Empty leg flights
Most air charter flights are booked as one-way missions, meaning the aircraft only carries passengers for one leg of the journey. Once the mission is complete, the aircraft typically either returns to its base, or repositions to another location to collect the next group of charter clients. This creates what is referred to in our industry as empty leg charter flights. They can happen for several reasons:
- Client isn’t returning to the point of origin
- It’s too costly for aircraft and crew to wait for return leg
- Operator needs the charter plane elsewhere
- Aircraft is returning from factory servicing
As you can guess, flying empty costs considerable money in terms of crew time, fuel and other resources. To recoup these expenses, air carriers offer empty leg charter flights (also known as deadhead flights) often at significantly discounted rates.
Booking Empty Leg Flights
Experienced travellers will often keep an eye out for these last minute private jet deals as they represent significant cost savings. In other words, you get to fly a private jet for cheap compared to the standard rate. However, in order to make it work, it requires some flexibility on the client’s part because the scheduled flight might not align perfectly with your itinerary.
For instance, you might have to:
- Fly out of an airport that’s further away from your current location
- Ride in a charter plane that doesn’t exactly match your travel preferences
- Depart at a less than optimal time
These are fairly minor inconveniences, but given tradeoff, they are some of the cheapest private jet charter deals you’re likely to find.