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“Mauitastic!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Air Maui

Air Maui
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West Maui and Molokai Exclusive 45-Minute Helicopter Tour
Ranked #1 of 31 Tours in Kahului
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Air Maui Experience begins long before you board a helicopter. When you first step into our terminal at Kahului Heliport, you know you're among friends. Our welcoming and professional staff greet every passenger and personally assist with check-in. As your flight is prepared, relax in our comfortable terminal or browse through our retail shop, which features genuine Air Maui clothing and souvenirs.Our pilots are experienced professionals with thousands of hours of flight time, and are trained to the high demanding standards of owner Steve Egger. Being the best is just the first step; our pilots must also excel at being your personal guide, entertaining and informing you about Maui's history, geology, flora and fauna as you soar above fantastic landscapes.In aviation, quality and safety are paramount. At Air Maui, the proof is in our record: over 20 years of perfect safety. That's not luck - it's the combined commitment of professional pilots and top-notch aircraft maintenance.
Lahaina, Hawaii
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 29, 2013

Mauitastic!! We had a blast of a trip with Dave from Air Maui. He took us around the entire Island and despite of rain and clouds he made it remarkable. We saw a lot of big waterfalls and he took us into small canyons and flying in the helicopter was a lot of fun. Highly recommendable. Best regards Fam. Hansen. Denmark/San Francisco.

Visited March 2013
Thank 4FamHansen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Farmington, Minnesota
Level Contributor
136 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Amazing and worth getting up early.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 29, 2013 via mobile

We made a relatively last-minute decision to get up early on our last day on Maui to take this trip... We were not disappointed. Dylan, our pilot, was awesome. The views of West Maui and Molokai were stunning.
We ordered the DVD at the end... Can't wait to show the video to our family and friends.

Thank Amjar1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Costco Deal with Air Maui worth every Penny”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 27, 2013

Purchased vouchers for a Circle Island tour through Costco in Canada with Air Maui. Very professional outfit. Great Pilot. Had a fantastic ride. Would do it again in a heartbeat!

Visited January 2013
4 Thank SurfergirlCalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ardrossan, Alberta, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Really enjoyed it!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 27, 2013

We took the Complete Maui Tour and saw lots of things that we would never have seen just by driving around. Our pilot, Jeannette, supplied us with lots of information. It would have been nice if we could have been able to ask questions or talk to one another but a microphone was not available on our headsets. We were able to see whales from the helicopter, which was really neat - a very different perspective than from the tour boats.
We purchased our tickets from Costco (online before we left for our trip) which made the cost a bit more reasonable.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Quinnby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary Alberta Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Things to be aware of”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2013

My wife and I took a 60 West Maui/Molokai tour on March 21. Our experience was a real let down for many aspects, most of which were not directly related to Air Maui.

1. Air Maui does not have microphone headsets for direct communication with other passengers and pilot. It was identified by our pilot that this was a change since 911. Being a canadian pilot myself, I do not know of any FAA limitations in this regard. I believe this Air Maui's operating policy and nothing to do with Actual Air Regulation limitations. Just like why some airlines will allow you to use your cell phone upon landing and why others will not allow you to use cell phone until you have disembarked the aircraft. So the limitation appears to be Air Maui choice, not a regulation.

2. Our next Let down was a huge one and was due to a passenger. Air maui has in all their literature that it identifies that passengers should come with DARK Coloured clothing. We had a passenger arrive with a totally WHITE golf shirt. Now this would not have been that big of a deal, but the aircraft weight and balance determines where a person sits. It just so happened that this passenger was given the front left seat position. In all of the interesting north shore tour parts this put the white shirt passenger in direct sunlight that causes a huge glare on the canopy windows for all the rear passengers. As a result it was extremely hard to identify features of the landscape because of this passenger and their seating. I fault the passenger for not reading what Air Maui supplies in their documentation. I fault Air Maui for not articulating this issue to the passenger in the terminal prior to the flight. Air Maui has a selection of Dark Air Maui clothing that can be purchased at the terminal to address this issue. A simple Air Maui T-shirt is only $24.00. The passenger choice to not deal with their totally white shirt absolutely impacted the enjoyment of our flight. It basically made it just helicopter flight rather than a scenic hawaian area tour by helicopter. There are also workable limits within an aircraft weight and balance. Air Maui could have arrange people differently so the totally white shirt would have had less impact on everyone's enjoyment of the flight. Then again weight and balnce planning is performed by ground crew and not by the pilots. Real limitations in the Air Maui ground crew.

You know what was even more annoying was the fact that this can be a very common occurance. One of the flights that returned prior to our departure had a lady who was dressed in a white skirt and light colour blouse talk about how she couldn't see because of reflections from her own clothing. Yet again in the group of people flying in the tour after us had a lady in a white blouse. Come on people and Air Maui better education and create consiquences. Air Maui should enforce these passenger choices by placing the individuals in seating locations that will dramatically reduce the impact for all passengers if they choose to not wear dark clothing.

Air Maui does't identify to the passenger where their seated unitl the time of stepping into the aircraft. They do however line you up inside the terminal based on seating arrangement. The seating or loading arrangement on our day was as follows person 1 (closest to the door) is front seat next to pilot, #2 is front seat closest to the door. #3 is rear seat next to window furthest from the pilot, #4, then 5 then 6 is seating across the back seat with #6 being the window seat right behind the pilot. If Air Maui doesn't want people to know what their seating will be prior to stepping into the aircraft then they can shift the order around. The reality is the back seat is a group of four and it would either be position 1,2,3,4 or 3,4,5,6 in that order depending which door they elect to line up first.

3. We purchased a 60 minute tour. The chronometer on the instrument panel actually showed us at 5-6 minutes before we actually departed the ground. That could be quite normal as there is introductions and turbine engines typically require a warm up and cool down period during startup and shutdown period before embarking on a flight. This day as is probably most cases the loading and unloading is done while engine is running so no warm up period is required. Now our tour was such that we were back at the airport on the downwind leg approach by minute 52-53, so our total flight time as really only 50 minute flight. Now I have to qualify this, another one of our passengers did get sick on this flight. The flight itself was a really smooth flight. There was only one part of the flight that had reduced positive G feeling, but the person was probably more affected by the visual stimulation than G feelings.

Second is a recommendation to passengers..... Don't go flying on an empty stomach or just after eating. Also Don't eat food that can be really greasy like hamberger, sausages, or pizza or foods that can produce a lot of gas that can make your flight less enjoyable to yourself and other passengers. A helicopter flight aroud the islands is going to have quite a few altitude changes, hence there is pressure changes and accute visual motion indicators. So you could have a perfectly smooth flight and still feel quezzie in the stomach. People have gotten motion sickness just sitting still in an IMAX theatre due to visual stimulation. So in the situation of our flight, our flight was probably cut short due the fact that one of the passengers did suffer from motion sickness. That was most unfortunate for us. Our pilot did take into account the well being of all passengers, hence I feel that our flight was shorter because of a passenger and also limited how or where the tour was taken.

3. Weather and time of day. The weather for the day had cause high humidity and haze to move into the region. We were experiencing a typical warm air mass haze condition. Also our West Maui/Molokai had most of the really interesting stuff to see along the north shores of the islands. So the views of the water falls and steep cliffs mean that views of these areas were basically looking into the sun. Anyone photographer knows shooting directly into the sun washes out the colour and the details one can see. Coupling this with the high Haze and clouds on the north side of the island due to southerly upper winds really caused the sights of this tour to be totally unexcitable.

I had actually booked our flight a week in advance and later looking at the upcoming weather had tried to reschedule our flight to a different time or day and wasn't given any real options. The weather around Maui is such there really isn't much for limiting the possibility for a helicopter to fly, but more so could really produce limitation to the enjoyment by the passengers. In essense there probably isn't much of a case where air maui would have to cancel a flight but rather passengers have to accept the fact that for the amount that is spent it may not really be worth the cost that you pay. In fact Air Maui payment policy basically promote that passenger sastisfaction is not important. If one were to show up for their or place a cancellation in less than 24 hours or 48 hours depending on how it was booked, the cost would be forfitted. So customer sastisfaction is only a part on their operating agenda and not a key feature. Their schedule basically appears to dictate that people are basically interested in taking a flight no matter what the conditions. Can a person see things they can't see any other method? Absolutely! This is the mantra of this industry. That being said certain type of cloud conditions can actually add to the contrast and enjoyment. In this situation for this tour, where the northern coast areas of West Maui/Molokai are the highlights, mid afternoon tours are a real let down. Don't take them! Helicopter tour companies will still be more than willing to take people because the money is paid up front! All of the helicopter tour companies few at this time period with these conditions. So it's not like Air Maui is the only one doing this scheduling and operation.

4. Now I've listed off items that really made me class our experience as poor for this review. I want to highlight some positive aspects. Air Maui facilities are excellent. Their terminal is a very clean and inviting atmosphere. The front desk staff are friendly and pleasent. Passenger safety is keeping with the FAA regulations. Detailed briefings are very good. Helicopter operations can be a very dangerous operation and passenger safety was always maintained. The pilot and ground crews are looking after passenger safety on all aspects. Our pilot handled the air sick passenger in a very professional and respectful manner. I'm pretty sure the couple involved were most appreciative.

Some people may feel that the controlled picture session prior to the flight and the limits of passeneger movement outside the aircraft are a limiting factor. In fact this is for passenger safety. The fact is any aircraft with it's engine running is a hazardous operation for people around the aircraft. These controls have to be in place for passenger safety! Now the cost associated with the photo is a little unrealistic, especially in the digital age where a printed photo may not be the customer choice. Hence a customer safety concern is capitalized as a profit. I would recommned that for the cost that is collected for this tour and passenger safety that a emailed picture is just part of the tour at no additional cost. If one want a printed picture than yes there is additional materials and time required so those costs should be factored and charged. Also please be aware there is a price break for cash vs credit card purchase of the photo's and video. This certainly exceeds the credit card finance institution charges. I think that such actions should be reported to the IRS for possible tax evation or lending institutions for outragous service chages associated to use of credit cards for payment. They didn't have any problem accepting credit card purchases on par with cash for any of their murchandise.

So in summary I can say the following
- yes I did get a helicopter ride. I love to fly and any chance to be in the air is an oppportunity for a cherished moment. That is why I am a fixed wing pilot myself.
- I did not have an enjoyable experience, primarily due to other passengers actions and events.
- Air Maui operates in a very professional and safe manner but I think they have things that they can change and areas that they can improve to provide better customer sastisfaction.
- I think that marketing of helicopter tours exagerates the experiences and value in which most people will experience. I certainly felt I received more value later that day by attending an event at the maui arts and cultural center, than this helicopter flight.
- I would not book another helicopter flight this way to be disappointed by factors outside of my control with no options. If you want a true helicopter adventure, get a group of like minded people, and charter a flight with your specific goals in mind. I felt this was a waste of my money and time.

Visited March 2013
7 Thank TiddlerB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AirMaui_2013, Guest Relations Manager at Air Maui, responded to this review, March 26, 2013
We were very disappointed to hear that you did not enjoy your experience with us. We would like to thank you for taking the time out to point out things that we can work on.
We did stop using two-way headphones a while ago. We do offer paper and pen for people who have questions for the pilot .I’m sure being a fixed wing pilot your self you can understand the questions, noise from children and personal conversations that go on. Not only can it be distracting for the pilot when doing required radio reports, but people did not always appreciate having these things on their personal DVD that they will be taking home as a souvenir.
We cannot force people to change their clothes or to buy a shirt. They are advised when booking, and most agencies have it printed on their paperwork. We can only hope they will take this advise. However, if we notice they are wearing white in the office we try as much as possible to give them suggestions.
Typical Hawaii weather is usually sunny, partly cloudy, raining somewhere (usually in the rain forest for a short period of time), and strong trade winds.
For most people not from Hawaii this is unusual weather and they are usually concerned if we will be flying in these conditions. Our pilots do hourly weather updates and if they feel they cannot give a good tour they will offer an alternative route or cancel the flight. If this happens guest are allowed to receive a full refund.
Not only is customer satisfaction important to us, but also safety hence our perfect safety record for over two decades.
Seating is very limited, the helicopter only seats 6. We do have to have a cancelation policy in place. Almost all activity companies have a cancelation policy.
We really do strive to give excellent customer service and give the best tour possible. We hope you consider doing another helicopter ride with us and let us show you the beauty of Hawaii that so much people love and return to see.
Thank you again for all the positive comments and pointing out the things we can work on.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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