Allowing Dogs on Doorless NYC Helicopter Tours Is a Truly Terrible Idea


dog rides in FlyNYON helicopter

Last year, five passengers taking a FlyNYON tour over New York City were killed when the helicopter they were riding in crashed into the East River.

FlyNYON, which is facing lawsuits and federal investigations over that accident, is still in business. It offers “doors-off” flights so that passengers can dangle their feet and legs 1,000 feet above the ground for super awesome, super Instagrammable photo opportunities.

Now FlyNYON is apparently trying to drum up more business by allowing dogs on its sightseeing helicopter flights.

This is a terrible idea for at least a couple of reasons. One is that the helicopter doesn’t have doors, so it seems like it could be possible for an extremely stressed-out dog to squirm out of their harness and owner’s lap, and jump out. Why would that dog be so stressed out? Because of the loud noise and the fact that the dog is 1,000 up in the air in a doorless helicopter. Frankly, I’d be terrified, too.

FlyNYON is “flying dogs high above New York, offering thrill-seekers the chance to dangle their feet — and now their pet — above city buildings, bridges, waters and more,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said at a news conference today, NBC New York reports.

Schumer, Sen. Bob Menendez, the Humane Society of the United States and PETA are all urging FlyNYON to stop these dangerous flights. Schumer also called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to look into a “loophole allowing doors-off [flights] to remain operational in the first place.”

It’s extremely disappointing that FlyNYON has what it calls a “special partnership” with the nonprofit Pilots N Paws. Volunteer pilots with this organization provide transportation for animals so they can be rescued and adopted. How on earth could they be on board with the awful idea of allowing pet dogs on doors-off helicopter flights? There are much safer and more humane ways to raise funds.

A FlyNYON spokesperson insisted in a statement that the company is “fully compliant with all FAA operating and safety standards.”

But, as Schumer said, to allow dogs on its flights “is a sheer jaw-drop.” He said the same company involved in last year’s fatal crash is now “strapping in dogs for people to snap pictures of while the animals all but dangle high above New York skies, experiencing the sound of the rotors and who knows what other cruel things.”

The dog-friendly flights are “cruel and inhumane,” according to Brian Shapiro, New York state director for the Humane Society of the United States.

The FlyNYON spokesperson invited Senators Schumer and Menendez  to come to the company’s New Jersey office “and discuss this very important matter.” Hopefully the senators will do just that and convince flyNYON why it’s very important not to allow dogs on their helicopter tours.

Photo: FlyNYON/YouTube screen grab

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!