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Oahu helicopter tours | Rainbow Helicopters
Oahu helicopter tours | Rainbow Helicopters

Hawaii helicopter rides — top 10 questions answered.

HAWAII HELICOPTER TOURS  •  Q & A

Adding a Hawaii helicopter experience to your vacation bucket list? Here are answers to top traveller questions.

Hawaii helicopter rides are one of the most breathtaking and memorable ways to really see the islands for what they are – world-class landmarks of unparalleled beauty surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Many of the islands most stunning locations can only be seen or accessed from the air, so a helicopter tour is always a top recommendation for must-do activities in Hawaii. Below we provide answers to some of the most commonly asked questions from travellers and guests interested in taking a helicopter tour while in Hawaii.

Q: Which Hawaiian island is best for a helicopter tour?

A: The island of Oahu offers stunning variety in terms of terrain, with beautiful views of valleys, waterfalls, forests, iconic landmarks, beaches and the Waikiki cityscape. The Big Island of Hawaii is also great for helicopter tours. There are many sights to see and things to do there, such as a visit the active volcano and lava fields of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, see dolphins, and whales and take in the emerald green valleys and waterfalls of North Kohala or soar over the rugged coastline of Waipio Valley. Maui, Kauai and Molokai also have a number of helicopter tour options. If you are visiting one island but would like to fly to another island, there are many custom private charter options available – you usually need to interact directly with the operator to configure these flights.

Q: How much does it cost to take a tour in a helicopter?

A: The price of a helicopter tour depends on the type of flight you take and the duration of your tour, but generally they range from around $200 – $500+ per person. There are many flights that depart from Honolulu on Oahu as well as Maui, Kauai and the Big Island – and the prices vary by island.

Q: Are helicopter tours worth the money?

A: The short answer is yes. Helicopter tours are worth the money because of the amazing views you get to experience. From a bird’s eye view, you can see waterfalls, valleys and iconic landmarks up close. You also get to see other beautiful landscapes that you can’t see from the ground. If you love taking photos, a helicopter tour gives you the perfect opportunity to capture some of the most stunning shots of your life. It’s also a great way to see if you really want to go on an adventure and explore one of those spots in Hawaii that are only accessible by air.

Q: How much does a helicopter ride cost in Honolulu?

A: The price of your tour will depend on the length of your flight, the tour company you select and which helicopter tour you choose. Generally, you can expect most helicopter tours of Oahu to cost somewhere between $200-$500+ per person. Hawaii helicopter rides in Honolulu vary based on tour length and route and prices for helicopter tours range from $200 per person for short, 30-minute or less flights and go up to $500+ per person for longer flights and private charters that last a full hour or more. It’s important to note that these prices can vary based on availability, seasonality and other factors.

Q: How much does a helicopter tour cost in Hawaii?

A: With a general price range from $200 to $500+ per person,  Hawaii helicopter rides are an amazing adventure to add to your Hawaiian vacation – and is often the highlight of peoples trip. Most standard tours last anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes, but if you want to spend more time in the air, there are many extended and private charters as well. The prices for these tours vary depending on the duration of the flight and the type of aircraft used. There are also many add-ons and upgrades offered by different operators which add to the overall price.

Q: What are the best times to take a helicopter tour in Hawaii?

A: Plan your helicopter tour as early as possible in your trip. This way if you get bad weather you can reschedule later in your stay. Helicopter tours in Hawaii run year round, but there are certain times that are better than others. Mornings and evenings work well because the sun isn’t directly overhead and won’t interfere with your pictures. Visibility is sometimes better in the morning than it is in the afternoon. The reason is because the winds are calmer in the morning and don’t pick up until later on in the day. Also, if you take Hawaii helicopter rides during the morning you might avoid a lot of the traffic that happens throughout the day.That said, many people enjoy taking helicopter rides at sunset – and the photo opportunities at sunset are breathtaking. Sunset helicopter tours are often seasonally available, so you’ll have to see what’s available. If you can book a sunset tour on Oahu, you’ll get to see Waikiki’s famed skyline turn from day to night with gorgeous blues and pinks in the sky.

Q: Which is the best seat on a helicopter?

A: While all seats are excellent places to enjoy the view, if you want the absolute best view, Sit in the front passenger seat of the helicopter. This is where you’ll get the best ‘pilot’s eye’ view of everything in front of you, including waterfalls and rainbows. The front row seats are typically the most desirable because passengers can see out without having to peer over a fellow passenger. The front seats also offer more legroom than the back seats. That said, windows in newer model helicopters tend to be larger than those on older models. If you can’t reserve the front passenger seat (some companies won’t allow you to do this) then take an aisle position in the rear. On Airbus AS350’s there’s room for six guests with 4 in the rear, and on Robinson R44’s there’s room for 3 guests with 2 in the rear, with all seats being window seats.

Q: Can I go on a helicopter tour if I have a fear of heights?

A: Absolutely! Think you’re not cut out for a Hawaii helicopter ride? Fear of heights shouldn’t keep you from taking to the skies. The truth is that many people who think they have vertigo are surprised to see that they have no problem with a helicopter ride at all. Helicopter tours are designed to be smooth and comfortable, often skimming above the treetops or following the coastline along the water. You may feel like you’re “right in” the scenery, but you won’t feel like you’re actually on it!

Q: Do helicopter rides cause motion sickness?

A: Hawaii helicopter rides are generally very smooth – so many people who presume they may have an issue feel just fine during the tour. To give you an idea, most people who suffer from motion sickness have attacks in ship travels, as they usually stay on their feet longer. The incidence is lower in trips that we are seated most of the time, as in car, bus, airplane and helicopter trips. However, if you are prone to motion sickness you might want to take a motion sickness pill just as a precaution.

Q: Are there weight restrictions for helicopter tours?

A: There sure are. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all operators to weigh passengers before boarding helicopters. This is to ensure safety and proper balance of the aircraft. If you exceed the weight capacity of a particular helicopter, you might have to buy an additional seat or be split up from your group and ride in separate aircraft at an additional cost.

Q: What should I wear for my Hawaii helicopter ride?

You should dress comfortably, like you would for any outdoor activity in Hawaii – but your choice of clothing depends on whether you book a doors on or doors off tour. For doors on Hawaii helicopter rides, the temperature aboard the helicopter is very comfortable during flights-t-shirts and shorts are just fine. However, if you choose a doors-off tour, your flight will be windy and cold so jackets and/or sweatshirts are required and long pants are recommended. Closed toed shoes are also required for doors-off tours. Hats are often not allowed on board your flight. Lastly, for anyone with long hair – a hair tie is recommended to put up your hair so you don’t get what we call “helicopter hair,” which is not fun afterwards!

Latest guest reviews:
  1. "Thoroughly enjoyed the tour by air of Oahu! Beautiful sights, safely flown; courteous staff, knowledgeable; Highly recommend. Nice video of flight also."
    Mitzi • Nov 2022
  2. "Awesome time on the helicopter! Oliver was a great pilot and went out of his way to be personable and check on everyone frequently during the flight. Gives you a whole new perspective of the area! Oliver did a great job giving both sides of the chopper great photo opportunities! A must do! "
    Josh Eidson • Nov 2022
  3. "What an awesome experience we had."
    Lu Ann Sims • Nov 2022
  4. "Kyle was so informative with facts that visitors want to know. He made sure to give us a heads up of his maneuvering and checked on my wife when she seemed a little afraid. He is a skilled pilot and personable. Upon arriving, there were several signs to help us get to where we needed to be. The staff was very helpful and did a great job preparing us for our flight. Great experience!"
    Bryon • Nov 2022
  5. "Tobias was an amazing pilot and the experience itself was spectacular. Thank you!"
    Julie P • Nov 2022
  6. "We had an absolute blast on the tour of Oahu! What a great experience! I would definitely recommend it."
    Leah B • Nov 2022
  7. "Excellent, saw everything I wanted to see from the air. Highlight of my week on the island."
    Corey Scott • Nov 2022
  8. "We spent 8 hours in a van "touring" the island on Wednesday. We spent an hour in the air on Thursday with Rainbow helicopters. The one hour in the air provided better views, context and content than any of Wednesday. I strongly recommend doing the one hour flight. If you can do "doors off," it provides so much more visibility at the risk of tangled hair (wear a hoodie, put the hood on!). Rainbow was very accommodating and did everything they could to make our trip safe and enjoyable. Our pilot Kerry was awesome, making sure we were comfortable, knew what we were looking at and also made sure I got the opportunity to get some priceless pictures. Excellent flight, awesome memories and fantastic pictures. Thank you Rainbow Helicopters (and especially Kerry!!!)"
    Chris Goblirsch • Nov 2022
  9. "Loved everything about it . Got to go open door makes all the difference."
    Jill shaw • Oct 2022
  10. "Wonderful flight with a fantastic pilot ! Tobias gave us many explanations, showed us the most beautiful place. The 60 minutes tour is breathtaking and an unforgettable experience with such a great pilot… Thanks a lot, Tobias"
    Marine Duvocelle • Oct 2022
  11. "Excellent experience!!! I would definitely recommend it to put on your vacation to do list!!"
    Tabitha • Oct 2022
  12. "Great experience. Our pilot Riley did a great job."
    Ronald Linares • Oct 2022
  13. "Oliver was very professional and genuinely concerned about his passenger’s experience. My husband and I truly enjoyed our “doors” off tour of the island. It was amazing!!"
    Jackie & Brian Wilson • Oct 2022
  14. "We did the Royal crown of Oahu on Saturday, October 8th and our pilot was Rylie. Fantastic trip. First time being in a helicopter for us, and with the doors off, it was even more spectacular. Felt safe the entire trip, and our pilot did a great job pointing out the sites. It’s a must do trip. Next time we are in Hawaii it will be on our list to do again."
    Rich Carpenter • Oct 2022
  15. "It was a breathtaking experience and view that only a helicopter ride could provide. The pilot was informed and engaging. I would recommend this experience to all wishing to view and circle the island from the air in 1-hour."
    Dr. Morcease Beasley • Oct 2022
Hawaii helicopter rides

Hawaii helicopter rides can be an excellent way to kick off an unforgettable island adventure. A helicopter tour is just right for guests who are looking for a little adventure when it comes to their Hawaii vacation activities. A heli ride makes for an amazing half day trip that will leave your party with unforgettable memories of a unique vacation. You’ll see many different sides of the islands, and you’ll get to experience iconic sites and stunning views.

Hawaii has many incredible sights to offer, but a helicopter tour allows you to see the island from a new perspective and access places only a helicopter can reach. With a helicopter tour departing from Honolulu, you can experience the best of Oahu from above – just grab your seatbelt, buckle up and enjoy your Hawaii helicopter ride! There’s nothing quite like looking down on Oahu from high in the air and taking in the sights with the doors off.

Oahu helicopter tours

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Royal Crown of Oahu

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Isle Sights Unseen

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Oahu Helicopter Tours | Rainbow Helicopter landed on cliff

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60 minutes. Wow your significant other with an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind romantic Oahu helicopter charter. Experience an exclusive landing tucked away above a stunning private valley.

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Luxury Picnic at Scenic Landing

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2 hours. Experience Hawaii on our most popular Oahu helicopter tour. This exclusive landing experience includes a fresh gourmet meal, local juices, champagne, Wailua Estate chocolates and flower leis.

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