Airlines often find themselves with empty seats on certain flights, and may choose to sell these seats for much less than the usual ticket price. If you’re looking to save money on your next flight, or you’re flying to an out-of-the-way destination, this can be a great option. In this guide, we’ll help you understand what empty leg flights are, how they work, and if they’re right for you.
What is an empty leg flight?
Empty leg flights, or empty legs, are commercial flights that transport air cargo and can be used to transport passengers. Though many people see the term empty and think it implies a flight with no passengers, this is not the case. Air carriers may offer promotional fares on empty leg flights to fill vacant seats with customers; they also may use them as part of a third-party arrangement with other airlines or charter services.
Why are they called empty legs?
There are three types of flying. General aviation, air taxi and commercial passenger aviation. General aviation is what people flying private jets fall under. Air taxis are usually people who are flying into small airports on small planes with a carrying capacity of up to 12 passengers. Commercial passenger airlines can carry hundreds of passengers at a time and fly them across the country or around the world in hours. However, there will be times when an airline cannot fill their plane for a particular flight. If this happens then they will offer discounted fares for anyone who wants to take that flight. These flights are called empty leg flights because the airline has flown one leg of the journey and needs someone else to take care of the other leg of the journey.
How are flights sold?
Most airlines use a dynamic pricing model, meaning they set different prices based on factors like supply and demand. The price can fluctuate significantly depending on the route, season, or even day of the week. If you need an empty leg flight with no one flying in your direction, though, it’s worth shopping around online for flights that match your budget and travel requirements.
Who sells them and who buys them?
In some cases, an airline may want to get rid of some unneeded seats on a certain flight for a variety of reasons. This is when an empty leg flight can be bought and flown at discounted rates. Depending on what’s available, you may be able to find flights that are departing from different airports than their usual homebase. Often times, these flights will depart in the late evening or early morning hours when not as many people are looking for travel options during off-peak travel times.
When can I purchase one?
When you book a commercial airline ticket, you’ll usually be given the option of purchasing a full-fare round-trip. This means that your initial flight, in this case from New York City to Miami, will be followed by a return flight from Miami back to New York City. The second leg of the flight is sometimes referred to as an empty leg because it doesn’t actually have any passengers on board. There are various reasons why empty legs are advantageous for travelers and booking one is fairly easy.