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Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

Los Angeles...
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Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

2 adults &. 2 kids. South rim. We're here now. What is the price range? We're on a budget, but would love to try it if we found a tour we could afford. Thanks!

Evanston, Wyoming
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11. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

@traveller_J - if you've got first-time Grand Canyon visitors in your party, try to get them to the South Rim. It is rightfully considered to be the "true" Grand Canyon, where the "iconic" views that they're probably expecting to see can be seen. The West Rim, though scenic, is not as vast or colorful. Its drawing card, as you've probably gathered, is easy access to the bottom of the canyon, plus the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Helicopter flights from the South Rim are limited to just flying over, but will show you the most photogenic areas of the Grand Canyon. Here's more info on Grand Canyon South Rim helicopter tours ->: http://bit.ly/AAjeNS

@springtulip - RedRox correctly states that the difference in prices is attributable to differences in equipment used. Papillon uses Bell Jet Ranger helicopters, a multi-purpose helicopter which has been in service the longest of Grand Canyon touring helicopters. These helicopters weren't built for sightseeing per se (though you get a good view from them), they are used for a variety of functions throughout the world. Grand Canyon Helicopters and also Maverick Helicopters, fly Eco-Star EC130 helicopters, which are newer, larger, and expressly built for sightseeing. The EC130's have features such as larger windows, larger seats (all of which face forward), and a 3-blade prop and finestron tail rotor for quieter operation. Forward to the 2:30 mark on this video to get a comparison of the two ->: http://youtu.be/HW-SWsVeqLA

As for why Papillon has more seats available, the Eco-Star is in high demand and seats book up quicker with their operators.

Edited: 04 April 2012, 09:56
Evanston, Wyoming
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12. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

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Los Angeles...
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13. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

Hi. We went on 30 min papillion (800-528-2418). We really enjoyed it! It's the least expensive and they also offer AAA discount. They have 2 i I will pass on what I learned by calling 3 companies and talking to people. Also we went on papillion 30 min tour which was great! Breathtaking!!

Papillion has 2 styles of helicopters - Bell & Ecostar (newer). You can upgrade to the newer version for a surcharge. The same company owns both papillion and Grand Canyon helicopters.

Maverick has the best safety record. They replace helis after 3 yrs. They don't have prerecorded tour info and you can speak to pilot. They are the most expensive and were sold out.

virginia
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14. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

Appreciate the info!

Thinking we might skip the helo flight out of Vegas and just enjoy the drive to the South Rim (with a stop at the dam) and then take the 50 minute helo rode from there. Going to stay two nights.

Evanston, Wyoming
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for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
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15. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

@springtulip - thanks for following up to share your experience!

@traveler_J - good call. Do make reservations in advance to secure the best rate and try to book your flight for the morning. Morning flights offer better light and less wind.

virginia
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16. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

K-bot,

Thanks again for the info.

I've already got rooms reserved at the Yavapai Lodge on the South Rim for both nights. Booked them months ago. Glad I did, because the place is almost sold out for the month of August. Had we not stayed two nights, I would have just called up and either canceled or modified my res, but I think staying there both of them will be best. While they won't be able to say they made it to the bottom, I'll get the first timers on the trail for a few switchbacks so they can at least say they hiked it. :)

virginia
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17. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

springtulip,

Had Maverick not been sold out, would you have chosen them? On the Pampillion helo, did you have headphones with a recording explaining everything you're seeing, or does the pilot talk about the sights?

Los Angeles...
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18. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

Hi, Sorry for the delayed response. I lost internet connection.

Personally even if they had space, I wouldn't have chosen Maverick because I was on a very tight budget. In my case, the savings made it possible to take the heli ride. Papillion also offers child discount. They gave us headphones which had prerecorded info, but the from time to time the pilot pointed things out. So it was better than I thought.

The lodges in the GC (Xantera) pass out $10 off coupons for Papillion & GC Heli - although AAA discount was cheaper in our case. The hotel where we stayed only supported Maverick because according to them they have a perfect safety record.

If money were no object, Maverick would be nice because I heard several people saying what a great time they had on the newer style helis and it is a plus to be able to ask the pilot questions. The phone operator was very helpful and they were sold out so they must be doing something right.

However we had a fantastic experience with Papillion on the older (Bell) helicopters. Seating was preassigned based on how much the 6 passengers & pilot each weighed, and everyone could see very well. Papillion's brochure says the co was founded in 1965 and flys over 465,000 passengers annually over the GC.

In the end it's a matter of personal preference. I would rather spend the extra money on a longer flight with a less expensive company in a slightly less fancy helicopter, but I'm a bargain hunter on a budget. I'm sure what ever company you choose will be wonderful. With such breath taking scenery you can't go wrong. Don't forget to bring a camera, you're in for a real treat!

Another tip I got was to go early because the wind can become stronger later in the day which might cause your trip to be postponed or cancelled. Our ride was very smooth.

Trip advisor has some great advisors who know much more about this than me, esp KBot & RedRox. Thanks!

virginia
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19. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

Thanks a lot for the all the info!

Evanston, Wyoming
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20. Re: Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

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