Over 17 + years of providing helicopter services in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’re proud to have many happy customers and continued positive feedback. We have been highly ranked by CBS San Francisco News and have had numerous positive consumer reviews. We will not let up providing our version of the “locals choice”, a low key, private, unique and safe experience. If you’ve taken a tour with us, please consider leaving a review. You can also view our profiles and leave reviews on Facebook, Instagram, Google Business, Yelp or TripAdvisor.
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Worth it!I had booked a tour for the Friday we were driving up from LA. My parents had not been back to SF in over 20 years and they are now in their early 80s, so I had to make this trip count. I decided to go with Bay Aerial because all the reviews were great! 9 out of 10 times Yelp has steered me the right way and this was no exception.Upon arriving to SF we noticed the fog had rolled in and I was worried that we wouldn't be able to see any of the sights in all it's glory. Called Bay Aerial and they said we'd be okay after checking the webcams in the different areas, BUT they would be willing to reschedule to Saturday in hopes of better weather. Totally accommodating!Saturday turned out to be the best day out of the weekend in SF! Sun was shining and fog was gone! Super psyched, we drove down to Bay Aerial and showed up ready for our flight. It was me, my dad, and my brother-in-law. My dad has limited mobility, but uses a cane to get around and is only 5 foot tall so I was worried about getting into the helicopter. No worries, John had a stepping stool and was very patient with my dad. John was super cool, laid back, and answered all our questions. You might think that the ride might be scary or like a roller coaster, but it was really smooth. Going as fast as we were we didn't really feel the speed until later on the ride when we got close to the water, then you could really get a sense of speed in this copter!Highlight of the tour was when we approached the Golden Gate and actually went under it then over it for an awesome view of the bridge from several directions. As we approached then dipped down, people from the bridge railing were looking at us and I waved as we flew by. It was an awesome experience!Thank you John and Bay Aerial for making a memory my family will never forget!
My wedding was the most magical and significant day of my life and it was only perfected with the help and support of John Du Gan and Lindsie Strand from Bay Aerial Helicopters.Culturally, the arrival of the groom is important but the transportation is what makes the arrival vital. The Indian tradition of an Elephant as transportation was not an option due to venue location. Few weeks before my wedding, I had an absolute horrific experience with the very misleading and unprofessional Golden Gate Helicopters. Making my only helicopter reservation now nonexistent due to there lack of knowledge.Thankfully, I was recommended to contact John Dugan. After explaining my recent chaotic experience, he quickly understood how imperative my situation was and in response he sincerely wanted to be part of the solution. Johns outstanding communication and customer service happily assured me that my wedding day still had a chance of being perfect! John and Lindsie were knowledgeable, organized, detailed and most importantly honest about the pros and cons of helicopter transportation.Although John was firm with rules and regulations, I appreciated how genuine, informative and punctual he was and most importantly how he put safety first. The glamorous arrival of my husband was not only in a dope helicopter, even better, it was a surprise arrival. Everyone was cheering while still in shock. At the end of the night, I was occupied and unable to be reached so John contacted my venue informing us that the weather conditions are safe for pick up. Leaving our wedding reception with my husband, having all of our loved ones lined up with sparklers leading up to the helicopter landing at the perfect time was captivating.Our exit/ departure was described as many things but my favorites were "Romantic" and "Hollywood Movie style" the way the helicopter lifted from the ground and dramatically turned to the side and quickly disappeared into the night. John and Lyndsie flew the scenic route taking us to the airport. We were flying over the city lights and the beautiful bay area waters making my wedding day no longer a fantasy but breathtakingly a dream come true. It was an amazing first time experience for my husband and I riding in a helicopter and we will again with John for our anniversaries to come.
So happy!As a Midwesterner transplanted to the Bay Area, I have always wanted to see the famous sights from the air, but didn't need to get into the typical tourist-trap-type excursions you see peddled around Fisherman's Wharf. You know the kind... "A million dollars for one minute aboard a crowded plane with a hundred people but hey, we'll show you the the bridge!" Yeah, no to that.So I put this off for a while, discouraged over prices, quality and availability... until I discovered Bay Aerial Helicopter.Pilot John answered all my questions over the phone before booking, and was honest about the booking challenges (weather, fog, etc). Being a local, I was not locked in to a specific date, but was able to get a spot in the time frame I had in mind. A morning call on the day of the flight confirmed that the fog was still heavy over the bay, and it would be best to push the noon booking to mid afternoon. John was flexible, and took my friend and I up later that same day. My husband, who was not joining us, was even allowed onto the tarmac to take pictures of takeoff, which we thought was a very nice perk.The flight was amazing! John was full of interesting facts even locals would be entertained by. My friend, a freelance photographer, was set up with some amazing shots. We went from the port of Oakland, over Treasure Island and Alcatraz, to the Marin headlands, over the bridges, UNDER the Golden Gate bridge, over the city of San Francisco, down to Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, past cliff caves and over whales(!), to the hillsides over ranches, and back up to San Carlos. My favorite favorite part was dipping down towards the water to get a sense of speed. I wish we could have done the whole thing that way, but then I wouldn't have seen anything. :-)My only tip is to call for info. Weather doesn't operate at your command, so if you are set with a vacation schedule, you cannot just book online and assume you are good to go. But if you have flexibility, this ride is worth the wait and the price! PS. A helicopter feels just like a car, very stable and gentle. Highly recommend this for anyone.So happy!
This was an awesome tour! My boyfriend and I just got back from a Helicopter tour with John as our pilot. We are Bay Area locals but definitely had never seen San Francisco like this! Great views of the Golden Gate Bridge , the San Francisco Coastline, and more. Definitely a thumbs up & would recommend John to anyone thinking of taking a helicopter tour.Thanks for everything John, we had a blast!
Recently my wife and I went to San Francisco for a vacation. One of the highlights of our trip was our helicopter tour. John, our pilot, was great! He was friendly, pointed out different sights and made sure we were engaged and having fun.The tour was 1 full hour. We flew over the Bay Bridge, above San Francisco's financial district, under the Golden Gate Bridge and finished up at Half Moon Bay before circling back.The overall experience exceeded our expectations. The views were breathtaking and we were able to get so many good photos. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to take a helicopter tour.
Best option out there! Value for money and a sincere, honest, down to earth business!My folks were visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday and as an early birthday gift, I wanted to give Mom a helicopter ride of SF (helicopter ride was on the bucket list) - after searching online for 2 weeks, I found other businesses that involved 20 mins for $185, 30 mins for $235 and 1 hr for up to 3 people for $710. Bay Aerial was the only business that came up that seemed worth it (1hr for $620 up to 3 people) and after leaving a message, John called back and we were able to confirm a booking that very day for 4pm.It was an absolutely gorgeous clear day for an aerial view of the bay and John took us all around from San Carlos airport up around the bay to the other side of GG bridge (and under the bridge!) and down the pacific coast - it was amazing! we even had the lucky chance to see 4-5 whales spouting water and coming above the surface a few times - it was a truly unbelievable experience and ending in time to see sunset as well. John was great giving various tidbits of history and descriptive details throughout the ride and pointing out his favorites highlights.I'm so glad I chose Bay Aerial among the many options I found online and would gladly do this again (and likely will) as other family members and friends come visit. Thank you John!
Wow!!!! Just had the most amazing Helicopter Tour.John our Pilot was Epic. Knowledgable, Fun and made us feel very relaxed.Spectacular Tour including an unexpected Detour underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.If you're looking for a Tour look no further. Worth every penny!!Thank You.
This is a must and a major check off on the bucket list. Not only is the hour helicopter tour amazing but so is John. He is extremely professional and knowledgable and shows you amazing views that you can appreciate for a lifetime. I took my fiancé and my brother in law for their birthday and they both said they don't know how I'm going to top that next year. Make a reservation. What you experience is priceless.
My dad who is 86 years old suggested we go on a helicopter ride. Never having flown with Bay Aerial we chose it because the San Carlos airport is fairly easy to get to and park. The alternative was to book with another company in downtown SF and that seemed too chaotic. Also, their ride was only 15 minutes; Bay Aerial's is 1 hour.Our ride was one of those "once in a lifetime" experiences. We are native San Franciscians' and thought we had seen it all, until we took this trip. John duGan did a great job piloting our ride. We were impressed with the quietness and stability of the craft. We have been on much noisier and choppy helicopter rides and this was as smooth as glass.We are already talking about taking the trip again next year and hope my dad is still around to go up with us again. Thanks John.
Really neat experience. John was a great guide and we had a memorable experience. Definitely recommend for anyone in the area!
An awesome Valentine's Day tour! (3:00pm) We enjoyed it very much. John is a great tour guide. His knowledge is superb. If you want a relaxed and enjoyable aerial tour of San Francisco, this is the place to book your tour. We will re-visit!
This is a Bay Area must! While I'm a local, the tour and views are awesome. It's a perspective of the city that shouldn't be missed. John, the pilot, was an exceptional guide. I'm recommending this to all my friends and adding it to my list of cool things to do with out of town guests.
Such an amazing experience! The hour long tour showed everything from the Golden Gate to wales off the coast of Mavericks. An incredibly reasonable price and the best way to see one of the most beautiful cities in America...don't think, just book your heli tour at Bay Aerial Tours!
I surprised my husband for his birthday with a helicopter tour and John was our pilot. He was super friendly, easy going and fun to take the tour with. We've lived in the bay area for quite some time and it was amazing to see the city from a different vantage point. I was a little nervous but John assured me I would want a helicopter after the ride, it's like riding in a car. He was right. We are both hooked and can't wait to take another trip. The trip was amazing I would highly recommend this tour.
The most AMAZING helicopter tour of the San Francisco Bay, Pacific Ocean and coast line. I have tried them all folks, and this one was the best. A full hour really allowed us to explore, and our group of 3 people got the helicopter all to ourselves. SO much better than the tourist-oriented 20 minute rides that leave from SFO. Thank you John duGan for a fantastic experience!!!
We arrived and we're met by an easy-going gentleman names John who offered us water before taking us out to the helicopter, which was well maintained and offered large clean windows. We were given flotation devices (so I guess the complaint by the previous poster has been addessed?).It was really nice to be shown the area by someone who so clearly loves it. John was full of little anecdotes that really made the tour interesting. The tour was fantastic and hit all the bases: landmarks, hovering for photos, and exciting runs over the ocean. John had a particular knack for lining up good camera angles and suggesting exactly when to snap the picture.Spectacular views and a very comfy ride made the trip well worth the price. Definitely go for the hour-long tour.
Awesome loops under the Golden Gate bridge and great relaxed tour with a good level of interaction.
Mortiche loves to fly, and neither one of us has ever ridden in a helicopter, so I decided that a helicopter tour would be a fun surprise birthday present for her.There was an outfit that seemed to ply its trade around Fisherman's Wharf, but their flights were only 20 minutes. Bay Aerial on the other hand offered a 60 minute flight.. three times as long, for less than twice the cost. That sounded like a much better deal to me!The system for reservations is somewhat informal and email based (I'd have liked a nice solid "yes, you're booked for..." response when I sent in my request confirmation) and flights are at the mercy of weather conditions, so I was a little worried about whether we'd really be able to fly or whether some administrative glitch would ruin the birthday plans. No fears, a phone call in the morning confirmed that we were a "go".Flights are out of the San Carlos airport, so the cat was let out of the bag surprise-wise when we pulled in. "Are we going FLYING????" she asked. Yep, a helicopter tour! *OOOOOOO!!!!*Our pilot warned us that there might be some fog, and asked if we were sure we wanted to fly. We'd just come from Oakland, and we'd seen that the fog was only on the western half of the city; fingers of blinding white were rolling over Twin Peaks and around Sutro Tower. The bay side was sunny and clear, so we gave a thumbs up to the flight.Despite warnings about potential bumpiness, the flight was pretty smooth. I can't really begin to do justice to the experience except to say that if you ever want to get a unique perspective on the Bay Area, take a helicopter tour. There's nothing like it. Barf bags are provided for those with weak stomachs, but really, they should provide drool cups, because my mouth was agape for much of the flight. NGLGLGlglg...We did a slow flyover of many of the scenic parts of the city, and then we had the option... should we go up the foggy coast, zipping along low and under the fog? Or back around the bay, all tourist-like?Mortiche didn't hesitate. Low! That's my girl!Forget the view. A low-flying helicopter that banks over on its side to let you take pictures of dolphins is like riding on a motorcycle that can go up and down as well as left and right. You get a much better sensation of speed at low altitude, so it was quite exhilarating.The fog was getting soupier and soupier and we were having to fly lower and slower (visual flight rules) when he decided to cut inland over the mountains. WOO! Canyons! Terrain! Hey look, its Skyline! Pescadero! I've ridden there! We went over the crest of a hill, spooking a horse, and swooped down the far side like a roller coaster.(Note: I think that if you want to extract a slightly more fun ride out of a helicopter tour, let them know that you ride a motorcycle...)Make sure that your digital camera has plenty of space. I filled mine in an hour.Our landing was perfect. He zipped in, rotated the bird around to line up, and gently touched down. When I complimented him, he said it was actually a pretty crappy landing, because the wind direction was coming from a bad direction. Whatever, dude. I've seen SUVs have more trouble parking precisely.All in all, there's no getting around the fact that this is an expensive little jaunt, but look at it this way - you'll never forget it. And if you're like me, you might suddenly think about saving up for helicopter flying lessons.And the happy look on my girlfriend's face made it all worth it. And then some.Giving physical gifts is a waste of money. Give experiences.
I have never been in a helicopter and it was my girlfriend's bday and I wanted to surprise her with something new, so I made a reservation for a 3 pm flight on a Sunday afternoon.First off, fyi, but you have to call 2 hours prior to flight time to make sure there are no weather issues. If there are, you have to reschedule. So I called at 1 pm and John (our pilot) said it was fairly clear.Upon arriving, he mentioned that it was a bit foggy in certain areas, in particualar the Golden Gate Bridge etc. However, i'm from the bay area so it's not like I'm not new to seeing certain landmarks. B/c we were already there, we decided to hop in and go for the 1 hour "Works Tour".It was funny b/c John our pilot (nice guy) said there were no flotation devices after my g/f inquired about safety precautions. He also mentioned it wasn't necessary b/c we were only going to go over 4 feet of water. Uhh, maybe I missed something and correct me if i'm wrong but it looked like more than 4 feet of water.Anyways, they give you headphones so you can hear your pilot and other pilots about incoming information. It's kind of cool hearing all their lingo. Example, "KNBR, sunken ship, clear etc". As soon as we starting flying, there was this huge elevation change that I wasn't expecting but it was cool.However, about 30 min into the ride, I was feeling slightly nauseuous. I took dramamine just in case and by 45 min in, it was taking over. Now i'm a roller coaster junkie but for whatever reason, I just didn't feel 100%. I wasn't insanely nauseous but enough to where I was a little uncomfortable.But I plowed through it. We got pretty darn close to the Golden Gate bridge and flew across the entire bay area. We caught glimpes of Alcatraz (couldn't go as close due to turbulance, fog), and spectacular scenery along Berkeley, ritzy areas such as Tiberon etc.Overall, it was a good experience. The helicopter holds 3 passengers max. I highly recommend that if you get nauseated easily, to reconsider. If you still want to try it, take dramamine and have something stable in your stomach (bread, saltines etc).
A friend of mine was visiting from overseas for a few days and we wanted to go on a helicopter tour.At first it seemed there was only one company offering these: they advertise everywhere online, offering 30-minute rides called "Vista Grande Extended" for $225. Although they had dozens of positive reviews, I had been on a helicopter tour in Los Angeles a couple of years back and it was much cheaper so I kept looking for alternatives and finally found Bay Aerial.Bay Aerial sells 1-hour flights with up to 3 people for $600 - so $200 per person (cheaper than the other company and double the flight time). You meet them directly at San Carlos airport which is a real time saver: by comparison the other company picks you up in Fisherman's Wharf (San Francisco's touristic neighborhood) and they make you take a shuttle to SFO (and back), which is great if you don't have a car and stay nearby but is a real pain if you're driving (waste of time, not to mention the overpriced parking around that area). With Bay Aerial you pay for the entire helicopter so you won't be flying with strangers, whereas the other company uses bigger helicopters that can seat 6 people and you have no guarantee you'll get a good seat.The reservation system is pretty basic and all email-based. I tried calling a couple of days before the flight for confirmation but couldn't reach them, then again the day before. I finally reached them a few hours before our reservation and made sure the weather was good enough (fortunately it was). We arrived 20 minutes early, were taken directly to the helicopter and were in the air within 10 minutes. We flew towards Oakland then over Treasure Island, headed towards downtown San Francisco then took a slight turn to fly around Alcatraz. We then flew *under* the Golden Gate Bridge and around Marin Headlands for a couple of minutes before heading South along the coast all the way down to Half Moon Bay before going back to San Carlos.We didn't have any specific request (except flying under the bridge) so I'm guessing that's the "default route" but I'm sure they can accommodate any request should you want to see more of the East Bay or Marin County.Anyway, I've seen San Francisco from pretty much every vista point there is and this definitely beat them all. Highly recommended and definitely worth the price.
wow! If I could give more stars I would! Did this to surprise my husband for our Aniversary. On our bucket list of things to do, Helecopter tour. Called many in San Fran. Then I called Bay Aerial to ask about their tours. More than double the tour time and about the same price as the 25-30 min tours offered off the Wharf. They were soooo accomodating. Our pilot was very familiar with the bay area. The flight was an hour+ and not just the golden gate bridge, alcatraz and the bay but over the country side and rolling hills. Along the coast. I have visited San Fran many times but this was a fabulous view. The pilot made sure we got great shots of the bridge and other sites we really wanted to see and get pics of. The best part is it was just hubby and I. We were not sitting with 4 other strangers trying to see past them to get pics.Worth the trip to San Carlos Airport! Getting there was easy. Took a cab from hotel on the wharf to CALTRAIN station and Caltrain to San Carlos where Bay Aerial picked us up and gave us a ride we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Recently I took a ride with Bay Aerial. I surprised a friend who had expressed that he would love to take a ride in a helicopter. John and I had spoken a few times in regards to the flight, he answered all of my questions and was very patient with me as I could not guarantee a day I would be able to fly because of my friends schedule. I finally locked in a day. On July 22, 2012 we arrived early to the airport to find John our Pilot cleaning the Helicopter and doing all of the safety checks. My friend was still unaware that he was in for a treat. I finally clued him in on the surprise. The weather was not the most perfect that day but John took us up and showed us the City. The views were breathtaking. John was very knowledgable of the city and gave us quick little stories and pointed out all of the historic landmarks. My favorite part of the flight was flying above the Golden Gate Bridge as it was poking through the fog. The spectacular views left me with hundreds of pictures to remember the day. I highly recommend taking a flight with John and Bay Aerial. The flight is definitely worth the price to have a private ride over a spectacular city. The smile on my friends face was priceless. Thanks John and Bay Aerial for helping me pull off the surprise. It was a great day!
This is one of the best things I've ever done! I had been on a helicopter before in hawaii but this was much better. Having grown up in the Bay Area, the helicopter tour over SF was not only a great site to see, but it also gives you a great perspective on how beautiful the Bay Area really is! From takeoff in San Carlos, to flying over the bay, to flying under the Golden Gate Bridge, to checking out the waves and hidden caves of the california coastline, I must say I was blown away by how beautiful everything is. Not to mention John, who was not only knowledgable and entertaining, but also made us feel very safe during the flight. I bought this as a bday present for my fiancé and I'm pretty sure I earned mad points for doing so. Thanks John and Bay Aerial! We'll definitely be back!
The helicopter tour was so amazing! And John is awesome and so knowledgable!I've lived in SF for 5 years now, but seeing it from above was such a cool experience. It reminded me how beautiful and diverse the Bay Area is!We had to reschedule due to the weather the first time around, but so glad we did, because the weather today (Valentines Day) was perfect!Totally worth the money/time! Do it! Thanks John and Bay Aerial Helicopter Tours!
Bay Aerial was a huge help facilitating my professional aerial photography needs. My pilot was intuitive and was a good part of helping me to capture these amazing aerial views of San Francisco and the Bay Area: http://www.performanceimpressions.com/San_Francisco_Travel_Aerial_Photos/content/index.html
A photographer friend of mine invited me on a helicopter tour he received as a gift for his birthday. I never thought I'd get an opportunity to shoot photos out of a helicopter but I did and it was awesome.
This is a privately owned company down in San Carlos, which is cool because companies in SF are twice as expensive, and you may have to ride with people you don't know. The pilot took us all over the city and made sure to put us in position for prime photos. The pilot was knowledgeable not only in flight but in photography as well. I am deathly afraid of heights but I felt very safe the entire flight.
I would highly recommend Bay Aerial for a tour of the great city of San Francisco, or for photographers that want some cool photos. I plan to go up again when there is some nice fog over the city!
Amazing experience! Our pilot was very knowledgeable of the area and made a fantastic tour guide as we hovered over the ocean, bridges and city. Thank you for the truly pleasant memorable adventure!
Awesome experience.. such fantastic city to see from the air! Pilot very knowledgeable and extremely competent in the air. Highly recommend the company.. Could not have had a better experience. loved every minute.. wish it was longer!!
John picked us up at the Half Moon Bay Airport, flew us up to San Francisco and back a little south of the Ritz Carlton. Pointed out interesting landmarks and photo ops, including the belly of the Golden Gate Bridge. Highly recommend!
Excellent everything! John was a great guide - trip was informative and fun. Once in a lifetime experience. Highly recommend.
The sellers communication was really poor but the tour itself was fantastic
Bay aerial is easy to work with. They try to understand what you want to do and help you in many ways get the images you want. I will work with them more in the future.
Bay Aerial Corp provided clear instructions before the purchase and the overall experience of the ride was awesome. Also, was a much better deal as compared to the alternative option.
Very complicated aerial video shoot in a narrow weather window. Pilot made great recomendations about timing etc. When gyro stabilizers begain to push our budget, a less expensive but totally effective alternative was provided. Will definitely use them again
Fantastic from start to finish -- the pilot John and our photographer, also named John, got along like brothers, and we got absolutely stunning photos from the air above our event at Ocean Beach in San Francisco -- see them here: HumanBannerSF.com I certainly do intend to rent more helicopters from Bay Aerial in the future...
Me and my girlfriend had the best time, it was unforgettable. An experience well worth the price. I recommend bay aerial to everyone.
Wow. What a great experience. Would recommend this trip and company to anybody in the Bay Area.
We had an amazing time on this 1 hour flight around the Bay area. It was not safe to fly on the originally scheduled day due to the fog in the area so we were rescheduled to a later day in our vacation. They were concerned or our safety and we wound up having a beautiful flying day!
Bay Aerial were very easy to deal with and I appreciated their very specific and detailed explanation of the service and how to book it. Planning a helicopter tour from another continent could be quite tricky, but Bay Aerial made it simple.
Great to refund when the weather went bad.
Very happy with the service. The company was very accommodating as we rescheduled several times to go out on a day with decent weather. Loved the flight. We had great views and the pilot (John) was friendly.
Great, Quick and Easy Checkout!
Has got to be the best way to view San Francisco Bay area. Great pilot/guide and excellent helicopter for the job. All wndows very little posts to obstruct your views. As a side note though "Wish I had taken a longer tour now" but I will probably be back for another.
This is absolutely the best way to see the entire bay area. It is like having your own personal Helicopter Limo to take you whereever you want to go.
Lots of fun. Great people to deal with. Took us all over the Bay area and down the coast. Pilot was very knowledgable and friendly. Kept us informed on everything that was happening while we were in the air. A Blast!
This was a very pleasant trip above SF and the surroundings. Not only is it breathtaking from up there but you also get a unique all around view of the whole area. Don't go to those rip-off shop at Fisherman wharf. Come see the real place,
Awesome- best experience, well worth the money! Best value in SF with longest time in flight!