The most difficult part of many flights is arriving jetlagged and groggy just to go sit in traffic for hours before finally making it to your destination. Big metropolises such as New York City can be the worst, especially if you’re flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)—a 45-minute drive from Manhattan with no traffic (and let’s be honest, when is there no traffic?). To help weary travelers and time-constrained business people make that trip more manageable, Uber is introducing helicopter taxis that will ferry passengers to and from JFK in a fraction of the time it would take to drive.
A Helicopter Taxi?
Yes. An Uber that is actually a helicopter. Helicopters have long been used in big cities to get those willing to pay from place to place, but this is a first for easy-to-use, relatively affordable air transport for the masses. The Uber Copter service has actually been available to Uber Platinum and Diamond members since July, but the feature is being released for all Uber users next week.
According to New York Post, the scheme will only be available for trips to the southern tip of Lower Manhattan (think: Wall Street). This is to prevent the journey from being too long as passengers will still have to use ground transportation from the helipad to their final destination, and if that destination is outside Manhattan, the trip might not be worth it.
Time: The helicopter ride is roughly eight minutes from JFK to a helipad in Lower Manhattan.
Cost: The trip costs between $200 and $250 per person for door-to-door service, including rides to and from the helipad.
Company: Uber has partnered with local firm HeliFlite Shares who provide the helicopters and two pilots per flight.
Logistics: Passengers are allowed one small suitcase each and must watch a short safety video (similar to those showed on airplanes) before take-off. The helipad is located near Terminal 8 at JFK and transportation to it from the terminal is provided.
What’s to Come?
JFK is just the first test subject in what the company hopes will be the beginning of a new kind of travel. Los Angeles, Melbourne and Dallas have all been pegged as hopeful next locations for Uber Copter. If all goes well for the company, Uber Air could very well be in common use in the years to come as more passengers opt for helicopter rides within cities. Welcome to the future of air travel.