Same-Day Bookings Cost More
The calls are coming in: "Hi, I'd like to book a Las Vegas helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon for today, please." My heart sinks. That's because there's a 10 percent chance this person will get airborne. Of course, I'll do my best, call all my vendors and come up with two seats at a price that more often than not is absurd.
And that's the best I can do for folks who decide last minute.
If you find yourself in this position and you ABSOLUTELY must fly at that specified time, I recommend you take what's offered because that's pretty much all that's available. Or consider an airplane tour.
In most cases I can get you on an airplane tour to the West Rim or the South Rim at a price that's nearly 40 percent less than the helicopter. The key is when you call me. If you ring before 11 a.m., your chances of getting on the plane that day are good. After 12 p.m., your chances get progressively worse.
The same also applies to helicopters. But even more so. See, helicopters only seat six people (versus 19 for the plane) so they fill up quick. Further, there are a limited number of landing tours and many stop flying after 2 p.m. (this is also is the case for the Vegas-South Rim airplane flight). So in all probability you're looking at an air-only ride.
When I share this information with travelers most opt to book the next day, which is INFINITELY easier for me to get seats for. I'm not saying that the Picnic Helicopter tour will be available, but there's a strong chance others will be like the Skywalk helicopter or the West Rim airplane that lands on top of the rim.
Indeed lots of tours were mentioned and I know it can be hard to keep track of what does what and when. So for the sake of convenience, I'm going to identify the flights you have the best shot at getting if you have to get something in 48 hours:
From Las Vegas:
- Air-only (helicopter and plane)
- Late-morning bottom-landing tours (helicopter)
- West Rim land at top (airplane)
From South Rim:
- Basic air-only helicopter (30 minutes)
- Deluxe air-only helicopter (30 minutes)
- 50-minute airplane tour
To avoid all this drama, I always tell friends, readers and clients to book ahead of time. During fall and winter I advise a week while during summer no less than two weeks. It's really that simple.
Plus by booking ahead of time you get to lock in rates that are much cheaper than those that get posted within 48 hours. The savings can actually be quite significant if you are a party of two or more people. It also gives you some footing should you have to change your flight and move it forward or to a different time because you are already in the system.
Which brings me to cancellation policies. Last year I got tons of questions about the "fine print" and find the lack of inquiries this year very surprising (maybe it's time to run a survey!). Thus to save you time, here's what you need to know: The companies that I have relationships give my readers up to 48 hours to cancel their trip for a full refund. And if weather grounds flights, that, too, is fully refundable (you also get the option to reschedule your flight).
I hope this article about the pro and cons of last-minute tour bookings proved helpful. The bottom line is that your options are limited if you try to book a tour within 48 hours. This is especially true for helicopter tours and a bit less so for airplane flights. The best practice for avoiding this is to book a week or two ahead of time. It's also why I think great cancellation policies are important because they give you the luxury of planning ahead and saving money.
If you find yourself in a position where you need a same-day or 48-hour booking, I recommend calling me direct at 702-530-8687. I can tap into 5 different vendors and most likely I will find you something. I will be upfront and tell you that it won't be the cheapest price but it's better than not getting up in the air at all. If you can't reach me on the phone, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or come into Live Chat and I'll answer your questions there.
Have a grand day,
P.S. I rate the top 3 Grand Canyon helicopter tour companies that fly out of Las Vegas, NV. Click here to see who's my #1 choice. .