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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 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. "Awesome experience, start to finish 5++ stars!! Staff were wonderfully informative and friendly, yet conveyed the required safety info clearly and professionally! Always felt they had it together, at every moment. I work as an aviation maintenance tech at a major airport. I know how a good ground crew can make or break an operation, and these people just plain nailed it. Really GREAT team ! Now on to the RIDE ! Captain of our Ship was Kyle. I cannot possibly say enough positive things about his skill, personality, professionalism and obvious passion and dedication to his craft. A true artist (without the quirks, lol). I can honestly say the only thing wrong was I wish we had the whole evening. Kyle checked every possible box. Rainbows, waterfalls, whales!! He was super knowledgeable about the island (I wish we would have done the tour FIRST!). We had a slightly ‘airsick’ passenger. As such, Kyle accommodated her condition, whilst not watering down the experience for the rest of us. Bravo, Captain! Doors off is absolutely the way to go! I was on the outboard right side, and completely loved it. I’d go every day with Kyle, though I’m sure the rest of the pilot group is of similar caliber talent ( but request Kyle if you can - he’s that good - makes it seem ridiculously easy. And I know it is not!). Am I satisfied? Completely. Would I recommend Rainbow? Without hesitation. Enjoy your adventure- we certainly did!!! And a special final thanks to Kyle - I will never forget that flight !"
    Keith Groesbeck • Mar 2023
  2. "Everything from the signage, facilities, crew and helicopter was great. The crew was welcoming and made the check-in process very easy, and along with their smiles made our first experience awesome. Our pilot Oliver was outstanding and interacted constantly with us, pointing key landmarks; the flught was smooth alll the way from beginning to end. Thabks for the amazing experience!!!"
    Luis Medina • Mar 2023
  3. "It was amazing! Our pilot Joey was very knowledgeable and fun as a guide. We were on a doors off tour and I would recommend it even for someone apprehensive about it. You get full view of the beautiful island and some areas you may not be able to get to on the ground."
    Nik C • Mar 2023
  4. "One of the most epic experiences with my son. from the pilot to the views, I cant recommend this more. Thanks for the awesome tour JoJo. I will be doing this again in the future for sure!!!"
    Aaron Bloom • Mar 2023
  5. "I would have given 5 stars if I could have gotten the video I prepaid for. I know I will get reimbursed but a corrupted video really kinda sucks"
    Bill K • Mar 2023
  6. "It was amazing, words can’t describe the view"
    Ken • Mar 2023
  7. "We had Tobias as are captain and had an absolutely amazing experience. Tobias was very knowledgeable about the island and was able to take us to some amazing places. We choose the doors of experience and it was the perfect choice for are group. I would 100% recommend doing this if you can. You will get views of the island most people never see."
    John Senn • Mar 2023
  8. "My wife and I really enjoyed the ride. Tobias our pilot was excellent and did a great job of pointing out most all of the top landmarks. The flight was smooth and comfortable all the way around the Island. The only downside was the time passed way too fast! Thank you Tobias for an experience of a lifetime."
    Tim Fleming • Mar 2023
  9. "This is a great addition to any Oahu vacation! Our pilot was very pleasant and knowledgeable about the entire island. He pointed out all major areas and would pause so we could snap pictures. Great experience!!"
    Bernie K • Mar 2023
  10. "Was an amazing Helicopter Island Tour with Tobias! Tobias was an expert Driver, he knows everything about the Island! I will recommend the company for my friends! Mahalo Tobias! Tank skal du ha Tobias! :)"
    Norbert Nemeth • Mar 2023
  11. "After 36 years in the Army, one more helicopter ride is not on the agenda. But my wife had never flown and it was my 70th birthday, so what the heck. We were so impressed from the front desk staff to the ground crew to the pilot Jo Jo to the beautiful well maintained aircraft, nothing could have been better. Except of course, the wonderful landscape and waters surrounding O’ahu. Thanks so much for a fantastic lifetime experience."
    Jim Eggleton • Mar 2023
  12. "The ride was super cool and saw a bunch of Rainbows in the sky."
    Devendrasingh Tantod • Mar 2023
  13. "What a great aerial view of Oahu! From the easy online booking tool, quick response from customer service with details, easy check-in process, very pleasant facilities and staff, and a great pilot and guide (kudos to JoJo!), it was a seamless experience and worth it. I was a little worried weather might mess up the plans, but we had a break during that time and got to see quite a bit on the Royal Crown of Oahu tour, Definitely recommend Rainbow Helicopters - and if you are up for it, ‘doors off’ was a great option to take - take a sweatshirt or jacket if so! Mahalo!"
    Wendy • Feb 2023
  14. "Of course it was pricey, however, this experience was extraordinary! I highly recommend. Also, all staff there were super nice. We asked some requests on the day, they tried to be flexible. Thank you so much!"
    Ayako Hayashida • Feb 2023
  15. "Thanks for a special memory! I enjoyed the ride and getting some photos so unlike any you can get from the ground. I was sorry we couldn't see the waterfall and Pearl Harbor but I understand the safety needs concerning weather/rain/cloud cover.....I appreciate you fitting me in after my flight the day before (different company) was cancelled and they had no openings for several days. Thanks all the kind and friendly staff and to Oliver (pilot)! And last but not least I loved having the doors off, really added to the experience!"
    Lynn • Feb 2023
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

Rainbow Helicopters - Royal Crown Of Oahu Landscape Waikiki Helicopter Ride

Royal Crown of Oahu


60 minutes.  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 minutes. 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 Oahu Helicopter Tours - Luxury Picnic with fruits and champagne glasses

Luxury Picnic at Scenic Landing


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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Rainbow Helicopters
155 Kapalulu Pl. Ste. 197
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819


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