The terminology might stir up all kinds of weird and wonderful images in your mind, but empty-leg flights refer to airplanes that are obliged to fly without passengers. These days, the term goes hand-in-hand with cheap last-minute flights.
In fact, empty-leg flights can be as much as 75% cheaper than standard flights, with some private jet membership programs offering members the first choice of seats. Some can even hop on a flight for free! If you’re a luxury jet setter who’s looking for ways to get around cheaper, here’s your guide to empty-leg flights and what to look out for.
How do empty-leg flights come about?
There are various reasons why an empty flight might occur. The first possible reason is that someone might have chartered a private flight one way and the return journey becomes available for other people to book.
Second, the airplane might have had to be repositioned to service a passenger in a different location. Finally, the airplane might be returning from other business that isn’t related to servicing passengers, be that a trade show or maintenance work.
These are the main reasons that empty-leg flights are so last minute; the circumstances that lead to their availability are quite unpredictable.
What to be aware of when booking an empty-leg flight
While empty-leg flights offer a very affordable way to travel with countless luxurious trappings, they also come with their fair share of disadvantages. The biggest one has to be their unpredictability, meaning that you can’t plan, and you also have to be ready within short notice to catch your flight.
Another thing you will need to take into consideration is that they come with exact departure airports (many of which aren’t commercial), very specific destinations, and timings that might not be convenient for you. Needless to say, if you need to be somewhere at a specific time, then relying on an empty-leg flight is inadvisable. Such flights are regularly subject to changes and last-minute cancellations.
Why is an empty-leg flight a great option?
On the plus side, empty-leg flights come with many advantages and opportunities. Passengers can enjoy luxury travel without the hefty price tag; most of these flights aren’t much more expensive than regular flights. You might even be the first passengers ever to try out a new airplane model before they make it into commercial flights.
What’s more, due to their specific destinations, you have the chance to discover places that very few have ever been. Just be prepared for your travel bucket list to get 5 times bigger! And if you can be flexible with your departure and arrival times, then an empty-leg flight might be just the ticket.
Empty-leg flights, with their unique combination of luxury and cost-effectiveness, present an enticing option for seasoned travelers. While the unpredictability might seem daunting, the advantages can outweigh the drawbacks for the adaptable, opportunistic traveler. The promise of saving significantly on travel costs, coupled with the appeal of traversing less common routes, can transform an empty-leg flight from a necessity of airline logistics into an opportunity for an unforgettable journey. By understanding the nature of these flights, one can turn unpredictability into an advantage, embarking on last-minute adventures to new and exotic locales.”