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.

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.

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

Doors-off flights 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.

I highly recommend booking the 30 minutes doors off experience i.e. NYC Classic.

I have compiled a list of 10 things you should know before booking your flight with FlyNYON. Being well-informed is part of the #TravelSmart mindset.

Hanging Out of a Helicopter over Manhattan

1. There is a tried and trusted way to save on the advertised ticket price.

Let’s be real. A helicopter ride over NYC where you get to hang your feet out and take the famous shoe selfie; definitely sounds expensive.

The advertised price of this flight for 30 minutes is about $550 but what if I told you there’s a tried and tested way to bring the price down to as less as $240.

Read this blog to understand the steps required to get this steep discount before purchasing your tickets.

2. Rides at around noon and sunset are generally more expensive.

FlyNYON’s helicopter rides can be experienced by anyone, but the company’s target has been towards those interested in aerial photography, be it with a phone or a DSLR. The average price for flights at sunset and noon are higher than the rest of the day.

Noon has the best light conditions for beginner photography, so you’ll find them to be costing about $50 more. The sunset flights are mesmerizing for the general traveler and super challenging for serious photographers, and hence they charge around $200 more for it.

3. The helicopter flies out of New Jersey and not New York.

FlyNYON flies their carriers out of Kearny in New Jersey. Those of you planning to drive to the launch terminal will find ample parking on your arrival.

The company offers a round trip shuttle service from Manhattan for $30 per person. The shuttles run every 2 hours, and the exact pickup location is communicated a day before the experience.

Launch Pad at Kearny, NJ

4. It is possible to upgrade your flight.

In fact, I recommend you to do that. Purchase a 16 minutes flight and upgrade to the 30 minutes one. This strategy turns out to be cheaper than directly purchasing the 30 minutes flight.

If you haven’t’ read it already, read the blog to see how exactly are you being penny-wise with this tip.

5. 7 to 9 minutes of the 30 minutes flight involves getting to and returning from NYC.

Since the helicopter departs from NJ, it takes about 3 to 4 minutes to arrive right above the Hudson River. You can count about the same time to return back to the heliport. That means the quality time spent above Manhattan in a 30 minutes flight is actually about 21 to 23 minutes

Approaching the Manhattan Skyline

This time is just enough to make yourself comfortable with the height and winds. Approaching the Manhattan skyline grants a breathtaking view. However, the best view of the flight is during the return journey. You can see the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center, and a number of surrounding high-rises, all in one view.

Best View of the Experience

6. Worst case, the experience could take up half of your day.

Weather conditions directly affect the flight experience. For safety reasons, FlyNYON will not fly until they find the weather to be suitable. Add a buffer between this experience and the next one on your itinerary, especially when there’s a chance of stormy or rainy weather.

Flight passengers are required to arrive 1 hour and 15 minutes before their flight time.

You will check-in and wait for your name to be called out. Next, you’ll watch a safety video and receive an upgrade offer. After making a decision and paying the upgrade fee, you’ll wear the safety equipment and strap your devices.

Waiting Area at FlyNYON

A shuttle will board and take you to the launch pad. You’ll wait till your helicopter is ready, and finally, meet the pilot and get harnessed to your seats.

Let’s say your flight is at 11 am for which you may depart at 9 am from your hotel/home. Let’s account for a minimum of 30 minutes of administrative delays and even more due to the weather. In that case, you may actually fly off by 12 pm.

You’ll return to the heliport by 12 30 pm and by the time you’re shuttled back to their office, it may be 1 pm already. Add the commute time to your next destination, and you’ll notice that you’ve almost spent half your day, which initially seemed like a 30 minutes flight.

7. You can select the attractions you want to see.

FlyNYON uniquely positions itself in the Manhattan helicopter rides industry by allowing passengers to choose the buildings and attractions they would like to see during their experience.

The 16 minutes flight is limited to the southern Manhattan attractions. The 30 minutes flight flies further north and can cover a lot more attractions. Rather than listing down those attractions, I’ve mapped them below for you to visualize them.

First-time tourists can request for the ‘Must Do’ list below. Locals and returning travelers should choose from the ‘More To Do’ list.

Don’t know what to choose from? Just ask your pilot to show you the best of NYC, and you won’t be disappointed.

8. You can bring up to two camera devices.

A phone is enough to capture the astounding views from the helicopter. If you have a GoPro or another phone to record the video of the whole experience, you can bring that too. Also, professional and amateur photographers can bring their camera equipment as long as it is limited to a count of two.

Your devices will be strapped and harnessed securely to your body, so get comfortable with them during the setup.

Devices Harnessed for Safety

9. There’s no guarantee of which seat you will get.

Each flight can board 6 passengers and the pilot. FlyNYON describes the seat allocation being computer-generated based on weight distribution. So, there’s no guarantee where you’ll be sitting until you meet your pilot at the launch pad.

Shotgun to the pilot is undoubtedly the best seat. It has the doors off on the left, the front view with the windshield and access to viewing the pilot’s controls.

In the back, there are 5 passengers. Four out of them are at the doors and one in the middle. The middle one seems like the worst seat because you may not feel the same heart-pumping adrenaline (or anxiety for some people) as you could have by sitting at the doors.

In my opinion, the worst seat is actually the one right behind the pilot. If you’re in that seat, you’ll have a section of the helicopter wall to your left that has a window. That actually moots the point of a doors-off flight. You can still extend your feet out but not as freely as the other door seats.

Riding the flight for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary? Prefer a middle seat due to anxiety? You can take a shot at requesting the co-passengers to swap positions. You’ll be lucky if that works for you. Of course, the pilot has the final say.

10. Ensuring that the headsets work is essential.

When you’re strapped on to the seats of the helicopter, you’ll be provided with headsets that serve several purposes.

  1. It blocks the noise from the helicopter and the wind up to a certain extent.
  2. There’s music playing in it that definitely enhances the overall flight experience.
  3. Most importantly, it’s the only way you can receive any communication from the pilot. Times, when the pilot will signal you through the headphones, would be:
    1. When it’s time to get your feet out of the helicopter
    2. Any emergency situations

Hence, it is necessary to check that your headsets are working fine before the flight takes off.

Manhattan from the Top

If you came across this blog looking for more insight into the FlyNYON experience, I hope it made you well-informed. If you didn’t know about this experience before, I hope that the content excited you to book it. Trust me, it can be one of the best experiences in your lifetime.

Comment with your experience below and let everyone know if there any other things others should know before booking a FlyNYON flight experience.