A one-way is an air charter for a particular leg of an existing air charter itinerary. Sometimes known as empty leg flights (or deadhead flights), one-ways can be purchased at discounted prices because that leg of the flight would otherwise be empty.
For example, let’s say a group of executives flies on a charter King Air 200 turboprop from Seattle to San Francisco, but doesn’t require the return leg. Rather than return the aircraft back to its FBO empty, the charter operator could sell it as an empty leg flight to recoup some of the costs, such as:
- Crew wages
- Airport fees
- Aircraft maintenance
Which Leg Is the One-way?
It’s important to note that the individual or group that schedules the original one-way flight will pay more than the group that takes advantage of the empty leg return. That’s because the former benefits from having more control over the mission parameters. They can choose:
- When the flight will depart
- Which airports they use
- Type of aircraft for the itinerary
On the other hand, parties flying on empty leg flights will need to be a little more flexible with their schedule.
Additionally, some charter operators offer something known as one-way, or point-to-point pricing. These vendors allow their fleets to float in the hopes that air charter demand is sufficient to keep them busy. It’s similar to how some taxi companies offer scheduled pickups, while others are more willing to pick passengers on the fly.
In commercial aviation, a one-way trip simply refers to a passenger travelling in one direction, as opposed to one who flies on a round-trip.