Short Leg Fees are assessed when an aircraft is made to fly for a very short distance (anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes, depending on the aircraft).
Flying a plane up in the air and back down again is called a ‘cycle’ in aviation. With each cycle, the plane’s value effectively decreases due to wear and tear on the engines and various insurance and maintenance triggers.
Repositioning a plane from its home base to a nearby location in order to pick up passengers will often result in Short Leg fees, in order to compensate the owner for the loss in value to his aircraft without sufficient air time charges.
Short Leg Fees are almost exclusively seen in jet charters (not turboprops) and can range from $200-$500 per instance.