What is a private Jet Empty Leg?
Empty legs (also sometimes known as Empty Sectors or Dead Legs) arise every time a one way charter flight is booked. The aircraft will either need to fly out to collect passengers, or return back to its home airport after being chartered. These flights aren't cost effective for the operator as they do not make any profit if there are no passengers on board. Private jet hire is an incredibly bespoke service and tailored exactly to the client's needs, so with over 4 million potential flight routes in Europe alone, this can make finding a full price customer for that exact route and date very difficult . For this reason, operators will usually offer these flights at a heavily discounted rate to make utilising that leg more appealing.
HOw flexible are empty leg flights?
Because the jet has been hired by the original client, their needs determine the schedule of the aircraft; and if they decide to change their flight itinerary, the empty leg client may need to adapt their travel accordingly. As an empty leg customer, you may have some degree of choice in your departure time. For example, the aircraft may be repositioning the day before the original booked flight, so you could potentially specify a departure time within that window. Likewise, if a repositioning flight is taking place after the original booking, there may be some degree of flexibility as to when the return flight takes off.
If the original client decides to change their booking, the empty leg customer will need to be able to fit around this and possibly adjust their departure time - which is another reason why they are offered at a discounted rate as you must be able to be flexible. There is also the possibility that the client decides to cancel their chartered flight all together, in which case it is more than likely that the empty leg flight will also be cancelled, although you would then obviously receive a full refund. However, you should always consider an empty leg flight as subject to cancellation as we cannot guarantee that it will be confirmed. If your travel is necessary, we would always strongly advise having an alternative arrangement (such as a commercial airline ticket) as a back up in case the private jet flight does not proceed. This can happen for a number of reasons, as operators have the right to revoke an empty leg if their further schedule changes or serviceability issues arise within their fleet - meaning an aircraft needs to be re-purposed.
An empty leg doesn't always need to be leaving from or going to your destination, we have visibility of upcoming empty legs which may be suitable for your flight, even if a minor route change is required. Operators usually accommodate this as it is also helpful for them as this still offsets the cost of respositioning.
How much do empty legs cost?
These flights can be available for up to 75% less than the usual charter price, with the exact cost being determined by the aircraft type, route and operator. Prices may also be affected by seasons, as periods of high demand can incur higher costs. In some circumstances, these prices can be very similar per person to the cost of a premium seat on a commercial aircraft. To give you an idea, we have put together an example. This is based on an aircraft flying from Paris to London, one of our more popular routes.
paris le BOURGet - london luton | LEArjeT 75 | 8 PASSENGERS | £8400
This is the price of a full, confirmed charter - this gives you full control over arrival and departure times and has no chance of being cancelled or re-arranged by the operator.
Paris Le bourget - London Luton | LEArjeT 75 | 8 PASSENGERS | £2800
This is an empty leg flight for the same aircraft and route. As you can see, even on such a short flight you can save over £5500. Using this option, the cost per head would work out at £350 - approximately the same as a business class ticket for a scheduled commercial airline. In addition, using a private jet you avoid the 3 hour airport wait - enabling you to arrive just 15 minutes prior to departure.
paris le BOURGet - london luton | citation mustang | 4 PASSENGERS | £3500
For purpose of comparison, we have added the approximate cost of hiring a smaller private jet for the same route, but half the number of passengers. This further illustrates just how much you could save when using an empty leg, as it is over double the cost per head compared to the empty leg flight. That being said, £875 per passenger on a private jet is also a realistic price for the time conscious business, due to the fact that a private jet runs to your schedule, rather than the other way around. You can read our post outlining the benefits of private jet hire for business here.
Can I Book a return journey?
As previously mentioned, across Europe alone there are millions of different aircraft routes, so the chances of finding two empty leg flights that match your journey needs are slim. Since empty legs are almost always one way, you would need to make separate arrangements for the other part of your trip. We are able to organise a private jet charter for your return journey, or some customers choose to book a commercial airline seat for their flight in the other direction.
How can I find out which empty leg flights are available?
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Whatever your reason for flying , we would love to help you organise your trip. After all, life is about adventure so why stay grounded?
Get in touch with one of our private jet charter experts today and let us tailor a schedule to suit you +44(0) 203 880 9005