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Grand Canyon National Park Helicopter, Airplane Flights For Informed Travelers
Home Travel & Leisure Travel Tips
By: Susan Bissonnette Email Article
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Although basic Grand Canyon helicopter and airplane tours are always an option, I really suggest going with a deluxe version if you want the best experience. The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and if you opt for an upgraded tour, you will have the opportunity to experience more of its beauty. You will make memories to last a lifetime.

There are several tours you can take, the planes and choppers take off several times daily from the Grand Canyon National Park Airport by the South Rim and from airfields in the Vegas area. Deluxe versions are offered for both departure points. If you're taking a helicopter that flies out of Las Vegas, make sure it takes off from the Strip. That way the free hotel pickup and drop-off that comes with your tour will be by stretch limo instead of shuttle van. The limo ride adds a touch of fun to your tour.

The Tour Helicopters

Also, choose a chopper tour that uses EcoStar 130 aircraft. They are state-of-the-art chopper made especially for sightseeing. They have a lot more leg room than the Bell Rangers and they have huge 180 degree wraparound windshields and stadium-style seating. Other types of Grand Canyon helicopters might have a rear-facing jump seat in the back. Some people may not mind, but honestly, when you fly over the Grand Canyon, you want the best view possible.

Like the helicopter tours, airplane tours differ in departure points, type of aircraft and the vehicles used for hotel pickup and drop-off. Even if you prefer seeing the sights from one of the Grand Canyon helicopters, keep airplane flights in mind in case the chopper tour you want is sold out. Planes hold more passengers and are less likely to be fully booked.

Deluxe helicopter tours of the South Rim are similar to the flights out of Vegas except you'll need to get to and from GCA on your own (no hotel shuttle service). You can choose from two kinds of tours at the South Rim, a helicopter flight that lasts thirty minutes and one that lasts fifty minutes.

My Favorite Flight

I prefer the 50-minute flight, because it provides a much more comprehensive experience at the Canyon. It takes off from the airport near the South Rim and heads over to the eastern edge of the Park. After that, it heads to the North Rim. Next, the aircraft flies back to the South Rim after passing over the Dragoon Corridor, which is the deepest part of the canyon.

You can also see the exact same area on a plane tour of the South Rim, and it is less expensive too. Either way you go (the 50-minute 'copter flight or this plane tour), you'll have seen as much as 3/4 of the Park by the time you're done.

No matter which air tour you take, charge your camera or smart phone the evening before and wear comfortable, lightweight, dark-colored clothes (light fabrics reflect sunlight). Finally, if you're not fluent in English, ask for a free pre-recorded tour narration in your native language when you check in.

Wrapping Up

Grand Canyon air tours come in basic and deluxe versions. These Grand Canyon flights depart from the airport by the South Rim and from Las Vegas. I recommend the deluxe helicopter tours that fly from the Strip for Vegas-based travelers; for South Rim tours I suggest the longer helicopter flight. You'll have a great time during any deluxe flight, though.

This Grand Canyon National Park expert author suggests these awesome airplane tours and these spectacular helicopter rides

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