You can run a successful airline without flying any of the most popular fleets. It's just a question of patience and strategy. Yes, I wasn't online when the 727 launched either, so I guess i will have to look for alternatives. The order line for 707's and DC-8's is endlessly backed up. Sure... If you looked at my airline (top 30 in revenue/profits and 9th in PAX YTD), I have 226 aircraft in the fleet without a single 707, DC-8, or 727 presently. I could only get on the 707 line starting in 1966 because i couldn't jump in at the beginning and then didn't want to wait until 1964 to get a relatively useless 707-120. I have 109 Vickers Viscount and 44 Vickers Vanguard and will have double that amount in a couple years. Going for alternative aircraft can be successful and viable. Yes I have accumulated a pile of Connies but a large number of those have come recently as people begin dumping their props to move to jets.
The point is, yes it can be extremely difficult to obtain the newest and greatest aircraft, but you can be plenty successful dragging your arse around the block in a prop for a long time. By 1970s, we will see piles of 727's on the UM between BK's and airlines upgrading to the 722A. Those 2455 DC-9 orders? The DC-9-10 is destined for the upgrade heap in 5-8 years. So I think to myself, if I want to go down the DC-9 path, do I put orders in for 1970 or so, and then rapidly accelerate deliveries by picking up the crappier models on the UM.
In the case of this game, I know I'm way behind on 707's, but one of my alliance members who's including both DC-8's and 707 in his fleet right now is going to be converting his 707's into DC-8's in the 1968-1971 timeframe. I asked if he could sell them to me. Again, I'll have to wait for planes and it's not the most high tech plane (sorry DC-10), but it will be a hell of a lot cheaper and can be done without being online all the time. Since I know I probably won't be online for the DC-10 launch either (or paying close enough attention even if I am).
So to conclude, Jumbo and others are right when they say it can be very discouraging to new players (or experienced players) particularly those who are expecting more a sandbox mode to try the newest and greatest aircraft and then are extremely limited by the Sami generated constraints of the game. I don't disagree with this. However, I do think facing constraints and making choices is what makes the game interesting. Now could it be better? Absolutely (hello city based demand, terminals, etc.). People have spoken about introducing an auction system for used planes. Great. Sami implements it and there will be people complaining that the rich airlines get all the planes. Make the UM more random like a lottery? What's the point to playing if it's just sami-generated noise. No matter what choices are made, there will be people that find them to be the wrong choices.