4.5 star rating: Recommended 38 Reviews

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  • Location: Hilo, Hawaii
  • Duration:  50 minutes (approx.)

Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the 45-Minute Open-Door Volcanoes Helicopter Flight. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

The morning started with a short safety session hold at the office in Hilo airport, and review of proper gear and equipment. The team made sure we had warm clothes as we had chosen to do the Open Door Helicopter tour. We then headed to the heliport, where the helicopters were being readied for our trip. It was funny to see the doors removed and put aside! After we were safely secured in the helicopter, we smoothly took us and headed to the most recent lava fields, close to Pahoa. Some of these lava fields started June this year and went through forests and towards town and houses. Though there was no active lava coming through when we flew over, we still managed to see some red spots of lava, thanks to our pilot who was great at spotting these within the fields. The most amazing part of the tour was when we flew over Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the other active volcano within Volcano National Park. Lots of steam vents, giving an amazing contrast of white smoke against the dark black color of lava rocks. Our pilot was great to fly left and right to ensure all sides of the helicopter had equal good views. There again we were able to see some hot red lava spots! This was really an unbelievable view! We returned back to Hilo, checking a couple of waterfalls like the Rainbow Waterfall. I was glad we went for the Open Door experience, as this really gives you an unobscured view all around, and you get a feeling of total access to the scenery. One note though – make sure you are dress warmly – a good fleece, wind jacket, turtleneck and some light gloves really help make a difference! This is a once-in-a-life time experience, and the whole team, both on ground and the pilot, were true professional, very friendly and ensuring we had the best of tour possible. This is a must-do while in Big Island, and I really recommend this tour for a unique feel – how often will you fly with no door?

Anonymous

Anonymous

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

The experience started with a short safety video and briefing at the Helico company's office inside the Hilo airport terminal. The staff made sure we wore warm clothes (doors off flight!), that all cameras had straps and that each passenger knew its sit number (I was on the righthand rear sit). After that it was off to the Helico tarmac! Shortly after take-off, the flight headed south of Hilo, towards the town of Pahoa which had been threaten by very recent lava flows. There, the pilot took us around lava fields, bordered with still burning forested areas. The pilot pointed at red dots and thin scarlet scars of hot lava. Impressive to see vast areas of the forest split by black streaks of harden rock. The highlight of the tour came right after Pahoa with the flight over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō volcano which was blasting out white and yellow smoke. The pilot did a few back and forth circles around and above the crater to allow all sides of the helicopter to get the good views. We stayed long enough and close enough to see some melted lava areas inside the crater (when the smoke allowed) and to appreciate the forces of nature in action as well as take a good number of video clips and photos. The rest of the flight included a couple of waterfalls north of Hilo. An awesome, highly recommended experience! Note on Doors Off: absolutely a must if you know you won't be scared, however, it got really cold up there specially with the wind chill-factor. I was glad to wear a good number of layers, windbreaker with hood and gloves!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

The morning started with a short safety session hold at the office in Hilo airport, and review of proper gear and equipment. The team made sure we had warm clothes as we had chosen to do the Open Door Helicopter tour. We then headed to the heliport, where the helicopters were being readied for our trip. It was funny to see the doors removed and put aside! After we were safely secured in the helicopter, we smoothly took us and headed to the most recent lava fields, close to Pahoa. Some of these lava fields started June of this year and went through forests and towards town and houses. Though there was no active lava coming through when we flew over, we still managed to see some red spots of lava, thanks to our pilot who was great at spotting these within the fields. The most amazing part of the tour was when we flew over Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the other active volcano within Volcano National Park. Lots of steam vents, giving an amazing contrast of white smoke against the dark black color of lava rocks. Our pilot was great to fly left and right to ensure all sides of the helicopter had equal good views. There again we were able to see some hot red lava spots! This was really an unbelievable view! We returned back to Hilo, checking a couple of waterfalls like the Rainbow Waterfall. I was glad we went for the Open Door experience, as this really gives you an unobscured view all around, and you get a feeling of total access to the scenery. One note though – make sure you are dress warmly – a good fleece, wind jacket, turtleneck and some light gloves really help make a difference! This is a once-in-a-life time experience, and the whole team, both on ground and the pilot, were true professional, very friendly and ensuring we had the best of tour possible. This is a must-do while in Big Island, and I really recommend this tour for a unique feel – how often will you fly with no door?

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

This tour was amazing!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2014

This was a wonderful experience. I booked my husband and I on a "doorless" flight. Despite my fear of heights, once I opened my eyes I enjoyed every moment. It may seem warm on the ground but without doors it gets very cold. Viator was good enough to call the night before and remind us about the jacket, it was about 90 on the ground....we had no intention of doing this. The staff and pilot, Joyce, were great. Joyce sensed my reticence and inquired about my state of mind...which helped. As I said, go for it.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2014

Wow! Do this - you will not regret it.

The helicopter has 2 seats in the back, both with window seats but by all acounts are very windy and cold! We sat in the front where there are 3 seats and is slightly more sheltered. Anywhere you sit, it is amazing. You don't need to worry about sitting next to your partner, as there are 2 seats in back and 2 in front. The company you fly with is local.

We booked the 11:30 flight from Hilo and drove over Saddle Road in the morning, setting off about 7:45 from the Fairmont Orchid. We went to the tsunami museum before this and then drove to the airport. Don't let it worry you if you are based on the Kona side and have to drive across. After the tour we drove to the Volcanoes national park and then drove back round the southern side of the island to Kona.

The tour itself is totally amazing. It rained a little, but that just added to the experience. The flight is so smooth. My wife had never flown in a helicopter before. She was nervous because she hates rollercoasters. She couldn't believe how smooth the flight is. The pilot is really good fun and professional. The views are difficult to explain, but just mind blowing. You see so much in a short space of time!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2014

It was absolutely amazing! The ladies in the greeting area, the ones who walked us to the helicopter, and the pilot were professional and timely. We highly recommend this flight.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2014

While we were in Hawaii volcano activity was mostly in inaccessible regions, and the flight was the only way we could see a recent lava flow. The open door heli certainly added to the excitement of the trip, and made photo opportunities better. We would certainly recommend this trip

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2014

Absolutely top notch and worth every penny. The staff are very personable and friendly. Would recommend this trip to, anyone.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2013

It was excellent. Our pilot was great. We recommended this to anyone thinking about it

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2013

Our open door helicopter ride over the volcanoes was brilliant.
The check in process good, the safety briefing was well done as was getting us into the helicopter, safely strapped in and off we went.
The lava was present, you could feel the heat as we flew in close over it and to see it us close was amazing.
Joyce our pilot was tremendous, she kept us informed with all sorts of useful information.
All in all a great trip to do and well worth it -

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2013

The single best experience in a wonderful Hawaiian vacation.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2013

Viator.com bombarded me with so many e-mails after I booked the trip that I missed the e-mail saying they could not accommodate me. Two days after I booked the flight they e-mailed me saying the time I selected was unavailable. Two days! By that time I did not have web access. My son and I drove two + hours only to find out that we had to wait over four hours for our flight.

The flight was worth it and the company we book was very nice, but to waste four hours is unacceptable. When the tour company contacted Viator about this, they said nothing could be done. Apparently from the tour company this has happened more than once.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2013

What a wonderful experience with no doors, very exciting would thoroughly recommend the trip

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2013

If you're going to do one tour on the big island, do this. It's exceptional. It's a thrilling way of seeing one of the most amazing sights on this planet. Dress warm, it gets cold up there!

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Tour code: 5120_H0004

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