The Upside and Downside of Empty-Leg Flights..how to save and what to look out for....
What Exactly Is An Empty Leg..
The primary difference between commercial and private flights is that commercial passenger aircraft fly on set routes and at set times, generally flying back and forth between two points, collecting and dropping off passengers accordingly. Private aircraft operate differently; as there is no set schedule the aircraft is contracted to fly from one airport (usually its home base) to another, however it needs to return to its home base and this return flight is known as the empty leg or empty sector. Additionally, the aircraft may be picking up passengers at an airport that is not it’s home base, this flight is known as a repositioning flight and both the empty leg and the repositioning flight provide the opportunity to fly at steeply discounted rates.
As private jet travel is an on-demand or bespoke travel solution and in many instances last minute, the operators are unlikely to find a customer to fill the repositioning or empty leg portions of the aircrafts itinerary in advance, they are therefore happy to offer the flight at a steeply discounted rate in order to recover a portion of their costs. The upside is that these flights are usually offered at 50% to 75% discounts and consequently can be very cost-effective. In some instances there is also the opportunity to negotiate additional discounts or add-on benefits such as wi-fi and catering. Additionally, as private jet travel is becoming so much more popular, there are significantly more of these empty leg flights becoming available to the flexible buyer.
If you can be flexible with dates and times this will very much help with securing a discounted aircraft however the downside is that they are usually booked within a few days of departure so not beneficial to a client that has a set schedule. Most importantly to know is that the empty leg is also conditional upon the primary flight actually flying; if the primary passenger cancels then the empty leg will not fly and the contract is cancelled. They are also usually just a one-way option so arrangements will need to be made for the rest of your itinerary.
The Best Solution...
Empty Legs can be a fantastic way to fly at close to commercial airline prices and can be curated to become part of an overall itinerary connecting with long distance commercial flights. It is becoming a popular solution to fly long sectors of a trip commercially and connect with private jet flights for the shorter legs. As an example, a business traveller may fly commercial from London to New York but then fly privately to Washington, Atlanta, Dallas and back in order to save time and effort transiting through multiple commercial hubs. With access to thousands of aircraft globally, the best solution is to let us know your ideal route and approximate dates and let us keep an eye on the market for you. Simply email the Team at firstname.lastname@example.org your preferences and we’ll try to match your itinerary to the most cost-effective solution....the best part is there is no cost to register!