Sundance Helicopters in Las Vegas – An Example of Good Service

by JDH on March 20, 2010

I have written comments on my trip to Las Vegas in March, 2010, including my report that Southwest Airlines sucks, and the airline security is silly. However, lest you think everything I say is negative, I do have one positive experience to report: our helicopter flight from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and back on Sundance Helicopters.

My wife (the smart one in the family), did extensive research before selecting Sundance for our tour. We were staying in Las Vegas, and didn’t want to make the four hour drive to the Grand Canyon, and a long drive back. A helicopter tour seemed like the perfect way to go. The main trick is to book your tour directly with the helicopter company, not with one of those companies that pre-packages tours and re-sells them. Deal direct.

The only negative aspect of a helicopter tour is the price. You can drive to the Grand Canyon for the cost of a tank of gas (plus whatever you end up paying for parking and whatever when you arrive). A helicopter tour will set you back $500 per person, or more depending on the package.

Our tour left at 8:00 am for about a 45 minute flight; we landed on the floor of the Canyon, had a nice breakfast snack (croissant, muffin, apple slices, a granola bar, and juice, water and champagne). After half an hour on the floor, we flew back.

Here’s what impressed me: the Sundance Helicopter company is professional. Booking reservations was easy. They called us the day before to confirm the flight. There were no glitches or surprises at check-in. They have a system, and it works. Efficient. No surprises.

Note the contrasts to my experience flying Southwest Airlines. At Sundance, for a 90 minute flight, you get a champagne breakfast. At Southwest, for a five hour flight, you get a bag of crackers. And yes, I realize that I paid as much for my 90 minute helicopter flight as I paid for a trip from Buffalo to Las Vegas and back, so I shouldn’t be complaining.

My point is not the price; my point is the service, and my expectations for the service.

I expected to be treated professionally by Sundance, and I was. I got exactly what I expected. They promised my family and I a seat on a helicopter, and that’s what I got.

I expected to be treated professionally by Southwest, and I wasn’t. I paid for a seat, but I didn’t get a seat; I got the right to line up for a chance at a seat.

Too bad Sundance doesn’t operate an airline.