New York helicopter tours – prices, flight timings, restrictions

Helicopter tour in New York

Image: Lisa-Blue / Getty

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

Out of this, the best way to explore New York is by going up on a helicopter tour and feeling the adrenalin rush.

From high up, you can see 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.

From where do helicopters take off

Almost all New York helicopter rides start from Downtown Manhattan Heliport, located at Pier 6 at East River.

It is also known as Wall Street Heliport.

We recommended that you arrive at the Heliport at least 30 minutes before your scheduled helicopter tour.

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

If you book a night tour of New York, the take-off will be from Linden Airport.

Where do helicopters return?

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


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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.

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 opt for.

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.


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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.


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Kids on helicopter tours

Children below 18 can’t go on helicopter tours by themselves – they must be accompanied by an adult.

Infant rates apply for children under two years of age, and they are expected to sit on their parents’ 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.


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Weight restrictions

Depending on the helicopter assigned for the tour, there will be weight restrictions on the passengers.

For bigger helicopters, passengers may not exceed 159 Kgs (350 lbs), and for smaller helicopters, the limit is 113 Kgs (250 lbs).

To know what restrictions, you will fall under, you must first choose the tour that best suits your needs and then check out the fine print on the ticket booking page.

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


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Cost of New York helicopter tours

Helicopter rides are costly and to top it the tours last for a short duration.

This high cost is the reason why it isn’t something everybody can go for.

However, if you can afford it, helicopter tours are a great way to see a city like New York.

New York skyline as seen from a helicopter during the sunset. The best sunset helicopter tours around the world. Image: Bennymarty / Getty

The cheapest NYC helicopter tour will cost you approximately $209 per person.

It is also the most popular tour over the Big Apple.

And at the higher end, the New York helicopter tour tickets can go up to $350 per person.

Prices of helicopter rides 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 cheaper.
  3. If the helicopter ride is part of a combo tour. For example, a cruise around the Statue of Liberty.

If you are looking for cheap helicopter tours in New York, look no further than this 15-minute tour over NYC.

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

Exclusions

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, $40 per person (payable at the time of tour)
  4. Souvenir photos

If any of these is part of the price of the helicopter tour, you will find it mentioned on the tour booking page.

Inclusions in this price

Besides the helicopter tour, for the price mentioned you also get free inflight narration.

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

All taxes, fuel surcharges 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 Statue of Liberty cruise, tickets to the 1-hour Statue of Liberty Express cruise is also included.


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Cancellation policy of air tours in New York

Image: Lady Photo / Getty

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 start date of the tour won’t receive any refund.

However, in the case of helicopter tours which 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.


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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 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
  • Due to federal law, the helicopters can’t fly directly over New York City

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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 that have high demand, the booking confirmation happens as soon as you make a purchase.

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

Big Apple Helicopter Tour

This 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 Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and the sprawling Central Park and rest of the New York skyline.

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

Therefore, this tour is also sometimes referred to as the New York Statue of Liberty helicopter tour.

Cost of the tour: $217

*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

Image: Viator.com

This ride is a 20-minute flight over the Manhattan skies.

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

You will also go over the Central Park, WWII aircraft carrier, USS Intrepid, etc.

This helicopter tour departs every 30 minutes from 10 am to 6 pm.

Cost of the tour: $289

*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 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 and New York and more.

Sports fans love this tour because this also passes over the Yankee stadium.

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

Cost of the tour: $349

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

NYC Helicopter Tour + Statue of Liberty Cruise

If you are in New York for the first time, this is a good combo to try.

You first get onto a helicopter for 15-minute air time and then go on a cruise around the Statue of Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty Circle Line Express Cruise takes you around the most famous NYC landmark. Image: Viator.com

In short, you get to see New York from both sky and water.

As a bonus, during the cruise, you get to raise a Mimosa or Champagne toast in front of the majestic Statue of Liberty.

Cost of the tour: $279


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New York Helicopter Tour at Night

This ride is one of the most beautiful NYC chopper tours because it helps you see the New York skyline when it is all lit up at night.

Image: Viator.com

The late evening takeoffs make it just the right New York helicopter tour for two – if you are a romantic couple, look no further than this.

The departure times for this 30-minute rides can be anytime from 7 pm to 10 pm.

This tour takes off from the Linden Airport, which is 37 Kms (23 Miles) from Manhattan. Pick up services are offered for the passengers.

Cost of the tour: $244


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Niagara Falls tour from New York

This trip to the Niagara Falls starts with flights from New York and 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 per person: USD 859

Recommended Reading

# How to prepare for first helicopter tour
# What to wear for helicopter tour?
# Tips to overcome fear of flying
How long to wait after scuba diving before flying
Why helicopter tours are an excellent gift
Helicopter tour FAQs

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Barkha Tiwari: 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