If you were ever tempted to fly on a helicopter, you might want to think again…
If you are a regular reader of Luxury Travel Diary you will know that we regularly travel to Monaco, and I am always tempted to fly the Nice Airport to Monaco leg of my journey via helicopter. It is not that much more expensive than a taxi and what a way to arrive!
This week I was once again reminded that flying in an aerodynamically unstable box with propellers on top is not the safest way to fly.
Tragically, Leicester City owner’s helicopter crashed after a game and the footage is frightening.
The helicopter takes off normally, then some “bits” appear to fall off. Analysis suggests that the bits were from the back propeller. Following the loss of these “bits” the helicopter starts going round in circles, wildly out of control and crashes into a car park.
If you missed this story you can watch an expert analysis on sky news.
What can we learn from this?
For a start, even billionaire football club owners are not immortal, and whoever you are, you are not immune to your helicopter crashing.
Secondly, the manufacturers of the AW169 AgustaWestland claim that this is the first crash of this type of helicopter. So just because a helicopter has never crashed, doesn’t mean it won’t crash.
Thirdly, if you are planning a helicopter tour, it is worth knowing the statistics before climbing aboard. In the US, in 2016, there were 3.19 accidents per 100,000 flight hours.
In February 2018, five tourists were killed in a helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon due to a fuel system that caught fire (the design fault has apparently been rectified). Another two tourists from the US were killed on March 22 when a helicopter crashed in Australia apparently because it got too close to the water.
Another helicopter crashed in New York on 12 March killed five passengers when it fell into the East River, with just the pilot surviving.
Admittedly, most helicopter trips are safe. But safety standards for sightseeing flights, whether by helicopter or light aircraft, are not as stringent as those for larger commercial planes.
The chances are that you will have an exciting and exhilarating trip and will come home safe. I have helicoptered over the Grand Canyon, and up from the shoreline in Hawaii. I didn’t consider the risks on either trip, and the truth is that risk can never be completely eliminated on a helicopter flight.
Now that I have a precious 8-year-old son, my happy go lucky spirit when it comes to booking these trips have changed. If I want to take on the risk of a helicopter ride for myself, that’s fine, but if I took my son on a helicopter trip, a boy with his whole life ahead of him, and there was an accident…
I simply can’t justify taking any risk. For what? A photo opportunity?!
So I will be flying to Nice in Business Class on British Airways. British Airways is a great way to fly and IMHO a very low risk airline. I travel on British Airways Avios for free accrued on by my FREE Amex Gold Card. I convert my American Express Rewards directly to airline miles so that I can fly about exclusively on these.
If you are US based you can find out about a brilliant way to load up on a massive bonus of airline miles in this easy guide.
I will be transferring from the airport to Monaco using Blacklane with my 20% discount code (which is applicable for any airport transfer anywhere in the world). The transfers are in Mercedes cars and the Blacklane drivers are good so I feel this is also low risk.
I will not be taking the helicopter transfer.
I will finish with a rather appropriate helicopter pilot joke:
“Do you know why helicopter pilots are always scowling while fixed-wing pilots are smiling?”
Punch line: “Because a helicopter does not want to fly!”
If you feel confident enough to fly and are planning to book a First or Business Class flight or a luxury hotel, please do not hesitate to contact our luxury travel concierge to get a quote before booking. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, deals and special benefits.
This review is solely the opinion of the author and has not been sponsored, influenced, or reviewed by American Express.