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How Much Is a Helicopter Ride in NYC?

Updated: November 26, 2023

This post answers the question of how much is an NYC helicopter ride, including reviews and tips for the best rides as well as tips for finding discounts.

We have analyzed which New York helicopter tour is the best, the cheapest, and the best value. (leer en español)


How much a helicopter ride costs depends on the length of the ride, as most helicopter operators have a similar pricing structure. 

For the most part, helicopter rides are divided into 3 options, a 15-minute ride, a 20-minute ride, or a 30-minute ride.


The 15-minute rides usually are limited to the NY Harbor and fly up a part of the Hudson River. 

15 Min NYC Helicopter Ride

Your tour will include a fly around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and you will be able to see most of Lower Manhattan including the Brooklyn Bridge and the World Trade Center.

As of 2023, the average full-price ticket for a 15-minute ride is approximately $235, which includes the city tax (heliport fee) of approximately $35.

The 15-minute rides are the ones most often discounted. 


The 20-minute helicopter rides usually follow the same route as the 15-minute options but fly further north along the Hudson River, usually to Midtown and Central Park.

20 Min NYC Helicopter Ride

As of 2023, the average full-price ticket for a 20-minute ride is approximately $280, which includes the city tax (heliport fee).

So, at full price, you are paying around an additional $50 for an extra 5 minutes in the air, but you will see a lot of Manhattan in that short time.


Likewise, the 30-minute helicopter rides usually follow the same route as the 20-minute options but fly even further north along the Hudson River.

They usually fly just past Harlem up to Yankee Stadium and the George Washington Bridge in the Bronx.

30 min NYC helicopter ride

As of 2023, the average full-price ticket for a 30-minute ride is approximately $380, which includes the city tax (heliport fee).

So, at full price, you are paying around an additional $140 for an extra 10 minutes in the air compared to the 15-minute ride.

However, you will have flown the entire length of Manhattan Island


Before we explain the discounts that are generally available, a quick note.

The prices just described above are for helicopter flights departing from Lower Manhattan. 

There are helicopter flights that depart from several New Jersey heliports that are sometimes significantly cheaper than the identical NYC departures.

These are options to consider, especially if you are staying in NJ.

Groupon and Living Social Coupons

Coupon sites such as Groupon and Living Social usually provide several discounts on helicopter rides, usually the 15-minute versions, but occasionally the longer rides.

The offers are often from NJ heliports and there are sometimes blackout dates, so read the deals carefully before purchasing.

Tourist Attraction Discount Passes

A tourist discount pass option could also end up as a great deal.

Tourist discount passes generally work by bundling together different tours, attractions, and activities into one discounted price.

The savings can be up to 55% off of full retail prices.

The New York Turbo Pass, for example, offers 10% off the Liberty Helicopter Tour. This is a savings of about $20-$25.

These services are $249-$299 respectively, so you can expect to pay $225-$250 with this discount.

Read our post on whether or not a New York Pass is worth buying.

Military Discount

You’ll also find most companies have military and first responder discounts but you will need to contact each company to inquire about them.

List of New York Helicopter Companies

There are several helicopter tour companies with names so similar, it can easily get confusing. All of the companies have similar review profiles, which are generally good.  

The experience of flying over the Big Apple is so fun, most people are happy with their experience.  

New York City Helicopter Rides

However, we provide links to each company's reviews, so that you can take a closer look for yourself.  

Also, we list the companies in order of lowest to highest price.

NOTE: No helicopter flights are permitted on Sundays.

There is one common thread you will see when it comes to complaints about helicopter tours: overcrowding and weight distribution problems.

Due to the way that this aircraft functions, it can sometimes be important to make sure that there is not too much weight on one side.

NYC Helicopter Ride

Because of this, you will most likely be asked to provide information about your weight before boarding, and you may also be asked to sit in a location you are not comfortable with.

The more crowded a helicopter tour is, the more likely you will be asked to sit in the middle.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to enjoy the views from the middle seat of a helicopter, so most people in this position report having a negative experience.

In order to avoid these issues, make sure to call ahead and ask the tour company about which times would be best for obtaining a window seat.

Click here to see all the options in one location.

Liberty Helicopter Tours

As you will see with most helicopter tours, this outfit has overall good reviews.

Although there aren’t many negative reviews, some comments note that passengers may be asked to sit in the middle of the aircraft in order to avoid problems with weight distribution.

Liberty Helicopter NYC

That being said, most visitors have had an absolute blast with Liberty Helicopter Tours, and many reviewers have raved about the great views of NYC!

While its listed price is not the lowest on offer, with the deals available, particularly the CitySightNY deal, the Big Apple Tour is the lowest priced.

There are 2 popular public tours offered.

The Big Apple (12-15 minutes) - $269 (includes security fee)

This popular tour provides a bird's eye view of the most famous sites in New York City.

Some of the landmarks covered include Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, Empire State Building, Chrysler, Woolworth, Met Life Buildings, USS Intrepid, and Central Park. Purchase here.

New York, New York (18-20 minutes) - $369 (includes security fee)

Very similar to the Big Apple tour, but with an additional few sites including The Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, The Verrazano Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, Yankee Stadium, and MetLife Stadium. Purchase here.

Need to Know

  • Tours ARE weather dependent. If a tour is canceled, Liberty Helicopter Tours will try to accommodate a guest's schedule to reserve a new time. If a time cannot be agreed upon, the guest will be fully reimbursed.
  • The helicopter can accommodate 5-6 guests plus 1 pilot.
  • Other than cameras, no personal items are allowed in the helicopter. Items can be left at the waiting area and lockers are available for rent at an additional fee.
  • Photo I.D. is required for all guests.

Manhattan Helicopters 

Manhattan Helicopters also enjoys a 4 ½ out of 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, with some guests describing their experience as amazing.

As with most of these excursions, the only common complaints focus on crowded tours, which do not appear to happen very often.  

According to reviewers, the pilots are very experienced, so you can rest assured that your trip will be stress-free.

Its tours are not the lowest priced tours, but like Liberty, the CitySights deal is also available for this company.

  • The New Yorker Tour (12 - 15 minutes)
    • Price: $249 for Adults and Children
  • Ultimate Manhattan Tour (17-20 minutes)  Price: $299 for Adults and Children.
  • Deluxe Manhattan Tour (25 - 30 minutes)  Price: $389 per person. Minimum 4 person to reserve
  • Book your helicopter ride here. Use promo code Save10 at checkout and save 10%

New York Helicopter

This company's base tour is actually the least expensive ($23 cheaper) if you are not purchasing a combination or tourist attraction discount pass.

In addition, their 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor is just as good as every other service on this list. 

Once again, the issue of weight distribution is a common complaint, but there isn’t much that any helicopter tour can do to avoid this problem. 

New York Helicopter offers 3 popular public tours:

  • The Taste of NYC Tour (12-15 minutes) - $155 + ($45 airport fees)
    • Similar to the base-level tours offered by the other companies, this tour includes the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s and Ellis Island, the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, the South Street Seaport and the Wall Street Financial Center.
    • Purchase tickets or learn more.
  • The NYC Skyline Tour (17-19 minutes) - $189 + ($45 airport fees)
    • Covers all that is seen on the Liberty tour, but also features the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum, Yankee Stadium, and the George Washington Bridge.
    • Purchase tickets or learn more.
  • The Ultimate NYC Tour (20-25 minutes) - $229 + ($45 airport fees)
    • Covers all that is seen on the Central Park Tour, in addition to the Verrazano Bridge, uptown, midtown and the downtown skyline of Manhattan and New Jersey Palisades.
    • Purchase tickets or learn more.

Need to Know

  • Tours ARE weather dependent. If a tour is canceled, New York Helicopter Tours will try to accommodate a guest's schedule to reserve a new time.  If a time cannot be agreed upon, the guest will be fully reimbursed.
  • The helicopter can accommodate 5-6 guests plus 1 pilot.
  • There is a $45 heliport fee in addition to the cost of the tour that is made payable at time of booking.
  • Photo I.D. is required for all guests.

HeliNY Tours / Helicopter Flight Service Helicopter Tours

This outfit is a little bit more expensive than the other options, but they state that they use newer and more expensive helicopters.

They are well-reviewed, but as we stated before, all the companies have relatively good reviews.  

With the Smart Destinations Build-Your-Own tourist attraction pass, you could save 15-20%.

Reviewers describe their staff as attentive and helpful, providing passengers with all of the information necessary to enjoy their trip.

Other comments suggest that Helicopter Flight Services are highly organized and that their pilots are very experienced.

Most of the negative reviews complain of overcrowded trips, which may be avoided if you book your tour in advance.  

Despite the higher costs, hundreds of guests have said that this helicopter ride is well worth the money.

Some reviewers suggested that you make sure to bring a camera with you in order to get your money’s worth in fantastic photographs of New York City!

There are 4 popular public tours offered:

Manhattan Highlights Tour (12-15 minutes) - $239/person + ($35 airport fees).  

You will travel up the Hudson River and see iconic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Freedom Tower, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Chelsea Piers, and the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

The Ultimate Tour (18-20 minutes) - $289 + ($35 airport fees).  

This tour includes all the sites covered in the New Yorker Tour, in addition to views of Yankee Stadium, Central Park, Columbia University, and George Washington Bridge.

The Deluxe Tour (25-30 minutes) - $379 + ($35 airport fees).  

This tour includes all the sites covered in the Ultimate Tour, in addition to Coney Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey, Grants Tomb, the Northern edge of Manhattan, and Verrazano Bridge.

Need to Know

  • Tours ARE weather dependent. If a tour is canceled, HeliNY will try to accommodate a guest's schedule to reserve a new time. If a time cannot be agreed upon, the guest will be fully reimbursed.
  • The helicopter can accommodate 5-6 guests plus 1 pilot.
  • Photo I.D. is required for all guests.
  • Reservations are not required but are encouraged.


All helicopter rides depart from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at the southern tip of Manhattan between South Street Seaport and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. This is also known as East River Pier 6, or the "Wall Street Heliport," not to be confused with the Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 on the other side of the river.

Downtown Manhattan Heliport

It is accessed within a short walking distance of many subway lines. We recommend using this Google map to get directions to the heliport.

Other popular tourist attractions in the area are the Staten Island Ferry, Wall Street, the National September 11th Memorial, skyscrapers such as the Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center), Governor's Island, the Financial District, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

What to Expect on an NYC Helicopter Ride

Going on a helicopter in New York City is quite a ride! It feels a bit like being on a fun ride at a fair when it lifts off the ground and when it lands. The helicopter can move up and down fast, which is really exciting.

Some people might feel a bit sick because of the up-and-down movement, but many think it's a great time. It can be very loud inside, but you get special headphones to keep your ears safe and hear the pilot talk about the city.

You can see all of Manhattan from the helicopter because the pilots are allowed to fly there. Sometimes, if the weather is bad, they can't fly.

The trips don't take long — just 15, 20, or 30 minutes. This means you have lots of time left to enjoy other things in the city.

Tips from the Tourists

Recommended Helicopter Tour

A fellow traveler in our Facebook Group highly recommended a specific 15-minute helicopter tour over Manhattan Island, noting it was a suggestion from other tourists and definitely worth the experience. They shared a link to a tour provider, which might offer an insightful alternative to consider when planning your aerial adventure in NYC.

Front Seat Experience

One of our Facebook Community members shared their personal experience, describing their helicopter tour over New York as an "amazing fantastic experience." They mentioned the value of securing a front seat, emphasizing that it's worth every penny for the incredible views and is a must-do activity when visiting New York.

Subway Accessibility

A member from our Facebook Community expressed their preference for activities accessible by subway, noting their reluctance toward boat rides. They mentioned that an ideal outing for them would be a short, convenient trip, possibly hinting at the value of having tourist attractions within close proximity to subway stations for ease of travel.

Nighttime Cityscapes

People in our Facebook Group love to share what they enjoy doing in New York. Many say taking the subway to Brooklyn and walking back to Manhattan at night is fun. The lights and bridges look great from there. Another good idea is to take a ferry to DUMBO and walk back. You can see a lot from the boat. These are fun ways to see the city from different places.

Westgate Hotel Stay

If you're planning your stay in New York City, here's a tip from our Facebook Group member who's just been there: They stayed at the Westgate Hotel and had a good experience. They found the hotel clean, well-decorated for the fall season, and the staff friendly. Amenities like an iron and hairdryer were available in the room. Plus, they mentioned the hotel's location is convenient – not too far from key attractions, making it a practical choice for tourists.

Cost-Effective Views

Someone in our Facebook Group said that helicopter rides in NYC are fun but cost a lot. They like the idea of a long ride but say the shorter one is better for the money. They also suggest trying City Climb at The Edge if you want a cool view for less money.

Flexible Go City Pass

A tip from our Facebook Group: using a Go City pass is flexible. You can leave when you want, not just after 2 hours. One person spent 1 hour on Liberty Island and 2 hours on Ellis Island and said they could stay longer because there's a lot to see.

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: November 26th, 2023
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