Delta Private Jets, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, earlier this year launched Sky Access. You pay $8,500 and can fly as many empty legs as you want at no additional cost. You also get 20% off select fares on Delta’s airline flights. There is a $500 fee if you cancel or no show. Over this weekend 66 empty legs were listed, although some such as Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, all of 30 miles, wouldn’t even give you time to pop open a beer. More interesting was Washington D.C. to Chicago and New York to Sarasota. There were also Nantucket to New York and Las Vegas to San Francisco, however, they were both on Friday, so the wrong direction for most people, and that’s the point, and perhaps a good segue to discussing the some of the downsides.
Depending on who you believe 30-to-50% of all private jet flights are ferry flights. However, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily dirt cheap. Magellan Jets, which sells jet cards and on-demand charter also offers empty legs, and while you have to contact the company for pricing, it says rates start at $3,000 per hour. Airstream Jets enables visitors to its website to download a list of active empty legs and while most of the 13 listings were for the next two weeks, there were flights posted through mid-November, one an empty leg in September on a Gulfstream G-IVSP from New York to London for $49,900. Another broker quoted the same date and route at $92,000. Even more attractive was a G500 charter this weekend from Palermo, Italy to New York for $35,000. Quotes for a non-empty leg charter that I received from another broker for random dates in August started at $111,000.
So is there a cheaper way to get that entire private jet to yourself to really impress your friends and family? The answer is yes. It’s called and an empty leg, which is repositioning flight that takes place after the aircraft dropped off its last full paying charter passengers and now has to fly to another airport to pick up its next group, or sometimes for the aircraft and crew to come back to their base after dropping off customers and various combinations.
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