Helicopter Flight Over New York: Field Report & Provider Comparison

Helicopter flights over New York are an absolute highlight of every trip. We will tell you about our experiences in a helicopter over New York and introduce you to the different providers and options.

Flying once over New York in a helicopter – that was a dream of ours for a long time.

And because we like to turn our dreams into reality, we simply booked a flight during our last visit to New York.

To anticipate the conclusion: It was absolutely great! We actually took more than 1,000 photos in 60 minutes and will certainly never forget this experience.

Before our flight, we had a close look at the different providers and had to realize that the offer is quite confusing.

To make it easier for you, we have selected the helicopter flights that we think are most interesting.

All the important information, prices and options we will tell you in this article and of course we also report about our experiences on the helicopter flight.

Provider and prices at a glance

Let’s start directly with the most important question: How much does a helicopter ride over New York cost?

You can start at about 200 dollars for a short flight with several passengers. For longer or private sightseeing flights you pay between 500 and 1,500 dollars.

If you are looking for a helicopter flight over New York, you will soon find that there are countless offers, which often look very similar at first glance.

We have therefore selected three flights from the jungle of many providers that we believe offer the best value for money:

  1. A cheap standard flight
  2. A special flight for photographers
  3. A private flight at night

Cheap helicopter flight in New York

A helicopter flight is of course never a cheap pleasure. For this unique experience you usually always pay at least 200 dollars. Nevertheless, you can save a lot by choosing the right provider.

There are many providers of cheap helicopter flights in New York. These flights usually start at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport directly on the East River.

Every 3 minutes the helicopters take off for a sightseeing flight. So there is quite a lot going on there.

The flights that are offered here are very similar: they last between 12 and 20 minutes and one sees the most important sightseeings in Manhattan, as also the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from above.

Important: the round flights that start right in Manhattan never fly straight over Manhattan. The helicopters fly either over the Hudson River or the East River passing Manhattan. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the view is also so magnificent. But some are still disappointed, as the providers do not always communicate this so clearly.

Our recommendation

The cheapest round flight from the Manhattan Heliport costs approximately 220 dollars and takes 15 minutes. Additionally, there is an airport tax of 40 dollars per passenger, which has to be paid directly on site. This is the case of all providers.

The ratings for this provider are consistently good. In our opinion, this sightseeing flight offers the best value for money.

Advantages of a cheap helicopter flight over New York:

  1. The price is unbeatable.
  2. Because the flight starts directly in downtown Manhattan, the journey is quick and easy.

Disadvantages of a cheap helicopter flight over New York:

  1. You don’t fly directly over Manhattan, you fly past Manhattan.
  2. The helicopters usually carry 6 passengers. The division of the passengers is done locally according to weight, so that the helicopter is well balanced. It is possible to get a middle seat. There the view is of course not as good as at the window.

Helicopter flight for photographers in New York

On our last trip to New York, we were explicitly looking for a sightseeing flight for photographers and came across a great offer: a helicopter flight over New York without doors!

It sounds crazy, but it is absolutely brilliant for taking pictures. After all, taking pictures through glass panes is not that ideal. So why not just leave out the glass panes?

You can find our detailed experience of the flight below. In any case, we can highly recommend it.

The sightseeing flights are offered by Wings Air and start at the small airport of Westchester about 50 kilometers north of Manhattan. The flight takes 60 minutes, whereby you need about 10 minutes to fly from Westchester to Manhattan.

The big advantage of this tour is that the provider can fly directly over Manhattan. Only above and around Trump Tower there is a small restricted area where no helicopters are allowed to fly.

Unfortunately, the approach is the big disadvantage of this offer. With public transport it takes a good two hours. Wings Air, therefore, offers a transfer service from the hotel and back, which we also used. This costs 200 dollars and the trip takes about one hour.

You get the cheapest price if you book directly on the website of Wings Air. The flight there costs 870 dollars and there is room for up to three passengers in the helicopter. You always rent the entire helicopter, whether you come alone, in twos or threes. The price is always the same.

Advantages of a helicopter flight for photographers:

  1. No annoying windows and doors.
  2. You fly directly over Manhattan and can tell the pilot your wishes.
  3. You have much more time to take pictures in peace.

Disadvantages of a helicopter flight for photographers:

  1. Higher price than a short scenic flight.
  2. Long approach to Westchester.

Helicopter flight at night

Almost all helicopter flights over New York take place during the day. But the city has its own special charm, especially in the dark.

We have found a helicopter flight where you can also fly at night. Departure times can be booked here until 22:30.

The flight is private without other passengers and costs 790 dollars. The flight takes about 45 minutes and the start is also from Westchester.

Advantages of a helicopter flight at night:

  1. Unique panorama at night.
  2. You fly directly over Manhattan.

Disadvantages of a helicopter flight at night:

  1. Higher price than a short scenic flight.
  2. Long journey to Westchester.

Our experiences with the helicopter flight over New York

So what’s it like flying over New York in a helicopter? Good question. So here is our little field report on the helicopter flight over New York.

Since time is usually very limited on a city trip to New York, after all, you want to see as much as possible, we decided to start at 7:00 am. So we were back in our hotel in Manhattan at 9:45 am and despite the long journey, we didn’t lose much time.

At 5:30 a.m. we were picked up by a private driver at the hotel and then we were on our way to Westchester. The airport is mainly used for private and charter flights by business people and by Wings Air for its helicopter flights.

Around 6:40 our pilot arrived and after a short introduction, we walked across the airfield to a small orange helicopter. We were surprised how small the helicopter was. Our pilot then unceremoniously removed the doors and we received a short safety briefing.

There is honestly not much to consider. The seatbelts were like a car and we also got life jackets. Packed in a kind of belly bag, we just tied the vests around us.

We could stow our bags under the seats and then we were ready to go. We got headphones that muffled the noise a bit and we could talk to each other during the flight.

It took a few minutes for the rotors to reach their full power and then slowly but surely we went up. The initially somewhat queasy feeling of flying without doors quickly gave way to the excitement about the great view.

It took about 10 minutes until we reached the northern tip of Manhattan. We passed the Yankees Stadium and the first big highlight was Central Park. This view from above is really amazing.

Later we got amazingly close to the Empire State Building, saw Times Square and the Flatiron Building very well from above.

From there we went on to the southern tip of Manhattan, past the One World Trade Center, Government Island and the Statue of Liberty.

So we had a really beautiful view to the skyline of the city. From there we flew over the East River back towards Westchester.

In total we flew over Manhattan for about 40 minutes and together we took more than 1,000 photos.

The return flight again took about 10 minutes and shortly after 8:00 am we landed safely in Westchester again.