Understand our policies before you reserve a tour!
Groups are totally fine – in fact we can accomodate large groups of up to 100 people per day! However, we can only fly 3 at a time so we may break up the group depending on how many people are with you.
Unlike most tour companies, we do not have passenger minimums to keep the aircraft flying. However, we do remind you that going alone with our pilot is considered a private tour and there is a cost increase associated with that option. Please consult our pricing page for more details.
At the time of making a reservation we ask for a $20 per person deposit. Please note that this deposit is strictly non-refundable for any reason and represents your commitment to flying with us. If for some reason you are unable to fly on the day of your tour (see our weather and rescheduling sections) we will typically reschedule you with priority. However, ultimately your deposit is still non-refundable. The only exception to this rule is if you purchase Weather Insurance which is explained on our pricing page.
Despite being experienced aviators who are familiar with the weather, meteorology is inherently unpredictable. That said, we do our best to read forecasts well in advance. The most accurate aviation weather reports we get will come in a day or two before your flight. That means that if there is a concern about the weather you will hear from us usually the day before with an advisory. We will never intentionally put you or our team members in harms way and we will always make conservative weather calls. If the winds are out of limits or the clouds/visibility are restrictive (usually a legal requirement by the FAA) then we’ll offer you the opportunity to reschedule with priority for another date. Please do not contact us with forecasts from your favorite weather app – we are always looking at the weather and have aviation-specific reports with more technical information. Note that cancelling your tour if the weather doesn’t work out is totally fine however your $50 deposit is still non-refundable. So it is always more favorable to reschedule your flight so you don’t lose your deposit!
Cancellations / Refunds
At any time you may cancel your reservation. Keep in mind that there is a $20-per-person strictly non-refundable deposit that we keep since our reservation inventory is in high demand throughout the season. If you make a mistake while booking we’re happy to assist. Any refunds will be processed as soon as practicable and we can issue refunds minus the deposit as needed. Note that refunds are often more delayed than charges due to the way most banks process debits and credits.
Note that if you cancel within 72-hours of a tour we charge an additional $50 late-notice fee. The deposit and late-notice fee are the only way we can recover losses associated with gaps in our schedule when someone doesn’t show up or cancels last minute.
We ask that any reschedule requests occur outside of 72 hours prior to the flight. If you reschedule within 72 hours, a $50 additional late-notice fee will be applied to your card. This fee is the only way we can recover losses associated with gaps in our schedule when someone reschedules last minute. Note that having to reschedule due to inclement weather or other reasons that we may offer to you would not incur the late-notice fee!
Our weight limit is 280 lbs per person. This is a hard limit associated with operational limits of the aircraft. Also note that for any passengers above 200lbs (and also for groups with mostly heavier individuals) we reserve the right to break up your group into several flights, delay your tour or otherwise change the timing or nature of your flight. For exceptional cases (for example a large group of comprised entirely of 280 lb individuals) we reserve the right to reschedule your flight and/or charge additional fees. Note that we weigh every passenger as part of our normal check-in procedure in accordance with FAA regulations.
Medical conditions are often not a deal breaker, but we ask that you disclose them ahead of time. The rule of thumb is be prepared to get a doctor’s note and when in doubt reach out to us to clarify what is needed. Still, ultimately our aircrew and managers reserve the right to turn you away if we believe your medical condition presents a safety of flight risk. For wheel-chair bound passengers we ask that you bring a helper or someone else who can assist loading and unloading you into/out of the helicopter. Note that the common cold and sinus issues actually can present a hazard due to potentially rapid changes in altitude. Service animals are not permitted since all helicopter seats are considered “exit row seats” which federal regulation prohibits animals from blocking.
Flying With Children
Children are welcome and encouraged to experience the magic of helicopter flight. Note that any minor under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult and must occupy their own seats. For any children under 2 years old and under 25 lbs, an adult may carry them on their lap with special safety considerations. Our owner has flown with his young children and is excited for you to bring your kids, just keep in mind there are sometimes special considerations. For younger kids (3-10) please contact us to see if the child restraint system/harness is available.
Yes, tipping is allowed. It is customary in our industry, although it’s up to you! All of our staff work hard to make sure your tour is fun, safe and inspiring. Ultimately, gratuity is appreciated and recommended just like in any other service industry :).
Alcohol and Substances
This should be obvious but you’d be surprised…you should not be under the influence of any alcohol or substances on the day of your tour! We recommend not drinking the night before you fly as well. The rapid changes in altitude and other environmental factors can present a medical danger to people still under the influence and possibly a safety of flight issue. Not to mention it’s not a good idea to have a major experience while incapacitated in any way. If we smell alcohol or detect any evidence of substance abuse we reserve the right to cancel or reschedule your tour and charge a late-notice fee in addition to keeping your non-refundable deposit. Please don’t mess it up! We hate turning good people away because of a silly mistake!
Our reservation system is powered by Peek – the industry leading provider of booking services. Peek charges a convenience fee of 6% which is applied at the time your card is run. This fee is capped and is added on during checkout. Peek charges this fee in exchange for the ability to book convniently with us either online or over the phone. We should always make clear any charges that will be applied to your card and you should always get an email receipt from us. Typically no other service fees are applied (unless adding gratuity or additional services to your purchase during checkout).
We are so excited to meet your group and are especially happy to share our tours with international travelers. We understand sometimes language is a barrier. Although this should not present a major issue in flight, we do ask for a basic level of English proficiency to permit a safe flight. We expect your group to be able to follow simple instructions and understand any paperwork that we ask you to sign. Interpreters are totally fine to bring along!
I understand that weather, air traffic control instructions, airspace restrictions, military operations, mid-air emergencies, medical conditions, inability to speak or understand english, being under the influence of alcohol or substances, being uncooperative or disobeying safety rules, as well as pilot judgment all constitute reasons why I may not be able to take or complete my tour and that I may be provided with an opportunity to reschedule at the discretion of Finger Lakes HeliTours staff.