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Best helicopter tours in New York

There are three ways to see New York – by road, water, and air.

However, nothing can match the thrill of exploring New York on a helicopter tour.

From high up, you can feel the adrenaline rush by seeing all the major New York City landmarks, not to mention coming face-to-face with the Statue of Liberty.

Since it is an important part of your holiday experience in New York, it is best to find out about all the available helicopter tours in the city, their cost, discounts, timings, duration, departure helipads, weight restrictions, etc., before booking your time above the Big Apple.
Big Apple Helicopter Tour
Cheapest and most popular aerial tour
/ person
What to expect
12-15 mins in the air
Several flight times daily
On-board live commentary
Instant confirmation
Manhattan Helicopter Tour
Most value for money heli ride
/ person
What to expect
20 mins in the air
Pilot’s live commentary
Several flights through the day
Immediate confirmation
Grand Island Helicopter Tour
Luxury flight over city’s five boroughs
/ person
What to expect
30 minutes in the air
Fly over all top landmarks
Convenient flight times
Live commentary
Instant confirmation

Cost of New York helicopter tours

New York skyline from helicopter

The cheapest and most popular New York helicopter ride costs US$229 per person.

And at the higher end, the tickets can go up to US$363 per person.

Prices of helicopter flights in New York depend on three factors.

  1. Amount of time you spend in the air
  2. The time of flight. For instance, night flights tend to be more expensive.
  3. If the helicopter ride is part of a combo tour. For example, a cruise around the Statue of Liberty.

If you want the best New York skyline helicopter tour, check out this 30-minute flight over Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

Image: New York skyline as seen from a helicopter during the sunset. – Bennymarty / Getty

How about a night tour over New York?

Flying over New York at night is a totally different experience because you see the New York skyline when it is all lit up. The late evening takeoffs make it just the right New York helicopter tour for two, especially if you are a romantic couple. The night flight takes off from Linden Airport, which is 37 Km (23 Miles) from Manhattan.

Cost of the tour (2+ years): US$274 per person
Helicopter tour over New York at night

Things to know before booking your tour

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Helicopter rides in New York

Here is our selection of the best helicopter tours in the “concrete jungle.”

Once you have all the information, click on the ‘Book This Tour’ link to go ahead and make the purchase.

For helicopter tours with high demand, the booking confirmation happens as soon as you purchase.

For other helicopter tours, you will get the confirmation within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability.

Big Apple helicopter tour

The Big Apple Helicopter Tour is the cheapest and the most popular helicopter tour to explore Manhattan and the rest of New York.

During this 15-minute trip, you will see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the sprawling Central Park, and the rest of the New York skyline.

As you fly over the Hudson River, you will also come face-to-face with the Statue of Liberty.

During the tour, a knowledgeable pilot will provide fascinating live commentary, sharing insights into the history of NYC.

This tour is sometimes called the New York Statue of Liberty helicopter tour.

Cost of the tour (2+ years): US$229 per person

*If you are looking for a helicopter flight with a little more focus on Manhattan views, check out the 15-minute-long Manhattan Sky tour.

New York Manhattan helicopter tour

Helicopter tour over Manhattan
Image: Viator.com

The New York Manhattan Helicopter Tour is a 20-minute flight over the Manhattan skies.

You fly past Wall Street and Ground Zero and catch a glimpse of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Buildings, Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island, etc., for a memorable city tour.

You will also go over Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Central Park, and more.

Cost of the tour (2+ years): US$279 per person

*If you want another option for a 20-minute flight over NYC, check out the Complete New York Helicopter ride.

New York Grand Island helicopter flight

Video: Viator.com

The New York Grand Island Helicopter Flight is a 30-minute helicopter tour over the city, where you get to see spectacular views of the city’s five boroughs.

On this Grand Island helicopter ride, you see the usual sights of Manhattan, New York, and more.

Sports fans love this tour because it also passes over Yankee Stadium.

If it is your first visit to New York, it is a great way to explore the city.

Cost of the tour (2+ years): US$363 per person

*Another 30-minute tour we recommend is the Helicopter Tour of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

Niagara Falls tour from New York

The New York to Niagara Falls by helicopter tour lasts the whole day.

A 45-minute flight takes you from the airport to the waterfalls, where you enjoy the otherworldly sight not only from the sky but also on a cruise on the legendary Maid of the Mist.

Soak in the fresh air as you take a stroll in the NY State Park and visit the city’s various aerospace and science museums, casinos, observatories, and more.

A surprise element of this tour is a two-course lunch (vegetarian option available) with unlimited soft drinks at the Hard Rock Café Niagara.

Even after all these memorable activities, you will have some spare time to yourself, which you can spend as you want before making your way back to New York.

Hotel transfers are included in this package.

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$874 per head
Child ticket (2 to 11 years): US$860 per head
Infant ticket (1 year and younger): US$260 per head

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From where do helicopters take off

Almost all New York helicopter rides start from Downtown Manhattan Heliport.

Address: 6 East River Piers, New York, NY 10004, USA.

It is also known as the Wall Street Heliport.

Since the heliport is in Manhattan, one doesn’t end up wasting air time because the moment you are airborne, you start seeing sweeping views of the city.

If you book a nighttime helicopter tour of New York, the takeoff will be from Linden Airport.

Address: 1101 W Edgar Rd, Linden, NJ 07036, USA.

We recommend arriving at the heliport 30-45 minutes before your scheduled helicopter tour.

Niagara Falls heli ride begins in one of the three local airports:

Address: JFK Airport, Queens, NY 11430, United States. Get directions.

Address: La Guardia, Queens, NY 11371, United States. Get directions.

Address: Newark International, 3 Brewster Rd, Newark, NJ 07114, United States. Get directions.

You must arrive at least 2 hours before flight departure time

All NYC heli tours end back at the meeting point.

How to reach the heliports

To reach Downtown Manhattan Heliport, follow the Google Maps navigation route, as all the other navigation options will take you to Chelsea Piers.

The heliport is located on Pier 6 (2 Building North of Staten Island ferry and the East River). Look for Zip Aviation.

To reach Linden Airport, drive to Linden Airport or take a train from NY Penn Station via NJ Transit.

Roundtrip tickets are US$17 per person.

Take the Trenton (Northeast Corridor) Line or the Long Branch (North Jersey Coast) Line to Linden Train station.

Time of the helicopter tours

Day heli tours in New York are operational from Monday to Saturday.

No helicopters hover over New York on Sunday – it is a holiday.

Big Apple helicopter tour takes off from 9 am to 5.30 pm.

New York Manhattan helicopter tour operates from 9 am to 6.30 pm.

New York Grand Island helicopter flight runs from 9 am to 6 pm.

NYC Night heli tour is not operational on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and welcomes guests from 6 pm to 9.30 pm from Thursday to Monday.

Niagara Falls helicopter ride from New York is a one-day tour taking place every day.

During major holidays, the hours may vary, but that gets communicated at the time of booking.

You will have different time slots to choose from, depending on the tour you pick.

Inclusions in the price

Besides a ride in a state-of-the-art helicopter with a cabin with climate control, you also get free inflight narration.

If different passengers request more than two languages on the same flight, the audio commentary defaults to English.

All local taxes and service fees are part of the tour cost.

Depending on the tour you opt for, there may be additional inclusions.

For instance, if you book the helicopter tour with the Statue of Liberty cruise, tickets to the 1-hour Statue of Liberty Express cruise are also included.

How many people in one helicopter?

Generally, tourist helicopters are either four-seaters or six-seaters.

Depending on the tour you opt for and the number of passengers booked on the helicopter ride, you may get a four or a six-seater.

Therefore, sometimes a minimum of two and sometimes four passengers are required for the heli tour to be confirmed.

Restrictions strictly followed

Weight limits apply for safe and comfortable New York helicopter rides.

Passengers exceeding the weight limit  are required to purchase an additional seat at 100% of the retail price. 

A minimum and maximum number of passengers are required on these tours, failing which, it will be canceled.

Infants and children are allowed onboard, but infants must sit on the caregiver’s lap throughout the flight.

A valid passport is required.

No pets are allowed onboard except service animals.

Guests with heart problems or other serious medical conditions must contact their doctor before taking NYC helicopter tours.

Parents must also carry the kid’s proof of age.

All passengers must be willing to walk through a metal detector

All bags will go through the security.

Flight times are approximate based on winds, weights, and conditions.

Seating arrangements may often be in the hands of the tour organizers for a safe and stable flight.

Note: Before takeoff, the pilot and the ground staff will ensure the passengers’ weight is distributed evenly in the helicopter. To achieve this balance, they may even seat you in the middle. Sitting in the middle may affect your view, but not so much as to risk your safety.

Exclusions of the air tours

Most of these tour prices have standard exclusions, such as –

  1. Gratuities (which are optional)
  2. Hotel pickup and drop-off
  3. The heliport fee US$40 per person (payable at the time of the tour)
  4. Souvenir photos
  5. Fuel surcharge

However, some tours may include one of the above. For example, the New York Helicopter tour at night includes the heliport fee as well as the fuel surcharge costs.

You will find it mentioned on the tour booking page if any of these is included in the helicopter tour price.

Accessibility to the tours

New York heli rides are completely accessible to guests with disabilities.

The aircraft, transportation, and surfaces are completely wheelchair accessible, preventing any inconvenience for the guests.

Cancellation policy of air tours in New York

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours before your tour date. 

If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, a 100% percent cancellation fee is applicable.

No changes are allowed within 24 hours of the experience’s start time.

Helicopter tours require good weather. 

If the tour is canceled due to poor weather or non-fulfillment of the minimum number of passengers, you may be offered a different date or a full refund.

FAQs about heli tours in NYC

Here are some questions visitors usually ask before taking a New York heli tour.

What factors determine the cost of a New York helicopter tour?

The cost can vary widely depending on the duration, time, and season of the tour, facilities like hotel transfers and food and drinks, add-ons, customizations, the tour provider, and the package. Private tours can cost significantly more as they are more tailor-made and personalized experiences where you have a whole aircraft to yourself.

What are the best companies offering helicopter tours in New York? 

Liberty Helicopter Tours, HeliNY, Manhattan Helicopters, and Flynyon are often highly rated for the helicopter tours they offer in and around New York City.

How long is a typical NYC helicopter tour?

Most helicopter tours last between 15 and 30 minutes. However, some may offer extended tours lasting up to a whole day.

Do I need to book an NYC heli tour in advance? If so, how far in advance?

Booking in advance is usually recommended, particularly during peak tourist seasons. Some tours might require booking a few weeks in advance.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of people on New York helicopter rides?

The number of participants in a helicopter tour in NYC will depend on the size of the helicopter, but many tours can accommodate between 4 to 6 passengers.

Is the NYC helicopter tours safe? What safety measures are in place? 

Reputable helicopter companies adhere to strict safety regulations, including regular maintenance checks, safety briefings before each flight, and ensuring pilots are well-trained and licensed.

What time of day is best for a New York heli tour?

The best time depends on personal preference. Some prefer morning for the soft lighting, while others prefer afternoon for the bright, clear views. Some choose the evening for a sunset or night view.

Can I request a specific route or landmark to fly over on a New York helicopter tour?

This depends on the helicopter tour company. Some tours might be flexible with their routes, while others will have a set path.

Are the pilots licensed and experienced?

All pilots operating commercial helicopter tours in New York should be properly licensed and trained. Most companies will provide information about their pilots’ experience.

What languages do the pilots or guides speak on a helicopter tour of New York? 

English is standard in all heli tours in New York, and some companies might have guides who speak other languages. It’s best to check in advance.

Can I take photos or videos during the NYC heli tour?

Yes, taking photos or videos is usually allowed and encouraged. However, selfie sticks and large camera equipment may not be permitted for safety reasons.

Is there a dress code or specific attire required on an NYC heli ride?

While there’s usually no specific dress code for a helicopter tour, it’s recommended that you dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather. Loose items like hats and scarves might need to be removed for safety reasons. Footwear should be comfortable and secure as you will be climbing in and out of the helicopter.

Are headphones provided for communication or noise reduction?

Yes, usually, companies provide headphones to all passengers. These often serve the dual purpose of reducing noise from the helicopter’s rotor blades and allowing passengers to hear information from the pilot during the tour.

How early should I arrive before my scheduled flight time?

It’s typically recommended that passengers arrive at least 30 minutes to 45 minutes before their scheduled New York heli tours. This allows for check-in, safety briefings, and any last-minute instructions.

Related Reading

# Manhattan helicopter tours
# Private helicopter tours in New York
# Ultimate Manhattan sightseeing New York helicopter tour
# Grand Island helicopter tour in New York
# The Big Apple Helicopter Tour of New York City
# Cost of New York helicopter tours
# City Lights Skyline Experience- tickets, prices, duration
# Romantic helicopter tour in New York-tickets, prices, restrictions
# Cheap helicopter tours in New York- tickets, prices, restrictions
# Helicopter ride over Niagara Falls from New York
# Helicopter tours over Central Park- tickets, timings, restrictions
# Cost of Niagara Falls helicopter tour
# Taste of NYC Helicopter tour – tickets, prices, duration
# Statue of Liberty helicopter tour – prices, what to expect
# Night Helicopter Tour in NYC – prices, what to expect
# New York helicopter tours – prices, flight timings, restrictions

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Travel Writer
She is a holidaymaker comfortable with vacations on sandy beaches or breaks where she is skiing in the snow. She mixes up her holidays with the right amount of activity and lazing around and believes that both are needed in the right amount to experience the world’s cultures and destinations.
Favorite Cities: Prague, Budapest, Munich, Florence

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