Grand Canyon: Airplane and Helicopter Tour Costs

Grand Canyon: Airplane and Helicopter Tour Costs

Embarking on a journey to the Grand Canyon, a marvel of nature, often includes the thrilling experience of an aerial tour. For those curious about the cost of such an adventure, whether by helicopter or airplane, this guide offers an in-depth comparison to suit various budgets.

From Grand Canyon AirportFrom Las Vegas Area
Airplane ToursScenic Airlines: USD 169Scenic Airlines: USD 209
Helicopter ToursPapillon: USD 229
Maverick: USD 289
Papillon: USD 419
Maverick: USD 439
Starting prices for scenic fligths at/ to the Grand Canyon. Date of data collection: March 17, 2023.

Tour Options and Pricing

Starting from the Grand Canyon Airport and the Las Vegas area, visitors have a range of scenic flights to choose from. Airplane tours by Scenic Airlines are priced at USD 169 from the Grand Canyon and USD 209 from Las Vegas. On the other hand, helicopter tours offer a different perspective, with Papillon pricing their tours at USD 229 from the Grand Canyon and USD 419 from Las Vegas, and Maverick‘s tours starting at USD 289 and USD 439, respectively, from the same locations. These prices, as of March 17, 2023, provide a starting point for budgeting your scenic flight.

Cheapest helicopter tours

Cheapest airplane tours

Imperial Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour with EcoStar
This eco-friendly helicopter tour covers both the East and North canyon rims, providing guests with unobstructed views of the canyon's colossal walls, Colorado River, and remarkable rock formations. With multilingual tour narration and a flight duration of approximately 40-50 minutes, guests will have ample time to take in the stunning sights and capture photos of their adventure.
Departs: Grand Canyon Airport
Operator: Papillon Helicopters
Duration: 40 - 50 minutes
Why chose this tour:
  • EcoStar EC130 Aircraft
  • Oversized windows and stadium-style seating
  • East and North canyon rims
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Canyon Dancer Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour
Embark on an adventure of a lifetime with this 25-minute scenic helicopter tour departing from Grand Canyon National Park airport. Experience the thrill of flying over the Colorado River and gazing upon the Tower of Ra and Vishnu Schist, some of the oldest rock layers in the world, as you fly above the widest and deepest sections of the Grand Canyon, one of the "Seven Natural Wonders of the World".
Departs: Grand Canyon Airport
Operator: Maverick Helicopters
Duration: Approx. 25 minutes
Why chose this tour:
  • 25 minute helicopter tour - easy to plan into an already busy day
  • Stunning views of the Grand Canyon South Rim
  • Flight over the Colorado River
  • State of the art luxury tour helicopter
  • Views of the Tower of Ra and Kaibab National Forest
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Grand Canyon North Rim Helicopter Tour
Experience exceptional views and an immersive experience when you fly from the Sotuh Rim across the Grand Canyon to the North Rim.
Departs: Grand Canyon Airport
Operator: Papillon Helicopters
Duration: 30 minutes
Why chose this tour:
  • Spanning the whole width of the Grand Canyon
  • Stunning views of the North Rim
  • Perfect way to experience the northern part of the Grand Canyon
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Canyon Spirit - Grand Canyon aerial adventure
This Grand Canyon South Rim tour is the longest flight route offered over Grand Canyon National Park and provides memories to last a lifetime.
Departs: Grand Canyon Airport
Operator: Maverick Helicopters
Duration: Approx. 45 minutes
Why chose this tour:
  • Longest and most comprehensive route
  • Top Operator
  • Departs from Grand Canyon Airport
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Highlights of Popular Tours

Among the helicopter tours, the Imperial Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour with EcoStar stands out. Departing from Grand Canyon Airport, this eco-friendly tour offers 40-50 minutes of breathtaking views over the East and North rims, priced from USD 339. Another option is the Canyon Dancer Tour by Maverick Helicopters, a 25-minute journey starting at USD 289, showcasing the South Rim and Colorado River.

One of the biggest differences between helicopter and airplane scenic flights is the cost. Airplane tours are generally less expensive than helicopter tours, as airplanes can accommodate more passengers and are more cost-effective for tour operators. However, the price difference may vary depending on the tour provider, duration, and departure location.

See our complete list of helicopter tours and airplane tours at the Grand Canyon.

Why Are Airplane Tours More Affordable?

The pricing difference between airplane and helicopter tours is primarily due to capacity and cost-efficiency. Airplanes, accommodating up to 19 passengers, offer a more economical choice for tour operators, as the cost is distributed among more travelers. Additionally, airplanes boast greater fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs compared to helicopters, contributing to their lower price point. Helicopters, while offering a unique experience, have higher insurance and maintenance costs, reflecting in their premium pricing.

  1. Capacity: Airplanes can carry more passengers than helicopters. While helicopters are typically limited to six passengers, airplanes can accommodate up to 19 passengers. This means that tour operators can spread the cost of the flight across more passengers, making it a more cost-effective option.
  2. Fuel Efficiency: Airplanes are more fuel-efficient than helicopters. They can travel further distances and at higher altitudes while consuming less fuel. This makes airplanes a more cost-effective option for tour operators, as they can cover more ground and take on more passengers without significantly increasing their fuel costs.
  3. Maintenance Costs: Helicopters require more frequent and extensive maintenance than airplanes. Helicopters have more moving parts and require more specialized maintenance, which can be more expensive. Additionally, helicopters have a shorter lifespan than airplanes, which means that they need to be replaced more frequently. These higher maintenance and replacement costs contribute to the higher price of helicopter tours.
  4. Insurance Costs: Helicopters are generally more expensive to insure than airplanes. This is due to the higher risk associated with helicopter flights, including the greater potential for accidents and injuries. These higher insurance costs are reflected in the price of helicopter tours.