Papillon Helicopters, a discount air-tour company, tops the list, followed by Grand Canyon Helicopters and Maverick Helicopters, respectively. "Hats off to Papillon," said travel reviewer Keith Kravitz, owner of GrandCanyonHelicopters.org. "This organization consistently offers quality flights at incredible prices."
Founded in 1965, Papillon Helicopters has grown into a company that employs more than 600 people. The company, which also offers airplane tours, flies more than 600,000 passengers a year to the Grand Canyon.
“The sheer volume of passengers proves that visitors have really caught on to Papillon’s style of sightseeing,”
Grand Canyon Helicopters' commitment to eco-tourism and luxury helped it pull down the number two spot. "Grand Canyon's got a lock on the boutique helicopter tour market," noted Kravitz. "They've invested heavily in their fleet and are a class act from rotor to windshield."
Rounding out the Top 3 is Las Vegas-based Maverick Helicopters. Launched in 1995, Maverick entered the air-tour market with two helicopters. Today, the company is a market-leader in high-end trips and operates the largest fleet of EcoStar choppers in the world.
"Maverick is the king of 5-star helicopter tours," Kravitz said. "They use only EcoStar 130s, the most deluxe aircraft on the market, and offer service that's fit for a VIP."
Helicopter rides to the Grand Canyon fly out of Las Vegas, NV, and Tusayan, AZ, home to the Grand Canyon National Airport, which is located just minutes from the front gates of the National Park.
"One of the most important decisions travelers face is picking a rim to visit," Kravitz noted. "The West Rim is where you go for adventure and thrills while the South Rim is the place for unmatched scenic beauty.”
Passengers departing from Las Vegas will go to the West Rim as there are no direct flights to the South Rim. Travelers who want to helicopter the South Rim must book a combination airplane or bus package.
Kravitz continued, “The South Rim requires a bit more planning. Some visitors opt to take the bus to this rim before switching over to the helicopter. This is a great alternative if you have time and are on a budget.
"That said, I typically urge our readers to fly by plane. It takes just 45 minutes to reach Grand Canyon Airport and the helicopter. Further, this particular trip will have you back on the Vegas Strip by 6 p.m."
Kravitz also noted that below-the-rim trips are only available at the West Rim.
"By far the most popular helicopter tour from Las Vegas is the one that lands at the bottom," he said. "Papillon, Grand Canyon and Maverick offer it, and each also includes a Champagne picnic.
"Bottom time is about 30 minutes. There's plenty to see and explore, especially the Colorado River, which is only about 150 yards away from the helipad. This particular package is a once-in-a-life experience that is now finding its way onto a lot of Las Vegas bucket lists."
To see the helicopter ratings, please visit:
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Las Vegas-based GrandCanyonHelicopters.org, a leading helicopter-tour outfitter, announced today the release of its new air-tour operator ratings based on quality, safety and price.