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What Are Private Jet Empty Legs?

With last-minute journeys at a significantly reduced price, empty leg flights are a popular option for flying private.

By Kim Ayling |  November 12 2020


empty leg private jet on runway
©Shutterstock

Also known as an empty sector, a private jet empty leg is the return section of a chartered aircraft’s journey or the journey to the next pick-up location. As the name suggests, during the empty leg the jet has no passengers on board, just the crew.

As you can imagine, flying an empty aircraft is not financially viable, nor environmentally sustainable – especially on long haul flights. To mitigate this issue, private jet charter companies advertise these empty leg journeys last-minute, allowing customers in the area to make use of an aircraft that would otherwise be flying across the world completely empty.

Although many empty leg journeys are secured in the days and even hours leading up to take off, it is possible to book up to two weeks in advance, providing a little more security to your travels. Thanks to modern technology, more and more companies are able to offer members live information on empty legs near them, with services such as FlyBLACK solely advertising empty leg flights to their members via their industry-leading digital platform.

How much do private jet empty legs cost?

Aside from convenience for emergency journeys, the primary passenger benefit of private jet empty legs is cost. These journeys are often sold with a saving of up to 75% when compared to a standard jet charter, with some flights even dropping to the price of a commercial journey.

empty leg private jet at sunrise

Aside from convenience for emergency journeys, the primary passenger benefit of private jet empty legs is cost / ©Shutterstock

Although securing a reasonably priced, last-minute private jet journey is of huge benefit to many flyers, you should note that there a few disadvantages to private jet empty legs.

Passengers usually find that the unpredictable nature of empty legs is the biggest drawback, with schedules subject to change, delay or even cancellation based on the original flyers’ plans. If you book on to an empty leg flight, be prepared to alter your schedule, or even be left without a flight.

There is also very limited flexibility on an empty leg flight. Unlike standard private jet charter, being late for take off is not an option, nor do you have any choice on where the plane takes off from, or where it lands; instead of the flight being on your terms, you are on its.

Ultimately, if you have a flexible schedule, need to secure a flight last-minute, or even just like the excitement of exploring a new part of the world, an empty leg journey is likely to be the most viable choice for private jet transportation. However, if you need a degree of reliability, have a specific destination in mind, or need to book in advance, a standard charter will be your best option.

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