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Helicopters seen at the Pier 6 heliport on the East River

Pier 6 helicopter ride departure guide

Make life simple by booking a NYC helicopter ride departing from downtown Manhattan, on the East River.

Visitor's to NYC will want to reduce travel time by arranging a helicopter ride that lifts off from near to your hotel or location. Make it a Pier 6 helicopter ride departure on the East River from up to 5 operators; flying up to 15 tour options, with dozens of flights daily whilst taking in all major landmarks.

Make life easy on you by making sure you book a New York City helicopter tour that departs from Manhattan - a location where you happen to be.

Easy mistake to make is booking a helicopter ride that departs out of New Jersey; so then you'll have to make the awkward trip to the heliport there.

To be sure, only a book NYC tour with one of the following: HeliNY, Liberty Helicopters, Manhattan Helicopter, New York Helicopter and Zip Aviation.

Types of helicopters they use can be equipped with large floor to ceiling windows, along with inflatable floats attached to the skids.

That is due to all helicopter rides flying over water with all major landmarks seen.

Departing Pier 6, first port of call is a helicopter ride swinging by the Statue Of liberty before arriving at Ellis Island.

Then its northwards up the Hudson River as far along as the George Washington Bridge, or up to the North Point of Manhattan.

Paying more will result in an extended route, but expect all flight routes to be identical.

Never expect a New York open door helicopter ride to depart the busiest heliport in the world, so when you want to take a feet out helicopter ride, they will depart New Jersey.

Book a helicopter ride

Allow me to present all available helicopter tour companies who operate helicopter rides out of Pier 6, on the East River.

Remember you cannot book a flight with the offices or over the phone at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport - it must be done via the official helicopter operators.

To do that you can visit each of there web sites to see who has the best tour package.

However, I've done the leg work for you by listing all operators who depart via Pier 6 with 15 unique tours to pick from.

All you need to do is consider the duration of the flight along with a price that should be within your budget if you shop around.


Once you're ready to take flight the ground crew will escort guests to HeliNY's distinctive black Bell 407 helicopter.

Why Helicopter Flight Services should be one of your top choices is because that type of helicopter is fitted with floor to ceiling windows, for unrestrictive viewing.

Serious New York helicopter tours to pick from includes just three options; with all flights taking on similar landmarks - with extended rides taking on more attractions.

So as one of my favorite to fly with as a passenger; make it HeliNY for the service with the helicopter type in use is sure to make it a trip to remember.

  • The New Yorker Tour
  • Check Availability | Duration: 12 Minutes | Price: $189.00
  • Once you have departed Pier 6 the HeliNY helicopter will take a flight route that will right away head to away from Manhattan while flying around Governor's Island, before passing by Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Then you'll head up the Hudson River with Manhattan on the right, New Jersey on the Left. Once turned around, passengers will see what they originally missed the first time around.
  • The Ultimate Tour
  • Check Availability | Duration: 17 Minutes | Price: $234.00
  • Extended time allows for more sights to be seen; so you'll take the usual route as outlined above, only the helicopter goes for the entire length of Manhattan Island, before turning around. Six more landmarks to spot will include: Columbia University, Grant's Tomb, Yankee Stadium, The Palisades and George Washington Bridge before reaching the northern tip of Manhattan.
  • The Deluxe Tour
  • Check Availability | Duration: 25 Minutes | Price: $319.00
  • Quite possibly HeliNY's best Manhattan helicopter tour thanks to an even longer flight time, so a couple of more landmarks to take in. So while the tour flight path is identical to the above tour; its slowed down a little so the extra time in the air can be spent seeing more attraction. Such as the Verrazzano Bridge with more of Brooklyn to be seen over to your left side.

Liberty Helicopters

Its easy to spot Liberty Helicopters model of helicopter out on the heliport as they're the only red Airbus ACH125.

Liberty Helicopters operate out of Learny too, so with their Pier 6 operations, passengers can enjoy what the company has over there closest rivals on the ramp.

Only 2 NYC helicopter tours available with their New York, New York Tour, and The Big Apple option.

If I could recommend a tour for you then for sure make it the extra time of the New York, New York helicopter tour - lots to see with a flight route heading up the Hudson River.

  • New York, New York
  • Check Availability | Duration: 18 Minutes | Price: $285.00
  • Time allowed for this New York, New York helicopter tour experience will make sure guests see all sights protruding out of downtown Manhattan. Focus will be over the water so you'll see the Statue Of Liberty for an extended time, so too Governor's Island, World Financial District, One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial. The route will take you up the Hudson River before turning around.
  • The Big Apple
  • Check Availability | Duration: 12 Minutes | Price: $204.00
  • Less time up in the air so expect to see less attractions. Focus of the tour will take in the Statue Of Liberty and Ellis Island first thing, before heading back to the mainland where the New World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial awaits. Other landmarks you'll see is the Empire State Building, Chrysler, MetLife Buildings, USS Intrepid with a glimpse of George Washington Bridge and Central Park.

Manhattan Helicopters

Easy to book, easier to navigate Manhattan Helicopter tours are made easy to pick, as they cater for all budgets.

Manhattan Helicopter fly a Bell 407 with the large floor to ceiling window conversion, so passengers are sure to not miss a thing.

The company have just three, yet very effective NYC helicopter tours, including the Classic, Deluxe and VIP Manhattan Helicopter Tour.

The Classic and Deluxe tour takes on a familiar route, while the VIP tour will go beyond those routes to reach as far has the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

  • Classic Manhattan Helicopter Tour
  • Check Availability | Duration: 12 Minutes | Price: $209.00
  • Cheapest New York helicopter tour available from the company; the 12 to 15 minute flight time will allow for most popular attractions to be seen. They include the Statue Of Liberty, Ellis Island, One World Trade Center, Financial District, Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building - to name a handful. You'll make it a third of the way up the Hudson River before turning around.
  • Deluxe Manhattan Helicopter Tour
  • Check Availability | Duration: 18 Minutes | Price: $289.00
  • Landmarks and famous attractions that I have outlined on the previous tour is also seen on this one. Only the extended time of 18 to 20 minutes will take passengers farther up the Hudson River, stopping at George Washington Bridge before making your way home. Guests sitting on the left side won't get a good view of Manhattan until the helicopter has turned around the opposite way.
  • VIP Manhattan Helicopter Tour
  • Check Availability | Duration: 25 Minutes | Price: $349.00
  • Manhattan Helicopters will make it worth your time with there luxury 25 to 30 minute VIP tour. Flight route will take in all that as been explained thus far, only the helicopter will go much farther. Well the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will be reached before heading to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Up the Hudson River the tour will take you close to the northernmost point.

New York Helicopter

Not to be missed out on the heliport, New York Helicopter will take guests in their 4 passenger seat Bell Jet Ranger, or 6-seater Bell Long Ranger - finished in red/white.

Again, a flight route that is similar to all other services who operate out of Pier 6; the company will change the route a little as to overlap on the route at one point.

Guests can book one of the Liberty Tour, Central Park Tour or the Grand Tour.

Helicopter tour routes will be in keeping with all others; only as you have time added on, the route reaches more landmarks.

  • Liberty Tour
  • Check Availability | Duration: 15 Minutes | Price: $199.00
  • You won't miss much with New York Helicopter's cheapest tour option; as the route will take you over water to begin the tour with Liberty Island and Ellis Island. As you circle around the Manhattan skyline will come into shot as you'll get a glimpse of the Financial District, Empire State Building, with sights of Central Park. Only 15 minute flight but nothing of importance will be missed.
  • Central Park Tour
  • Check Availability | Duration: 19 Minutes | Price: $266.00
  • Next up on the helicopter tour availability is their Central Park Tour, that ironically, focuses no more on Central Park than other options. Helicopters cannot fly over land so you'll see the park - and other landmarks - from over the Hudson. In 19 minutes, all sights will be seen as the tour heads farther up the Hudson River as you briefly pass over George Washington Bridge.
  • Grand Tour
  • Check Availability | Duration: 25 Minutes | Price: $355.00
  • What New York Helicopter's finest tour has to offer guests is a route - much like all other expensive options - will extend the flight to the northern point of Manhattan, to going as far has Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The flight route in between the routes mentioned above, only you'll get 25 minutes to reach the area's that are far beyond your original departure location at Pier 6.

Zip Aviation

Certainly the operator with the most stunning type of helicopter in use; the Bell 407 - with floor to ceiling windows - which is finished with a distinctive yellow strike.

Options available to you is their 15 minute Liberty Harbar tour, 30 minute Grand Island tour, or their Big City helicopter tour.

No different to all routes taken by the official helicopter operators; so that is true for Zip's luxury Grand Island tour that is up to 30 minutes long.

I really like Zip because of the helicopter model in use; if you want to see NYC at its best, then Zip will not disappoint.

  • Liberty Harbor
  • Check Availability | Duration: 15 Minutes | Price: $209.00
  • Soon as you've departed Pier 6, passengers will be treated to the Statue Of Liberty and Ellis Island, before heading north to reach downtown Manhattan. Now you'll see sights such as One World Trade Center, Brooklyn Bridge from a far, Battery Park Empire State Building and Chrysler Building. Other famous attractions can be spotted, but only from a distance.
  • Grand Island
  • Check Availability | Duration: 30 Minutes | Price: $349.00
  • Grandest helicopter tour available - hence the name - the Grand Island is a 30 minute tour that will fly farther than ever before. You'll begin the route like any other before heading much farther up the Hudson River; in the process you'll see George Washington Bridge, Yankee Stadium, Columbia University - and the Bronx. Not before taking in Verrazano Bridge and Staten Island.
  • Big City
  • Check Availability | Duration: 20 Minutes | Price: $289.00
  • There is a middle ground with Zip Aviation, offering a tour that is within your budget, while a 20 minute duration will allow for time to see all landmarks. Once again it begins southwards taking in Liberty and Ellis Island, before heading north up the Hudson River to reach the George Washington Bridge. When you turn around NYC will be on your left as New Jersey can be seen on the right.

Official Pier 6 tour operators

New York Helicopter Bell Long Ranger departing Pier 6
New York Helicopter's own Bell Long Ranger departing Pier 6 over the East River with the Brooklyn skyline seen in the distance, as a helicopter awaits landing.

While any helicopter company can land on Pier 6 with permission; the busiest heliport in the world is home to 5 major New York helicopter tourism operators.

You won't see all there helicopters taking up all space on the heliport at one point; but you will see the helicopters coming and going throughout the day.

Therefore, operators you will end up booking with will be one of: Helicopter Flight Services - also known as HeliNY - Liberty Helicopters, Manhattan Helicopter, New York Helicopter and Zip Aviation.

Despite the operators spending most of the time on the East River pier, it will still cost each and every passenger a fee.

Getting to Pier 6 location

You'll need to on average arrive at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport within 1 hour, so you got time to check-in - so make sure you have your travel arrangements in check.

Parking is NOT open to the public so arriving by car is not an option but a taxi is.

If you're familiar with the subway system then there are stations stopping near by, so to will a bus be an option for you.

However, what I would do, as I do when I travel anywhere - is to make my way to Pier 6 on foot - as the location cannot be easier to get too.

Downtown Manhattan Heliport facilities

Be aware the operation of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport is independent of the services headed up by the independent helicopter operators.

Meaning well the staff at the heliport facilities will be kind and courteous; you will need to find stay members belonging to the company you booked up to fly with.

Well its possible to wait indoors in a small waiting room; often helicopter operators will setup a customer service desk outdoors.

Bathroom facilities are made available, and so are lockers if you bring extra baggage along - of which you won't be allowed to take onboard.

Check-in process

When arriving at the heliport in good time you can use it productively by taking a few minutes to take pictures of helicopters landing or taking off, from a distance.

But what will you need to do as a passenger once you've arrived at the heliport?

Well, for a start you'll need to check-in with a photo ID, along with a credit card or the form of payment you paid for the flight with originally.

Then its time to get weighed so the helicopter operator who are taking care of you can know where you sit inside the helicopter - based on weight and balances.

Heliport procedures

HeliNY Bell 407 on Pier 6 heliport watched on by ground crew member
HeliNY Bell 407 helicopter seen on Pier 6 as passengers are seen boarding well a ground crew member keeps a watchful eye over there safety.

Not to be confused with the check-in procedure which will come first; passengers will need to follow a series of strict protocols.

Namely following the staff members instructions for how to behavior out on the safe, yet very busy heliport.

Say for example you want to take photographs of the helicopters; this could distract anyone so you'll end up in a serious accident.

So no taking pictures out on the heliport, once sat comfortably in the helicopter you'll be free to snap away.

Compulsory Fee

Despite all helicopter companies being a regular customer of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, running costs have to be covered.

So well the helicopter operator make there money from passengers; the heliport is run independently, so need to cover costs.

That means the cost is passed onto customers in the form of a compulsory $40.00 free, to be handed over to the heliport.

Often the price is included in the tour package, but on the otherhand it could be an extra free you must expect to pay at the heliport.


If you're a visitor to the magnificent New York City, then you will want to take a convenient helicopter ride over NYC from a short distance away.

In that respect, you will want to book a helicopter tour that lifts off right out of downtown Manhattan.

Book your seat, then a hour or two before departure; make you way to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport - resting on Pier 6 over the East River.

Location of departure will insure the New York helicopter tour begins instantly with a focus on the Statue Of Liberty coming into view.

Its then over to the Verrazano Bridge or the northern point of Manhattan.

When paying for a cheap to middle range helicopter tour; the route will be similar but you won't make it as far Verrazano Bridge or past the George Washington Bridge.

Getting to Pier 6 couldn't be easier as its within public transport route, though a lovely walk to the pier would be welcoming by tourists.

Check-in with the service you're flying with, as the staff who work independently at the heliport will be sure to help lost or confused guests.

Heliport procedures dictate all passengers must not take pictures out on the heliport for safety reasons.

Expect a free to pay of about $40.00 as a cost to the heliport, not the operator.

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