Empty leg flights – What are they and how to book

words Al Woods

Empty leg flights

Dead head – this is what they call what is also known as empty leg flights. This refers to chartered jet planes that sent off passengers to another location and will not have any passengers on-board on its way back to its origin, or a chartered plane is booked to pick up passengers from a specific location and bring them to another destination and go to another location for another booked pick up of passenger. It can happen that only the pilot and flight crew are on board.

Simply put, it is a return portion of a booked one-way chartered flight. Since the flight is booked, they market it for a specific time and date and even for a cheaper price to cover some of the operating costs. According to experts from BitluxTravel, discounts on these private empty leg flights usually range from 25% up to 75% of the normal charter flight. Sometimes they can cost the same as commercial flights but they are willing to negotiate rather than having a flight unsold.

Before you book an empty leg flight you must know the following.

Where is the chartered flight coming from and what time will it arrive at your airport departure

An empty leg will surely come from a different primary location from your departure airport. So your flight time will depend on this. 

For any change in schedule, will my empty leg flight departure time be honored?

For a one-way flight, your flight time is set based on your schedule. When you book for an empty leg flight, the departure time will still depend on the original passenger’s flight schedule.

Empty leg flights tips

If the primary passenger cancels the trip, will my empty leg flight booking be cancelled?

Since the empty leg flight depends on the original passenger’s flight schedule, your departure schedule will definitely be based on this. However, if the original passenger cancels, you can still opt to avail of a one-way flight booking, but the cost will not be as cheap as that of an empty leg booking rate.

Is there a fixed-price guarantee for my empty leg flight?

Due to uncontrolled factors, fixed pricing is not guaranteed for an empty leg flight. However, in the instance that this happens, an operator will fix the matter with you and arrange what is best for your travel.

How and why should I book an empty leg flight?

One of the main benefits of booking an empty leg flight is price flexibility. If you plan to travel for a vacation, this is the best option for you since the price will be cheaper than a first-class commercial plane. However, if you need a flight to attend a business meeting or appointment with a strict time schedule, an empty leg flight is not advisable.

Flying in private eliminates the stress and time-consuming factors when you ride a regular commercial flight. Flexibility and the value of a luxury is a key component when availing of an empty leg flight. There is also uninterrupted privacy in the jet’s private cabin where you can also enjoy a wide array of premium food and beverages. Booking for an empty leg is also easy. You can check out chartered jet web sites and connect through their operators so they can assist you with the prices and the schedules available. 


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