As you may know already from my past Winery tour via Helicopter, I’m addicted to Helicopters and being able to see a city from as high as possible! When I found out that I was going to London, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to contact The London Helicopter to see if they had a spare spot for me!
At first I got a little lost as I caught the tube and the overland train to Battersea and (again) I didn’t have a map so I aimlessly wandered around trying to get my bearings. I luckily found a street “you are here map” which was able to point me in the right direction and while The London Helicopter wasn’t on the map “Heliport” was so I thought that was close enough! After wandering around where I thought I was going I decided to call The London Helicopter and the lovely Chris answered and was able to give me some directions.
When I finally arrived (maybe a few minutes late, sorry guys!), they welcomed me with open arms and brought me through to the air conditioned office and offered me a bottle of water (thank you! I was dying of thirst). They told me that for my comfort I had been bumped to the next flight as this one was a little crowded and it looked like I needed a little rest.
I sat back and relaxed on the comfortable seating and enjoyed my nice cold bottle of water while I watched the first group head out to the helicopter. I sat by the window to take a few pictures while it took off and had a great chat to Kate (the General Manager), she was very personable and gave me some great tips on London and told me about a few useful London apps (thanks for the free wifi!).
You can check out a short video of my helicopter ride – London by air!
The helicopter was a Eurocopter AS350 and it seated 2 people infront (one was the pilot) and 4 in the back. You can book either a shared flight or an exclusive flight, in a shared flight you will be put with “strangers” and be aware you might not be able to see as much or photograph as much from the middle seat in the back.
As the helicopter came in for landing, Kate handed me a life jacket (that your seatbelt sort of clips into) and gave us a quick safety talk about what to do if the helicopter crashes and how to open the door. I put my handbag and jacket into the provided lockers. Kate walked up to the outer door and let us out, where the ground crew assisted us to the helicopter and I jumped into the front with the pilot, as I had my hands full with my Canon camera, GoPro and my phone the lovely ground crew helped me put on my seatbelt/harness. Sitting in the front not only provides you with clear views (and first sightings) but an insight into piloting a helicopter.
The flight went for 20mins and followed the River Thames, the possible sights to see are (some you can see better on a clear day):
Wembley Stadium (distant)
Battersea Heliport (where you take off from)
Earls Court & Olympia
Royal Albert Hall
Battersea Power Station
New Covent Garden Market
Oval Cricket Ground
Houses of Parliament
Royal Festival Hall
St Pauls Cathedral
Gherkin & Financial District
Tower of London
St Katherine’s Dock
Isle of Dogs
London City Airport
The Emirates Air Line
Royal Naval College
National Maritime Museum
I was really lucky to be flying on a nice blue skies day; there wasn’t a cloud in sight! The flight went surprisingly quick, it lasted for 20 minutes, most of that I spent with my face in a camera viewfinder or clicking the button on the Go Pro or on my Iphone!!
You didn’t really get much time “hovering” over the major landmarks; its more like you fly past them up the River Thames and then back again past them in case you missed them the first time around. It is so much to take in, in what feels like such a short period of time.
The pilot was fantastic! He gave a running commentary about the helicopter and landmarks that might be of interest. He was happy to answer questions or have a chat (when he wasn’t speaking to air control), but he didn’t received many questions on this flight as everyone was so dumbstruck by the view (me included!). The pilot also made sure to let everyone know what he was doing, I thought this was great for people who were scared of flying or for first timers.
The beauty about this company is that they really care about their customers and they are very active on social media, Kate’s always up for a good chat if you have any questions. Keep an eye out for discount specials and codes on their Facebook and Twitter.
Communication throughout my experience from booking to arriving was fantastic! They even send you an SMS reminder and email you to “check in” (aka confirming you booking).
Disclaimer: Thank you to The London Helicopter who kindly hosted me. As always all opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.