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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. "It was a spectacular trip, highly recommend anyone who is thinking about taking a helicopter ride. Josh our pilot for this trip was amazing, very knowledgeable, courteous and professional. Definitely would recommend using rainbow helicopter for an amazing experience."
    Noel T • Jun 2022
  2. "Our tour and our pilot, Harley, were absolutely amazing! It was so beautiful. Harley was so friendly and knowledgeable. It couldn’t have been any better! Mahalo!"
    Karen and Ashley • Jun 2022
  3. "An overall brilliant experience. Oliver, our pilot, was very informative on all things scenic Ouha has to offer. A must if visiting this amazing island to get a true reflection of it's natural beauty. Thanks you very much Guys!"
    Paul Bartley • Jun 2022
  4. "SUPERB, EXCELLENT, AMAZING - our pilot was Harley, he was so knowledgeable about the island. He took us over the beautiful blue seas & mountains, finishing with a flight over Pearl Harbour, really a must for anyone’s trip to Honolulu. Thank you Rainbow Helicopters (Harley) & the staff for a special trip that we will remember always"
    Fiona • Jun 2022
  5. "What a fantastic experience, Harley took us up on our flight and was so knowledgeable and showed us so much of the island. Will be one of those memories that we will always cherish. Highly recommend to anyone. Thank you for a beautiful tour"
    Fiona Smith • Jun 2022
  6. "Great experience ever. With the doors off. Thank you Josh for giving us a wonderful tour of Hawaii"
    Jasmine • Jun 2022
  7. "Simply outstanding! The entire group had a ball and the pilot was as smooth as peanut butter on velvet. We’ll be talking about our tour for years to come. Thanks for an outstanding experience!"
    Elliott Stokes • Jun 2022
  8. "Fabulous! We had doors off. Rainbows followed us the whole way around. We got lucky and had a small helicopter so we were the only passengers, and I got to sit in the front! Smooth ride, partner gets motion sickness but wasn’t affected by it for this. I’m a nervous flyer and I was fine. Wore a long sleeve tee, it was only a little chilly up there, apparently about 5 degrees colder than on the ground (they said). Highly recommend."
    Jennifer Chapman • Jun 2022
  9. "We flew with Riley. He gave an awesome tour. Everyone was very professional and friendly"
    Sandra King • Jun 2022
  10. "After searching numerous helicopter companies, this was one of the highly rated companies that could accommodate a group of four. The only frustrating aspect I dealt with was after using the companies online booking. As I completed all of the information and paid for the booking. Then I received a text that the timeslot that I just paid for was not available. After some back and forth texting and phone calls, they were able to accommodate us one hour earlier than desired. This was okay but caused some rushing around on our part to ensure that we got to the facility in enough time. Once there, all of the staff was pleasant and helpful. Our pilot, Joey, is the only native Hawaiian pilot. I thought that Joey did a fantastic job flying us around and provided great information about the island and all of the landmarks. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience. As someone who does not typically splurge on purchases, I am glad that I chose the 60-minute flight. I believe it was well worth it."
    Derrick • Jun 2022
  11. "Amazing tour. Highly recommend. All the staff were very pleasant and professional. Our pilot, Harley, was great."
    Amanda Alcanter • Jun 2022
  12. "Had we had to cancel due to Covid. The refund process was easy and quick."
    Shelley Alambra • Jun 2022
  13. "Awesome views, great information. Glad we did it"
    Brandi Brumley • Jun 2022
  14. "We had a great flight and enjoyed the scenery! The Pilot was extremely knowledgeable regarding the sites! It was spectacular!"
    Mike Daley • Jun 2022
  15. "Magnificent! Glad we did a full hour. Been in a lot of helicopters. Pilot was excellent. Views were terrific. Safety measures were professional."
    Gary Hanson • Jun 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

Rainbow Helicopters - Royal Crown of Oahu

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

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

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.

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

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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