What are Empty Leg Flights?

Also known as ‘deadhead flights’, empty legs are created when an aircraft is scheduled to fly from Point A to Point B with no passengers. Empty legs are utilized by on-demand charter clients when booking one-way flights or round-trip flights which span many days, requiring different aircraft for each leg for optimal pricing.

The market for empty legs is also utilized by jet card programs and on-demand charter brokers. Most jet card providers do not own aircraft, and thus source aircraft on the open market just like on-demand brokers.

How to Find and Book Empty Leg Flights

Retail charter clients can utilize a variety of websites maintained by charter brokers, direct air carriers, and independent market aggregators to research empty legs.

Booking an empty leg does not always involve a 1:1 match of the actual empty leg routing. Empty legs are often booked by clients with similar routings paying additional costs for positioning fees.

Example: A ‘New York to Miami’ posted empty leg can be used for flights like New York to Orlando or DC to Palm Beach.

This ‘near-match’ type of booking utilizes an empty leg, costs less than a round-trip, but is priced higher than a direct match.

Browse Our Featured Empty Legs Below

DatePrice - Click to BookDepartArriveAircraftSeats
6/15/2024$16,720New London, CT (GON)Palm Beach, FL (PBI)Hawker 800XP7
6/16/2024$39,850Los Angeles/Van Nuys, CA (VNY)Maui, HI (OGG)Challenger 60110
6/19/2024$31,860Philadelphia, PA (PNE)Aspen, CO (ASE)Citation X8
6/20/2024$48,960Oakland, CA (OAK)Maui, HI (OGG)Gulfstream GIV13
6/22/2024$37,650New York City/Teterboro, NY (TEB)Las Vegas, NV (LAS)Citation X8
6/25/2024$28,920Aspen, CO (ASE)Philadelphia, PA (PNE)Citation X8
7/8/2024$21,780King Salmon, AK (PAKN)Oakland, CA (OAK)Challenger 3008
7/24/2024$17,900Saranac Lake, NY (SLK)Miami, FL (OPF) Citation Excel7
8/3/2024$33,530Albany, NY (ALB)Oakland, CA (OAK)Citation CJ37
8/3/2024$29,725Philadelphia, PA (PHL)Bozeman, MT (BZN)Citation Sovereign8
8/4/2024$20,800Orlando, FL (MCO)Hartford, CT (BDL)Challenger 60410
8/16/2024$108,760Denver, CO (APA)Athens, Greece (ATH)Gulfstream GIV-SP13
8/27/2024$17,900Miami, FL (OPF)Saranac Lake, NY (SLK)Citation Excel7
9/2/2024$32,710Oakland, CA (OAK)Albany, NY (ALB)Citation Excel7

How much do empty leg flights cost?

Empty leg prices vary based on routing, aircraft, and other details, like any other charter flight. But there are a few key components to be aware of when evaluating empty leg pricing.

Empty Leg Pricing: Aircraft Hourly Rate

The quality of an empty leg price can be evaluated based on the hourly rate of the aircraft and the number of flight hours involved. The closer a price is to point-to-point value, the better it is.

When booking an empty leg flight, it is important to understand the retail hourly rate of the plane in question.

Positioning Fees for Empty Legs

In the event of a 1:1 match of a posted empty leg and your requested routing, the price should equal the hourly rate of the aircraft x flight time, plus taxes and fees.

Direct matches are hard to find outside of major market routes like Van Nuys to Teterboro, which have heavy traffic. More commonly, ‘near matches’ are sold to one-way buyers, who pay for added fees on one or both ends of the routing.

Example: Requested routing is Boston to Aspen. Closest matching empty leg is Boston to Salt Lake City. Client pays for the added cost to fly the plane from Aspen to Salt Lake City.

Supply & Demand of Empty Leg Flights

The market for empty legs behaves like any other, with supply and demand forces playing a role in pricing.

Peak season and high-volume routes drive the price of empty legs up because owners are confident buyers will emerge. Conversely, sub-optimal routes with low demand tend to yield better pricing.

Do empty legs cost less than a commercial flight?

The term ‘empty leg’ has a ‘discount’ connotation to most consumers which is largely unsubstantiated in the market.

Every minute a plane flies costs its owner money, and fixed expenses like crew, handling, fuel, and maintenance all contribute to the Direct Operating Cost (DOC) of every flight.

Owners seek to recoup their DOC plus make additional revenue when they advertise an empty leg. Aircraft in the charter market exist to generate revenue not only for the owner, but for the Part 135 managers handling operations.

As departure grows near, prices typically drop for true empty legs. But in a saturated market and especially for peak season and high-volume routes, the instances of below-market empty leg bookings are rare.

Book an Empty Leg Flight with evoJets

The empty leg charter market moves fast, and the best deals are often impossible for end-user fliers to find.

evoJets has been serving happy clients and partnering with the world’s finest aircraft operators since 2006. Our experience and reputation set us apart in the crowded landscape of on-demand charter.

Empty leg bookings are an essential part of the evoJets model, and a key contributor to our longevity in the jet charter industry. Our Account Executives consider all aspects of your booking when sourcing options, have relationships with every reputable operator, and work tirelessly to find you the best deal on the best aircraft available for your trip.