America loves luxury, especially when we fly. Charter airlines maximize on this preference by providing incredibly intimate flying solutions giving passengers access to the ultimate in luxury, support, service, and comfort, but not everyone can afford to own or charter an entire jet just for a single experience.
Unfortunately, that leaves many flyers assuming their only option is to resort to first class commercial flights instead. While this stepped-up experience is luxurious, it is often also exorbitantly expensive.
If you’re a flyer who’s seeking something a little bit more luxurious and private, we have excellent news: empty leg flights make it possible to enjoy the best of both worlds. Today, we’ll reveal 10 fantastic reasons to step into luxury with empty leg flights.
First Things First: What ARE Empty Leg Flights?
“Empty leg” is an aviation term used to identify flights without any human or cargo passengers. In the realm of charter flights, it usually refers to returning flights coming back from officially chartered destinations.
Most expert resources estimate the cost to charter an airplane at around $1500 to $3,000 per flying hour; fly out the United States or internationally and that rate could range even higher due to customs and border complexities.
If you want specialized services, like red eye flights or caviar on toast while you fly, prices can quickly add up. The sum total may not seem like much to a billionaire, but it can sometimes amount to a pretty penny even for millionaires and business flyers.
Because empty leg flights have no passengers scheduled in, charter airlines offer steep discounts to fill up the seats. The reason for this move is simple; it allows them to generate income from the flight when it would otherwise cause them to lose money.
That’s exactly what leads us into our first major reason to fly empty leg!
10: Better Prices for Charter Flights
Above all else, the very best reason to fly empty leg is that you’ll score incredible prices on what would normally be exceptionally expensive charter flights. When charter airlines discount flight prices on return or empty leg flights, the discounts can be fairly steep (sometimes as much as 80 or 90 percent of the typical cost). That’s a fantastic way for businesses and private citizens to save money while still reaping all of the benefits associated with private charter flying.
One article in the UK-owned paper The Guardian highlighted an example where an airline discounted an empty-leg flight to £250 ($329 USD) from an incredible £13,350 ($17,574.81 USD); that’s a savings of approximately £13,100.
9: Incredible Savings on Group Flights
Steep savings on charter flights mean steeper savings for groups that charter together. If a charter airline discounts flights by 80 percent, the discount is usually for the entire flight itself. Groups that charter an empty leg flight together may see discounts so steep that it effectively makes flying cheaper than it would be on commercial airlines.
For vacationers and families, paying for a discounted charter just makes sense. You can either split the cost of the charter evenly or have one person cover the entire flight. Using the example above ($329 USD), four friends heading out for spring break could split the cost and pay around $83 each; that’s a rate you won’t see anywhere else.
The one caveat is that the more seats a plane has, the more expensive it likely is to charter. Discounts may still be steep, but whether or not you appreciate the final price depends on your budget and your needs.
8. Spend Less Time in the Air
Charter flights work similarly to express flights; they won’t land before your destination unless they have a very specific reason (e.g. refueling, maintenance, reloading water, picking up passengers). What that means for you, the passenger, is that you get to your destination in as little time as possible.
For business people and vacationers traveling over very short or very long distances, this benefit can reduce flying time significantly (sometimes by multiple hours). You’ll spend more time at your destination or on vacation, and less time in airports or in the air.
7. No Long Queues
Flying internationally? You will still cross customs and interact with security agents before you can legally enter most other countries. Instead of waiting in long lines with the potential for embarrassing x-ray machine scans, most airports have a separate area for screening private charter flyers instead.
Exactly how long you spend in the queue depends on how many of you are flying, not how many flyers the airport has waiting for flights at any given time. Even if you’re flying with a group, it should still take less time to clear security than if you were standing in regular lines. You’ll enjoy a more relaxed security clearance process with less hassle and stress.
6. Cushy, Luxurious Waiting Experiences
Most major airports throughout the world have private waiting areas for flyers utilizing private charter flights. In the case of airports like LAX, those waiting areas are as cushy as the private charter jet experience itself.
LAX’s brand-new private lounge is an excellent example; it’s so wonderfully luxurious even Vanity Fair writes about it as if it was its own unique experience. Forbes Magazine also wrote at length about LAX’s private terminal. In both instances, the airport takes care of your luggage makes the pre-flying experience as laid-back and stress-free as it can possibly be.
5. Skip the Crowds
When you fly on empty leg flights, you are effectively flying with the same process as an expensive charter flight. With access to your own private waiting area, a private lounge, private security clearance, and in some cases, limo service across the tarmac to your waiting plane, you’ll skip what most flyers hate the most: crowds. This is especially noticeable on holidays and during busy tourist months when international airports become extremely congested.
4. No Other Passengers
It often seems as if there’s always a baby crying, siblings bickering, someone talking on the telephone loudly beside you, or maybe even someone fighting you for the armrest when you take commercial flights.
With an empty leg charter, there’s no other passengers to disturb you unless you invite them to take the flight with you in the first place. On long, overnight flights, this fact could be the difference between getting a good night’s rest and constant disturbance.
3. Perfect for Catching Up On Business
Flying an empty leg with a group of business colleagues? The peace and quiet while in the air gives all of you ample time to continue working. Spend your flying hours how you want to spend them — having a meeting, decompressing, snacking, sleeping, meditating — rather than simply scheduling out that block of time or attempting to work in a cramped, uncomfortable seat.
Don’t forget that most charter flights also have free Wi-Fi, telephone access, and other amenities. When you absolutely need to finish off that hot deal before you land, you won’t even need to consider how you’ll make it happen.
2. Increased Comfort
Comfort is one of the very best reasons to fly empty leg flights rather than resorting to a commercial flight. Charter jets of any size typically have limited seating, plenty of legroom, the ability to partially or fully recline your seat, larger washrooms, space to walk around while in the air, and sometimes, even full-service shower or sauna rooms depending on the plane.
If you’re a flyer who often disembarks feeling stiff, tired, and sore from your flight, flying empty leg will ensure that you feel rested, relaxed, and ready to take on whatever awaits you at your destination.
1. Live (and Fly) Like Royalty!
The last and best reason to fly empty leg: you deserve it! Flying charter is intensely luxurious. From the moment you arrive at the airport, your charter cares for you. They’ll take your luggage, ensure you know when and where to board your flight, confirm that you’re comfortable, and in some cases, even address special requests.
Once you’re in flight, it’s all about you. Enjoy champagne and gourmet meals as you explore the cabin, sneak in a nap, watch a movie, or just enjoy the comfortable, cozy surroundings. Have pets and/or kids? Most charter flight companies have amenities on board to keep them cozy in the lap of luxury, too.
As a charter flyer, you understand the difference unparalleled service and comfort can make when you travel. Premium charter flights afford you the ability to fly privately, comfortably, and quickly with less stress and more personal enjoyment. Enjoy the finer things in life as you adventure around the world when you book your next charter flight.