Is taking a helicopter flight over New York City your dream? It was once mine too! 😁
This summer, I was finally able to make this dream come true – and it was just AMAZING! 🤩 So if you come to visit New York City and you can afford it, I can only recommend taking a helicopter flight over the city. It's an absolute must – a magical moment to experience and, of course, an unforgettable souvenir to bring back!
From the sky, you will have a magnificent view of Manhattan and the main sites of the Big Apple, and you will discover the Skyline from a whole new viewpoint.
Naturally, I did all the necessary research for my own helicopter flight in New York City (to find the best plans possible). I will now explain everything you need to know about the activity in this article! 🍏
Why fly over New York City in a helicopter?
I will be straight with you, the price is not cheap (average $200 per person, or £153). Still, if you ask me, this is one of the best opportunities to get on board a helicopter – especially for the first time!
From the skies, you will get to see all the must-see buildings of New York City – the Empire State Building, the Top of the Rock, the One World Observatory – as well as the city’s famous green lung: Central Park! 🤩
In short, this will truly be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your trip to New York.
I'll now explain the different routes available for a helicopter flight, their durations & which companies that perform these flights. Of course, I’ll also tell you where to book to get the best value for money!
A tip? Don't wait too long before deciding on a day for your flight over New York City. Actually, it's better to book the flight as soon as you know for sure the dates of your stay in New York.
Prices and itineraries of helicopter flights in New York City
The essentials: the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square
The essentials + Yankee Stadium, Trinity Church, Columbia University
The essentials + Coney Island, Brooklyn, New Jersey
Evening flight (New Jersey)
The essential + Tribeca & SoHo
(Rates updated in February 2023).
Don't forget the heliport taxes
A quick reminder: once you arrive, you will be asked to pay a heliport fee in addition to your ticket, before take-off. If you book online, this tax will often already be included in the price. If you decide not to book online and instead prefer to do it on site, though, be prepared for this extra expense during your stay. The average price of this tax is $40 per person.
Heliport taxes are included in all the links and companies I talk about in this article. I find it simpler to have the total price, all included, rather than a lowered price to which you will then have to add taxes, etc...
Itinaries of the 3 helicopter flights
The different helicopter routes in New York City
All of the tours on offer will take you to must-see places in the city. Of course, the longer your helicopter flight over New York City is, the more you'll get to see 🤩
See the essentials during a 15-minute flight
Since the helicopter tours all start in the south of Manhattan, you'll discover New York City from the skies, starting with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Along the way, you'll see must-sees such as the One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Financial District, the Empire State Building, the famous Madison Square Garden, Times Square and even Central Park.
In my opinion, this is the best ticket in terms of price, but also in terms of monuments the helicopter will fly over.
Opt for the 20-minute flight over New York City
In 20 minutes, you'll see the essentials mentioned in the 15-minute flight, before heading even further north to the Georges Washington Bridge. You'll also discover the famous Yankee Stadium, home to the most important baseball games ⚾ You'll also see one of the most famous universities in the US – Columbia University – as well as Trinity Church.
I believe the 20-minute flight to be excellent value for money. You'll have time to see all the highlights of the city at a great price.
By selecting a midweek date when you book (they are marked with a pink dot in the booking site’s calendar), you can get a better price – up to £17 cheaper than a weekend flight!
A 30-minute flight over the city
During a 30-minute helicopter flight over New York City, you will have the opportunity to fly over the entire Manhattan area, but that’s not all! You will also admire Coney Island, the Verrazzano Bridge as well as Brooklyn’s and New Jersey’s neighbourhoods.
Discover New York City by night in half an hour
From New Jersey, you'll board a helicopter for a nighttime helicopter flight over New York City and have the opportunity to see the city all lit up from the sky 🤩 The helicopters are equipped to accommodate up to 6 people inside the aircraft, with floor-to-ceiling windows to enhance the experience and visibility of each passenger. You'll discover the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, the Hudson River, and the neighbourhoods of SoHo and Tribeca.
Have you booked your activities in New York City? 🏙️
Your trip to New York City is getting closer and a helicopter flight over the city is certainly not the only thing you absolutely have to do! New York City is full of must-see sites, each more impressive than the last. Between unusual activities, buildings and museums to visit – I highly recommend booking all your activities in advance so as to not end up unable to do an activity you really were looking forward to. By doing so, you will also enjoy much lower prices, no matter what you’re booking. If your stay in the city is long (a week or more), I even recommend purchasing a New York pass – it's the best option in terms of quality and price for all your visits 😀
How and where to book a helicopter flight in New York City?
It is best to choose companies that work with the Ceetiz website. In my experience, you will normally have no problems with them, and they have nothing but positive reviews. They offer the best tickets as well as the guarantee of a nice flight, and also provide good communication and after-sales service.
Be sure to book your flight in advance! Long before the departure date of your trip to New York, if possible. Otherwise, whether there will be a place left in a helicopter for you during your stay is uncertain. If you try to buy on site, you may end up being told to come back a few hours laters, or even days – who knows when the next available flight will be?
So best not waste your time going back and forth between the city centre and the heliport!
Also note that there are no helicopter flights in New York on Sundays – to preserve the quiet of the weekend 😊
To book online on Ceetiz:
- Choose the option of your choice: 15, 20 or 30 minutes flight;
- Choose the day of the flight (preferably towards the beginning of your stay, so you will have time to reschedule another flight in case your initial flight is cancelled due to bad weather);
- Indicate the number of people who will be attending (adult/child);
- Add your order to the basket;
- Check the information you have provided;
- Make the payment;
- Provide your contact details (remember to provide a mobile phone number that will work once in the United States).
You will receive your order form in your mailbox (to be printed or scanned on your phone) as well as the procedure to follow to confirm your flight a few days before the D-day (don't forget this step!). Some time later, you will receive another email asking you which time slot you want to book. Reply to this email with the time that best suits you.
It is also possible that you will not be asked for a time. In this case, remember to call the company two days before your flight to find out your take-off time.
Which companies offer these flights?
There are several companies that sell tickets for helicopter flights over New York City. You will find most of these companies south of Manhattan. Of course, there are many providers, which are:
- Liberty Helicopter Tours NYC
- Zip Aviation
- New York Helicopter
- Manhattan Helicopter
The first three providers offer helicopter flights over New York City on the activity booking platforms Hello Tickets and GetYourGuide! They all offer similar deals with 15 to 30 minute flights. Note that out of the current offers, Zip Aviation on GetYourGuide is the cheapest for the 15-minute flight: only £172! 😉
Some companies also offer incredible flights such as the evening helicopter flight over New York City, which offers a very different experience from the daytime flight – you can admire the city all lit up! Please note that there is no night flight from Manhattan: all flights take off from New Jersey, at the Kearny heliport.
Where are the heliports located?
The address of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, at the southern tip of Manhattan, is 6 East River Piers, New York, NY 10004. It is from here that most tours depart. Here's how to get to the heliport using public transportation:
You can get there by taxi or by taking the New York underground: take line 1 to South Ferry, or lines 4 or 5 to Bowling Green, then walk to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Once there, walk along the East River to the left, past the Governors Island Ferry Terminal. Continue to Pier 6.
For night helicopter flights departing from New Jersey, go to Linden Airport: 1101 W Edgar Rd, Linden, NJ 07036, USA.
To get to this heliport in New Jersey (from Manhattan), you can take:
- the underground: the trip will take 1 hour and cost between £5 and £9 (86 St / 34 St Penn Station + change New York Penn Station / Linden);
- the bus: lines 112 and 57. The journey will take about 1h30 and cost between £2.50 and £6;
- the taxi: there will be a drive of about 30 minutes and it will cost £95.50 to £122.60.
Please note that you will need to be at the heliport at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before your flight time. That’s because you will need to complete certain formalities, the weigh-in, as well as listen to the safety advice.
What is the helicopter tour over New York City like?
As I said before, you will need to arrive at the Manhattan heliport at least 30 minutes before the flight time indicated on your reservation. This will give you time to:
- check in: all passengers must show photo ID;
- deposit your belongings in the lockers provided free of charge. Apart from your camera, you will need to leave all your personal belongings there;
- Listen to the security measures.
Please note that you will not be able to choose your seats during the flight. Depending on the weight of each passenger, you will be allocated a seat to distribute the weight evenly in the helicopter. Please also note that the helicopter is accessible to people with reduced mobility and that for comfort reasons, passengers weighing more than 113 kg may have to purchase an additional seat.
Inside the helicopter
You will have a headset to communicate with the pilot who will give you a lot of interesting information about the different monuments of the city. It is possible to request an audio guide in another language, if English isn’t your mother tongue – but not all languages are available, so check with the company beforehand. You should also know that the companies offering these services are extremely strict about safety. They all have safety certificates, which should reassure the most vigilant.
Once the flight starts, it is important to know that you will not be flying directly over New York City's skyscrapers – these areas are forbidden for helicopter flights. You will instead follow the Hudson River and enjoy a panoramic view of the city without getting too close to the buildings.
When to do a helicopter tour over New York City?
The best time to take a helicopter tour over New York City is definitely when the weather is most pleasant, i.e. in spring and summer. To avoid peak tourist season, I recommend travelling to New York in May 😁
Flights run between 9 am and 5 pm, and the best time to take off is between 2 pm and 3 pm. That’s when you won't be bothered by the sunlight while taking photos – the sun will be directly over you, and the light will be perfect 👌
What happens if the weather is bad?
If you are unsure of the weather, call the flight company 24 hours before your flight. If you are told that it will rain, they will arrange a different time slot. To avoid any problems, schedule your New York helicopter tour at the beginning of your stay – you will then be able to reschedule your flight should anything happen!
In any case, you should know that flights cannot be refunded (except for major storms, hurricanes, etc.). However, your reservation remains valid for one year. You can therefore postpone it. Just contact your service provider 👍
- What is the minimum cost of a helicopter flight in New York City? The minimum charge for a 15-minute helicopter flight is £159.
- Helicopters can accommodate up to 6 passengers: if you are only booking for 2 people, you will share your flight with strangers.
- Small children must sit on a parent's lap.
- The activity is accessible to people with reduced mobility. It is however not recommended for people with a serious medical condition (heart problem or other).
- A headset and a microphone will be available to communicate with the pilot – only if you feel like it, of course! You can also choose to spend your flight in silence, if that is your preference 😊
There we go, you now know all the details to successfully organise your own helicopter flight over New York City! You can leave with peace of mind 😄