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“An amazing experience - something we will always remember”

Coastal Helicopters
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Juneau Helicopter Tour and Guided Icefield Walk
Ranked #21 of 80 Tours in Juneau
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: We are a Helicopter Charter Service based in unique Juneau, Alaska. During the summers we devote a portion of our fleet of helicopters to running tours for visitors coming off of the many cruise ships that pass through our town, or visiting family and friends on an extended holiday. We offer a variety of tour experiences, all accessing parts of the scenic Juneau area via helicopter, to help give visitors the best memories of their time in Alaska. Our staff are locally hired, and trained to insure the most authentic vacation possible. Majestic mountain peaks and plunging crevasses will seem to be at your fingertips when you come with Coastal Helicopters Inc. on the adventure of a lifetime! With our vast reservoir of experience flying in Alaska, you're in for an unforgettable flight as our pilots take you on one of our specially designed tours. From racing across the face of the Taku Glacier in an Alaskan Airboat, to speeding over the glacier on your own dogsled, to simply basking in the awe inspiring vistas of the glacier with our Icefield Tours, there's a tour for everyone! All ages and conditions welcome! We are a handicap friendly company, outfit with lifts for ease of loading. Allow us to be your pathway to adventure when planning your Alaskan experience!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Lockers / storage
Reviewed 10 October 2011

We booked an Icefield Excursion with coastal helicopter on our own for when we were in port in Juneau on our cruise, instead of through the cruise. This saved us about $100 per person. That is a big deal since these are not cheap (but are totally worth it). They give you an appointed time to get picked up in a van and taken out to the flight field. Our spot was the Red Dog Saloon, which is right across from where our ship docked. However, even the other pick up spots were a 5 minute walk way or less. Juneau just is not that big.

Once you arrive at the flight field, be aware that you will be weighed again. Then you get your boots and watch a video before you wait a while for your helicopter to be ready. We were in a 6 person helicopter. The ride is beautiful. Over the mountains and then a few minutes flying over the glacier itself, which was amazing. The narration by the guide was really great - we learned a lot. The time on the glacier was abbreviated, but was enough for us - probably about 20 minutes. The blue color was even brighter up close than far away, which was not what we expected. It is cold, so you do want to dress warmly and it is ice, so it can be slippery.

This is an excursion that is subject to weather. The day before we were there, they were not able to fly at all. The day we were there, they were not able to fly in the morning, but it was clear and beautiful that afternoon!

Although we always felt we were in good hands, it was a bit strange that no one we encountered from any time from Coastal looked to even be 25!

3  Thank tripcares
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CoastalHelicopters, Manager at Coastal Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 18 October 2011

Thanks so much for your great comments! The savings you get by booking with us, as opposed to ship board tours, are always a high motivator for our customers, we're glad to see that you took advantage of that!

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Write a ReviewReviews (510)
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"herbert glacier"
in 139 reviews
"dog sledding"
in 88 reviews
"helicopter ride"
in 77 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 58 reviews
"pilot guide"
in 8 reviews
"glacier walk"
in 21 reviews
"safety video"
in 14 reviews
"cruise ship"
in 49 reviews
"landing spot"
in 5 reviews
"special boots"
in 10 reviews
"glacier water"
in 22 reviews
"through viator"
in 6 reviews
"drank water"
in 6 reviews
"walk around"
in 20 reviews
"highlight of our trip"
in 27 reviews
"amazing experience"
in 26 reviews
"cancelled due"
in 17 reviews

477 - 481 of 510 reviews

Reviewed 24 September 2011

We were thrilled to book the helicopter dog sled tour through Shore Trips for our Disney Cruise stop in Juneau, Alaska. Our party of 7 included 4 small kids, 2 parents, and a Grandma. When booking, the agent at Shore Trips told me only 6 people were allowed per helicopter. Well, you can imagine that I imagined the worst - what if 1 chopper went down in flames and only 1 person was left!! (I know it sounds ridiculous, but that's how this Mom's brain works!) After giving our approximate weights, the Shore Trips agent worked out an even weight distribution so we could be divided 3 and 4, and I was pleased that my more tentative child would be seated with me for comfort.

The day of our adventure was grey and cloudy and wet - we understood that the entire previous day`s flights haad been cancelled, and we were sad to learn that the choppers would be unable to do the dog-sled portion, so we accepted the lesser option of glacier experience, only, at a reduced rate.

Here is where the disorganisation first appeared - the tourguides who were driving the vans were more concerned with chatting to each other and discussing options with future guests than they were about driving away from the cruise ship once our van was full! As you can imagine, 4 small children dressed in parkas sitting in a non-moving van for 5 minutes, then 10, were not behaving as we would have liked!

Once we arrived at the airport, we were told that we could not take any purses or bags with us and we were to place these items in UNLOCKED bins. I was VERY nervous to leave our passports and personal items behind. Though we suffered no thefts, it seems a locker would be a better option. We then dressed in our glacier boots and we were informed that Mom would be riding separate from the rest of our party. Instant tears from the children. I tried to explain that this had all been dealt with beforehand, but to the young adults manning the office, my requests were met with large sighs and I was made to feel like a real problem for requesting a switch in passengers.

Despite all the difficulties, we really enjoyed our flight and our pilot was excellent. I think if the young people doing the driving and office work were a little bit better-supervised, the entire experience would have received 5 stars, instead of the 3 I have given.

P.S. The flight did not make me queasy and the children had no tummy-troubles. I thought it would be bumpy and I feared airsickness, but it was VERY smooth, so don`t worry!

2  Thank WaltCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CoastalHelicopters, Manager at Coastal Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 7 October 2011

I'm very pleased to hear about your great experience with your ShoreTrips agent. During the tourist season, we communicate with them on a daily basis to iron out all the details and requests of our passengers.

Thanks very much for your understanding regarding our weather patterns here in Juneau. It's always unpredictable and we use a constant inflow of information to from weather sites, pilot reports, and automatic monitoring transmission sites to help us determine weather patterns throughout the day.

Thanks for the feedback regarding your transportation from downtown. I can definitely sympathize with the difficulties in dealing with several children looking for some sort of entertainment while waiting for our transportation crews to sort out tour details. We'll make sure to implement a rule of loading each van as completely and as quickly as possible to minimize any wait time for passenger who are on time for their pick up.

We do keep staff in the office at all times to insure the security of any items that do have to be left at our base and we have a small safe behind the desk for passengers' use. We are working this winter to put locks into the benches to provide some additional peace of mind for all our future passengers.

I'm sorry to hear that there was any confusion about your grouping, our computer system doesn't preserve seating during a conversion process and things can get mixed up. We'll work to setup some way to preserve groupings like your's in the days to come. We'll work to get a more permanent supervising presence in the office, as per your comments, for the coming season.

Thanks very much for your comments and critiques, we appreciate your feedback and I'm glad that you enjoyed your flight and pilot!

Derrick Grimes
Tour Manager

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Reviewed 23 September 2011

First of all, this business is being run by college students that work there for the summer. They picked us up on time at the dock when the ship came on time (1:15 p.m.) and took us to the office where we stood around for quite a long time, got our boots on, saw the movie with instructions, waited around some more and FINALLY took the helicopter ride to I believe Herbert Glacier. The whole thing from the time we got on the helicopter to the time we returned from the helicopter ride was approximately 50 minutes. It says that the tour is 2 1/2 hrs. long. I can understand the ride to the airport and back, some time to get boots, register, etc. BUT and hour and 40 minutes of waiting? That is totally misleading and we were NOT happy about it.

Also, we were squashed in the back with 4 passengers and we were NOT comfortable AT ALL!!! My husband is 6' 2" and we could not understand why we had to be sardine packed in the back. I know it was a beautiful day and you guys were trying to get in as many tours as you could but not to the expense of people that booked and paid HIGHLY for this tour. Although it was beautiful scenery it was NOT worth the money. I have to stress here AGAIN how uncomfortable this ride was - I couldn't even sit back and had to sit forward on the tip of the seat the entire time because there was no room for the four of us (there were 3 men and one woman in the back seat). The glaciers were beautiful and we had a great time. We would not have taken this tour if we knew this is how it was going to be and how we were going to be treated. I talked to one of your employees and it was almost like a "too bad" attitude. It's get them in and get them out (customers). They were also going to jam us packed in a van going back to the airport but after realizing that you can't fit that many people in one van, decided to take another van.

Would check out another helicopter company.....there's plenty of them.

Thank Olena S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CoastalHelicopters, Manager at Coastal Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 7 October 2011

I'm terribly sorry to hear that your experience did not meet your expectations based on what you'd studied. We make regular checks on our vendors' websites and keep them as up to date as possible on any information we can release. But it's good to know that you still enjoyed your glacier walkabout and had a chance to explore the beauty of the glacier.

Currently, all of our vendor listings are quite clear on the topic of timing, listing a total excursion time and an actual trip time. The timing of our excursion covers full transportation time and is based on the average length of time that it takes a full tour hour of passengers to be entered, prepared and briefed on the coming tour. We include approximately 10 minutes of time beyond that to allow for passengers to utilize the facilities or take photographs before heading up, and just generally have a few minutes to relax and prepare for their excursion. There is a difference in total time standing by for those passengers that are the first to arrive, as they have to wait for any late comers, but we do what we can to insure that the passengers that have been prepared the longest are the first to be loaded in the helicopter.

Our schedule allows for some flexibility in launch times to allow for groups that are 'ahead of the class' and prepared to fly faster, but that is under exceptional circumstances. The 2.5 hour mark is actually about 15 minutes more than it usually takes to get you back to your ships, but we do include the buffer time to allow for larger groups that necessarily take more time.

My deepest apologies if, at any point during your experience, you felt that you were greeted with a "too bad" attitude. Our employees are all trained, and expected to, provide a fantastic and energetic jumping off point for your excursion, as well as serve as an conduit from you to management for you to discuss your concerns with. At any point during your preparation and wrap up, I'm certain I could have been pointed out so that you could voice, and I could address your concerns.

Our company employs a wide variety of ages and backgrounds to make our operation work, the choice to employ heavily from the college sector for our tour group is based on their high level of interpersonal skills, as well as their energy levels. I can see how it would appear that we employ exclusively college aged workers due to the limited exposure to our staff (approximately 50 employees) that most passengers have, but I can assure you that we have no such restriction and welcome fair and equal employment to all applicants.

Reviewing the seating arrangement of your aircraft, I see that you and your husband were seated next to one another, with you at the door. Most passengers regard those seats as being 'the best' and I can only speculate on the circumstances which led to your discomfort. Every passenger in the aircraft is coordinated at booking with the expectation of comfortable seating and four passengers in the back seat is what the aircraft are designed for.

We have a limited amount of manipulation available when it comes to the seating, as it is optimized for the safety of the aircraft, calculating the weight and balance load out that will provide the stablest ride. Generally, that means the heaviest passenger behind the pilot with decreasing weight to the left, alterations are made to keep families, and couples, together as much as possible.

While the first van out from our base is generally the fullest, I can assure you that your tour group merited two vans from the start, so while it may not have been clear to passengers in the first van, we never over load our vans, and the second van was likely waiting to pull around to load. All our passengers are eager to move along with their day and we provide the timeliest transportation possible.

We strive to distinguish our operation by using a far more relaxed schedule of flights to allow for the most personal and personalized experience possible. With our schedule, your pilot is your guide while on the glacier and is able to tailor the tour to your particular requests and interests. Once again, my deepest apologies for your dissatisfaction with any aspects of our operations, but I'm glad to hear that you did enjoy your glacier landing experience and that you had a great time with your pilot and co-passengers on the glacier.

Derrick Grimes
Tour Manager

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Reviewed 22 September 2011

The helicopter glacier trip with Coastal Helicopters was undoubtedly the highlight of our Alaskan cruise.
I booked on line before travelling, mainly because the cost through cruise line was far more expensive.
We were picked up punctually at the cruise terminal and taken back there after the flight.
All Coastal Helicopter staff were friendly and helpful and Aaron the pilot was superb.
We also had the added benefit of going to the Herbert glacier which was a longer flight with no other flights going there leaving us alone on the glacier.
Would thoroughly recommend to all our friends or anyone visiting Juneau.

Thank John T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CoastalHelicopters, Manager at Coastal Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 7 October 2011

Thanks so much for your great comments! We do our very best to give each customer that comes to us the best experience possible, and we're glad to see your's matched up!

Many of our travelers express the same satisfaction with direct bookings, as it can allow for a great deal of savings.

I'll be sure to pass along your compliments to Aaron!

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Reviewed 14 September 2011

An intersting trip to one of the largest glaciers in Alaska. Professionally run, by friendly staff. Boots and any necessary clothing provided.

Thank Racingjohn789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CoastalHelicopters, Manager at Coastal Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 7 October 2011

Thanks very much for you comments! We're certainly happy to hear positive feedback!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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