What does empty legs mean?

If you are wondering what empty legs mean, keep reading to find out!  Flying private is on everyone’s bucket list, and for good reason. Aside from the luxuries of having a plane to yourself, flying private comes with an unparalleled level of convenience. You can fly on your own schedule, there aren’t any security lines or boarding groups that you have to wait on and you’re only flying with people you know.

If you’ve ever found yourself searching for the cheapest ways to indulge in the private jet experience, you’ve likely come across the terms “empty leg” or “must-move”. Empty leg flights are a great way to score highly discounted private jet charters. But they do come with a few caveats. Your travel plans need to be flexible and there are some important details you need to be aware of.

What is an empty leg?

As the term suggests, empty legs are flights that are scheduled to fly without any passengers abroad. These flights take place when an aircraft needs to reposition or to return for a charter. They are sometimes also referred to as “dead-heads”, “repositioning legs,” and “ferry flights.”

Empty leg flights can be as cheap as 75% of the standard charter price. Some private jet membership programs and email subscriptions offer members highly discounted or even complimentary access to these empty leg flights as they become available. Given how costly they are to operate, charter companies try to avoid having to fly empty leg flights in the first place. As a result, they only make them available the week of the flight or even the last minute. The routes are also limited and there isn’t a way of being able to predict their availability. This is why having a broker on call is a great way to help you find these great flights.

How the empty leg experience differs

Empty leg flights are similar to conventional charters in that you will still be able to arrive just minutes before your flight. However, empty legs have stricter schedules to follow, so there’s less flexibility with delaying a flight if you happen to be running late. Additionally, unless you’re booking by the seat, you’ll still get the entire jet to yourself on an empty leg. Also, unless specifically arranged, empty legs typically come with either no catering or a limited basic catering option. This generally includes light prepackaged snacks,  basic soft drinks, and basic alcoholic beverages. Like regular charters, most empty leg deals will list the type and model of aircraft.

How to book an empty leg flight

While not all charter companies market them, most offer empty leg specials. Additionally, there are brokers that advertise other operators’ empty legs, essentially acting as a middleman.

You can browse empty leg specials and must move flights online through companies like Vincent Jets.

As previously mentioned, empty legs are typically posted at the last minute and the routes are pretty random. However, with the recent surge of charters due to COVID-19, there’s been an increase in deals available, especially on popular routes like New York to South Florida.

Empty leg flight prices

Empty leg pricing varies by route, aircraft, and dates. To give you a rough idea of their cost, they are typically priced about 50%-75% lower than the standard charter costs. Take, for instance, a flight from New York to South Florida. A mid-size jet charter can run you upwards of $20,000 one-way. However, you can often find empty leg flights on this route for $9,000 to $12,000.00.

 Empty leg specials typically reflect the all-in rate, including fuel, landing fees, and other surcharges. Since you’re typically booking the entire jet, you are free to fill up all the seats and can bring your furry friends at no additional cost. The savings really add up if you’re traveling as a family. 

The $8,920 empty leg between New York and Florida as shown above would come out to only $1,115 per person if you fill all eight seats.

The empty leg between San Diego and Chicago would be about $1,000 per person and the empty leg between Cannes and Toulouse would be under 80 EUR per person.

 If you are going on vacation, visiting friends or family, or flying for a meeting with lots of cushion time beforehand, empty leg pricing allows you to fly private in comfort and luxury, at prices that are usually less than a first-class commercial plane ticket. 

 Our flight team is available 24/7 for your next charter, and bi-weekly must move & empty legs are available at www.vincentjets.com !