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By Keith Kravitz
A Grand Canyon air tour is among the most comfortable and efficient way to see the National Park. Flights are done aboard a state-of-the-art aircraft that lets you experience the most canyon in the least amount of time. Before you begin packing your bags, here are seven things that will ensure that this trip option is for you:
#1 Where will you fly from?
Several destinations make perfect starting points for a canyon air tour. Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Sedona, AZ, are the most popular. If it fits into your plans, go with Las Vegas. It’s the least expensive. Starting from Arizona? I recommend you rent a car. Flying from Phoenix to Flagstaff, AZ, for example, is terribly expensive. All South Rim airplane trips start at Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan, AZ, located just 10 minutes south of the Park’s main entrance.
#2 Which rim do you want to see?
These two rims are the only places in the canyon where aircraft are permitted to fly The arid West Rim is a 25-minute flight from Las Vegas and is best known for its activities and attractions. The South Rim requires a 45-minute flight and is distinguished by its incredible natural splendor and the historic Grand Canyon Village.
#3 Do you want to see the Grand Canyon Skywalk?
The Skywalk is Grand Canyon West’s crown jewel. Known as the “Glass Bridge,” the bridge lets you walk 70 feet beyond the edge of the rim. Below you some 4,000 feet is the Colorado River. From the air, it sparkles under the Mojave Desert sun. Optionally, you can upgrade your air tour to include access to the Skywalk. Build on that by adding a flight over the famous Las Vegas Strip on the way back to town.
#4 Do you want to go to the bottom of the canyon?
This opportunity is only available at the West Rim. You will need to deplane and board a helicopter. The 4,000-foot descent is a journey through four geological eras of time (millions of years). Cliffs, spires and buttes fill the landscape. Enjoy a Champagne picnic at the bottom and set about exploring the canyon’s timeless base.
#5 Raft the Grand Canyon?
Colorado River rafting is available at both rims. Two choices are available at the West Rim: 1) Helicopter to the bottom and board a pontoon boat for a 30-minute float ride; or 2) Go to the base of Hoover Dam for a 11-mile rafting tour. The South Rim is a fantastic airplane flight to Glen Canyon Dam (East Rim) for a 15.5-mile float trip that includes Antelope Canyon and ends at historic Lee’s Ferry.
#6 Is it your goal to see as much of the canyon as possible in 1 day?
This is almost a toss up. The Grand Canyon from Las Vegas air tour lets you see almost 50 percent of the canyon. But for 100% classic Grand Canyon, nothing rivals Grand Canyon Airline’s Grand Discovery airplane tour. Why this package gets so little attention bewilders me. The list of sights you’ll see include the South Rim, Dragoon Corridor, Zuni Corridor, Painted Desert, and the North Rim. It’s 50 minutes of utter bliss.
#7 Do you want the lowest price possible on seeing the Grand Canyon by air?
The Grand Canyon air tour business is very competitive. You are bound to see a lot of offers. Ignore them. The best, most solid deal you will get is from the tour operators themselves. Grand Canyon Airlines, in my opinion, is the low-price leader for high-quality West Rim and South Rim air tours. To get their rock-bottom price, book on their website. I personally have realized savings of up to 35 percent.
Flying is one of the best Grand Canyon tours out there. Be it West Rim or South Rim, you’ll see pretty much see it all. These airplane tours can be expanded to include helicopter flights, rafting trips, and Skywalk passes, and Las Vegas flyovers. They are also the fastest way to go from Las Vegas to the South Rim. These trips are economical, too, particularly if you book them online, where you can get up to 35% off. So kick off your shoes, recline your seat, and prepare for departure. Getting to the Grand Canyon and seeing it in all its natural glory has never been easier.
About the Author: Travel writer Keith Kravitz reviews
Grand Canyon tours
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Grand Canyon by Air