My husband and I were married 10 years ago in Vegas. One of the things that we wanted to do but couldn’t (because we were a broke newlywed couple) was a Grand Canyon helicopter tour. This year, on our 10th anniversary, we decided to revisit Vegas and do it right!
Papillon Helicopters has a variety of different helicopter, air and bus tours available. We chose the Grand Canyon Celebration flight. This flight included transportation from our hotel to the airport, a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, a picnic lunch with champagne at the bottom of the canyon, and a return transportation back to our hotel.
One of the options that I am very glad we chose to include was the front seat upgrade request. You put in a request when you make your reservation, and, depending on availability, pay the fee when you check-in at the airport. The limited availability is based on the need to make sure the weights and balances of the helicopter are okay.
We were instructed to meet outside our hotel 10 minutes prior to our reservation pickup time. When we walked out 15 minutes prior, my phone rang and it was the driver letting me know she was already at the hotel. She stayed on the phone with me until we found the bus. We drove from the hotel to Papillon’s offices where we transferred to a much larger, more comfortable bus.
The ride out to the airfield was a very pretty ride. Once we arrived at the airfield, we checked in, paid our upgrade fee, were weighed and watched a safety video. We then sat and waited and watched other flights taking off and landing until they called our name.
We met our pilot and walked out to the helicopter. The initial liftoff was incredible and so much more exciting than I expected! Our pilot was very good at explaining where we were and about the history of what we were flying over. The first part of our flight was over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. We’ve visited the dam before, but flying over it was even better.
We then flew into the Canyon. Amazing does not even begin to describe the landscape we saw. We flew over the Skywalk as our pilot talked about the history of the Canyon with the national park on one side and the Indian reservation on the other. We landed in an area where another helicopter group had already landed and there were tables and a small gazebo type structure. Lunch was a simple, but very good boxed lunch. We then had a champagne toast – to our anniversary and to the 21st birthday of two people on our flight. We were given plenty of time to explore and take pictures.
We flew back to the airstrip in a different flight path and our pilot told us fun stories about the area (he acknowledged some may simply be urban legends, but the stories were fun). Once back at the airport, we were able to purchase our picture taken at the beginning of the flight, visit the gift shop and relax until the bus came to take us back to the hotel.
Overall, I was amazed by the entire experience. The company did a fantastic job in communication and reminders after booking and I knew exactly what to expect. The airport and facilities were clean and everyone was very friendly. The helicopter seemed brand new (even though it wasn’t) and the headsets we wore (to hear the pilot during flight) were in great condition. I highly recommend requesting the front seat upgrade. We were so glad we did as the helicopter we were on had two seats up front next to the pilot and four in the back seat. Seats were assigned because of weights and balances, so those in the middle in the back had to strain sometimes to see.
Want to leave Las Vegas behind and have a different Vegas vacation? Email me at Amy@TravelWithTheMagic.com or you can find me on Facebook. You can also call me at 1-800-670-4312, ext 129. I can’t wait to plan your vacation!