Is taking a helicopter flight over New York your dream? It was mine too 🙂
This summer, I was able to make my dream come true – and it was just AMAZING! So if you come to visit New York and you can afford it, I can only advise you to take a helicopter flight over the city. It's a must – a magical moment to experience and 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 see the Skyline in a different way.
Of course, the price is not cheap (count $200 or £153 on average) but it will surely be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life! Anyway, since I did the research for my helicopter flight in New York (to find the best plans possible), I will now explain everything in this article!
Which companies offer flights?
Several companies offer flights over New York. For the most part, you will find them south of Manhattan.
There are four main providers:
- "New York Helicopter”
- "Liberty Helicopter Tours NYC”
- "Manhattan Helicopter”
The types of flights they offer are similar, and their services almost identical.
You can choose between flights of:
- about 15 minutes,
- about 20 minutes,
- about 30 minutes,
- Or Deluxe flights: customers often take them for specific occasions (wedding proposal, birthday, gift...)
The prices vary according to the duration of the flights. In case you have a bigger budget, you can choose a longer duration to see more and enjoy this incredible experience a bit longer 🙂
But let me reassure you: even the "small" helicopter ride is worth it! It truly is a unique experience that you can't do often. Furthermore, even if you have already done such a flight in another place – the rendering is never the same!
Some companies also offer incredible flights:
- The evening helicopter flight over New York City offers a very different experience from the daytime flight: you can enjoy the lights of the city!
- Please note that there is no night flight from Manhattan, you will have to take off from New Jersey.
- The flight in a helicopter with an open cockpit: you’ll be able to take pictures without worrying about reflections (since there are no windows). Note that these open-door flights only depart from the Kearny Heliport in New Jersey. So you will have to go to New Jersey by yourself, or with the company shuttle.
Where is their heliport?
Depending on the package you choose, you will have to go to either:
- Downtown Manhattan Heliport (at the southern tip of Manhattan), 6 East River Piers, New York, NY 10004.
You can get there by taxi or by taking the New York City underground: take lines 1 “South Ferry”, 4 or 5 “Bowling Green”, and then walk to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Walk along the East River to the left, past the Governors Island Ferry Terminal. Continue to Pier 6.
- or Linden Airport, 1101 W Edgar Rd, Linden, New Jersey 07036.
To get to the New Jersey Heliport (from Manhattan), you can take:
- The Underground: with a travel time of roughly 1 hour, for £5 to £8.50. Itinerary : "86th St"/"34th St Penn Station" + change "New York Penn Station"/"Linden" ;
- The bus: lines 112 and 57. The journey takes about 1.5 hours and costs from £2.55 to £6;
- A taxi: travel time will take about 30 minutes and cost from £93 to £119.
Please note that you must be at the heliport at least ½ hour or even an hour before the scheduled time. You will need to complete certain formalities, the weigh in and listen to the safety advice.
How and where to book a helicopter flight in New York?
It is best to book with companies that work with the Ceetiz website.
Normally, you will not have any problems with them. They have the best rates and offer the guarantee of a good flight (+ good communication and good after-sales service).
A word of advice: book your flight in advance. Well before you leave for New York, if possible! Otherwise, it is not certain that you will get a place on a flight during your stay. You may be told to come back in a few hours or days, so avoid wasting time going back and forth between your lodgings 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 on the Ceetiz website:
- choose the formula you want: 15, 20 or 30 minutes flight,
- choose the day of your flight (preferably at the beginning of your stay, so that you will have time to reschedule another flight should the weather be bad),
- note the number of people who will be attending (adults/children),
- add your order to the basket,
- check the information you have provided,
- make the payment,
- give your contact details (remember to give a mobile phone number that will work once in New York)
You will receive your order form in your email box (to print or scan on your phone) as well as the procedure to confirm your flight a few days before the day of the flight.
Some time later, you will receive another email asking which time you would prefer for your helicopter flight. Choose the time you want and reply to the email.
It is also possible that you will not be asked for a time. In this case, remember to call the company two days before the day of your flight, to find out your flight time.
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 another flight with you.
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 (hence why it’s a good idea to plan your flight at the beginning of your stay!). Just contact your service provider.
New York's main attractions from the air/itineraries
On a helicopter flight you can choose between several itineraries/durations:
- The 15-minute flight will allow you to see the city's main sights: the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island & Governors Island, the 9/11 Memorial, the Freedom Tower, Battery Park, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Times Square, Central Park and the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum.
- The twenty-minute flight will allow you to discover Manhattan and Central Park as well as the Harlem district, Columbia University, the Bronx, Yankee Stadium, the George Washington Bridge...
- If you opt for a minimum 30-minute flight, you will also be treated to views of Madison Square Garden, Staten Island, Coney Island and its amusement park, Brooklyn, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the Palisades Mountains of New Jersey.
When you select your desired flight, you will have access to the programme description or even directly to the flight plan. To see the full description, you can follow this link.
When is the best time to enjoy the views?
The flights take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The best time is around 2 p.m./3p.m., because then you won't be bothered by the sun when taking photos. The sun will be over your head and the light will be perfect!
What is the price of a helicopter flight in New York ?
As each company has its own website, do not hesitate to visit them to consult their prices. This will allow you to make the right choice for you.
Here are the flights and the average rates applied by the different providers in the city:
Flight from Lower Manhattan to Central Park: Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building...
About £167 / person
Flight from the south of Manhattan to the George Washington Bridge. You will fly over the sites of the 15-min tour + Central Park, Yankee Stadium, Columbia University, Trinity Church...
About £208 / person
Flight from the South of Manhattan to the North. You will fly over the sites of the 20-min tour + Coney Island, Verrazano Bridge, Brooklyn, New Jersey...
About £271 / person
As you may have noticed, there are no special rates for children! Only children under 2 years old do not have to pay.
Also note that depending on the flight company, you may or may not have to pay the airport tax, which is $35-40 / person. So remember to check if your package includes this amount (otherwise you will have to pay this tax on the spot the day of your flight)!
If you plan to do other activities during your stay in the city, take an Explorer Pass. Helicopter flights are included in the list of activities offered by this pass. You'll even get a discount on the price of the flight!
Another good plan: on the Ceetiz website, you will regularly find reduced rates and special offers. Airport taxes are included in the overall price (no extra cost on site). And as the prices are in pounds, you will avoid the bank charges that apply to transactions in dollars.
So what is the best helicopter ?
The best helicopter tour is the one with the best price/quality ratio: the 20-minute tour. The price difference with the 15 minutes flight is not that big and the program is still more complete. Central Park is just impressive from the top 🙂 My best pictures and my best memory of the flight is precisely this gigantic green place in the middle of the city centre. The contrast is just... unique!
The helicopters can take up to six passengers. So if there are only two of you, you will have to share the flight with strangers.
Small children must sit on a parent's lap.
The activity is accessible for people with reduced mobility.
It is however not recommended for people with a serious medical condition (heart problems or such). Passengers weighing more than 113 kg must pay for an extra seat.
You will be provided with a headset and a microphone to communicate with the pilot (only if you feel like it, of course!)
You will have to leave your bags and personal items in a locker (free of charge). You can only take your camera with you! Some mobile phones are not allowed on board, such as the Samsung Note 7.
Last tip: take lots of pictures but don't forget to enjoy your flight!! 😄