The Grand Canyon - Best Airplane Flights

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Published: 29th April 2013
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I often get asked by travelers about which Grand Canyon airplane tours are the best. Tough question because each flight has its own unique way of exploring the canyon. However, after much deliberation, I have come up with a set of criteria that have let me come up with a few favorites that I heartily recommend to one and all.

First of all, you have to decide which rim of the canyon you want to see. You can choose the South Rim or the West Rim. If you are in Las Vegas, you can fly to the West Rim. Although it is trickier, you can also get to the South Rim from Vegas by way of the Grand Canyon National Park Airport. Note that there are no flights between the rims.

Las Vegas departures take off every day of the year including all major U.S. holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is rare for a flight to be cancelled, but if it is, you are likely to get a full refund or a seat on a different flight.

Vegas flights to the West Rim take less than half an hour, as the distance from the metro area to the National Park is just 120 miles. You can choose from an air only tour and a landing tour when you go to the West Rim. The air only tours are a great option when you have a tight budget or don't have much time to spare.

Most people prefer landing tours if they have the time. Since you are visiting one of the most popular Seven Natural Wonders of the World, you definitely want an experience to remember. On these air tours, you see the Grand Canyon from above and up close on the ground. When your tour is over, you will have an immense appreciation for the beauty and majesty of the region.

How do you know which landing tour is best? Book a flight that includes passes to the glass Skywalk bridge and takes you to the Grand Canyon West Airport where you can hop on a helicopter to descend to the canyon floor. Another option is to choose a tour that lands on top of the rim and gives you a little over two hours to explore these exciting points of interest:

The educational Indian Cultural Center
Beautiful Eagle Point
Guano Point
The famed Hualapai Ranch

Expect to spend anywhere from six to nine hours on landing tours like these.

Some people really enjoy seeing the South Rim. It is a short flight that takes under an hour (if you go by bus it takes 5.5 hours) and includes a 2.5 hour bus tour to the Grand Canyon Village and Mather Point lookout. You can also add an exciting helicopter option that takes you from rim to rim.

This tour takes off from Grand Canyon Airport and is a good one if you are coming from Sedona, Flagstaff, Phoenix, or Scottsdale. This is an extensive air tour that lasts 45 minutes and lets you fully appreciate the immensity of the canyon. It covers the South Rim, East Rim and North Rim, and passes over such sights like:

Colorado River Confluence
Navajo Indian Reservation
The Dragoon Corridor which is the deepest and widest area
The interesting Zuni Corridor
The scenic Painted Desert
The tallest point called Imperial Point

You can even add on a Jeep tour of Antelope Canyon and a fifteen mile float trip down the Colorado River from Glen Canyon Dam to Lee's Ferry. The Colorado River tour has no rough waters so it is great fun for everyone, even kids over the age of four.

There are many aerial tours of the Grand Canyon to choose from, but the ones mentioned provide a lot of great experiences for a reasonable cost. Check them out. I'm sure you'll find one that meets the needs of you and your group.

Grand Canyon airplane rides are a great way to experience the National Park. To get great rates on these flights, travel master Tracy Delvecchio suggests checking out this page now:

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