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“The BIG Island”

Iolani Air Tour Co.
Ranked #90 of 207 Tours in Kailua-Kona
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Attraction details
Owner description: Now Really See Hawaii! Big Island. Lava. Waterfalls. Rain Forest. Iolani Air Tour Co. provides a safe, smooth, geographic showcase with personal window seats for better viewing. Nice to know this "once-in-a-lifetime" experience won't take a lifetime to pay for either.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed December 31, 2013

As a first time visitor to the Big Island....this is the best way to understand and capture the size and diversity of the this Island. The service was outstanding....from the safety brief to keeping the turbulence to a minimum...(that on-shore breeze gotta go somewhere....) I would recommend doing the circle island tour....It gives you perspective and focus on the time and distance required to see the island.....

1  Thank Golfer_Mike1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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24 - 28 of 200 reviews

Reviewed December 31, 2013

We had planned our 12 day "Holiday Vacation" in Hawaii many months in advance of our 12/16/2013 departure from Northern NJ.
Part of our experience was to be the "Iolani Air Tour Company" "Deluxe Tour for Two". That would just be myself, my wife and the pilot in a small airplane. It would be about a 2 1/2 hour air tour of the "Big Island", including the Volcanoes and the "Valleys" and "Lava Flow" associated with "Kilauea", "Mauna Loa" and "Mauna Kea".
I contacted Iolani in early June and had great responses from "Rebecca" via email. She answered all questions I had and booked us on the 11:00 AM flight on 12/19/2013. My cost, after a "Veteran's Discount" was to be $619.00. Expensive, you say? Yes! But probably worth the unique experience! WE WERE ALL SET!!!
Came the morning of 12/19/13 and we were up, dressed and ready to go! The phone rang and it was "Eric" from Iolani. He explained that, though the plane was quite new, there had been a problem. The fuel gauge wasn't working and the FAA had "Grounded" the plane. No passengers could be taken up in it! He told me the FAA was to be coming the next day, 12/20/13, and do an inspection of the aircraft and we could then go on our tour. He called me the next day and advised that the FAA was there and he didn't know exactly when they would be finished with their inspection. The "Deluxe Tour for Two" would need to be pushed to Saturday. He also "Blocked" two seats on their sister airline, Big Island Air, in a larger plane.
Later I received a call from a woman at Iolani ( Rebecca? ) telling me that the "Head Pilot" had now also "Grounded" the smaller plane. Since Big Island Air only had the two of us for the 11:00 AM Saturday flight they wouldn't guarantee we would actually get to go!!! They needed at least 5 passengers and no one else had booked the flight except us. We could go on a 9:00 AM flight but had to confirm that right then with her! Slight Problem! Due to a medical condition; I need 4 to 6 hours of time before I can be ready to leave for the airport at 8:00 AM. I told her so. That meant I would have to get up at 2 or 3 AM! I was reluctant to do so and, to make it worse; if we didn't make it to the 9:00 AM flight my credit card would be charged! How much? I really never asked! I hope it would not have been $619.00 though! Moot point. We didn't book the flight and never did get to take an air tour as we had envisioned. Instead we drove to "Hawaii Volcanoes National Park", a 4 hour round trip drive from Kailua Kona where we were staying.
We added a visit to Hilo to make the trip a little more worthwhile.
As "Sgt. Joe Friday would have said; "Just the Facts"!
Would I recommend Iolani? Probably! I don't know if blame can be shouldered by anyone in particular in our case.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

Dale, our very safe pilot, gave an exemplary tour of the island to wife and I and it was a memorable occasion to see the Big Island from 1 - 3.5 thousand feet at a leisurely paced.....included the Kohala coast, Waipio Valley, Hilo, Kilauea, Black and Green Sand beaches, Cook Monument and Kona. Would recommend to anyone and considering fuel prices for av gas was a bargain.

Thank ritzytopaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2013

Can't recommend this more highly. Was an incredible was to see the island and of course the volcano. Kevin was a fantastic guide. The plane was a fantastic experience in itself. And the views were spectacular. I don't often give such immensely positive reviews but Iolani deserves it. Do this.

2  Thank Zee_and_Elizabeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2013


We were referred to Iolani by Ellen from Wings over Kauia which was most helpful in booking early from Australia. Following discussions with friends, who were surprised we were not travelling to Maui, we requested an extension to the normal circumnavigation of the Big Island by chartering the flight to fly over the extinct Volcano Haleakala on Maui, to which Iolani agreed but could not guarantee a clear view of the summit at 10,023 feet.
We were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and our return to Oahu after 20 years and added Kauia and Hawaii, when we arrived at Kona Airport, I was a little surprised to land in a Lava Field,driving around the Island did show almost anything grows on the rock in time but I was not prepared for such a different landscape in comparison to Oahu and Kauia, which made me a little concerned our highlight tour might be underwhelming.
On arrival at Iolani, we were made very welcome, introduced to Dale our Pilot and our very new Cessna, informed of the less than ideal weather on the opposite coast (Hilo) at 8 am, which reassured me that this was very professional and a well planned outing, on listening to Dale who was of a similar age to ourselves and on he hearing we were celebrating our 40th honeymoon, (he is celebrating his 42nd), he put me in the co pilots seat as much as I enjoy the adventure of flying, my stomach does not always agree, I was immediately impressed with his care and attention to detail and safety, a very thorough pilot who communicated most effectively what was going on with clear and effective speech available between the three of us via the voice activated mikes and headsets.
The technology on board the Cessna was most impressive, our flight was GPS monitored so there was no doubt on our location , once airborne, the view at 1500 feet was just amazing, with a clear understanding how the Big Island was formed with the lave flow between the two large volcanoes creating the saddle that flowed to the coast, and what a coast!.
dale pointing out many features , blowholes, saw Dolphins, the Resorts and National Parks, then our flight across to the Maui coast, with Halakela in view as we climbed to clear the summit, JUST AWESOME an unforgettable experience.
We returned to the Hilo coastline totally unprepared for the greenery of the 7 valleys and their waterfalls, the headlands are 1000 feet tall, Dale was most informative as he has walked this area , then to the Volcanoes national park area which we had toured by car the previous day, which the flight made a much greater impact and was impressive when we looked into the active molten lava and understood how far it can travel and cause the burning of the forest.
Then to the coast, passing over the most southerly point was great, an absolute hightlight was Dale circling the Captain Cook monument allowing us a great view of the Bay and inland area and remembering the Great Explorer, we all agreed he was the Neil Armstrong of his day.
Our return back to Kona showed our location The Royal Kona to perfection which completed our 4 hour journey with a perfect 100 percent rating from me, completely nullifying my earlier thoughts.
Well done Iolani , please consider adding the Maui experience to your tour of the Big Island.
As a consequence of the flight, we drove the north coast to the End of the Road , a great trip we would have otherwise missed, returning via Waimea to Kona,

a very pleasing end to our Hawaiian experience.



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

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