PC: Verticallimit/Pixabay

How to Save on Private Jet Rental Costs: Fly Private for Less

Travelling on a private jet is one of the best ways to travel. You don’t need to wait hours to check in, queue to board the plane, get held up in the aisle as other passengers put their baggage in overhead bins, and squeeze yourself into a tiny airplane seat. Booking a charter flight to India also means non-stop flying convenience and access to non-major airports, minimizing land travel as you can land much closer to your destination.

Naturally, the comfort and convenience of flying private come at a high cost. That said, there are things – like empty-leg flights and the right timing – that can help you enjoy the benefits of private jet rental for less.

  1. Get on an Empty-Leg Flight

An empty-leg flight is less expensive than regular private jet flights. Whenever you can, charter an empty-leg flight.

What is a leg in aviation?

A leg is a single phase or stage in an airplane’s itinerary. To illustrate, if a private jet has been rented to fly from Dubai to Singapore, its flight itinerary has at least two legs. The first is its flight from Dubai to Singapore. The second is its return flight from Singapore to Dubai.

If the private jet is not returning to Dubai from Singapore but has been booked for a flight from Singapore to Chennai, it will have three legs. They are the following:

  • Flight from Dubai to Singapore
  • Flight from Singapore to Chennai
  • Flight from Chennai to Dubai

Flights from one airport to another, say for refueling and maintenance, are also legs. Thus, if the private jet in the example above were to fly from the passenger drop-off point in Chennai to an aircraft maintenance facility in Mumbai, that flight from Chennai to Mumbai would represent another leg.

What’s an empty-leg flight?

Now that you know what a flight leg is, an empty-leg flight means exactly what you think it is: a flight without passengers.

In the above example, the flight from Chennai to Dubai is an empty-leg flight. The airplane will carry passengers only from Dubai to Singapore and from Singapore to Chennai. If the aircraft flies from Chennai to Mumbai for maintenance before returning to Dubai, the flight from Chennai to Mumbai and the flight from Mumbai to Dubai will both be empty-leg flights.

Why fly on an empty-leg flight?

Empty-leg flights are less expensive than regular private jet rental. The reason is simple: With or without passengers, private jets must fly all the legs in their itinerary. Even if a plane doesn’t have passengers on its return flight to Dubai, it must still make that trip.

In this case, flying with passengers onboard makes better economic sense. Even if empty-leg flight passengers do not pay the same as the passengers on the flight out, their payment will still help defray the costs incurred in the flight, like the per diem of the flight and cabin crew. This is why private jet operators list empty-leg flight availability on their websites, newsletters, or third-party aggregators.

  1. Book Way in Advance

Unfortunately, empty-leg flights don’t give you control over your flying schedule and destination. You need to be ready to leave at a few days’ notice when flying on an empty-leg flight. You must also be prepared for sudden schedule changes.

Empty-leg flights are an excellent way to experience the world on a private jet for less, but they’re not for you if you have a set destination and schedule.

For instance, if your sister is getting married in December next year, you can’t leave your flight to chance. The same applies when traveling to Abu Dhabi for the Formula 1 Grand Prix experience as you’ll have tickets with set dates in advance.

In either of these examples, you must book your jet rental in advance. To save some money, though, you can book way ahead of your flight date. Think a few months in advance. If your private jet rental operator allows it, book several months before you fly.

Yes, you don’t need to book away ahead when traveling by air charter. A few weeks should be all it takes to secure a private jet. However, if you have a firm date anyway, why wait? The closer to your flight date you book, the more a private jet will cost.

  1. Share Flights

After chartering a flight months before you’re scheduled to fly, find people to share your private flight with and thereby cut your costs down. Since you booked way in advance, you’ll have time to find people who might appreciate a seat on the plane you chartered.

If you booked a private jet to be at your sister’s wedding in December, ask around. You may have relatives in the area or your sister may have friends nearby who plan to attend the wedding, too.

Did you charter a flight to attend the Formula 1 races? Find other people in your city who are planning to be at the same event. Offer them a seat on your private flight for a share of the charter cost.

Greater Value When Flying Private 

It’s expensive to charter a private jet. However, if you can book an empty-leg flight, book way in advance, or share the costs with other people, you can enjoy its benefits at a significantly lower price.

PC: Verticallimit/Pixabay

Jitaditya Narzary

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