What are Empty Leg Flights and How Do You Book One?

Private Flights

Have you ever heard the term empty leg flight? If you’ve ever flown on a private jet, the term might be familiar to you. Essentially, it is defined as the leg of a flight that a pilot must take after dropping off one client in order to pick up another, hence its name. Over the years, people have figured out that if they can book a private jet during its empty leg flight, they can do so at considerable savings. The jet has to make the trip anyway and considering the fact that it’s a private jet, a flight plan must be filed. Therefore, the leg becomes public knowledge once that plan is on file with the Federal Aviation Administration. As you might have guessed by now, the power of the internet makes it possible to track these empty leg flights and figure out how you can enjoy some time away from everything by booking a trip using a private jet, all without spending a fortune in the process. Still confused? That’s okay, it will all be explained in greater detail in the following paragraphs.

The Empty Leg Explained

When a person books a private jet, that jet may be departing from an airport that is considered its home base but it has to take the client to the destination that they have hired it to transport them to. For example, a person might book a private jet from New York City in order to fly to Los Angeles. If the private jet is based at an airport in New York City, they will take the client, or ferry, to Los Angeles, but then they must return to New York City. This return trip is an empty leg, sometimes referred to as a dead leg flight. The jet has to make the trip back in order to get to its home base. The same amount of jet fuel is required to get back as was required to get to Los Angeles in the first place. Moreover, the company that owns the jet and employs the pilot is still paying that individual for his or her time in order to fly the jet back. Therefore, it is often possible to book a flight on this empty leg in order to help the company that owns the jet reduce their overhead.

Breaking It Down

In short, the empty leg flight works like this. The private jet has to make the flight anyway and it’s going to cost money. The company that owns the jet wants to save as much money as possible. Therefore, allowing you to book a flight when they’re already making the trip reduces their costs somewhat and gives you an appreciable discount at the same time. Therefore, if you are so inclined to book an empty leg flight from Los Angeles to New York City, you could potentially get that flight for far less than the individual who paid for the initial trip. The caveat is that it is a one way trip, meaning that if you plan on getting back in the same manner that you arrived, you will have to find another empty leg flight that is heading back to Los Angeles. Of course, you can always book a commercial flight, but where’s the fun in that?

A Fraction Of The Cost

How much can you potentially save by booking the empty leg of a charter flight? Depending on the charter in question, you could potentially save more than half of what it would cost for a normal flight. In some cases, those savings even reach an astonishing 75%. Obviously, that is a considerable amount of money saved. Think about it this way. Imagine that you book a charter flight that costs $200. That same flight might only cost you $100 if you book the empty leg. If the company is really trying to save money, you might even get the flight for $50. This is obviously beneficial when it comes to saving money. The other benefit is that you have essentially booked a private jet when you’re the only one on it, meaning that you don’t have to deal with a crowd or jostling for the seat you want. All things considered, it’s definitely something that is worth thinking about.

Booking Your Flight

How do you actually go about booking an empty leg flight? It’s easier than you might think. First, you have to do some research regarding the top charter companies in your area. Private jets sometimes fly from one end of the country to the other, but it’s far more common that they fly on a regional basis. That means that they may not travel as far as most commercial airliners, for obvious reasons. They’re smaller, they don’t travel as quickly and they have to stop for fuel more often. Once you research the top charter companies in your area, as well as those that are located in the area you are interested in traveling to, you can start tracking their websites. Most of them will have a section on their website that notifies you when they have an empty leg flight that becomes available.

The reason they make these flights public knowledge is because they don’t want to lose money flying the plane empty. In many cases, they will cancel flight availability after one person makes a booking, meaning that you usually get the entire jet to yourself. If they are trying to minimize their costs by booking a few more people on the same flight, you will likely notice a seat-by-seat booking. That means that you will probably be sharing the aircraft with at least a few other individuals. This option may not work well for someone who has a clearly defined date that they want to fly. However, it does work quite well for those who can be more flexible with their travels. If you want to fly at a big discount and you have the time to spare, this might well be an adventure worth taking.

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