Helicopter tours in Los Angeles – prices, schedule, upgrades

Helicopter tour over Los Angeles

Image: Orbicair.com

A holiday in Los Angeles can’t be complete without a helicopter tour.

There is so much to see in LA – the walk of fame, the Universal Studios, the Hollywood Boulevard, the Sunset Strip, the Hollywood Sign, etc.

But there is a bigger thrill in seeing all of this from high up in the air.

There are very few experiences compared to a flight over a major city such as in Los Angeles.

This article explains everything you need to know before you book your helicopter tour in LA.

Where do helicopters take off from

There are three helicopter tour operators in Los Angeles, and each has its departure heliport. 

1. Elite Helicopters

Elite Helicopters are the most popular heli tour operators in LA, and their departures happen from National Helicopter Service in 16750 Roscoe Blvd, Van Nuys. Get Directions

They are also known to be the oldest helicopter company in the United States.

Elite Helicopters’ most popular trips are the 30-minute LA downtown tour, 45-minute Deluxe tour, and Malibu/Santa Monica Pier Shoreline Tour.

2. Orbic Air

Orbic Air is the second most popular helicopter tour operation in LA, and all their takeoffs happen from Burbank Airport. Get Directions

Orbic Air’s most popular tour is the LA tour with a romantic mountaintop landing.

3. Group 3 Aviation

Group 3 is more of a charter flight, but they do run some helicopter tours.

Their choppers take off from Group 3 Helicopter Tours, 16425 Hart St #211, Van Nuys. Get Directions

Group 3’s most popular trips are the Los Angeles tour with Malibu Landing and the Grand 60-minutes chopper tour.

Where do all helicopters return?

After your sightseeing trip is over, you will land at the same place where the helicopter took off.


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Helicopters tour timings

Tourist helicopters in Los Angeles start taking off from 9 am and continue to do so till 9 pm.

Generally, flights depart as per the tourist’s requirements, unless there is another booking scheduled at the same time.

However, all helicopter take-off times are approximate and are subject to weather conditions.


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How many people in one helicopter?

Depending on the helicopter type, besides the pilot, 3 to 5 passengers can fit in a helicopter.

Passengers weighing over 125 Kgs (275 lbs) must book an additional seat.

This additional seat helps the pilot ensure the weight balance of the helicopter. This rule is non-negotiable.

In such a case, only two passengers can go on a tour at a time.

Note: The additional seat fee can be paid directly to the tour operator on the day of the flight.


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Cost of Los Angeles helicopter tours

Aerial view of Los Angeles from a helicopter. Image: Franckreporter / Getty

Los Angeles helicopter tour’s cost depends on the amount of time you spend in the air, the attractions you get to see, extras such as a landing and a picnic, etc.

The cheapest helicopter tour in LA costs approximately $475 per person.

The VIP helicopter tour, which is the best helicopter experience in Los Angeles, costs approximately $850 per person.

All passengers three years and above must pay this price for the tour.

Kids two years and below can sit on the parent’s lap and thus don’t need a ticket.

Exclusions

The approximate price mentioned above don’t include the following –

Gratuities

It is very normal to tip the pilot and other ground staff, but unfortunately, gratuities are not part of the helicopter tour price.

Fuel fee

The 10 USD fuel fee, which you must pay at the check-in, is also not included.

Hotel pick up and drop

A pick up from your hotel and drop back isn’t included in the cost, but this shouldn’t worry you because all the departure points are very close to the city center.


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Best Los Angeles helicopter tours

We hand-picked the five best helicopter tours in LA and have presented them below.

All of them have different durations, itineraries, and objectives.

But all of these tours have three things in common. They –

a) Fly over the glamorous Hollywood strip
b) Explore Los Angeles’ beautiful coastal region from the top
c) Pass the numerous celeb homes of Beverly Hills and Bel-Air

All these tour tickets have a tourist-friendly cancellation policy.

If you cancel at least 24 hours before your tour, you qualify for a full refund.

Note: After the purchase, you will receive the tour confirmation via email. On the day of your tour, you can show the confirmation on your mobile. There is no need to take a print out.

Downtown Helicopter Tour of Los Angeles

This trip is the most popular LA chopper tour.

You get to see the famous Hollywood Sign up close, fly over Hollywood’s celebrity homes, and see how the rich live their lives.

Image: Elitehelicoptertours.com

You also fly over other landmarks such as Universal Studios, Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium, The Getty Center, Playboy Mansion, etc.

Departure: 16750 Roscoe Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406 (Google Map)
Duration: 30 minutes
Narration: By Pilot
Tour Operator: Elite Helicopters
Cost: $475 / person

Heli Tour with Romantic Mountaintop Landing

This heli tour is perfect for romantic couples looking for a memorable experience.

You and your partner go on a private helicopter ride enjoying Los Angeles sights such as Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Hollywood sign, etc.

You then fly over the city’s coastline before landing on top of a secluded mountain in Malibu.

You spend 30 minutes on the mountain with Champagne toast and dessert even as you enjoy the views.

Departure: Burbank Airport (Google Map)
Duration: 2 hours
Narration: By Pilot
Tour Operator: Orbic Air
Cost: $512 / person

Group 3 Aviation offers the above tour with slight modifications to the menu offered during the landing. Besides Champagne and desserts, they also offer gourmet cheese, fruits, and wine. Find out more

Deluxe Tour of Los Angeles

This is a fantastic tour to see all the incredible landmarks of LA in one ride and see the variety that the city has to offer.

Image: Viator.com

Some of the areas you will cover during this 45-minute tour are Malibu, the Santa Monica Pier, Downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Park Observatory, Stars Homes, Dodger Stadium, etc.

Departure: 16750 Roscoe Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406 (Google Map)
Duration: 45 minutes
Narration: By Pilot
Tour Operator: Elite Helicopters
Cost: $690 / person

Malibu/Santa Monica Pier Shoreline Tour

In this helicopter tour, you will fly over the mountains to the Malibu Pier, down the coast to the Santa Monica Pier, up through the Palisades, Stars Homes, the Getty Museum, and everything in between.

Image: Elitehelicoptertours.com

Departure: 16750 Roscoe Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406 (Google Map)
Duration: 30 minutes
Narration: By Pilot
Tour Operator: Elite Helicopters
Cost: $475 / person

Grand LA Helicopter Tour

This trip is the perfect heli tour if you are a bigger group (such as a family or a group of friends), looking to explore Los Angeles from above.

The Grand LA Helicopter tour happens on the larger AS350 helicopters, which can accommodate a family or group of up to 4-5 passengers.

Departure: 16425 Hart St #211, Van Nuys (Google Map)
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Narration: By Pilot
Tour Operator: Group 3 Aviation
Cost: $495 / person

Los Angeles VIP Helicopter Tour

This trip is one of those tours that allows you to see everything that Los Angeles city has to offer.

You feel like a real VIP as you cruise over Los Angeles in pure comfort and style.

If money is not an issue, but the VIP experience matters, you must go ahead and book this chopper tour.

Departure: 16750 Roscoe Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91406 (Google Map)
Duration: 60 minutes
Narration: By Pilot
Tour Operator: Elite Helicopters
Cost: $842 / person

Recommended Reading

# Preparing for the first helicopter flight
# Clothes to wear during helicopter tours
# How to overcome fear of flying
Scuba diving – how long to wait before flying?
Why helicopter tours are an excellent activity
FAQs about Helicopter tours

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Rekha Rajan: She loves to travel, and when not on the move, she reads about popular destinations or talks to travelers on various forums. She is open-minded, eager, and personable and hence tends towards ‘cultural travels’ which involves the discovery of people and places. She doesn’t like to take photographs when on vacation for she believes in living the moment. Favorite Cities: London, New York, Paris, Rome, Barcelona