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.
In this article, we share everything you must know before you book your New York helicopter tour.
Table of contents
- Cost of New York helicopter tours
- Helicopter rides in New York
- From where do helicopters take off
- How to reach the heliports
- Time of the helicopter tours
- How many people in one helicopter?
- Kids on helicopter tours
- Weight restrictions
- Cancellation policy of air tours in New York
- Things to know
- FAQs about helicopter tours in NYC
Cost of New York helicopter tours
Let’s put it out there- helicopter rides can be costly, and the tours last for a short duration.
So, it is important to know the tour costs in advance to plan your trip and factor it in with other considerations.
But if you are a curious explorer, New York City helicopter tour is worth every penny.
The cheapest New York helicopter ride will cost approximately $229 per person.
It is also the most popular tour over the Big Apple.
And at the higher end, the tickets can go up to $363 per person.
Prices of helicopter flights in New York depend on three factors.
- Amount of time you spend in the air
- The time of flight. For instance, night flights tend to be cheaper.
- If the helicopter ride is part of a combo tour. For example, a cruise around the Statue of Liberty.
If you are looking for a cheap helicopter ride in New York, look no further than this 15-minute tour over NYC.
If you want the best New York skyline helicopter tour, check out this 30-minute flight over Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.
Most of these tour prices have standard exclusions, such as –
- Gratuities (which are optional)
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- The heliport fee US$40 per person (payable at the time of the tour)
- Souvenir photos
- 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.
Inclusions in this price
Besides the helicopter tour, 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.
Helicopter rides in New York
Here is our selection of the best helicopter tours in New York.
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
This helicopter tour of New York 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: 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
This helicopter ride in NYC 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.
This helicopter tour departs every 30 minutes from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Cost of the tour: 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
This New York helicopter trip is a 30-minute helicopter tour over New York, 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 this 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: US$363 per person
*Another 30-minute tour we recommend is the Helicopter Tour of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
New York Helicopter tour at night
A helicopter tour of NYC at night is one of the most beautiful tours because it helps you see the New York skyline when it is all lit up at night.
The late evening takeoffs make it just the right New York helicopter tour for two, especially if you are a romantic couple.
The departure times for this 30-minute ride can be anytime from 7 pm to 10 pm.
Fly over the illuminated Statue of Liberty, the Rockefeller Center, National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Times Square, George Washington Bridge, and much more.
This tour takes off from Linden Airport, which is 37 Km (23 Miles) from Manhattan.
Cost of the tour: US$274 per person
Niagara Falls tour from New York
The New York to Niagara Falls by helicopter tour lasts the whole day.
A 60-minute flight takes you to the waterfalls, where you enjoy a day of sightseeing, including a cruise on the legendary Maid of the Mist.
As a bonus, you will get picked up and dropped from your hotel in Manhattan.
You will need a minimum of two people to book this tour.
Cost of the tour
Adult ticket (12+ years): US$874 per head, per
Child ticket (2 to 11 years): US$860 per head
Infant ticket (1 year and younger): US$260 per head
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 Wall Street Heliport.
We recommend arriving at the heliport 30-45 minutes before your scheduled helicopter tour.
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.
Address: 1101 W Edgar Rd, Linden, NJ 07036, USA
After your sightseeing trip is over, you will land at the same place from where the helicopter took off.
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 ticket is 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
The helicopters start taking off from Manhattan Downtown helipad from 9.30 am onwards.
They continue to take off till 6.30 pm. During winter, they stop a little earlier.
Some tours can be fixed-time flights.
The flights are operational from Monday to Saturday.
No helicopters hover over New York on Sunday – it is a holiday.
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.
Operating hours of night tours
Flight timings of night helicopter tours range from 7 pm to 10 pm.
Note: All flight times are an approximation and are subject to change depending on the weather conditions.
How many people in one helicopter?
Generally, tourist helicopters are either four-seaters or six-seaters.
Depending on the tour you opted 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.
Kids on helicopter tours
Children below 18 can’t go on helicopter tours by themselves – an adult must accompany them.
Infant rates apply to children under two years of age who are expected to sit on their parent’s lap.
Infants must weigh less than 15 Kg (35 lbs) on the day of the flight (their weights will be re-checked before taking off).
Parents must also carry the kid’s proof of age.
If your kid is two years and above, regular adult rates apply.
Depending on the helicopter assigned for the tour, there will be weight restrictions on the passengers.
For bigger helicopters, passengers may not exceed 159 Kg (350 lbs), and for smaller helicopters, the limit is 113 Kg (250 lbs).
To know what restrictions you will fall under, choose the tour that best suits your needs and check out the fine print on the ticket booking page.
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.
Cancellation policy of air tours in New York
If you cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your helicopter tour, you qualify for a 100 percent refund.
Cancellations made within 24 hours of the tour’s start date won’t receive any refund.
However, in the case of helicopter tours which are part of combo tours, all sales are final and incur 100 percent cancellation penalties.
For instance, if you book a heli Tour + Statue of Liberty cruise, anytime you cancel, you lose all your money.
When helicopter ride gets canceled
There are two conditions in which a planned helicopter trip may not happen.
The tour may get canceled because of bad weather or because the minimum number of travelers required wasn’t met.
In both instances, the heli tour operator will offer a different date or a full refund.
Things to know
- All passengers must carry a valid photo ID
- All passengers must be willing to walk through a metal detector
- All bags will go through the security
- Even cameras and video cameras will go through a security check
- No handbags or backpacks are allowed on the helicopter
- Only a camera, cell phone, and sunglasses can be brought aboard.
- Complimentary lockers are available to hold belongings while flying
- Aircraft are wheelchair accessible.
- Service animals may be allowed on board.
- Due to federal law, the helicopters can’t fly directly over New York City
FAQs about helicopter tours in NYC
The cost of a helicopter tour in New York can vary widely depending on the length of the tour, the company, and the specific tour package. The price may range from $230 to $375 per person. Private tours can cost significantly more.
Most helicopter tours last between 15 and 30 minutes. However, some may offer extended tours lasting up to an hour.
Booking in advance is usually recommended, particularly during peak tourist seasons. Some tours might require booking a few weeks in advance.
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.
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.
The best time for a helicopter tour over New York depends on personal preference. Some prefer morning for the soft lighting, while others prefer afternoon for the bright, clear views or evening for a sunset or night view.
This depends on the helicopter tour company. Some tours might be flexible with their routes, while others will have a set path.
All pilots operating commercial helicopter tours in New York should be properly licensed and trained. Most companies will provide information about their pilots’ experience.
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.
Yes, taking photos or videos is usually allowed and encouraged. However, selfie sticks and large camera equipment may not be permitted for safety reasons.
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.
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.
It’s typically recommended that passengers arrive at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before their scheduled New York helicopter tour. This allows for check-in, safety briefings, and any last-minute instructions.
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