Grand Canyon by Air - Top Helicopter and Plane Trips

Published: 24th July 2015
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Of the many ways to discover the Grand Canyon, air excursions are the best. Specifically, I'm talking about plane and helicopter tours. Learn about which is perfect for you. Check out this article.

First, you need to decide if you want to tour by airplane or helicopter.

Cost and Availability

The airplane tours cost less, and they don't see out as fast either. The airplanes carry 19 passengers, while the helicopters carry 6. Since seats on helicopters are limited, they are more expensive. Plus, the seats fill up faster, so the chopper tours tend to sell out quickly. As a general rule, you'll have better luck with an airplane tour, especially if you're traveling with a group and you all want to be in the same aircraft.

Grand Canyon Helicopter Flights

Another difference between the two tours is that the helicopters fly lower and this gives you better views of the canyon below you. Helicopters can hover too, which is nice for prolonged views of the Hoover Dam or Skywalk.

West Rim helicopters are special because you can fly below the rim and land at the bottom.. Airplanes have to land on top of the rim. Of all the Grand Canyon helicopters from Vegas, the one that gets the most attention is the flight that lands at the base for a picnic that includes a Champagne toast.. This tour can even be upgraded to include a float trip on the Colorado River that runs along the base of the canyon.

Some airplane tours do land at the West Rim, but not on the Canyon floor-they land at the top of the Rim. There are helicopters on top of the rim that will fly you down to the canyon floor so you can be treated to the picnic and raft ride.

You can also take an air tour to the South Rim, but it will have to be by plane. The South Rim is out of flight range for the tour helicopters. If you are going to do the South Rim, I strongly recommend booking the 50-minute flight. You won't get to see as much if you choose the thirty minute tour.

The Tour Helicopters

Some of these chopper tours use Bell Rangers, while others use the more advanced EcoStar 130 choppers. The EcoStar helicopters offer superior views through their 180-degree wraparound windows, plus they are much more comfortable and roomy. In some cases, there are Bell Ranger helicopters that are configured with rear-facing jumpseats. So, when booking your tour, look for one that uses EcoStar choppers.

Booking Your Seats

All Grand Canyon flights are popular, but they get even more so during the peak season (summertime). Whether you choose an airplane tour or helicopter tour, you should plan on buying your seats one to two weeks in advance.

Don't wait until you get to Las Vegas to buy your tour seats. Doing that is risky since the tour you want will likely be sold out. Plus, you'll have to pay much more by buying your seats at the last minute.

Buy your seats online instead. Booking online is how you'll find the most options and the best prices. I personally have realized savings of up to 35 percent by booking them this way.

There are plenty of tour options available, so you are sure to find an amazing tour you'll thoroughly enjoy!


Grand Canyon specialist Lea Fallon is a major fan of air excursions and recommends these fantastic airplane rides and these 5-star helicopter tours:

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