If you are an adrenaline junkie who wants to see New York City in a completely different way, I’ve got an excellent idea for you. Imagine dangling your feet from a helicopter over the Big Apple watching all your favorite attractions like the Empire State, Central Park, World Trade Center and Statue of Liberty FROM THE TOP.

Sounds mind-blowing and expensive at the same time, right? Initially, I felt that way too. Until I challenged myself to figure out the cheapest possible way to experience this beyond amazing activity. It’s time I pass on my research and strategy to you all.

Spoiler alert, I experienced a 30 minutes doors-off flight for only $240. Want to know how? Read on…...

What is FlyNYON?

FlyNYON is one of a kind helicopter tour company that focuses on aerial photography experiences for their customers. They provide both doors on and doors off tours (more on that later). The duration of these tours ranges from as short as 12 minutes to as long as 36 minutes.

Doors On vs Doors Off

Doors-on flights are closed helicopters with transparent glasses to look out of. You will be completely inside the helicopter. The rates for these rides are on the lower end.

Doors-off flights, on the other hand, have no doors allowing an unobstructed view of the outside to the passengers. Also, upon receiving the pilot’s signal you can let your feet dangle out of the chopper. Evidently, these flights are more expensive.

Strategy to find the Cheapest Rate

I highly recommend you to experience the doors-off flight. The strategy below can be applied to get a cheap ticket for the doors-on flight too. In both cases, it is focused on getting the most bang of the buck for a 30 minutes experience.

Central Park from the Top

Step 1: Choose a Date and Time

The date and time of your flight directly affect the rates. Sunset rides are the most expensive, and sometimes the rides at noon are slightly higher than the rest of the day.

Generally speaking, 11 am is the best value time. It’s almost close to noon, so the sun is right above. This means the photographs come out better with no one side of the helicopter having a straight glare from the sun.

General Flight Prices at Various Times

Step 2: Check the rate on FlyNYON.com for the 16 minutes Doors-off NYC Experience Flight

No, you did not read it wrong. I am asking you to note down the price for your selected date and time for the 16 MINUTES NYC EXPERIENCE flight and NOT the 30 minutes NYC Classic flight. Keep reading and you’ll know why.

Also, note down the Booking Fee which is basically taxes and fees (about 10%) charged by FlyNYON.

Total Cost (Flight + Fees) on flynyon.com

Step 3: Enter the best coupon code on FlyNYON.com

FlyNYON’s website flashes a coupon every now and then. You'll spot it on the top banner of the home page and it will also pop up on the checkout page. Apply that coupon to see the final discounted price.

Codes at the Banner and Checkout Page

If the coupon discount is anything lesser than 50%, edit the code with a few different numbers up to 50 (or more, if you want to try your luck harder).

For example, if the website is advertising a 40% off discount with the code SUMMER40, you can apply SUMMER45 and SUMMER50 too and receive 45% and 50% discounts, respectively. That’s trial and error in most cases, but the additional 10% savings are worth a few extra keyboard strokes.

Note that the coupon codes only discount the base price and not the booking fee.

Now that we’re at the checkout page, you must be thinking we are almost done, but actually, there are a few more steps.

Step 4: Check the rate on Groupon, again for the same 16 minutes Doors-off NYC Experience Flight

Use this link to find the same experience on Groupon. Chances are high that you’ll find a better price. Note the price of the same 16 minutes flight.

Search FlyNYON on Groupon at Manhattan and Select 16 Minutes Doors Off Flight NYC Experience

Keep in mind that the rate on Groupon does not include the taxes and fees aka the Booking Fee charged by FlyNYON. They charge this amount on the day of the activity for those who come with a Groupon.

Step 5: Enter coupon code on Groupon

If you have an account with Groupon, check your spam for a ton of coupon codes that Groupon sends almost every day. Even if you don’t have an account, install Honey as an extension to your Chrome browser. It will automatically apply all available coupons and let you know which work the best.

Apply Code on Groupon and Receive at least 20% off

Note that usually there’s a limit to the maximum discount that can be applied for a purchase. If you are buying tickets for more than 1 person, I recommend you ask everyone in your party to apply a Groupon code and book their tickets to receive the maximum discount per ticket.

Step 6: Purchase the cheapest option of the two

Add the booking fee to the final Groupon price and compare it with the FlyNYON’s direct price. Book the reservation with the cheapest of the two.

Are you confused why am I asking you to book the 16 minutes flight while I mentioned that I recommend the 30 minutes experience? Keep reading for the last step.

Step 7: Upgrade to the 30 minutes flight on the day of the experience

If you purchase the Groupon, you have to do a few extra things that would have otherwise been a part of the check out process on their website.

You’ll have to create an account on FlyNYON, add your credit card for the booking fee, and email them the date and time of the flight you want to reserve. None of these steps are part of the money-saving strategy but I mentioned them to help you be well-informed.

The actual last step that saves money is below.

On the day of your experience, after a safety video screening, a staff member will offer you to upgrade your 16 minutes experience to a 30 minutes experience for an extra cost.

The company will want to maximize their revenue from your experience and hence will quote something as low as $75 or a bit higher depending on the time and date.

Chances are slim that they will quote more than the difference between the two flights on their website (or even Groupon). This upgrade fee is taxed by about 10%.

Upgrade your experience and enjoy your 30 minutes flight!

Manhattan High-rises from the Top

3 Ways how this Strategy Saves Money

If you haven't comprehended how this process saves some cash, let me break it down for you.

  1. The Groupon rate, when compared to the code-discounted rate on their website, is about the same. But, added savings come from applying additional coupons on Groupon.
  2. The cost difference between a 30 minutes flight and a 16 minutes flight, both on their website and Groupon ranges between $150 to $200. With an on-site upgrade fee ranging between $75 and $100, you’re practically cutting that difference in half.
  3. When booked directly, the booking fees for the 16 minutes and 30 minutes flights are $25 and $50, respectively, meaning a difference of $25. These fees are about 10% of the advertised flight price. On the other hand, the fees on the flight upgrade at their office will cost you only 10% of $75 or $100 i.e. $7.5 to $10, which is lesser than $25.

Higher Rates on FlyNYON and Groupon for a 30 minutes flight as compared to the MOE Strategy 😉

After following the steps above and assuming all of them generate the best outcomes, you will pay less than $240 for the 30 minutes Doors Off Flight.

World Trade Center from the Top

Now that you know that you can spend lesser than what it seems, are you feeling convinced to hang out of a helicopter over Manhattan? Then, make your final decision after reading this other blog that I wrote: 10 Things to Know before Booking a FlyNYON Doors Off Flight over NYC.

Comment below how much were you able to save on your FlyNYON tickets and inform everyone of any other ways to save!