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.
There are potentially even better deals. JetSuite offers SuiteDeals for as little as $500 each way. You have to sign up on its website, but when I visited, it didn’t have any flights listed. Wheels Up has a program called 8760. You pay $6,900 annually and access empty legs for as little as $320. You also get entry to its hospitality at events at the Super Bowl, The Masters, other high profile confabs, plus an Inspirato Key Membership which normally has a $10,000 initiation fee and then $3,500 annual dues.
Once you've got a price quote, it's worth the effort to call around and get three or four other quotes. Prices vary widely, and one of the most important things to know is that you will often be paying for the plane to get to you, also known as the repositioning fee. Additional charges, common to a lot of flights, include airport charges. At New Jersey's Teterboro, it's $100, while some airports with higher density have an added fee. There are also takeoff fees to consider.
Privacy is one of the main advantages of a charter flight. Unlike a commercial flight, where travelers are herded through a crowded airport, having to undergo an intrusive security screening, passengers on a charter flight depart from a private facility known as an FBO. At most private airports, passengers can pull their cars right up to the plane.
Other near-term empty leg deals included Houston to Aspen on a Citation X seating eight for $14,000, not much less than an eight-seat Learjet 45XR for $18,945 with a normal charter. Skyjet, a broker that also offers empty legs had one this weekend from Nassau in the Bahamas to Ft. Lauderdale on a six-seat Phenom 300 for $3,000. Ft. Lauderdale to Key West and Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale, also on a Phenom 300, were being offered at $2,625 each. Chartering a similar aircraft for the same timings the regular way would run around $6,000.
Jet charter service means different things to different people. For business travellers, it’s an invaluable management tool that allows executives to attend out-of-town meetings, tour facilities and visit regional offices in-person. For personal travellers, it’s a convenient way to travel anywhere in the world, while avoiding the stress, wait times and frustration associated with alternate forms of air travel.