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I fly by private jet from London to Ibiza for $1,200 using the ’empty leg’ trick. Here’s why the cost is worth it.

Dan Legg with his friends before boarding a private jet to Ibiza.

Dan Legg

  • Dan Legg takes ’empty leg’ flights on private jets across Europe, saving thousands of dollars.
  • Private jets fly empty legs when they return to their home airport after a flight.
  • Legg said small groups can get last-minute tickets from London to Spain for about $1,200 each. 

Amid a sea of lost luggage, canceled flights, and frustrating delays, you might be inclined to abandon all hope of a summer trip if it involves air travel.

But there appears to be an affordable way to bypass travel chaos by using the “empty leg” trick.

Dan Legg told Insider he has taken six last-minute empty leg trips from the UK to European destinations including the islands of Jersey, Ibiza and Menorca over the past three years.

@dan.legg The reason why I fly private all the time 😱🤫 #privatejet #lifehack #danlegg #fyp ♬ original sound – Dan Legg

How to get an empty leg flight

An empty leg flight occurs when a chartered private jet has to return to its original airport after dropping off its passengers. Private jets offer big discounts, with tickets usually going on sale a day or two before the flight.

Legg said: “It’s normally for when I’ve had a buildup of stress and I need a little getaway quickly. I have a look at different locations and planes and then see if I can get a couple of people together and we do a little trip.”

By using a broker like JustJet in the UK that aggregates last-minute private jet deals, Legg told Insider he saves at least 50% on private travel, and when he books with friends it’s comparable to flying commercial business class. 

“If there’s six of you going from London to Spain, for example, it will probably cost you £1,000 ($1,200) each. The best way to get a deal, well for me, I just use that website and refresh it religiously,” he said. A similar last-minute flight from London to Heathrow with British Airways would cost £866 ($1,000). 

Dan Legg, right, with a group of friends.Dan Legg, right, will also charter normal private jets, but will use the “empty leg” trick at short notice.

Dan Legg

‘Just drive onto the runway’

Going private has become more attractive for those wanting to avoid the delays, cancelations and lost luggage making commercial flights even more complicated this summer.

Heathrow airport has asked airlines to sell fewer tickets over the coming weeks to reduce the burden as it deals with surging demand and a labor shortage.

Legg said that going private means he doesn’t have to deal with airport security and can arrive shortly before the flight takes off, as well as being able to keep an eye on his luggage.  

“So if your flight is scheduled for three o’clock, you can turn up at 2:45 and you just drive onto the runway,” Legg said. 

“Whereas with Heathrow now you’ve got to be there like four hours before and it just takes up a lot of time. And if there’s a group of you, obviously it’s a lot more expensive, but it doesn’t work out too bad.”

Doug Gollan, founder of Private Jet Card Comparison, said empty leg flights are great because the price is negotiable, and you could hypothetically ask the pilot to drop you off at a location close to the intended destination. 

However, he admits they require a lot of flexibility from passengers: “The interesting thing with empty legs is if you know what you’re doing, you can find some deals, but it’s not something that you’d want to use if you’re going to a wedding, or if you booked a villa that’s non-refundable.”

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