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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.

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 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. "The tour was fantastic! Joel kept us safe and gave us wonderful views of the island! When our daughter saw his picture, she thought he was cute but needed a beard, LOL. On a side note, I was in seat 1 and could not hear his narrative very well in spite of adjusting the knobs on the headset. More instruction is needed there. Thanks for a great experience!"
    Susan Brown • Feb 2024
  2. "Tour was fantastic and fun! The welcome staff were warm and friendly. My first-time on a heli so getting a birds eye view of Oahu was amazing. We saw rainbows, waterfalls, and the beautiful beaches. Darrell did a nice job of giving insight to cool facts about Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, and the tidbits about the local communities. The only downer...if you are seated in seat 1 and 2 request to be moved because you're next to the pilot console, we felt a bit cramped. Other than that this tour made our Valentine's day super memorable."
    John • Feb 2024
  3. "Joel was a great pilot ! He was thorough on everything before take off , and we felt super safe with the staff . During the flight he answered all our questions about the island and sites we seen . He told us lots of info about the island and history and showed us cool spots and sites. Definitely worth every penny , and a memory me and my daughter will cherish and remember forever ! Also they let you view video after before purchasing , so if thinking of getting a video , wait until you view it after your flight to see if your satisfied with the quality before paying ! Thank you again Joel + Staff !"
    Cboyne • Feb 2024
  4. "smashing tour of Oahu with Kieran, who pointed out the sights and made a few extra circles around two different whale sightings. We enjoyed the doors-off experience in the Airbus jet helicopter… :)"
    Donn C. • Feb 2024
  5. "This tour was our first time in a helicopter and now likely won’t be our last. Turner was the best pilot! Felt safe and secure even with the yaws and bumps. Doors off is the way to go! He was very knowledgeable and the right amount of chatty for us. We say parts of the island we would not have seen otherwise! Rainbow and staff very attentive and professional from the start. Everyone said hello and goodbye and asked how our flight was. It was an hour that didn’t seem like one at all!"
    Alex Vuolo and Laura Morency • Feb 2024
  6. "Hey guys this was an awesome tour. I loved it. It was windy somewhat but the pilot was an awesoem pilot he kept it nice and smooth for us Def would recommend this helicopter tour to anyone out there. They give very detailed information about the island while on the tour."
    Karl Martin • Feb 2024
  7. "This flight was so much fun and I highly recommend doing this. Everyone was very professional and safety was a top priority. The views of the island from the air are amazing. The pilot, JoJo, was very experienced and shared information about the island and what we were looking at. Thanks Rainbow for an experience we will never forget."
    Gary & Carol • Jan 2024
  8. "Pilot was full of information and made adjustments for the weather. We are glad we did it! It was amazing!"
    Krystal Smith • Jan 2024
  9. "This was the single best experience of recent years for me. First time in a helicopter and first time in Hawaii. I wish it was longer than an hour it was so mesmerizing. Our pilot Emma was really great and explained sites to us and answered questions. Such a blessing to be able to do."
    Michelle Kuffler • Jan 2024
  10. "This was an amazing experience. Our pilot Darrell was skillful, knowledgeable, friendly and informative. He made sure we had the chance to see the sights from both sides of the helicopter so everyone had a view. He had great recommendations and insider tips. The advance crew was professional and focused on safety. They answered our questions and ensured we were ready for a safe flight."
    Jeffrey Smith • Jan 2024
  11. "We’re a 65 year old couple looking for a unique experience but unsure the doors off option would be too “adventurous” for us. We’re so glad we did! Pilot Daryl made the trip super smooth and we felt totally safe and comfortable the entire trip. He did an excellent job narrating and explaining the areas of the island we visited. We even got to see sea turtles and beaching whales! We’ve traveled a lot and we’d post this as one of our lifetime experiences."
    Todd Lehman • Jan 2024
  12. "An incredible way to see Oahu! I wish I had done this as soon as I arrived because you get a really good understanding of the island and where everything is. Our pilot Josh did a wonderful job at explaining all the different sights and was great at giving us a heads up whenever there was turbulence (only happened twice and very briefly). I generally get motion sickness when I travel but Josh was very smooth with take off and landing. I highly recommend the experience! You’ll never forget it"
    Cecilia Montoya • Jan 2024
  13. "We did a private doors-off Royal Crown of Oahu tour with Turner. This was a fantastic tour. Covered a significant loop of Oahu, and gave us a chance to do reconnaissance for our drive around the island that followed immediately after. Turner was a fantastic guide and a very comfortable pilot with whom to be out. I'd do this again, and recommend it to anyone."
    David Highnote • Jan 2024
  14. "Absolutely amazing! Our pilot JoJo was engaging skillfull and professional. His narration of the tour provided a lot more depth and understanding to the island. Overall a beautiful experience and we would highly recommend Rainbow Helicopter Tours everyday! 5 star service to be sure. Thanks guys."
    K Ottesen • Jan 2024
  15. "Our doors off flight was amazing. JoJo was our knowledgeable and wonderful pilot. It was a clear ang sunny day so we had beautiful views of the island. It was amazing to see the different terrains which can only be seen by air. The hour tour went by quickly and I would recommend this tour highly."
    Susan S • Dec 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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Rainbow Helicopters Luxury Picnic with Scenic Landing

Luxury Picnic at Scenic Landing

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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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