get unclaimed slots. You'd also want the releases to be somewhat staggered between airlines, so airlines HQed there can't know "I got my options on May 10, therefore unused options will release June 21."
The simplest way might simply be to do the same as for the used market, but limit it further. Once per game week, you can refresh the slot data. Or maybe 7 times/week, you can refresh the data in airports you're based in, once/week you can refresh the others.
But as usual, I disagree that you MUST be online & f5ing slot pages in order to succeed. Going back to the OP, the biggest problem is choosing a strategy of very slow growth (and thus slot acquisition) in an airport with huge slot pressure. f5ing will help, especially if you want to fly into LHR or similar. It's been exacerbated this game by the higher initial startup cash, allowing much faster initial expansion than previous MTs. Think that should definitely go back to the way it was for MT6, the new mechanics don't slow things down much at all in the biggest airports, only the smaller ones. (Could even have variable startup cash, 5 million, all loaned in the top 25 airports, 7.5 million, 5 loaned in any other size 5, 10 million, 5 loaned in anything smaller than 5.) But it's not a requirement for success. I am online a lot, because I'm near a computer most of the day. But never will I sit with a slot page open hitting refresh. I *know* LHR will run out of slots very quickly, so the first flight I created went there. If I have a new plane to schedule, I might take a look at LHR. If there's slots, great, I'll grab them. If not, no worries, I'll look again later. I don't NEED to fly to LHR for my airline to succeed, I don't NEED to be constantly waiting for slots to be released in my HQ, even though it was one of the top 10 for slot% used last night (only top 25 now, we had a BK). HND & LHR are the two most extreme examples. Sydney, CDG, FRA, AMS, and a few smaller airports (such as LIN's 6 slots/hour) disappear very quickly, then there are a lot more where slots do run out, but you can usually find some if you're prepared to fly at odd hours (such as FCO).