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How to download Microsoft Flight Simulator for free in PC?

Have you been dreaming of soaring through the skies in an airplane, taking in stunning bird‘s-eye views of cities and landscapes across the globe? Do you want to experience the thrill of piloting various aircraft, navigating through day and night, clear skies and stormy weather? Well, your aviation dreams can become a reality, without needing to spend hundreds of dollars on flight lessons or simulator equipment.

Microsoft Flight Simulator provides one of the most incredibly realistic and immersive flight simulation experiences ever created. And the best part is, there are numerous ways you can download and start flying this state-of-the-art simulator completely free on your home Windows PC!

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll outline 10 proven methods for getting Microsoft Flight Simulator at no cost. You‘ll learn how to leverage Xbox subscriptions, Microsoft Rewards points, CD key deals, free trials and more. I‘ll also provide tips on enhancing your free simulator setup with DIY cockpits and VR headsets.

Follow these steps, and you‘ll be piloting jumbo jets, light aircraft, helicopters and gliders to your heart‘s content in no time – without draining your bank account. Let‘s get started on downloading the ultimate flight simulator for free!

1. Take Advantage of Xbox Game Pass Free Trial

One of the best and easiest ways to download and play Microsoft Flight Simulator free on PC is through the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

How Xbox Game Pass Works:

  • Provides unlimited access to over 100 premium games for a monthly fee
  • New subscribers can sign up and receive their first month completely free

Since Microsoft Flight Simulator is part of the standard Game Pass library, you can install and play the full game free during your 1 month trial period!

Once your trial is up, you‘d then pay the regular monthly fee of:

  • $9.99 for Game Pass on PC
  • $14.99 for Game Pass Ultimate (includes Xbox console games and EA Play)

But a month is plenty of time to get your flight fix in. Here are the simple steps to grab Flight Simulator free via Xbox Game Pass:

  1. Go to the Xbox Game Pass site and click "Join Now"
  2. Select Game Pass for PC or Ultimate (Ultimate provides more content)
  3. Download the Xbox App for Windows and sign in
  4. Search for Microsoft Flight Simulator and install it
  5. Enjoy your free month of unlimited playtime!

Tip: You can extend your free trial even longer by turning off recurring billing after signing up so you don‘t forget and get charged.

For flight sim fans on a budget, exploiting the Xbox Game Pass free trial is by far the easiest avenue to get access to Microsoft Flight Simulator completely free.

2. Sign Up for Limited-Time Xbox Cloud Gaming Promotions

In addition to Game Pass trials, Microsoft occasionally offers free access to Xbox Cloud Gaming for limited times.

How Xbox Cloud Gaming Works:

  • Streams Xbox games to your device over the internet
  • Allows gaming without needing to install anything locally

This means you can play Microsoft Flight Simulator through cloud streaming, no high-end PC required!

While these free promo periods are somewhat sporadic, they have included Flight Simulator access in the past. To take advantage:

  • Watch for announcements of free cloud gaming trials
  • Create/sign into your Xbox account during the promo window
  • Stream Flight Simulator direct to your device absolutely free!

The duration of free access varies but can easily grant you 5-10+ hours of free flight time. Keep an eye out for any future cloud gaming promotions and you can chalk up some more Flight Simulator playtime without spending a dime!

3. Don‘t Miss Out on Free Play Weekend Events

For special events and holidays, Xbox will sometimes make popular titles like Microsoft Flight Simulator free to play for a whole weekend.

How Free Play Weekends Work:

  • Grants full free access to designated games for a set period
  • Any progress is saved if you decide to buy the game later
  • Occur a few times per year, often around major releases/updates

This is an amazing way to check out Flight Simulator risk-free and take it for a thorough test drive. Free play weekends will be advertised on the Microsoft Flight Simulator social media pages and Xbox storefront, so be sure follow those to stay in the loop.

Recent examples:

  • Nov 24-28, 2022: Free play weekend for Flight Simulator‘s 40th Anniversary
  • July 2021: Free play weekend for release of Top Gun expansion

Jump on these limited-time events when available to enjoy Microsoft Flight Simulator completely on the house!

4. Redeem Microsoft Rewards Points for Store Credit

If you have some patience, another totally free method is utilizing Microsoft Rewards.

How Microsoft Rewards Works:

  • Earn points by completing daily tasks like Bing searches
  • Redeem points for gift cards and other rewards when you hit certain thresholds

Slowly but surely, you can rack up enough points to claim a Microsoft gift card. A $10 card requires around 13,000 points which would take 1-2 months for most users. But hey, it sure beats paying $60 out of pocket!

Once you redeem a card, you can use the credit to purchase Microsoft Flight Simulator outright with no cash spent. Here are the steps:

  1. Sign up for a free Microsoft Rewards account
  2. Complete daily activities to earn points
  3. Cash out points for Microsoft gift cards when you have enough
  4. Use gift card funds to buy Flight Simulator on the Microsoft Store

It takes some patience. But Microsoft Rewards enables you to eventually download Flight Simulator completely gratis!

5. Snag Discounted CD Keys from Reseller Sites

There are many well-known online sites that sell game CD keys and codes at prices discounted versus the official stores. This can be a great way to grab Microsoft Flight Simulator for cheap.

How CD Key Sites Work:

  • Offer deals on digital codes for games, software, and more
  • Codes can be redeemed to download, unlocking huge savings
  • Keys are resold from various sources

By shopping around on sites like CDKeys, G2A, and Kinguin, you can often find Microsoft Flight Simulator Standard Edition keys in the $35-$50 range. That‘s up to 50% off the regular $60 price!

When browsing for the best deal on a CD key site, be sure to:

  • Vet seller ratings and reviews for legitimacy
  • Compare prices across multiple stores
  • Use PayPal for purchase protection

While not completely free, using a CD key site can unlock major savings on Microsoft Flight Simulator. And every dollar counts when you‘re on a tight budget.

6. Keep an Eye Out for Microsoft Store Sales

Okay, this method does require some monetary outlay on your part eventually. But keeping tabs on Microsoft Store sales cycles can help you obtain Flight Simulator at a steep discount.

How Microsoft Store Sales Work:

  • Offer periodic discounts on games/software around certain events
  • Flight Simulator sees price drops of 25-50% during major sales
  • Occur around the same timeframe annually

Here are some common Microsoft Store sale periods when Flight Simulator may get a price cut:

  • Spring Sale (March-April)
  • E3 Sale (June)
  • Black Friday/Cyber Monday (November)
  • Holiday Sale (December)

Flight Simulator rarely goes on sale other times of year. But being patient and pouncing during a seasonal promotion will get you the lowest price from the Microsoft Store directly.

Sign up for their promotional emails, and don‘t hesitate to purchase when you see that 25-50% off indicator!

7. Build Up Free Credit with Bing Rewards

Similarly to Microsoft Rewards, Bing has their own loyalty program that enables you to earn credits for the Microsoft Store.

How Bing Rewards Works:

  • Earn points for searching on Bing, taking surveys, playing games, etc.
  • 100 points = $1 in credit to use at the Microsoft Store
  • Can earn up to 300 points per day

As you accumulate points, you can redeem credits towards Microsoft Flight Simulator and other games/software. Some quick math:

  • 20,000 points = $200 in credit
  • Flight Simulator costs 6,000 points = $60
  • At max 300 points daily, would take ~67 days to earn enough

So it takes some time investment, but you can slowly chip away at the cost by utilizing Bing Rewards. Plus they often run bonus point promotions to speed up earnings. Much cheaper than paying $60 upfront!

8. Enjoy a 10-Hour Free Trial with EA Play

Did you know that an EA Play subscription actually grants a 10-hour free trial of Microsoft Flight Simulator?

How the EA Play Free Trial Works:

  • Download the EA Desktop app
  • Sign in using your EA Play account
  • Search for Microsoft Flight Simulator and select the free trial
  • Receive 10 full hours of playtime to try it out

While EA Play itself isn‘t free, you may already have an active subscription. And just a single month provides that nice chunk of free simulator hours!

For the price of admission to EA Play ($4.99/month), you get to seriously test drive Flight Simulator before buying. If you‘re an EA subscriber, don‘t miss this sweet freebie trial.

9. Satisfy Your Flight Fix with Free Simulator Alternatives

Okay, this isn‘t actually Microsoft Flight Simulator. But when money is tight, downloading a free flight simulator can still satiate your aviation cravings!

There are numerous open source and free-to-play flight sim options available. While not as advanced as Microsoft‘s platform, these alternatives let you get a taste of piloting planes and helicopters without spending a dime.

Some top picks:

  • FlightGear – Open source favorite with tons of airplane models and scenery
  • X-Plane 11 Demo – Free demo of popular advanced simulator
  • Infinity Flight – Mobile simulator with free version available

Gamers on the tightest of budgets may want to set their sights on these free platform initially. They make for a fun holdover until you can access Microsoft‘s simulator through one of the methods above!

10. Enhance Simulation with DIY Cockpits and VR

While Microsoft Flight Simulator itself may cost money, there are free/cheap ways to enhance your simulation experience through DIY cockpits and Virtual Reality.

Building your own basic home flight simulator cockpit is quite achievable with everyday materials:

  • Use an old computer chair for seating
  • Affix cardboard or wood panels around chair for the console
  • Mount real aircraft gauges and switches from aviation salvage sites and eBay
  • Use PVC piping and hardware for joystick and throttle controls
  • Connect an old monitor or TV as the instrument display

You can easily construct an immersive cockpit for under $50 in materials you likely have lying around already. I built my own simulator cockpit during college using old furniture and scrap materials. While it took some time and effort, the end result added so much to the realism!

And if you happen to already own a compatible VR headset for gaming, taking Flight Simulator into virtual reality is a breathtaking experience. Being immersed in the detailed cockpit and looking freely around the skies and terrain in VR takes it to another level.

So don‘t overlook the idea of building your own flight simulator setup at home. With DIY skills and recycled parts, you can construct an awesome aviation platform on the cheap!

As you can see, there are numerous creative ways to download, play and enhance Microsoft Flight Simulator without breaking your budget.

Options like Game Pass, Bing Rewards and Free Play Weekends make it possible to try Flight Simulator for just the cost of your time invested. And leveraging store sales, CD deals and EA Play provide avenues to obtain the full experience at a fraction of the price.

No matter your financial situation, it IS possible to enjoy Microsoft‘s amazing flight simulator technology for free or very cheap.

Now open up that throttle, enter runway heading, and take to the virtual skies! Your free aviation adventures await.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.