Why Do Grand Canyon Helicopters Sell Out?
Submitted by: Keith Kravitz
I’m getting lots of feedback from travelers informing me about the difficulty of booking a helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon. So I investigated the matter and discovered why, as well as learning there are several things you can do to nearly guarantee yourself a seat on any flight at any time of the year.
The biggest issue is booking in advance. Few people do it. In fact, most of the folks I spoke with were trying to purchase helicopter tickets within 24 hours of take off. There was also another group trying to get same-day seats. This is a recipe for disaster, and here’s why:
U.S. travelers have booked tours weeks in advance. Further, overseas guests have purchased their trip between six months to a year ahead of time! My recommendation is that you book your flight at least a week before your desired departure date and time. Barring that, no less than 72 hours (three days). Note that during summer the 72-hour cut off doesn’t apply, as this is peak season and nearly every chopper flies full.
If that s not enough of reason to plan ahead, here are four more:
1. Last-minute bookings result in poor selection. When you are late to the table, you get the scraps. That’s exactly what’s happening in the world of tours. Basically, if want to fly within 24 hours or same day you get what they give you. In most cases, you’re filling last-minute cancellations on the less popular flights at the least popular times.
2. Purchasing same-day tickets costs more. Just like the airlines, purchase your ticket at the ticket counter or at the destination s heliport, you ll pay a premium to fly. Adding insult to injury, you’ll most likely be taking a tour you didn’t intend to at a time you wish was earlier in the morning.
3. There are fewer flights during the winter. This is low season and tour companies cut the number of daily flights. That doesn’t mean helicopters fly empty. By no means. Visitors still fly the National Park during this time, and flights are full. Compounding this further is the fact that helicopters only hold six people including the pilot.
4. There is more demand than supply during summer. The bulk of the 5 million visitors who visit the National Park come between April and September, and a good percentage of them take helicopter rides. Like I said earlier, don’t bother trying to get a flight with 72 hours advance notice. It’s practically fruitless.
I’ve met countless travelers who tell me they’ve scoured the Internet for the perfect deal. Folks, the closest you’ll get to that is by purchasing your helicopter tour direct from the tour operator. But there are two steps you need to follow to make sure you get the Internet discount:
1. Book on the Internet. This is where the deals are. Look for “deal pages.” For the most part, the retail price will be clearly noted next to the Internet rate, which is usually 15-35 percent cheaper.
2. Complete the booking online. That means using the site’s virtual “shopping cart” from start to finish. You’ll know you’ve followed procedure correctly after the site positively confirms your credit card transaction and sends a receipt to your email box. Failure to follow this step can result in paying full retail price!
That was a lot of ground to cover in this article, but I think we got to the root concerning why Grand Canyon helicopter tours sell out. Simply put, RSVP your trip well ahead of time and purchase it direct from the supplier. Do that and you are on your way to an experience you’ll never forget.
About the Author: Travel writer Keith Kravitz is an expert on
Grand Canyon helicopter tours
. For the best flights at the cheapest rates, he recommends using these coupons: