Travelers are always asking my opinion on which types of flights are the least expensive option for Grand Canyon airplane tours. Plane tours are probably the best value for your money and here is the reason.
You can take an air tour 365 days a year and they fly out of Vegas and the city of Tusayan, AZ. If you happen to be in or near Phoenix, you can catch an aerial tour that combines a landing tour, but it is pretty expensive.
South Rim Plane Tours Are Air-Only
The airplanes that leave from the airport in Tusayan follow a flight path that takes you north and east so you fly over the South Rim and along the eastern border of the National Park. After that, the flight takes you along the North Rim and heads back to the South Rim after passing through the famous Dragoon Corridor, which is the widest and deepest portion of the Grand Canyon.
People often ask whether any air tours connect the South and the West Rims. Unfortunately, the answer is no -- at least for now. However, if you depart from Vegas, you can opt to fly directly to the South Rim if you want. It takes around an hour to fly to the South Rim from the city of Vegas and these flights usually include a package that lets you tour the rim on foot for about two hours. If you're looking for some excitement, consider adding on a helicopter tour of the rim once you are there.
Another question I often hear relates to whether Grand Canyon airplane tours of the South Rim are allowed to fly below the level of the rim. Currently, that answer is also no ? the National Park Service and the FAA prohibit low-level South Rim flights to reduce the noise pollution in the area.
West Rim Flights
Vegas departures leave from various metro-area airfields, including Boulder City Municipal Airport and the Executive Air Terminal in Henderson, NV. As an added bonus, the Grand Canyon air tours that depart from Vegas fly over beautiful Lake Mead and the massive Hoover Dam.
In contrast to the South Rim, landing tours are permitted at Grand Canyon West. They fly daily out of Las Vegas and land at Grand Canyon West Airport, at the top of the West Rim. You can then visit several notable landmarks like Eagle Point, the Indian Cultural Center, Guano Point, and the fun Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Personally, though, I prefer the upgraded landing tour package that adds an exhilarating chopper flight to the canyon floor and a smooth-water float trip down the Colorado. The West Rim is the only part of the canyon where it is allowable for choppers to descend to the canyon floor, so don't miss out on an exciting opportunity to experience it when you are there.
Grand Canyon airplane tours often sell out. It is a good idea to book your seats at least one week or two ahead of time. When you book early, there are many options open for you to choose from, plus you can make sure you get a seat that way. Plus, you'll get the best rates by booking ahead.
Another way to get low prices is to buy your seats online. The best prices are always on the Web, and booking there is safe and convenient. You could actually save as much as 30 percent on the cost of your tour. The savings can be significant (especially if you're traveling with a group), so why not take advantage?