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Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

Phila, PA
7 posts
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Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

Greetings to all of you fine travelers!

I'm a 53 year old recent cancer survivor headed to Vegas for a busines conference who has never been to the Canyon. I'm a outdoorsman, camper, simple type. I only have Saturday 11/15 to do an Air tour of the Canyon. Based on research I think I want to go Vegas to South Rim. I'd like to do airplane, helicopter and raft deal if available. Lots of air tour options, but don't know which is best or reputable: Papillon, Scenic Airlines, Looktours, Grand Canyon Airlines... I have all day so I'd like the longest one. Really don't care too much about cost since its just me. Most important is the length and quality of the experience. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!

Bob

London UK
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2,562 posts
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1. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

I admire your Stoic approach to life. Fly there on the earliest possible flight. At Tusayan airport book a flight in a helicopter which has all forward facing seats and try to do the flight before about 10.30 am so you can enjoy the colours of the canyon's geology. If you are the lightest one in the party then you will have the best seat in the plane, centre front or, second best, the front starboard seat. The heavies are parked in the back stalls.

On returning to Tusayan you will probably have to hire a car so you can drive to Grand Canyon Village and walk a mile or so along the southern rim. Hope you do have a head for heights and do not suffer from vertigo! Try and walk about half a mile down into the canyon, the better to appreciate its scale. I do not think you will have time for a raft ride as it is a long journey down to the bottom of the canyon and an even longer one on the return.

Then head back to Tusayan for the last flight to Vegas. The alternative end of the day is that you drive the hire car back to Las Vegas. Then you can enjoy sunset over the canyon and perhaps have a meal in a Grand Canyon Village restaurant before a five hour drive back to Vegas.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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2. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

There is no where to rent a car at the airport in Tusayan, so go with a full day tour from Las Vegas to Tusayan Airport, then to the canyon. Most important is to see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from the ground while inside the national park. Flying over is gravy, but not needed.

Scenic Airlines has many options http://www.scenic.com/

Seattle
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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3. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

Congratulations from another cancer survivor. I know all too well about the importance of quality experience. Many you have many years ahead to enjoy.

There is no scheduled air service from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon; you book a package tour. There are a number of combinations available, but it sounds like the one you want (if using Scenic as CasaAzul suggested) would be the "Canyon Odyssey":

scenic.com/saws1gc_grand_canyon_helicopter_o…

This includes pick-up at your hotel, an airplane flight to Tusayan, a helicopter flight, then several hours (I hope) on your own to wander the rim area before you return to Tusayan for the return flight.

I think this is better for you than the air/bus combination. Time on foot at the rim is the best. Depending on the free time they allow you, you may be able to walk down the Bright Angel trail into the canyon. Even a 15-minute walk down takes you into another world.

Grand Canyon Airlines probably offers a very similar package. The others are, I believe, tour operators who book with either Scenic or GC Air.

Just don't be misled to go to Grand Canyon West area for a helicopter flight down into the canyon. This sounds appealing, but they area is well outside the beautiful national park area, and lacks the majesty and splendor of the canyon you will see from the South Rim area (and the helicopter flight over the main canyon).

You probably should decide and book soon---that is only 2 weeks away.

Good luck and good health to you.

Mesa, Arizona
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4. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

Make sure when booking that it states GCNP south rim. Most tours from LV go to the so called west rim.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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5. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

Agreeing that the GCNP at the South Rim is where you want to go. You'll see it pretty well from the air on the flight from LV. Adding a helicopter flight takes alot of time and adds expense. I'd skip that in favor of more time on the ground. And it's already been established that there are no raft trips from the south rim. You'll understand why when you see the canyon from the rim. The trips you'll hear about in LV are at the extreme west (lower) end of the canyon where the river is already backing up from Lake Mead and the canyon walls are lower and much wider than the dramatic part of the GC at the south rim. Trust us. Your day will be complete and your experience will be maximized by taking the full day South Rim tour out of LV. The only way to make it better would be to give it more time and spend a night inside the park.

Phila, PA
7 posts
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6. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

Thanks WestlondonerW5! Appreciate the advice.

Phila, PA
7 posts
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7. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

Thank you, CasaAzul!

Phila, PA
7 posts
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8. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

Thank you Enzian, Dragonflylady and Redrox! So kind of you to lend your expertise! What do you think of this air tour:

grandcanyonairlines.com/gca/…

It's an 8 hour jaunt via Airplane from Vegas to South Rim with a 30 minute copter tour to North Rim?

They say it takes an hour to get to South Rim. Say another hour for the copter tour, that leaves 4-5 hours to walk around I would think. Does that sound right?

Phila, PA
7 posts
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9. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

Enzian, thanks soo much and congratulations on surviving your cancer. I was really lucky in that they caught my prostate cancer so early. I had the radical retropubic prostatectomy at Johns Hopkins and within 4 weeks I was able to wrok again (office work) and with in 2 months I had virtually NONE of the dreaded side affects. I'm the luckiest guy alive!

I'm leaning towards the Scenic Odyssey trip as you suggested.

Thanks again and have a GREAT life!

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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10. Re: Grand Canyon Air Tours from Vegas

The tours that have been noted here by Scenic/Papillon and Grand Canyon Airlines do not give you 4-5 hours to wander about on your own. Such tours typically include a coach tour in the park stopping at 2 or 3 overlooks depending on the time available. Send them email and ask for a detailed itinerary. With the exception of some van tours available from LV, all the air tours follow the same itinerary. Most of the booking agencies are also selling tours actually provided by Scenic/Papillon and Grand Canyon Airlines.