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Empty legs are increasing in popularity – along with private flights in general. An empty leg is simply a flight sector that an aircraft needs to make empty as part of other confirmed bookings. By offering these for sale, operators can access additional revenue, and passengers can get a bargain.


Saving money with empty legs

Private flights can be expensive. Users need to consider the overall cost, time-saving and convenience offered, but they are still likely to be much more expensive than commercial options.

There are ways to save money when flying privately, though. One popular method is to use empty legs. This is when a private flight has already been chartered for a particular date and route. The aircraft may have to return empty or fly out to the start point empty. The operator can sell these flights at a discount to try and generate additional revenue from an otherwise empty aircraft. Empty legs may also include other aircraft movements, such as repositioning flights or maintenance flights.

Many operators quote savings of up to 75% when booking empty legs. Some companies will advertise prices but can be open to negotiation. You will generally have more scope to negotiate than you would with a full private charter – the aircraft is going to fly in any case!

Flexibility in plans is important when looking at empty legs. Operators may have little flexibility in what they can offer, as the aircraft has fixed commitments. If you have options, though, in timing, destination or size of aircraft used, then you can make some great savings.

Companies offering empty legs

As the popularity of buying empty legs has increased, more companies have started to sell them. Operators may offer empty legs themselves, but there are obvious advantages in using an agency with access to multiple operators flights. To save money with empty legs, you want to be as flexible as possible in time, destination and aircraft – and this will be improved with access to more flights.

Many charter companies and brokers have access to empty legs, and if you have a regular broker, they can likely assist with this. Many companies now offer a live and searchable database of available empty legs. This opens up the booking of these to markets outside normal private aircraft use – exciting for both operators and passengers. You can simply search flights and book online, much as you would using Google Flights or Expedia for commercial scheduled flights.

Some of the leading agencies include:


Jettly is one of the largest charter companies. It claims access to over 20,000 aircraft worldwide and usually has an extensive list of current empty legs available. However, new users will need to register or contact the company to see prices.

Air Partner Group:

They offer an extensive set of flights, including many transatlantic options with larger jets. The website lists available routes, dates and aircraft but unfortunately not prices. You need to contact the company to discuss prices.


Victor is a US and Europe based agency offering private charters and empty legs. The empty leg search engine shows routes, dates, aircraft and starting prices.


VistaJet is not a broker, but it offers empty legs on its own fleet of over 80 aircraft. These are regularly offered across Europe, the US and Asia. You can also sign up for notifications as legs become available.


XO is another charter agency operating in the US and Europe. As well as normal charter, including empty legs, it offers the unusual option of booking by the seat rather than hiring a whole aircraft. This is an interesting way to access private flying at an even lower cost.

What do empty legs offer?

An empty leg private charter will normally offer the same private jet flying experience as a regular flight charter, just with less flexibility. Onboard service will depend on the operator and may be limited if booking last minute. You will get to use FBO services when departing and arriving.

Users need to stay aware of the limits in flexibility, though. These are not just relevant when searching and booking empty legs based on fixed schedules. They also apply when flying. One of the advantages of standard private flying is the flexibility to adjust schedules. With empty legs, you may have some flexibility, but not as much. You will have to fit around the existing schedule. You can still take advantage of much faster terminal use and later arrival before a flight.

Final Thoughts

Empty legs are a great way to save money when flying privately. They are also a good way for new users to explore private jet use. They come with all the same benefits of luxury, convenience and private cabin experiences, but at lower cost and with less flexibility. Speak to our team today to see how we can help.

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