4

In conversation, I just said:

Никогда бы не подумал, что у принцев могут быть проблемы, как у обычных людей.

I'm wondering how "как у простых людей" would have compared to "как у обычных людей" -- all the more so since in the following instance, on the other hand, I chose to use "простой".

Вот бы и мне туда! Неужели когда-нибудь простые люди тоже смогут летать на Луну?

4

We've always had the opposition знать, аристократия - простолюдины, простонародье.

Обычные люди means common people, just any people as theu usually are. You can oppose a royal family member, a celebrity, or just an outstanding (for you) person you know to them. It would mean some peculiarity of this person.

Простые люди means people without any titles or social advantages as opposed to aristocracy and authorities. We can use народ here. Historically they were peasants, who constituted the vast majority of the population.

Простые смертные means all the people who can die, and when we use this, we humorously stress the chasm between the divinity of the noble or the authorities and common people.

2

You'll be 100% understandable and this barely can count as misuse however there are two alternatives that will sound more natural in this context:

Неужели когда нибудь [даже] самые обычные люди тоже смогут летать на Луну.

and

Неужели когда нибудь [даже] простые смертные [люди] тоже смогут летать на Луну.

Простые смертные (mere mortals) is exactly the phrase which is used to separate "regular" people from rich, famous etc. This phrase initially was used in a religious context - (it's supposed that we all are mere mortal), then - quite often ironically - began to be used in it's modern meaning.

0

The adjective обычные fits in both sentences.

Обычные is a more neutral term - regular, average, everyday

Простые may have a connotation of value judgement - simple, unsophisticated, hoi polloi and be a lower register synonym of обычные

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