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Maui's dense rainforest seen through co-pilot side window in Robinson R44

Which Maui helicopter tour is the best

Recommending the best helicopter tour in Maui is a hard one but a doors off tour cannot be beat in terms of an exhilarating experience.

Which Maui helicopter tour is best on the island will be Maui Air's Doors Off West Maui & Molokai tour. Guests will lift off in a 6-seater passenger Airbus H125 with its doors off as the wind swirls around the cabin. Flight route will take in West Maui as you cross the Papilla Channel to reach the nearby island of Molokai.

Make no mistake there is a Maui helicopter tour to participate in for all everyone, its only this tour is my best is because the doors off element.

My best helicopter ride in Maui is Air Maui's Doors Off West Maui & Molokai tour as I believe it offers more value for money.

Not only is it that all important doors off experience, guests will get to explore West Maui intimately, plus cross the water to nearby Molokai.

Once in Molokai the helicopter tour will take in the islands landscape with a focus on her north shore.

It will cost a current discounted price of $245.00 per person for what will be a 45 minute tour - with more of this time spent touring Maui.

Its not the cheapest Maui helicopter tour but it is one that is mid-range; so could be within budget.

Higher cost, similar doors off tours are available so this particular experience is one of the cheapest.

Not for the faint-hearted or for under ten years, to which over tens will have to be occupied with a full paying adult.

Doors Off West Maui & Molokai tour

One of the top rated helicopter tour companies in Maui serve what I believe is one of the best doors off helicopter tours in Maui.

That is the Doors Off West Maui & Molokai Tour that covers not only Maui, but a channel crossing to the nearby Hawaiian island of Molokai.

Nothing to be missed on the beginning stages of the tour as you spend time at a low attitude exploring the canyons and mountains of West Maui Forest Reserve.

Guests will weave in and out of canyons as you climb or decline in attitude in the process.

All while the lush Maui rainforest will be seen as it passes beneath you along with cascading waterfalls with streams of water flowing in the valleys.

Pass the West Maui Forest Reserve you will begin a short flight over the Pailolo Channel - the Pacific Ocean - as you proceed to Molokai.

Purpose of this visit is seeing the islands incredible sea cliffs and waterfalls on Molokai's north shore.

Did I mention this Lost World will only seen through an Maui open door helicopter tour experience, for up to six passengers.

Its a Maui Open Door helicopter tour

In an effort to make sure guests who embark on the Air Maui Helicopters Doors Off West Maui & Molokai helicopter tour - it will take part in a doors off tour for unrestricted views.

How you will go about this is viewing West Maui plus a channel crossing with the doors off at all times.

Explore West Maui Forest Reserve deep in the canyons, soaring level with mountain tops or hover to view waterfalls - which can only be done this way.

Restrictions to a regular helicopter tour in Maui is a small pane of glass restricting your views, more so a problem if taking pictures.

Not so with a Maui doors off helicopter tour as it will open up your eyes to a world that will feel so surreal, you might just forget where or what you're doing.

Guaranteed, unrestricted views that allow for 'open door side passengers' to lean out ever so slightly to look directly below you as no area is missed.

Lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls and fast moving rivers are seen but occasionally up crops a rainbow to capture on camera.

Often sights are missed with behind closed door helicopters tours, but not on this one.

How much will it cost

Listed price is $353.00 but a current internet offer lists this Doors Off West Maui & Molokai Tour, via Air Maui at $245.00.

That is over a $100.00 saved well no additional fees or surcharges are expected.

Price listed is per person with no more savings to be had.

Not completely true because where you or one of your party is over the weight limit when flying with Air Maui, expect to pay extra for what is known as a comfort seat.

Comfort seat charge for passengers weighing 240lb or more.

If paying the $245.00 know that if you need to cancel or reschedule within 48 hours of the helicopter tour departure - no refunds are provided or a rescheduling is not possible.

Possibly no option to tip the pilot if you wanted too as the pricing is a little steep already, but know tipping is not expected.

So there you have it, it currently costs $245.00 per person for what will be a 45 minute flight time of one of the best helicopter tours in Maui.

45 minutes is all you need

If you have any doubt about a short flight time will correspond to a high price range, don't worry as passengers will embark on this tour for 45 consecutive minutes.

No stops, no diversions, expect the time to start at lift off well the 45 minute West Maui & Molokai Tour to come to a stop at touchdown.

More time will be spent over West Maui as you explore the canyons at various degrees of attitude - plus about 5 minutes for the channel crossing.

Expect up to 15 minutes viewing Molokai's landscape with more time spent seeing the coast on the north shore.

Its expected up to 15 minutes will be needed to make it back to your original departure point at Kahului Heliport - but no time is wasted this stage of the tour as its still expected to continue - well not simply running down the clock.

So there it is, expect 15 minutes or more weaving between Maui's many canyons and mountains in the west, plus a 5 minute or less requirement to cross the channel.

Molokai will be seen for 15 minutes while the remaining 10 minutes or so will be spent touring on the way back to the heliport.

Air Maui vs Pacific Helicopters

It has to be said, I had to choose between Air Maui's Doors Off West Maui & Molokai Tour versus Pacific Helicopters' Doors Off Molokai Sea Cliffs and Waterfalls.

In all honesty, the Air Maui vs Pacific Helicopters Doors Off West Maui & Molokai tour are similar, very similar in fact.

So why would I endorse the helicopter tour operated by Air Maui when Pacific Helicopters have a near similar offering.

To be honest, I put it down to accessibility; so while Pacific helicopters offer a higher weight limit, Air Maui have a 6-seater capacity - compared to a 3-seater with Pacific.

Its all about catering to the whole family, so where Pacific's Robinson R44 helicopter is reliable, its not as steady so can be a little shaky in flight.

Whereas Air Maui Airbus H125 is a heavier, single-engine helicopter that is more stable.

Honesty, if you wish to make it a scarier but safe Maui helicopter tour, then please do book with Pacific, you won't be disappointed.

Comfortable Airbus H125 helicopter

Rarely can guests participate in a helicopter tour using an Airbus H125 helicopter with the doors removed.

That is where Air Maui is different in that the tour is a safe, stable experience no thanks to the helicopter type in use.

If you don't know, the Airbus H125 is a 6-seater passenger capacity helicopter plus the pilot to make it seven.

Its operated using a three-bladed rotor for more lift with a turbine powered engine in use.

Passenger seating arrangement allows for four people on the rear row, plus two guests sitting next to one another, next to the pilot who sits on the left side.

Middle two passengers on the rear row will miss out on a window or doors off view but the open cockpit configuration will still make views enjoyable.

While the middle seat passenger sitting between the pilot and window seat guest is restrained somewhat, its made up with a co-pilot seat.

The Airbus H125 is a large, heavy but extremely secure aircraft that will make the tour go smoothly, with little to no shaking effect.

Departing Kahului Heliport

To participate in Air Maui's Doors Off West Maui & Molokai Tour, guests are asked to arrive at Kahului Heliport within half-hour of departure.

Located on the grounds of the Kahului Airport but away from the main terminal plus main runway.

The heliport is situated in its own little area on the bottom of the airport but still close so is within reach for anyone on foot or in a car.

Six helicopter hangers line the heliport with Air Maui on the far end, next to Maverick Helicopters.

If arriving in a car, parking is made available to the public on the adjoining car parking area, but not directly outside the building which is reserved for staff members.

Once you enter Air Maui offices all guests will need to go through the check-in procedure before departing in the helicopter.

It will include a safety briefing that will include a life jacket demonstration plus what to do in case of an emergency.

Negatives to this tour

No helicopter tour in Maui are without there negatives which is true for this tour, but I has to be said its only minor.

Remember this is a doors off helicopter tour of Maui so will beat all helicopter services who operate a strictly doors shut tour.

So here it is, to begin with Air Maui are not open to guests bringing a ton of photography equipment - in fact they don't permit any of it.

What passengers can use to take pictures or film is there own cell phone; so a lanyard is supplied by the company to be fixed.

Air Maui also mention that only 10 year olds or over can participate in this open door tour type.

Other than that, Air Maui operate one of the lowest weight restrictions, so if you weigh above their recommended 240lb limit - guests will have to upgrade to a comfort seat at cost.

No more restrictions or limits as far as I can tell, but where you miss out on say bringing your DRLS camera along, you'll still get stunning photo's on your cell phone.

Limited audience

While this Maui helicopter tour is the best, in my opinion; its not a tour for everyone for reasons that include an age limit or not for the faint-hearted.

Doors off helicopter tours in Hawaii can be quite scary as you're open to the elements with views that don't make it ideal for those who have a fear of flying.

Behind closed doors helicopter tours are different because they're restricted somewhat.

Whereas being exposed to the elements as you soar 2,000 ft. in the air or ride through the canyon in West Maui at low attitude, now that is scary for sure.

Not only that, better views of the landscape can bring it within throwing distance, or so you might think.

So while the landscape appears closer, like flying through canyons or near to maintains - it really isn't but can feel like it is to most people.

That is where this Air Maui Helicopters' Doors Off West Maui & Molokai tour is not for everyone in the family.

More so as under 10 years cannot participate in this doors off experience, but they can over this age if occupied with a paying adult.


My love of open door helicopter tours, especially in Hawaii, cannot be beat as the experience allows for an exhilarating tour as you're open to the elements.

Therefore, in Maui at least, I believe Air Maui Helicopters Doors Off West Maui & Molokai tour is the best one available.

That is closely followed with Pacific Helicopters own version if this tour is not available to book.

Only Difference being is Air Maui operate a 6-seater Airbus H125, whereas Pacific Helicopters operate a 3-seater, passenger only Robinson R44.

It will cost you a mid range price of $245.00 if ordering online for a 45 minute flight that explores West Maui with a crossing over the channel to Molokai.

Not so much about the tour flight path itself when its simply participating in a doors off tour - which is an unbeatable flight experience, as is.

However, it will include a flight path that will explore deep in the West Maui Forest Reserve as you follow the canyon westwards.

Guests will experience a brief water crossing over the Pailolo Channel to reach the sea cliffs of Molokai - where up to 15 minutes will be spent exploring the north shore.

Helicopter tours depart via Kahului Heliport near the Airport, but within a short car journey from the centre of Kahului nearby.

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