The term “Empty Legs” and “Deadhead” are used to describe an aircraft which is returning home empty to its original base airport after a one-way trip.
Over the past decade many aviation professionals have started to sell these empty planes for more competitive pricing. Since the full trip was already paid for, the empty leg is almost considered a pure profit (or generally offsets more owner cost).
Not all aircraft owners will allow on-demand charter passengers to use these empty legs, which makes them more difficult to locate. These empty legs should not be confused with one way flights. More often than not, a one way flight will be billed as a full round trip whereas an empty leg flight will be billed at a much lower charter rate, creating a true one way pricing structure.
Most aircraft operators want to cover their fuel cost, crew, landing and ramp fees. Choosing to use an empty leg allows savvy flyers with a flexible schedule to benefit from lower rates, while offsetting more of the owners cost.
One-way flyers with flexible schedules are best suited for Empty Leg flights, although many flyers are starting to take advantage of piecing together two empty leg flights to create a round trip. This generally works best if you are staying in your destination for more than a few nights.
Empty Legs allow flyers to save money and help the environment by filling empty planes, which creates a win-win scenario.