What Is an Empty Leg Charter Flight? (And How to Book One)
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What is an empty leg charter flight? Make sure you keep reading below to learn more about this type of flight and how to book one.
Have you ever wanted to fly on a private jet? Or are you looking to cut down your private aviation budget? If so, then empty legs flight could be the answer that you need.
Empty leg flights have all the ease and luxury of a private jet but without the cost. Below, we tell you everything you need to know about the empty leg charter flight and how you can book them.
What Is an Empty Leg Charter Flight?
When private charter flights make a trip, they have to return to the airport from which they came. This is after they have dropped off the clients who requested the flight. Very often, they return without any passengers.
An empty leg flight is a discount trip on a private charter, as it returns to its base of operations. As this was not the primary booked flight, it is available for a reduced cost. It may also occur when aircraft need to reposition.
What Makes It Different?
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Empty leg charter has many of the similarities that you would find in a standard charter. One of these is the ability to skip standard check-in and communal waiting areas. You can turn up at the airport and be on the jet in a matter of minutes.
Another of the major benefits is that very often, you will have the jet to yourself. Unless you have booked by the seat, in which case other people may be on the charter with you.
Some of the drawbacks are that these flights are on strict schedules. You may not have the option to delay if you need more time. They also operate on last-minute schedules, so you may not be notified until very close to the flight time itself.
What Are the Benefits of Empty Leg Flights?
One of the major benefits is that empty leg flights are often not that dissimilar in price to a standard flight, particularly if you fly business or first class. As they often operate on an all-in price instead of a by the seat cost, if you share a jet with friends or colleagues it can end up being almost the same.
They also have an element of spontaneity about them. If you have free time and are not sure where to go on vacation, but definitely want the luxury of a private charter then they are a great option. See where they are flying and pack a bag for a great trip.
Even if you need to go at a designated time slot, you can contact a company to be notified when a flight becomes available. Alternatively, if you are flexible about the time you return from a trip you could call the local charter companies to see if they have any flights in the coming days.
How Do I Book an Empty Leg Flight?
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Most private charter companies will offer empty leg flights, however, some may not market them to customers. Others may hand the management of them to brokers, who could operate in person or online. However, you will always get the best deals by booking direct.
Call some of the private charter companies at your local airports. Ask them to notify you of any empty leg flights, particularly to places you may visit often or would like to visit. They can then email or call you when flights become available.
Another method is to visit an online broker. Many of them let you set up email alerts, notifying you when empty leg flights become available. If you have notifications sent to your mobile device, this means you can respond as quickly as possible.
Empty Leg Pricing
The price of empty leg flights will vary depending upon the aircraft, route, and dates it is flying. However, you can expect to get a sizable discount on the price of a standard charter. Flights can be domestic or international.
The price will typically include an all-in rate. This will include fuel, surcharges, and landing fees. They also do not typically ask for payment per seat, so if the craft has room for 7 passengers, then you can take another 6 people with you and split the cost.
Depending upon the company, there may also be some room to negotiate the flight and its prices. Doing this, you could end up with a fairly large discount.
If you are a member of a private jet program, you should check to see if they offer free empty leg flights. Many of them do this as an incentive, some of which let you book unlimited numbers of flights within a 24 hour period.
If the high membership fees of these schemes are not applicable to your current budget, then discount schemes are available for a fraction of the cost. They often give you access to special discounted empty leg flights. These schemes typically begin at around $3000 per year.
Start Looking Today
With an empty leg charter flight, the key is to let companies and airlines know your interest. That way, you can be contacted by phone or email as soon as a flight becomes available.
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