Short Legs Explained
As flight costs such as fuel surcharges increase and aircraft valuations decrease, the cost of every flight hour inceases. In today’s environment it is more important to be sure that you are being charged correctly for your private flight services. One detail that normally escapes attention is short leg waivers. They are not the sort of discrepancy that an untrained eye would normally catch, but it is important to understand them in order to ensure that you are not overpaying for your private flight services.
A minimum flight time of one hour is applied to most private flights that you take. This isn’t just time in the air, but includes taxi time at the airport on each end – usually about twelve minutes total. So, if your taxi time plus flight time sums to less than an hour, under the minimum flight rule you will still be charged for a full hour. This becomes especially important on flights that have more than one leg; two legs of less than an hour would be billed as two hours total.
Short leg waivers, however, reduce the one hour minimum to actual flight time plus taxi time. Most contracts have a Minimum Daily Usage policy as well, where if the number of hours flown in a day exceeds a set number of hours of billable flight time (usually about four), the manager will waive the minimum flight segment on any individual leg.
In addition to the Minimum Daily Usage policy, most contracts provide three waivers per fifty hours of flight time. There is no need to worry about stops required by government regulation or stops related to aircraft performance – contracts usually allow for a waiver of the minimum flight time in those cases with a small fee.
It is important, however, that owners are aware that this is not always the case — agreements may vary among service providers. It is beneficial to review your management contract periodically to better understand the charges on your invoices and to avoid costly errors on your statements.
Jet Advisors conducts invoice audits for clients to ensure that small accounting errors and overcharges don’t go unnoticed. Our reviews have uncovered multiple errors in charges for short leg waivers. One manager even charged a client one full hour for a flight that required an emergency landing shortly after departure. In brief, be sure that your monthly invoices are reviewed closely.