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Maui Air Tours (Airplane / Fixed Wing)

There are 15 tours in this category. Hawaii's Leader in Affordable Tours and Discount Activities

Air Tours (Airplane / Fixed Wing) Sorted by Specific Tour

Maui Air Tours. Maui Airplane Tours. Volcano Air Tours

Maui Air Tours are generally thought to be helicopter tours but much of Maui can be seen from Maui Airplane Tours as well. These tours often carry fewer passengers and can be more personalized. Also, Volcano Air Tours which depart from Maui via sightseeing airplanes on a two hour flight to visit the volcano areas of the Big Island are a great way to see the volcanoes. Using these aircraft you won't have to spend time, energy and dollars arranging all the logistics to get to the Big Island from Maui and return. See all the Maui Air Tours that are available on Maui via sightseeing airplanes as well as the Maui Airplane Tours that will take you to visit Molokai and Father Damien's Leper Colony.

  • One of the very best ways to see Maui is from Maui air tours and one of the best ways to see the live Big Island volcanoes is from one of the volcano air tours departing from Maui. Truly 75% of Maui cannot be seen from any vantage point other than from the air. Of course when most people think of 'air tours' they often think of just helicopter tours, but in so doing, they are inadvertently leaving out the 'fixed wing' air tours or sightseeing airplanes. These Maui airplane tours have many advantages and are often offered at discount pricing.

    Seeing the island of Maui by airplane has advantages that most people might not be aware of.

    • First off, is price. These tours are generally less expensive than seeing the islands by helicopter.
    • Secondly is the personalization factor. Most of these aircraft only take small groups and in many instances just two or three people. Because these are smaller groups you will likely have more time to ask questions of the pilot and this often makes these flights more intimate.
    • Often times the personalization of these tours allows for an adjustment, on the fly so to speak, where the course or route of the flight can be altered because of a request of the passenger. Generally the time of the flight will not be increased but if it is simply your group that is on the flight it can be altered for you to see something special that is of interest for you, or even to double back and see something of interest again.

    Are Maui airplane tours inferior to the flights of helicopters?

    Certainly helicopters have the capability to hover and in this matter they are superior. You can essentially stop at any point of the flight and view a certain island feature from a still position. This is true. However how often during a circle island flight, for instance, would you be doing such a maneuver. Yes occasionally but not often. I think that it could probably be surmised that generally the view of the island from a fixed wing aircraft would be the same or similar to the view seen from a helicopter as you tour the island. Considering the price difference between the two you might think that the trade off is worth it.
    Volcano Air Tours
    Volcano air tours from Maui to the Big Island are one of the best kept secrets in Hawaii. Whether the volcano is actively spewing lava or not at the time of your flight you will be awed by the landscape and sheer power of the destruction you will witness. These Volcano Air Tours only take a little over two hours and you will be treated to a fly-over of both sides of the island of Maui and the dramatic cliffs and coastlines of the Big Island in addition to the 'ground zero' volcano zone and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

    What Maui Airplane Tours are available for sightseeing

    • Flights viewing the various parts of Maui and also Molokai. Some flights will just cover certain areas of the island and others will see the greater scope.
    • Flights that will take you over to Molokai and land at Father Damien's Leper Colony at Kalaupapa Peninsula and then take a land tour.
    • Molokai flights that will take you to the topside of Molokai and then offer a ground tour of the island.
    • Flight tours of Maui County including Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.
    • Flights from Kahului, Maui to Honolulu.
    • Flights from Maui taking a volcano air tour to see the lava flows on the Big Island.
    • Sunset flights
    • Night flights during the full moon.
    • Photography flights
    • Whale watching flights.

    Pride of America Cruise Ship:

    Maui Air Tours departing from Maui do not pick up at the cruise ship but may be easily reached by taking a short taxi ride from the cruise ship at Kahului Harbor to the Kahului Airport. View the 'restrictions' area after you click on each of the Maui air tour companies listed below for specifics regarding the cruise ship itinerary. These tours can generally be arranged for the Sunday or Monday of your cruise ship passage.

Checkout Tom's Tips and Insights about Maui Air Tours (Airplane / Fixed Wing)

Tom Barefoot's Tips
  • Tom's Tips - Maui Air Tours by Airplane

    In comparison to the helicopter tours, on Maui we have relatively few airplane sightseeing tours. These tours are not always regularly scheduled and many of them could actually be relegated to the category of private charters because they often carry such few passengers.

    Some of the tours that will take you to the leper colony of Father Damien on Molokai actually have a destination in mind and all the 'to and fro' is air tour sightseeing. These tours by the way are very much in demand but we are not always able to keep up with clients requests as they come in. These are generally reserved for certain days (although we've noticed that those days can frequently change on us) and if they have enough passengers to justify a flight monetarily they will proceed. If you are the first two passengers wanting to go, it is often hard to confirm you until others show an interest in the flight so it is not an ideal situation with regard to planning. These are however very rewarding tours and by in large people really enjoy the flights over and the ground tour of the colony on this immensely beautiful location... read more.

Air Tours (Airplane / Fixed Wing) Sorted by Company

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Big Island Air

3 Activity Options

Cessna Grand Caravan EX

Big Island Air offers three different tours on their air conditioned Cessna Grand Caravan EX, which is the only turbine-engine, jet prop tour airplane in the State of Hawaii. Turbine engines are superior to piston or reciprocating engines in terms of safety, reliability and performance. The added power of a turbine allows us to show many places/things a conventional engine will not allow while operating well within the aircraft's normal range limits.
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(1 Review, 5 Stars)

Maui Plane Rides

11 Activity Options

Piper Archer single engine aircraft.

Maui Plane Rides offers you and your close friends and family the opportunity to have an aerial view of Maui and surrounding areas with a pilot that is also an instructor enabling you to actually put your hands on the controls and feel the excitement of flying.
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Explore Maui Nature

1 Activity Option

Sprinter Van, Private custom tours on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

Offering Private guided tours of Maui in an 11 passenger Sprinter Van. Private transportation can also be provided as well as customized tours.
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Recent Reviews

Video Transcript

When we say air tours, at least when we say it here at Tom Barefoot's Tours, we're referring to fixed-wing aircraft. We have a completely separate section that deals with Helicopters, so we'd like to keep them separate because they are somewhat different. We generally go through descriptions of how they differ from one another, but here on Maui, it really is not an issue that we need to get into because the air tours that happen on fixed-wing aircraft like this are not available by Helicopter. This is your choice for the tours that do fixed-wing.

What do they do? What are the air tours that we have available for you here on Maui by fixed-wing aircraft? Basically two. One are the trips that we have that go to Molokai from Maui to see and visit Father Damien's Leper Colony, and then the second place that we go is all the way across the channel to the big island to visit the volcanoes, and all the lava and magma and all of the exciting things that happening over there on the big island. Those are the two things we have with the exception, because we always throw this into air tours, of the paragliding. Paragliding is completely different, but it is an air tour. Let me give you an idea of what we're talking about. That is an example of paragliding. We do that off Haleakal? here on Maui.

Let's leave that for last. Let's go to these others first. Let's go to a map so we can see where these things go. This, you might recall, is a map of the islands of Maui County, and one of the main, probably most popular of the trips that we offer in terms of an air tour are tours that go from Maui directly over to the island of Molokai and along this northern coastline to a peninsula that we have up here that's called  alaupapa. Kalaupapa is a very isolated peninsula on this beautiful north shore, which really this entire area through here is about 2,000-foot cliffs that go straight down into the sea. They're highly jungled and forested with lots and lots of foliage on them and giant waterfalls that go down into the water, actually the highest free-falling waterfalls into the ocean anywhere on the planet. That's along this coastline.

And then there's this one peninsula here at Kalaupapa which also has the backdrop of these 2,000-foot cliffs behind it. What they serve to do is to isolate this peninsula, to where you can really only get in there by water, in the old days anyway, by the ocean or by walking this really steep switchback with cliffs and so on. Today, of course, we can get in there by air to a landing strip that we have on the peninsula. This is the home of Father Damien's Leper Colony. This was thought, in the 1800s, to be a perfect place in Hawaii to take the people who had Hansen's disease and isolate them in a place that they wouldn't be contagious to other people, and they could have a community of their own. Father Damien, the Catholic priest, was the one that organized this and became very famous for doing so. It was a very sad kind of a situation because of all of the extreme sickness and so on that was there, but it was also very heartwarming. The place that they were staying, this Kalaupapa Peninsula, is one of the most beautiful places you could ever imagine.

Today, we really don't have ... I think that there are a few people that are still there that have Hansen's disease. It's no longer communicable, but once you're deformed, that doesn't change. People may prefer to live there, a few of them that are still around. This was mainly something that happened during the late 1800s. Father Damien's church is there. So many museums and such are happening that document the times. There is a tour that you can take on Kalaupapa Peninsula that takes you all around and shows you all the different things. Where the air tour part comes in is that we have air tours that leave from Maui at various times. They go from either Kapalua or from the main airport in Kahului, and they also come from Oahu and come down for the day.

You fly over from Maui, in particular. You get to see West Maui and then the channel, and then all these beautiful cliffs and so on from the air. Then you land at the Peninsula. You're there for four hours. You get off there and then you walk through and see ... usually take a little van. They actually have a school bus that they use as a touring bus there. You get really kind of a down-home view of this incredible place on earth. Not many people actually, in comparison to all the tourists that come to Hawaii, get a chance to do that. In fact most of the people that live in Hawaii have not been down there. It is an incredible tour. That is probably the number one tour that we have that you can see by air, taking you there, but also seeing the islands from the air, the portions of the islands that you're going to be overflying on the way to get there. That's number one.

The second thing is going in the opposite direction, leaving from Maui and heading to the big island which is down here. You're going across this 30 mile channel and you're coming over to the big island. The Big Island, of course, is known because it is the place that we have all the live lava that is happening in Hawaii currently. Depending upon the time and the date that you're going, you're going to have more or less lava. It's been continuous, actually, since about 1975, and before that, it stopped. It was on again, off again all through the 1800s, on again, off again. Mark Twain was here, went to Halema'uma'u off K?lauea Volcano, and discussed that in a lot of his writings and so on. This is the island that is a fully aglow. This is where the live lava is coming out.

We've been fortunate in the last 30-plus years to really have good views of the lava from air tours. One of the great tours that we have is one that goes from Maui, and kind of flight-sees Maui on the way over to the big island, and then heads over. You get to see Mauna Kea. It depends on how you come in, but probably along this coastline and down over through Hilo, and then into this area which is really the Volcano Zone. You're going to see lots of Pu'u 'O'os, or vents that they are called, that the red lava is in there. You'll be able to see these tubes of lava that are carrying the lava down to the coastline. Quite often they run on the surface. They're kind of a little cave structure that usually caves in on the top. You've got this tube with a top part of the cylinder that's broken off, and you can see the lava flowing along through the tube in these rivers with this bright, bright orange/red lava, heading down toward the ocean.

Then at times we have the lava that's actually pouring in the ocean at that point, you've got maybe six or seven stories high of giant plumes of steam and all sorts of chemical reactions that are happening at that time that make these giant white clouds. That in itself is very exciting, too. You get to see all this area. Last five years or so, since 2008, let's put it that way, Halema'uma'u has been going off which is a really large volcano pit that generates a lot of lava, and a lot of excitement because it's really visible. That's happening and also some of the other vents in K?lauea are available to be seen. Each day is a little different. You don't really quite know, but these planes that we have will kind of zigzag and cross this area, and go all over the rift zone and be able to see everything that you would want to see for that period of time, take pictures and so on. It's kind of a sight that you're probably not going to see again. It's not very often that people get to see a Live Volcano. That's our second flight.

We've got the Father Damien flights by air tours. We've got the volcano flights from Maui that do the air tours, and then let's put this little third segment in here, which is the paragliding. This is totally un-similar to the other forms of aircraft, obviously. These flights are done off Haleakal?, usually maybe about the 3,000-foot level or 4,000-foot level. You're taken in a van up to that point, and then you don't do this alone. You're going with somebody, but it'd be just the pilot, essentially, and you. You're both in the same harnessing situation. You kind of do this running start and then you lift, and then you're off. You're soaring like a bird. It is one of the most amazing tours that I have ever done, certainly something that once you do you'll never forget.

You are really like a bird. I guess that's the way to say it. It's so quiet up there. There's no sound of motors. There's just kind of a gentle feel of the touch of the air on your face, and then the spectacular views. Your heart will beat a couple times extra when you first start, too. That's for sure. But then you get a little bit used to it and it is quite exciting, and quite beautiful.

There's a couple different tours that are offered. You can go up for different periods of time, but maybe 20 minutes, and then you go down the mountain. They can adjust where they're going. They can go circles, and they can keep you up quite long, should they decide to. Typically, it might be 20 minutes. It might half an hour. Then you come down to a beautiful meadowland that we have down below that you will just gently land on. Your landing is just kind of like that, and you're just right there. That is obviously not a flight for everyone, but it is definitely a flight for some people. The people that really want to do this, you can't keep them away from it. It is one of the neatest things you could possible imagine. Anyway, those are the air tours that we offer from Maui.

If you have any questions about tours or activities in Hawaii, just give us a call, or check out tombarefoot.com. We're here to help.

Hawaii air tours are fundamentally divided into two categories: Hawaii airplane tours, and helicopter tours. Because these two categories of aircraft are inexorably lumped together it is important to draw a comparison between the two because people always want a contrast to determine which might provide a better Hawaii air flight for them.

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When we refer to Air Tours here we are referring to 'fixed-wing sightseeing airplane tours' rather than helicopters tours which we also offer on this list below.

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This Air Tours category is not helicopters (that is listed below) but is fixed-wing sightseeing airplanes and glider rides.

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We describe 'air tours' here as sightseeing tours offered on a fixed wing aircraft. These can be less expensive than helicopter tours and still get you above the island to see the sights.

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