Spending long weekends in Miami or escaping to Europe for a week during the holidays are both wonderful treats for those with a case of wanderlust. Traveling allows you to experience new cultures, taste foreign cuisine, and hopefully snag a few good photos along the way. Being in a new destination is very different than getting to a new destination. Living in New York City means you are either lugging your suitcase on public transportation to get to JFK Airport or, you’re sitting in a car in bumper-to-bumper traffic that makes the highway feel more like a parking lot than anything else.
The newest launch from Uber is prepared to change the how we travel in more ways than one. Uber Copter is Uber’s first multimodal option on the rideshare application that allows users to book an eight-minute helicopter flight from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport to JFK Airport near Terminal 8. The first release from Uber Elevate, this is the start of a much larger network that Uber hopes to build. “We are excited to bring Uber Copter to all Uber riders so they can experience our first iteration of aerial ridesharing” says Eric Allison, Head of Uber Elevate. “We built this multimodal app experience to take riders between ground and air transportation so that five passengers have perfectly timed, fully-integrated journeys.”
When I booked my helicopter ride, I simply chose Uber Copter in my Uber app, scheduled my Uber ride to bring me to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, and booked the helicopter to take me to JFK. Easy. The theory behind Uber Air is that the Uber Copter option can be used the same way Uber Pool operates. Multiple people can book an Uber Copter ride and share a flight, utilizing Uber’s data modeling to ensure riders all arrive at the heliport at a similar time for boarding and take-off.
The aerial view over New York City was pretty beautiful, and the ride itself was exceptionally smooth. I was half-expecting to have to wear those massive headphones but the noise was minimal, and they did not offer me those headphones because it is not required.
Uber Copter is operated by HeliFlite, a helicopter operator known for their high standards for safety and comfort combined. The fleet consists of twin engine and dual pilot aircrafts. Ideally, Uber Elevate’s goal is to expand this partnership in the next three years and build a network of eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircrafts in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne.
So, who wants to book a helicopter ride? With pricing ranging from $200 to $225 per person for the complete one-way trip (Uber car ride to the heliport and helicopter ride), this feels like a silly question. In my opinion, Uber Copter is pretty ideal for avid travelers who enjoy living in the lap of luxury because getting to and from the airport can be pretty brutal in New York City. While there are other forms of transportation to utilize, this feels like a far less stressful option and for the price, pretty worth it for the views if nothing else.
Uber Copter is currently available Monday through Friday during the afternoon rush hours and may be booked on-demand and up to five days in advance.