If you are looking for the most cost effective way to fly private, you are probably aware of a private jet empty leg.
Flying private is a dream of many but the finances required to fly private are out of reach for many. This is where a private jet empty leg comes in to it.
Here we have taken the most common questions surrounds a private jet empty leg and answered them all. We then go on to detail when, where and how you can find the best empty leg flights.
What is a Private Jet Empty Leg?
Empty legs are flights that are deliberately scheduled to fly without any passengers.
These flights come about when an aircraft needs to be re-positioned for another charter flight or is returning to its home base. Therefore, empty leg fights feature a pre-determined aircraft type, departure date, time and destination.
Generally speaking the details of an empty leg flight will not be available until a few days before it is due to depart. This is due to the fact that private jet flights are often booked with short notice.
For example, imagine a customer has booked to fly from London to Paris. The customer is then staying in Paris for one week. The aircraft that flew the customer there will not remain on the ground in Paris doing nothing. That would be a significant waste of resources. After all, aircraft are only earning when they are in the air. Then imagine that there is another customer looking to fly from Geneva to Oslo. The same aircraft that has landed in Paris now needs to get to Geneva to pick up the next customer. The flight from Paris to Geneva would be the empty leg. The aircraft is making this flight no matter what. Therefore, operators are better selling this flight at a discounted rate than flying it with no passengers.
Why Are Empty Legs Discounted?
Empty legs are sold at discounted prices due to the compromises that need to be made by the customer.
When booking a regular charter flight the customer will have a choice of aircraft type, departure dates, time of departure, origin and destination.
However, when empty legs have these elements of the flight already determined. A certain type of aircraft needs to go to a certain destination and be there at a certain time.
Since the aircraft is already making this journey the operator may as well sell the empty leg to a customer. However, due to the compromises it would be unreasonable to expect a customer to pay full price for the flight. Therefore, operators need to offer the flight at a discount to attract customers to the flight.
What is the Cost of a Private Jet Empty Leg?
A private jet empty leg flight can be discounted up to 75% on the usual charter price. The exact price depends heavily on the route and the operator.
If the operator hasn’t been able to sell the flight then they are likely to offer heavy discounts at the last minute.
Additional factors affecting the cost of an empty leg flight include the destination and length of flight. The type of aircraft and number of passengers traveling will also impact the price.
How is an Empty Leg Different to a Regular Charter?
The crucial difference between an empty leg and standard charter is the level of flexibility.
When you book a regular charter the aircraft is flexible around you. It works to your schedule.
An empty leg operates in the opposite way. You have to be flexible around the aircraft. It is much more like flying on a commercial flight. The aircraft will be taking off at a specific time, with or without you.
In terms of experience onboard there should be no difference compared with a regular charter. You will be on a private jet served by professional crews. You can still arrive just minutes before departure. The service is the same, you just have to adapt to the schedule more than a regular charter.
When is an Empty Leg the Right Option?An empty leg starts to make a lot of sense when you can be flexible and there is a significant discount.
If you have to rely on being at a certain place and at a certain time, 99% of the time an empty leg will not be the right choice.
However, if your plans are flexible then an empty leg might be the right choice for you. You also get the added benefit of flying private for a steeply discounted price.
Where Can I Fly on an Empty Leg?
Conceivably, you can fly anywhere on an empty leg flight.
However, remember that you have to be flexible. You can’t contact a broker or operator requesting an empty leg with specific details.
Although depending on the repositioning of aircraft you can find some great city pairings. Keep in mind, however, that you will be unlikely to find long distance empty legs. This is because operators will want to find the closest aircraft to the target destination. The longer the flight the increased cost to the operator.
Having said that, empty legs flight happen in every corner of the globe. For example, you can find flights from Nice to Washington, London to Barbados or Teterboro to Miami.
What Aircraft Can I Fly on a Private Jet Empty Leg?
Again, much like with empty leg destinations, you can have the opportunity to fly on any aircraft, in theory. But once again, you can’t mix and match aircraft and routes.
However, all aircraft need to be re-positioned. This means that you can fly Gulfstream’s, Cessna’s, Learjet’s and more.
If you are more interested in the aircraft than the destination then you can search empty legs based on aircraft type.
How Do I Book an Empty Leg?
Most charter brokers and operators offer private jet empty leg deals. While it may not be obvious at first glance, a quick internet search can bring up a variety of deals.
Keep in mind that empty legs are often advertised at the last minute so be sure to stay on top of checking. Additionally, the routes and aircraft available can be relatively unexpected.