One of the many advantages of flying private is the ability to save money by booking an empty leg flight.
An empty leg flight refers to the return flight that pilots must make after dropping off the passengers of a one-way flight. There are typically many empty leg flights available for booking on any given day.
The advantage of booking an empty leg flight is that you can often book at a much cheaper price than a traditional private jet flight. But before you do, it’s important to understand the factors that could affect your flight.
Here are five questions you should ask before booking an empty leg flight.
1. Where is the flight coming from, and what time will it be at my departure airport?
Unlike a traditional private flight, an empty leg will likely be coming from a different primary location than your departure airport.
As such, your flight time will depend on the aircraft’s arrival to your departure airport, rather than be waiting for your arrival at the airport as usual.
2. If there is a schedule change, will my empty leg flight and departure time be honored?
If you buy a one-way flight, your flight time is set on your schedule. When you buy an empty leg, which is based on the original passenger’s flight schedule, the subsequent pricing and scheduling availability can remain pending up to the point of the empty leg departure.
3. If the primary flight passenger cancels their trip, what are my options?
Because your empty leg flight is based on the original passenger’s flight schedule, the subsequent pricing and scheduling availability can remain unknown until your departure.
If the original fight is cancelled, then the empty leg flight will no longer be available. In this instance, you may be able to still book a last-minute one-way flight. However, this flight may not be available at empty leg pricing.
4. Do I have a fixed-price guarantee on my empty leg flight?
Due to variables like weather, routing, ATC directives and delays, fixed pricing isn’t guaranteed on every flight. However, most private flights are executed with their quoted price — it’s rare that a private flight’s final cost will be raised due to ATC directives, thunderstorms, etc.
In the instance of any of these variables, a reputable operator or broker will work with you to find a solution that works best for your travel itinerary and budget.
5. With all the unknowns, how and why should I book an empty leg flight?
Although there are factors that can affect the scheduling of an empty leg flight, the main benefit of an empty leg flight is pricing flexibility.
If you need to get to a business meeting or other appointment on a strict schedule, an empty leg flight is probably not the best option for you.
But if you are going on vacation, visiting friends or family, or flying to a meeting with lots of cushion time beforehand, empty leg pricing allows you to fly private in comfort and luxury, at prices that can be less than a first-class commercial plane ticket.
If you’re looking to book your next vacation or business a trip and have time flexibility on your side, check availability and pricing for an empty leg flight >