In aviation, a leg refers to the single direction of travel flown between two points. For an air charter itinerary, a leg can also include repositioning and fuel stops along the way.
The use of the word ‘leg’ can be quite general. It can be used to describe a number of things, including:
- Entire distance of a journey
- Distance between two points in a journey
- Portion of an air charter route
Most air charter operations are conducted using predefined airways. You can think of these routes like highways in the sky. Of course, it’s possible for an air charter to use multiple airways to reach the intended destination. It’s similar to how a driver would use a combination of highways and secondary roads to get from Point A to Point B. Each road could be considered a leg of the journey.
Different Ways to Define a Leg
However, in aviation, a leg is typically identified by a defined start point and end point. These points could include:
- NAVAIDS (navigational aids)
A leg begins the moment a charter plane takes off and once it reaches a NAVAID or some other defined point, that leg is complete and a new one begins. It continues in this manner until the air charter lands at its destination.
Of course, this has little meaning to the average charter passenger. To them, a leg refers to their total journey. If they’re flying from New York to Fort Lauderdale, the entire trip would be considered a leg.