Photography: George Rockett | Words: Zoe London
By far the best Instagram opportunity in New York City…
I had seen these helicopter tours over NYC for some time, and a while ago – probably on one of those Buzzfeed articles – I came across the ‘open door’ helicopter experience. Victoria from In The Frow had done this, and then Scarlett from Scarlett London did, and with enough recommendations for me I also settled on a booking. I went with FlyNyOn as they had great reviews, and Scarlett recommended them to me. This was a birthday gift for George, and I was hoping it would be as memorable as possible. A real once in a lifetime thing.
FlyNyOn’s HQ is in New Jersey, and it took about a 50 minute uber ride from our hotel in Manhattan to get there. I’d definitely recommend leaving as much time as possible beforehand because if you miss your slot it can’t always be rearranged. We ended up getting caught in a little traffic and leaving our arrival a bit closer to the wire than we’d have liked! Upon arrival you’re taken through an important but not totally boring safety talk all about the helicopter, and then your seating arrangement is made prior to flying. There’s seats for four people, one in the front and four in the back. I got lucky, and the rest of the people in our crew didn’t mind me sitting in the front. We then also made a plan of the main photo opportunities we wanted to take – which for us were the skyline/the One World Trade and the Statue of Liberty, and this was passed on to our pilot. The ride I paid for was only 15 minutes, which sounds like nothing, but actually feels like quite a lot more than you think when you’re up there.
You’re allowed to take photo equipment up there – they do bill themselves as the ultimate Instagram! – and it’s all strapped to you really securely. I took my Sony, and George took the DSLR, hence why most of these photos are from George’s perspective, because I knew he’d be better off with the big camera! With everything strapped in and all our safety harnesses secured, off we went! The team are so friendly, excited and lovely to be around. They have that amazing American smiley customer service and made us feel really excited about our ride ahead without being too sickly sweet. They were lovely. Our pilot was ex military and was the coolest dude I’d ever met. The whole thing was so casual to him and that made me feel at ease – it was very obvious he’d flown a million of these before and he was an absolute pleasure to be around.
All round, I cannot recommend this enough. In New York, it’s quite expensive, but it is worth it because you may never do it again. From the get go they encourage you to take as many photos and they do their utmost to make sure you get all the photos you want – it’s so nice to feel accommodated in that sense. It’s also absolutely exhilaratingly amazing to be able to sit with your legs and lower body hanging out of the side of the helicopter. There are no doors at all on it so it’s a bit windy, but it’s just incredible to fly like that.
George and I loved our experience with FlyNyOn so much we immediately rebooked to do it again over the Las Vegas strip for when we fly over to Joshua Tree for our wedding!
There we have it, a little insight into why I think FlyNyOn is the best Instagram opportunity in the city, and why you should totally add this to your bucket list. I wholeheartedly loved it, and having paid quite a lot to do it, I can safely say it’s 100% worth the money. Would this be something you would try?