Not all ships and vehicles are available for sale online, for some you will have to wait to access them and for others it may be more complicated. Keep in mind that most of these ships are, or will be, available in game and that their online acquisition is by no means an obligation even if we will only talk about online acquisition here.
The subscription can be an opportunity to access a Fly Ready ship that is not permanently available for sale, it allows you to access ship of the month, this ship is selected among the Fly Ready ships and is made available to subscribers, it is then put on sale the following month in standalone and upgrade, accompanied by a 12 months insurance and three flairs.
Every year, at the end of November, CIG organises the Intergalatic Aerospace Expo (IAE) accompanied by the Anniversary Sale. During this period, all the ships are then available for sale online, in standalone and upgrade, and it is generally possible to try them in game if they are Fly Ready.
Invictus Launch Week
In 2020 we saw the arrival of the Invictus Lanch Week, an event that is close to an anniversary sale during which many ships are put up for sale. To date it is still impossible to say if this event will become a recurring one.
Help Desk Request
You can try to contact support to obtain a ship, or an upgrade to a ship that is not available for sale, this can work as long as it remains a ship that is not subject to various limitations such as those mentioned below.
Promotions and Special Editions
Some ships were only acquired as part of a special promotion, such as the Sabre Raven that was included in an SSD package, or the Omega Mustang that accompanied an AMD offer. Now that these offers are over, your only chance to get such this ships will be through the Grey Market (eBay, reddit, etc.).
Special edition ships can only be obtained during an event and/or after performing a particular act to unlock it. Among the special editions, the best known are the Caterpillar Pirate Edition and the Gladius Pirate Edition, which can only be obtained in Standalone version and require completion of the Arena Commander Pirate Swarm in multiplayer to unlock them.
The Esperia Vanduul Glaive can only be acquired if you complete the Arena Commander Vanduul Swarm. Moreover, this ship is offered in limited quantity, which means that even unlocking, its acquisition is not possible will is stock is zero. Note that the Glaive can also be obtained as a reward for referral if you manage to acquire 200 recruits.
In the same way, the Apollo Medivac which requires to be unlocked to have the possibility to acquire it online when it is available. To do so, you need to obtain the Guardian Angel badge which is acquired by totaling 100,000 points in the mini-game on the Apollo to the Rescue page.
The Cutlass Black, Caterpillar, Hammerhead and Reclaimer Best in Show Editions are no longer available for sale. These ships could only be obtained during the last 4 days of the Intergalatic Aerospace Expo of 2949. If you wish to obtain one, you will have to go through the Grey Market and find a player willing to sell or gift you an upgrade to one of these four Best in Show edition ships.
Ships like the Phoenix Emerald Constellation or the F7C-M Super Hornet Hearthseeker can only be obtained on specific dates, such as St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day.
In the following table, some ships will be marked "++", this implies that the ship will be in limited stock. It is therefore preferable to be present in the first few minutes because they leave very quickly.
Upgrade not available
Some ships are only available as standalone, the upgrade (CCU) is unavailable for these. This mainly concerns capital ship and/or limited quantity sale such as the Idris M and P, the Javelin, the Scythe, the 890 Jump, the Pioneer, the Constellations Phoenix and Phoenix Emerald, the Kraken and Kraken Privateer.
Promotional, Concierge and Referral Awards
There are ships that can only be obtained under certain conditions.
For example the Dragonfly Startkitten Pink was an exclusive reward of the sponsorship system, it is no longer accessible. The Ballista Snowblind needed to be Concierge to be acquired when it was first offered for sale, not sure if it will be offered again. F8 Lightning are specific to Squadron 42 and will never be offered for sale online, except for Concierges who have contributed significantly to the game's participatory financing and receive an F8C as a reward.
I don't usually recommend using the Grey Market to acquire a ship, one of the reasons being that it works on trust and the scams are easy. Still, sometimes the Grey Market is the only way to get a ship. If you buy a ship on the Grey Market, tell yourself that it will be at your own risk, make sure the seller is trustworthy (excellent rating on the sales network), take the time to inquire if possible and make sure it's not easier to buy the ship through official website (Anniversary sale, for example).