Ultimate guide to helicopter tours

Find out all the available helicopter tours, their cost, discounts, timings, duration, departure helipads, weight restrictions, etc., before booking your time in the air.
Flying in a helicopter over Statue of Liberty

Flying high in Hawaii

Experience Hawaii like never before! Book your helicopter tour today and soar above lush landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and stunning coastlines. Don’t miss out on the adventure of a lifetime! Find out more about the tours in Big Island, Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Honolulu, Kona, and Lihue.
Helicopter flies over Hawaiian volcano

Helicopter tours from all over the world

Everything about helicopter tours

Despite their high costs, helicopter tours have continued to grow in popularity.

There is no experience that is as authentic and thrilling as a helicopter ride.

First time in a heliocpter

Advice for your first helicopter tour

Flying in a helicopter is a thrilling experience, and everyone must try it at least once in their lifetime. However, some people find it a little overwhelming, especially when it is their first time onboard a helicopter.

Clothes to wear for Helicopter tour

What to wear for helicopter ride

During a helicopter tour it is important to be fully present, not distracted by discomfort due to the weather. Dressing appropriately for your helicopter ride ensures maximum comfort, allowing you to focus on the breathtaking views.

Fear of flying

Overcoming fear of flying

Fear of flying can cripple and keep you away from enjoying your vacation or trying out new adventures. However, you can overcome this phobia by analyzing the reasons behind your aversion.
Helicopter tour after scuba diving

Never fly soon after scuba diving

It is common for visitors to include Scuba diving and a helicopter tour in their itinerary. Did you know that these two activities, if done within 24 hours, could lead to severe and potentially fatal health complications?

Why helicopter tours are better

Why heli tours are worth it

Helicopter tours are popular with tourists because it is one sure shot way to experience the ultimate thrill from the comfort of your seat. People who get off a helicopter tour beat themselves about not booking one much earlier – such is the element of fun.
Helicopter tour at sunset

Best time – sunset tours

When you book a helicopter tour you can opt for either a sunrise tour, an afternoon tour, a sunset tour or a night tour. Of all the options, the sunset helicopter tours, which are also known as the Golden hour tours, are the most popular.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that before booking a helicopter tour you are bound to have lots of questions.

Helicopter tours are short flights, lasting between 7 minutes to 35 minutes (sometimes more!), to see cities, tourist attractions, wildlife, or mountains from the top. This bird’s eye experience is an opportunity to enjoy the thrill of your life and hence is only for the adventurous. Sometimes these helicopter trips include a landing, in the middle of a desert, winery, snow, etc.

Helicopter tours offer a unique way to explore a destination, providing aerial views that can’t be matched by any other type of sightseeing. If you are okay with the short burst of adrenalin rush, with a high cost, they are worth it.

Helicopter tour with kidsYes, kids of all ages can accompany you on helicopter tours. Usually, children aged three years or younger must be seated on the lap of an adult. Kids older than three years must buy a tour ticket and sit in their seats.

Before take-off, the pilot takes the final call taking into consideration three parameters – wind speed, visibility, and cloud height. There may be other variables as well, which help him/her decide. If the tour gets canceled, the heli tour company leaves the decision to the tourists – they can either refund or accept another tour day.

Helicopters are more agile and have a small turning radius, which makes them perfect for aerial viewing. Since choppers can slow down and sometimes even hover, tourists get to pace their sightseeing, and also take great photos. All of this isn’t possible with fixed‐wing airplanes.

Most of the tourist helicopters are either four-seaters or six-seaters, with one seat next to the pilot in the front. All these seats offer excellent views.

Different choppers have different seating arrangements. Four seater helicopters have two seats in the front row and two in the back, all facing forward. One of these seats is taken by the pilot. Five seater helicopters usually have three seats in the second row. Seven seater helicopters can have two configurations. They can have two seats in the front, two seats in the rear facing backward and three seats in the rear facing forward. Or they can have three front seats and four back seats, all of them facing forward in a stadium style seating arrangement.

The seating in the helicopter gets determined by the weights of all passengers traveling in the bird. You can request a specific seat, but if it doesn’t fit the pilot’s calculations of weight balance, you may not get it.

During a helicopter tour, the seating arrangement gets determined by the weights of individual passengers. This optimum weight distribution helps the pilot keep the helicopter balanced during the flight. That is why you are requested to provide weights of all the passengers while booking helicopter tour tickets.

Some of the helicopters have an onboard narration, but it is not always guaranteed. However, experienced pilots double up as guides, and you can ask them questions. You will be advised not to disturb the pilot with questions during the take-off and landing phases of the tour.

The total weight per seat gets determined by the type of helicopter you will be flying. For bigger helicopters, passengers may not exceed 159 Kgs (350 lbs), and for smaller helicopters, the limit is 113 Kgs (250 lbs). When a tourist is above the weight limit, some chopper tour operators charge a fee for an additional comfort seat. This additional fee depends on the price of the tour you booked. As per FAA regulations, all passengers and their carry-on items get weighed before take off.

Different kinds of helicopter tours have different durations. The shortest tours are 7 minutes long, where you take off, see a city from the top and get back down. In bigger cities such as New York, Paris, London, etc. such aerial city sightseeing tours can also last 30 to 45 minutes. Helicopter tours, which include a landing and a quick picnic, can last easily over two hours.

Helicopters tours are very safe, and that is why they are much in demand. But having said that, crashes do happen. The fatality rate in helicopter crashes is 1.3 deaths per 100,000 flight hours, versus 1.4 deaths for passenger aircraft. If you take a flight from one place to another, you can take a helicopter tour as well.

All the times are equally suitable for a heli tour and have their advantages and disadvantages. Some tourists prefer to fly in the morning because it frees up the rest of the day for the next activity. Others prefer helicopter tours during sunset, for the stunning visuals it offers. Some others opt for night helicopter tours so that they get to see the city glittering.

We feel helicopters are much safer than smaller planes. All helicopters can autorotate successfully to the ground in an emergency and land in a small area, but an airplane will need a runway. A helicopter flies closer to the ground (between 500 ft and 1000 ft above the ground), and during an emergency, it can get to the ground faster. Unlike smaller airplanes, helicopters are built for excellent maneuverability, because they get sent on dangerous missions.

Tourist helicopters are photograph friendly, and all window seats provide good visibility.Having taken the tourists on umpteen number of tours, the pilots are also experts in selecting flight paths, which help passengers on both sides of the heli to same stunning views.

Some operators offer special flights just for professional photographers.

Helicopters can change direction suddenly, and they also have a swooping motion, which can make some people sick — especially those who are prone to motion sickness. However, there are three precautions you can take to have a good helicopter ride don’t book the trip on a rough weather day, take motion sickness medicine before the tour, sit in the front of the helicopter.

Can pregnant women go on helicopter tours?
Pregnant women must avoid helicopter tours during the first three months of pregnancy and after the 36th week. However, we highly recommend you consult your doctor before booking a helicopter tour.

A heli tour is a beautiful experience, and everybody must go at least once in their lifetime. But it is also essential that you take care of yourself and that is why we don’t recommend you going on a chopper if you are afraid of heights or closed spaces.

Yes, people with mobility issues can also go up on a helicopter tour. Just that while booking your heli tour tickets, you need to mention this under the ‘Any special requests’ field. The tour operator’s staff will help you get in and out of the helicopter and also handle your wheelchair when you are high up in the air.

Still have more questions? email us at travel@thebettervacation.com

Testimonials


Here are some stories from tourists who went on helicopter tours. They talk about what they saw and how they felt during their exciting trips in the sky.
“Experiencing New York City from above during a helicopter tour was absolutely surreal! Flying over iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Central Park during sunset was visually stunning. The pilot’s commentary added a nice touch, making it not only a scenic ride but also an educational one. A must-do for every New Yorker and visitor alike!”
Jessica
Brooklyn, Graphic Designer
“Taking a helicopter tour over the Franz Josef Glacier was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget. The contrast of the pristine blue ice against the rugged terrain was visually striking. The pilot was incredibly knowledgeable about the glacier’s history and geology, making the trip not only beautiful but also profoundly informative.”
Liam
Liam
Bern, Environmental Scientist
“Seeing Dubai from a helicopter was nothing short of spectacular! From the towering Burj Khalifa to the beautifully patterned Palm Jumeirah, the aerial views were breathtaking. The pilot made sure we got close enough to capture some stunning photos. Highly recommend it for tourists and locals wanting to experience the city from the sky!”
Nadia
Nadia
London, Event Coordinator