0800 FLY FRANZ / 0064 3752 0203 bookings@gch.nz

If you have any other questions please email us at bookings@gch.nz

How many people fit in a helicopter?

In our modern fleet we have two different models of helicopter the Notar that can carry 4 passengers and the Squirrels that can carry 6 passengers (weight dependent) plus the pilot.

Will I have to share my helicopter with others?

Unless you book all the seats on a helicopter it is likely you will share your flight with others. If you do not wish to share we do have private charter options.

Are your flights subject to minimum passenger numbers?

We need a minimum of 3 paying passengers for a scenic flight to depart. However, we’re happy to take bookings for one or two persons, with the aim of flying smaller groups together.

When is your earliest/ latest flight of the day?

As we have a private helipad just out of Franz Josef township, we are not restricted by the in-town noise bylaws and can generally fly in daylight hours. Our operating hours are also weather and season dependent.

Can I pick my own seat?

We are happy for you to request seats; however, we cannot guarantee these as we need to allocate these according to specific weight and balance regulations. Seating arrangements will be assigned to you at time of check-in.

When do you take payment?

Payment is taken when you arrive in the office, have checked in and we have made a final weather call for your flight departure. This saves us issuing refunds if the weather isn’t suitable to fly.

What payment types / credit cards do you accept?

We accept most major credit cards, Cash (NZD), EFTPOS, WeChat Pay and Alipay.

Do I need to book in advance?

We recommend booking in advance, especially during our peak season (November – March) but it is not essential. We often have last minute spaces available, so if you haven’t pre-booked please call us, ostop in and see us when you arrive in town.

When do I need to check in?

Check-in is 30 minutes prior to departure. If your group is larger than six, please allow 45 minutes. 

Where do I need to go for my flight?

Our office is centrally located in town at 10 Main Road, Franz Josef. After you have checked in our driver and van will take you to our private helipad a just few minutes down the road.

Where can I park my car during my flight?

There is street parking in front of our office, additionally there is a car park just across the road which is also suitable for camper vans.

How long are the flights?

Our scenic glacier flights range from 25 – 45 minutes. All flights include a 10 minute snow landing (weather dependent). Our standard flights are slightly longer than others in the area, offering the best value per minute and those few extra minutes mean you get more time for photos and get to see even more the incredible scenery here.

Can the weather affect my flight?

Yes, all flights are weather dependent, and West Coast weather can change rapidly on any given day so for safety reasons a final weather call is made for each flight at the check-in time. Please feel free to call us in advance to see how the weather is looking.

Are we guaranteed a landing?

Unfortunately, due to the ever-changing weather, we can never 100% guarantee a landing. We will inform you at check-in if there is a chance it may not happen and give you a partial refund if you are unable to land during the flight.

How long does our snow landing last for?

We have one of the longest landing times in town! Typically, your snow landing will generally last around 10-12 minutes depending on your flight length, so you can take plenty of photos & our pilots can take some of you too! Landings are always weather conditions permitting.

If my group is split into two helicopters can we all land together?

We can fly up to 16 people between the three helicopters at once, so although it may not always be possible, we will always try our best to accommodate these requests.

Can I stay in the helicopter during our landing?

Yes, but please let check in staff know this may happen as we need to inform the pilot prior to take off.

What type of helicopters do you fly?

Our modern fleet includes two AS350 B2 Squirrel (6 Passengers) helicopters and a MD 520N Notar (4 passengers) helicopter which is the quietest helicopter in the world.

Can I cancel / change my booking?

As we do not take payment until check in, you may cancel or change your booking. We appreciate you letting us know as soon as possible.

How will I be refunded if my flight is cancelled?

If a flight is cancelled after check-in and payment has been taken you can either reschedule the flight free of charge to another day or time or if unable, we will refund your flight in full.

If you have booked & paid through a third party, you may need to contact them for your refund.

What happens if we miss our flight?

Please contact us as soon as possible so we can try to fill those seats. We will aim to move you to the next available flight.

Do you have a total helicopter weight limit?

Yes, maximum weight limits are applicable according to our weight and balance so do vary 

Is there a maximum weight per person?

Yes, but this does vary for each flight according to our weight and balance.

Is there a minimum age to be able to ride a helicopter?

There is no minimum age, but each child or infant must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Do you have child and infant prices?

Yes, please contact the office for current rates.

Are the glaciers there all year round?

Yes, the glaciers are there all year round. Although Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers are the most famous names, there are over 100 glaciers in the area.

What should I bring / wear on my flight?

We recommend you bring a warm jacket, sunglasses, sturdy footwear and your camera/phone for some amazing photos.

What can't I bring on my flight?

For safety reasons, we do not allow selfie sticks, drones, flammable liquids, lighters, open food or drink and any bags larger than a small handbag on any of our flights.

Do you pick up from accommodation?

Our office is centrally located on the Franz Josef main street so walking distance from most accommodation, however if you do not have a vehicle, we can offer a local accommodation pick up free of charge (subject to availability, particularly in peak season).

Do you offer discounts for groups?

Please contact the office directly to discuss group options.

Do you operate on Christmas / New Years day?

We fly all year round, weather permitting. Please book in advance particularly for these busy days.

When is the best time to fly?

Summer is the peak time of the year with the most sunshine, but fresh snow on the mountains the rest of the year makes for fantastic landing spots and photos. The West Coast weather can change quickly each day so we aim to fly every day of the year if the weather allows us too.

Is it possible to have a doors-off helicopter flight for photographers?

We don’t offer a doors-off option on our scenic flights. However, it is possible for professional photographers to charter a helicopter for a doors-off, please contact us directly for more information.

Can I fly if I'm pregnant?

We do not have any restrictions but if you are concerned, we would recommend talking to your doctor.

My mobility isn't very good, can I still come?

You do need to be able to get in and out of the helicopter, but we will do our best to assist you with this. Due to limited assistance being available on the landing sites, you may have to stay in the helicopter during the landing. If you have limited mobility please let us know at the time of booking.

Are there any health restrictions preventing me from flying?

We do not have any restrictions but if you are concerned, we would recommend talking to your doctor.

I get motion sickness should I take something before my flight?

If you suffer from motion sickness in cars or boats, we would suggest taking your normal motion sickness medication or consultant your pharmacist before your flight. In the unlikely event you are unwell, sick bags are carried in all our helicopters and vans.

Am I insured to fly with Glacier Country Helicopters?

Any accidents are covered by ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) whilst you are in NZ.

Your travel insurance provider should be able to help with any additional insurances you require.

What if I don’t speak English very well?

We have two Chinese team members (Chris & Joline) and one of our pilots Jay is Dutch and speaks a little German to help with language barriers. We are also in the process of putting together a safety video which will have a number of different languages available in subtitles, so we’ll make sure you feel comfortable loading in and out the helicopter.

Do you offer heli hikes?

No, we offer scenic flights with a snow landing.

Heli hikes are a different experience completely. They take 3.5 hours, approx 9 minutes of this is flying time with 2 hours spent on the ice. You can book these through Franz Josef Glacier Guides.