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Oahu helicopter tours | couple kissing on ridge with Rainbow Helicopter
Oahu helicopter tours | couple kissing on ridge with Rainbow Helicopter

Hawaii helicopter rides — top 10 questions answered.


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 excursion 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 features. 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!

Q: What are the most popular Oahu tours?

Rainbow Helicopters offers a variety of Oahu air tours and private helicopter charters. Our most popular tours are Royal Crown of Oahu and Isle Sights Unseen. 

Latest guest reviews:
  1. "Wonderful trip that exceeded our expectations. Thanks!"
    PAUL DELAU • Sep 2023
  2. "Absolutely incredible! My favorite experience of our Hawaiian adventure. The 60 minute tour was everything we hoped it would be. Doors off is the way to go if you want an adventure in the sky. Everything we saw plus the knowledgeable pilot, it was amazing."
    Naomi Gerace • Sep 2023
  3. "We had an amazing tour! Our pilot, Kyle was incredible. Very knowledgeable, fun and interacted well with everyone. The views from above were even better than we expected. And we were so glad we did the tour with the doors off."
    Christine Richards • Sep 2023
  4. "Our pilot Tony was very knowledgeable and the tour was relaxing and scenery breathtaking. The flight was calm and well narrated."
    James Crafts • Sep 2023
  5. "I would recommend to all. Great customer service, awesome pilot with great knowledge of the island and overall an excellent tour. Thank you Pilot Joel. You did a great job!!!"
    Shaun • Sep 2023
  6. "One of the best hours spent in Oahu. Our pilot was very skilled & made us feel comfortable & at ease with the flying process. He was full of interesting info & history related to Oahu. Paradise helicopters were professional & friendly, this is a must do & is highly recommended . Great way to see the island , quite beautiful on a good day. If you can …go doors off Loved it :-)"
    Kati • Sep 2023
  7. "Incredible experience. Pilots are knowledgeable of the island and entertaining (not to mention, safe!)."
    Michael • Sep 2023
  8. "Best family adventure ever! Tobias was our pilot and he was so knowledgeable about the island. Do it when you first arrive on the island so you can see everything without having to drive, then you can decide where you want to spend more time…we did our tour with the doors off and all 4 of us enjoyed it. Would definitely do it again and I highly recommend them!"
    Rose Tigner • Sep 2023
  9. "Really enjoyed the flight around Ohau, will worth the money. Would highly recommend. Staff are all welcoming."
    Deborah Gunn • Sep 2023
  10. "Rainbow Helicopters was very professional, friendly, competent, and made me feel safe. Joel was my pilot. He was very knowledgeable about the island and great at piloting the aircraft. I would fly with them again and highly recommend!!"
    Lisa M. • Sep 2023
  11. "This was my wife's surprise anniversary gift for me. The whole experience was amazing and breathtaking. The staff and pilot were very professional and we were very well taken care of from start to finish. I will definitely recommend them to my friends."
    Justin Kon • Aug 2023
  12. "Went on this tour on my honeymoon, and I must say it’s the most exhilarating experience I’ve ever had! Our pilot, Kyle, was extremely informative and friendly! Highly recommend anyone looking to your Oahu to take this tour immediately!"
    Andrea Urbina • Aug 2023
  13. "We have been in several helicopter rides in the past. The emails prior to leaving started giving us some concerns. But our concerns were unfounded. From the moment we showed up on site for the ride until we got back, it was excellent. The last time we had a helicopter ride for an hour, I believe we got 47 minutes total. When you’re paying about $30 a minute that could be very frustrating. Our pilot, Joel, gave us every bit of the hour that we were hoping for. Very enjoyable."
    Mark Hagerty • Aug 2023
  14. "Pilot Kyle was awesome very informative and fun"
    Jenny Bates • Aug 2023
  15. "Fantastic excursion and the pilot was very kindly. Excellent."
    Enrique Escote • Aug 2023
Hawaii helicopter rides

Hawaii helicopter rides can be an excellent way to kick off an unforgettable island adventure. A helicopter excursion 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

Rainbow Oahu Helicopter tour above iconic island coastline

Royal Crown of Oahu


60 minute helicopter ride Oahu. Experience Oahu's most picturesque locations as your helicopter tours the South Shore, North Shore, Windward Coast, Ko’olau mountains, Sacred Falls and more. This royal ring Oahu helicopter tour gives you a front row seat to the island's best landmarks and attractions.

Rainbow Oahu Helicopter Tours - Flying Above The Sacred Falls Waterfall, Oahu Landscape

Isle Sights Unseen


45 minute Honolulu helicopter tour. A unique side of the island awaits when you take to the sky in this unforgettable Oahu helicopter tour. Fly above Diamond Head, the Ka’a’awa Valley, Sacred Falls, Maunalua Bay, Lanikai Beach, Makapu’u and more in this remarkable helicopter tour of the islands best unseen sights.

Rainbow Oahu Helicopter Tours - Path To Pali Passage Landscape

Path to Pali Passage


30 minutes. Experience breathtaking views of Oahu as your helicopter tours Waikiki and Diamond Head crater. See the best of the Windward Coast and explore the inland passages of the Nu’uanu Pali cliffs and rainforests. Experience Hawaii as you’ve never seen it before in this stunning Oahu helicopter tour.

Oahu Helicopter Tours | Rainbow Helicopter landed on cliff

Proposal Flight – Romantic Landing


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.

Rainbow Helicopters Luxury Picnic with Scenic Landing

Luxury Picnic at Scenic Landing


2 hours. See Oahu in style and enjoy a world-class private helicopter tour of the island with an exclusive landing and stunning views. Experience includes fresh gourmet lunch, local juices, champagne, Wailua Estate chocolates and Hawaiian flower leis.

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155 Kapalulu Pl. Ste. 197
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819


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