• Empty legs – advantages and risks in business aviation

    Aircraft Charter / Empty legs – advantages and risks in business aviation

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    Imagine the following situation: your cell phone rings and, suddenly, you know that you will need to go from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro the next morning. You then look for commercial flights, but there are no more empty seats for tomorrow. In this case, an option to keep the commitment in the capital of Rio de Janeiro is empty legs, also known as repositioning flights.

    Quite common in business aviation, an empty leg happens when an airplane needs to return to the base airport. In other words: after making a stretch with passengers (full leg, using a term to explain the opposite), the aircraft will need to return to its initial destination – with or without passengers. Such a flight can be made available for sale, either by seat or in a charter format. The customer himself can also choose to share a seat on a flight he purchased.

    Flapper’s Sales Director, Manoel Assunção, explains that empty legs are only sold by route: “Empty legs are a by-product of our operations, that is, they always originate from a charter”, he said. “And it is important to note that, at Flapper, these empty legs can happen in any aircraft, including helicopters”, added the executive. The empty legs offered by Flapper cover both domestic and international operations.

    However, in addition to great advantages, this type of flight also has risks for customers. Find out more below.

    Advantages of empty legs

    One of the most attractive aspects of empty leg flights is the price. With values ​​up to 60% lower than the original price of the segment, repositioning flights are a unique opportunity to embark on the business aviation experience for the first time.

    An empty leg flight can also be used to test a particular aircraft. Unlike regular flights, empty legs cover a broader spectrum of aircraft, including those that can be particularly expensive when chartered.

    Risks of empty legs

    Repositioning flights are ideal for passengers who tend to travel with a certain frequency and, at the same time, have a more flexible schedule. This is because offers can come up with little advance notice and usually sell out quickly due to the price and, of course, the convenience.

    Among the most common risks of repositioning flights is the fact that the operation may be canceled. This happens when the main flight, which originated the empty leg, changes. Such flights may also undergo changes in schedules or even in the airport (helipad) of origin or destination.

    Anyone who likes to plan ahead may also dislike the fact that empty legs are almost always released around the day of the flight. In addition, this modality does not have schedule flexibility, which is already pre-established by the operator or customer of the chartered flight.

    Finally, repositioning flights are generally sold by route. As in the example given at the beginning of this text, a flight from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro is unlikely to be offered with a return flight.

    How to find out about empty legs on Flapper

    In Flapper’s app, available for iOS and Android, there is a section on the home screen dedicated exclusively to empty legs. In it, offers for last minute flights at more accessible prices appear in a carousel with clickable cards divided into travel routes, containing the most detailed information about the operation. At the beginning, it is possible to check the route, date, and time of the next flight, in addition to the starting price. When selecting the card with the flight route, there is more complete information about the operation, such as internal and external photos of the aircraft, instructions for boarding and disembarking at airports, exclusive features of the trip model, safety certifications, autonomy of flight, seat maps, and more.

    Other ways to receive information about empty legs:

    • push notifications (user needs to enable notifications on their device)
    • Instagram (all offers are published by Story and, if you want to follow closely, you can ask the platform to notify you when there are new Story publications)
    • e-mail marketing (just sign up for the app to be part of the Flapper mailing list)

    Below you can see examples of empty legs made available by Flapper in its communications:

    Last but not least, it is important to note that empty leg operations take place within all the regulations of ANAC (National Civil Aviation Agency).

    Empty legs – is it worth it?

    Empty leg flights are a great opportunity for the customer, however, there are some risks:


    • Lower price
    • easy to discover and buy offers
    • operations take place on all types of aircraft, including helicopters


    • operation has a chance to be canceled or to have a time change
    • empty legs are traded only by route
    • empty legs offers appear a few days before the flight
    • low flexibility

    Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of empty legs and how to access them through Flapper, lets get ready to travel ?!

    Our Services: Aircraft Charter

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