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“Beware of Booking On-Line”

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - Hilo
Ranked #16 of 48 Tours in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed January 7, 2014

I've had plenty of great experiences booking on-line, but this was definitely not one of them. I contacted Blue by email 4 months in advance of our desired flight day; I was told to not worry about booking so far away, and that there would be no problem getting our family on a flight. I took Blue at their word and contacted them again mid-October for our December booking; again, by email we were told to go ahead and book what we liked. So, we did the on-line registration (which is fairly involved), including a credit card number (of course) to hold the reservation. We were directly contacted via email saying that our choices of day, time and helicopter were fully booked, and that they were sorry that they could not accomodate us. Could we choose another day/time or helicopter? No, we could not choose another day, but we tried different times - none worked for the company. We did not wish to downgrade the helicopter (for that price) so we decided that Blue would not work for us. They agreed and were sad that we could not find a suitable time. I was quite upset in that I had been assured in advance that this booking was not going to be a problem. Funny thing, though....the charge on our credit card was posted TWO DAYS after we had agreed that the flight would not work! I immediately contacted Blue via email to ask that they reverse the charge (and why did they charge so late, anyway?). I was told it was an error, and yes, they would reverse immediately, which they did. Unfortunately, there was a $50 difference - I was told too bad, that was the difference in the exchange rate from US to CAD dollars in the time they originally charged to when they refunded - and so sorry, but there is nothing they can do about that. I still feel cheated out of my $50, especially since they charged the amount to our credit card in error after the booking was a no go - on their end!! I'm sorry, but due to the screw-ups regarding booking/charging our credit card, I cannot nor will I recommend flying with this company.

9  Thank loves2camp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlueCEO, Manager at Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - Hilo, responded to this reviewResponded January 31, 2014

We guarantee you the best price by booking online. We do recommend that you book as early as possible because there could be a group or cruise ship that books out an entire day or two at a particular island. I'd like to know who told you "too bad" on the exchange rate as that is not our policy. Please contact us again if we have not already rectified the exchange rate difference with you. We do guarantee a full and complete refund if you cannot find an acceptable time and cancel prior to 24 hours of departure.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (1,426)
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"eco star"
in 72 reviews
"helicopter tour"
in 146 reviews
"safety video"
in 30 reviews
"lava flow"
in 119 reviews
"the big island"
in 177 reviews
"ring of fire"
in 26 reviews
"active volcano"
in 73 reviews
"great pilot"
in 43 reviews
"ground crew"
in 33 reviews
"volcanic activity"
in 40 reviews
"great flight"
in 31 reviews
"smooth ride"
in 26 reviews
"ask questions"
in 24 reviews
"both sides"
in 49 reviews
"great ride"
in 20 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 57 reviews
"red lava"
in 28 reviews
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1,088 - 1,092 of 1,426 reviews

Reviewed January 7, 2014

This was my second trip with them. Fly the Eco and not the Astro copter. It will cost you more but you will see a lot more from the sky and you will find it easier to take pictures. Try to get Tim as your pilot if he is working that day. I find every aspect of their operation to be professional. The first time I went we saw active lava flows including into the ocean and lots of steam. The lava is not as active now but is slow moving so you will not see much from the air except the lava slowly burning a forest. They end the trip by flying over some water falls which I did not find that interesting. The total trip is 50 minutes. They do offer you a video of your trip which I declined to buy each time. Look for discounts on their website and ask at your hotel if they know of any. Even discounted it is expensive, without discounts it is every expensive. But it is worth it to do it at least once.

Thank Lance2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

We tried to book a flight for Wednesday. Went through the booking process only to be told that you weigh over 250lbs that you need an extra seat. They were so nice to only charge me $110 more. A savings of $50 for the seat. If the person had asked me our weight had said that at the beginning, I would of told them take a hike. I will not shop a company that is going to gouge me. Stay away if you weigh to much for them.

4  Thank Howard H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BlueCEO, Manager at Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - Hilo, responded to this reviewResponded January 31, 2014

I believe you will find that every helicopter company has a weight limit. Ours is 250 pounds for the Astar and 260 pounds for the EcoStar. We make it clear in our booking process that any weights over this limit must pay for an empty, adjacent seat. This assures your comfort and that of others sitting near you. The empty seat is charged at 50% off.

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Reviewed December 27, 2013

I was with a group of 17, divided into groups of 4 or 5. We met at Honolulu International Airport. We were taken on a 45-minute helicopter trip of the lava fields. It was a cloudy, misty day, which detracted from the enjoyment. The fields were interesting, if not beautiful. Lava hot spots were visible, but not floes. We saw where a town was destroyed, and where rebuilding was happening. Our pilot, Scott, showed us, and described, how the shoreline is continually expanding, due to the lava floes. After the lava fields, we were shown several water falls. Back at the airport, we were welcomed into a small gift shop, and were given cold lemon water. Professional videos of the lava fields (not our trip) were available for purchase. This was an enjoyable and informative tour, but a bit overpriced for my taste - about $240/person.

3  Thank Bob S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 12, 2013

Took a 50 minute flight with Blue Hawaiian helicopters to see the volcanoes and the sight by Hilo. A great experience. Being a retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot, I did not like being in the back but our pilot, Colleen, was fabulous. She provided us with many opportunites for photos and tried to engage all passengers in conversation. She skillfully guided out aircraft between the clouds and ensured a memorable trip for all.

Thank Shamrock06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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