• 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 need to go from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro the next morning. You then look for commercial flights, but for the next day, you have no more empty seats. In this case, an option to save the commitment in the capital of Rio de Janeiro is the empty legs, also known as repositioning flights.

    Quite common in business aviation, the 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 the offers can come up with little time in advance 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 flexibility in the schedules, which are 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 the capital of Rio de Janeiro is unlikely to be offered with a return flight.

    How to find out about Flapper’s empty legs

    In the Flapper app, available for iOS and Android, there is a section on the home page, containing the most detailed information about the operation. Initially, it is possible to check the route, the date and time of the next flight, as well as the initial price. Now, 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, boarding and disembarking instructions at airports, exclusive features of the trip model, safety certifications, the autonomy of flight, seat map and more.travel routes dedicated exclusively to empty legs. There, last-minute flight offers at the most affordable prices appear in a carousel with clickable cards divided into

    Other ways to receive information about empty legs:

    • Push notifications. The user needs to enable notifications on their device;
    • Instagram. All offers are published by Story and anyone who wants to follow them closely can ask the platform to notify them when there are new Story publications;
    • E-mail marketing. Just sign up on the app to be part of Flapper’s 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 the empty legs are that the operation takes place within all 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 ?!

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