Island Helicopter Tours
Hilo Departures - Kilauea Volcano
No Doors Volcano & Falls - 50 min.
A helicopter with no doors ... the wind in your face ... 2200 degree molton lava below ... enliven your senses on your Kilauea Volcano flight by feeling the heat and smelling the sulphur of the world's most active volcano! Fly in a Hughes 500 (the Magnum PI helicopter) which seats four passengers and offers all-window seats. Your adventure begins with checkin and safety briefing in at the Hilo Airport general aviation / tour area in Terminal 2. Your flight departs the airport and offers views of Hilo Bay, tropical rainforests of Puna, and the world famous Mauna Loa Macademia Nut Farm en route to Kilauea. Once you reach the volcano you'll see the areas of activity including any lava ocean entry points and Puu Oo, the volcanic vent that has been the focus of most current activity since 1983. On your return to Hilo you'll see beautiful Rainbow Falls and other cascades of northern Hilo. This is a 50 minute flight. This flight is not suitable for children under the age of 10. Passengers weighing over 250 pounds are subject to the capacity surcharge policy at the bottom of this page. Passengers should wear comfortable clothing including a sweater/jacket and long pants. Base Fare $246.75 per person + 14% fuel surcharge
Hilo Fire and Falls Adventure - 50 min.
Fly to the volcano in luxury and climate controlled comfort on board a 6 passenger Bell Jet Ranger. Your adventure begins with checkin and safety briefing in at the Hilo Airport general aviation / tour area in Terminal 2. Your flight departs the airport and offers views of Hilo Bay, tropical rainforests of Puna, and the world famous Mauna Loa Macademia Nut Farm en route to Kilauea. Once you reach the volcano you'll see the areas of activity including any lava ocean entry points and Puu Oo, the volcanic vent that has been the focus of most current activity since 1983. On your return to Hilo you'll see beautiful Rainbow Falls and other cascades of northern Hilo. This is a 50 minute flight. Five out of 6 seats on this helicopter are window seats, and the one that is not has an excellent view out of both sides of the aircraft. Passengers weighing over 250 pounds are subject to the capacity surcharge policy at the bottom of this page. Passengers should wear comfortable clothing and dark colored shirts reduce glare on the windows. Base Fare $204.00 per person + 14% fuel surcharge
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Hilo Cruise ship passengers are able to do any of these Kilauea helicopter tours but availability is very limited when ships are in port and your reservation should be made weeks in advance of your date! A short cab ride of less than 5 minutes is required, or you can ride a rental car shuttle if you are renting a car for use before / after your flight.
Kona Departures - Complete Island Tours
All Kona flights are done in a comfortable and luxurious 6 passenger Bell Jet Ranger that departs from the Kona Airport. Five out of 6 seats on this helicopter are window seats, and the one that is not has an excellent view out of both sides of the aircraft. Passengers weighing over 250 pounds are subject to the capacity surcharge policy at the bottom of this page. Passengers should wear comfortable clothing and dark colored shirts to reduce glare on the windows.
The Hawaii Experience
Five volcanoes, beautiful mountain scapes, amazing white and black sand beaches, dozens of waterfalls, 2,000 foot cliffs, breathtaking coastlines, and 11 different climate zones ... this is what we call the true Hawaii Experience. It is impossible to see many of these sites from the ground; in about two hours you can feel the awesome granduer of the Big Island from the comfort of your "flying limosine." This flight includes the volcanic activity at Kilauea, and the waterfalls and rainforests of the Hamakua Coast. Base Fare $425.38 per person + 14% fuel surcharge
Due to the distance between the Kona Airport and the cruise ship dock, helicopter tours are not practical for cruise ship passengers arriving in Kona. We recommend you fly in Hilo, or do a helicopter tour of Maui or Kauai instead.
Due to spatial limitations, additional fuel charges, and aircraft maintenance demands, the following capacity surcharge policy applies to these flights. Guest weight is based on calibrated scale reading at check-in.
- All guests weighing between 250 and 300 lbs will be assessed at Capacity Surcharge (CS) of $50 for Kona flights and $25 for Hilo and Oahu flights. The guest will be guaranteed a window seat.
- All guests weighing over 300 lbs will be assessed a Capacity Surcharge of ½ of 1 seat at regular price. The guest will be guaranteed a window seat.
- All guests weighing 350 and up are required to buy 2 seats. They will be guaranteed a window seat and an empty seat next to them.
Yes, helicopter tours are expensive. Honestly though, people don't come to Hawaii to save money. They come in search of the complete Hawaiian experience. The reality is that there is so much beauty in Hawaii that cannot be seen in any other way that the high cost of helicopter tours becomes worth it for those who seek the ultimate in their vacation experiences. When you consider the thousands of dollars spent on airfare, meals, and accommodations on a Hawaii vacation, it only makes sense to spend a few hundred dollars more and REALLY see the island while you are here.
These helicopter tours depart from the Hilo and Kona airports ... Hilo is close to Kilauea Volcano, and flights from Hilo are the most affordable way to see the active volcano from the air. If you are staying in the Kona or Waikoloa resort areas, you'll have a long drive to get to Hilo. The advantage though of this approach is you can also drive up to see the volcano from the ground after doing your tour. Allow an entire day for the drive to and from this side of the island.
For those who don't have the time or the desire to spend the better part of a day driving to and from Hilo, the helicopter tours that leave from Kona are the way to experience the active volcano. Flights are two hours in length ... remember this is the BIG Island after all ... it takes time to fly to the other side of the island although not nearly as long as it takes to drive there. Of course with a longer flight comes a higher price. For a little more money you can also add the Valley Landing option. There is nothing cooler than having your helicopter land in the middle of nowhere in the jungle and getting out for a relaxing break. Feel free to bring along whatever you'd like to eat or drink on this tour to enjoy during this break. And for those for whom money is no object, the helicopter tour combined with a remote landing and Waipio Rim waterfall hike is about the most exclusive vacation activity available anywhere in the state.
Tours on this page are done is two different models of helicopter. The first is a Hughes 500, which is the helicopter of Magnum PI fame. It seats four, two passengers sit up front with the pilot, and two more sit in the rear. With this configuration all passengers get a window seat. While this helicopter can be flown with doors on or doors off, the doors off is hugely popular and the tour operator leaves them off for all flights. Because this helicopter is not climate controlled, passengers need to dress for cooler temperatures and winds aloft. Long pants and a sweater/light jacket are sufficient. Note that this helicopter is only available at the Hilo Airport and there is only one flight option ... the 50 minute tour.
The other helicopter model is a Bell Jet Ranger which seats 6 passengers. This model helicopter is very spacious and comfortable, and the interior feels a little like the inside of a limosine. One passenger sits up front with the pilot (sort of like riding shotgun), a second row of two seats faces the third row of three seats. With this arrangement five out of the six seats in the helicopter are window seats, and that one seat in the middle in the third row is NOT a bad seat as it has good views out of BOTH sides of the helicopter. Typically when the pilot hits a particularly scenic spot he or she will make a first pass on one side of the helicopter and turn so that the other side of the helicopter gets the same view. This middle back seat gets the view both times and one staff member I talked to with the tour company says this is his favorite place to sit! All flights in Kona are done with this model helicopter, and it is also available for the 50 minute tour in Hilo for guests who aren't up for the "doors off" helicopter.
Seating is assigned in the helicopters based upon body weights and best balance of the aircraft. While it is possible to pay a little extra to guarantee particular seats, we find that the cost is not worth it. If you request a particular seat and you don't fit the weight and balance profile for that seat on that particular flight, you'll get moved to another seat anyway and the upgrade fee will be refunded. If you do fit the weight and balance profile for that seat, the changes are good that's where you'd end up sitting anyway without paying extra. Because the Hughes has four window seats and because the Bell Jet Ranger has 5 window seats and the one seat that isn't a window has very good views out of both sides of the aircraft, we recommend that you avoid paying extra to secure any particular seat. Why pay extra if you probably were going to sit in the same place anyway? If money isn't an object for you and you do want to spend extra to reserve a particular seat, give us a call after you fill out the form on the right side of this page. We'll add your specific seat requests to your reservation and let you know if you fit the profile for the seat you've requested. This little guarantee is $25 extra per person on Hilo flights and $50 extra per person on Kona flights.
A word about children flying on these tours. The doors off helicopter normally has a minimum age of 10. Most kids younger than that will be a little reluctant to experience such an extreme adventure. If you have a child who is a little younger than that but is particularly fearsome, the tour operator will probably OK it ... but be aware that if you push your child to do the tour and then they back out at the last minute, you will not get refunded because your child is afraid to do the tour. Kids are best flown in the helicopter that has doors on it. As a matter of fact, there are no age restrictions at all on the Bell Jet Ranger. Child policy is the same on this helicopter as it is on a commercial airliner. Children 2 and older will require their own seat and will pay the same fare as an adult. Infants under the age of 2 are seated in the lap of a parent and fly for free.
One other little feature that's nice ... all of these helicopters have two-way communication between the pilot and the passengers. You can talk to the pilot ... and to each other ... during the tour.