As of today, New Yorkers who want to get to JFK Airport as quickly as possible can do so via a private helicopter ride. In an email sent out to customers today, Uber Technologies announced the full launch of Uber Copter, a helicopter that you can book via the app that will take you from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport to JFK for $200-$225. The program opened on July 9th, but now any Uber member can book a chopper on weekday afternoons between 1pm and 6pm. Though you’ll need to get to/from the heliport in lower Manhattan and your terminal, the flight itself is only eight minutes.
The cost of the trip includes ground transportation on both ends. According to the company, “A single tap of a button can get you access to a ride with Uber from your pickup location to the heliport, a helicopter flight, and a ride from the heliport to your destination.” Riders going to the airport can book a chopper up to five days in advance. Returning riders are able to request an Uber Copter when their flight lands. The option will only appear in your app if you’re at JFK or if you’re within a designated zone that includes all of Manhattan south of Houston Street and certain areas with access to the West Side Highway.
Uber hopes to start offering the service in other cities, as well. They also are working on their Elevate program, a network of flying taxis that they hope will bring aerial ridesharing to Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne (their first international market) by 2023. The small, electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircrafts would shuttle people between suburbs and cities, as well as within cities.
After a deadly helicopter crash in Midtown Manhattan in June, local lawmakers including Mayor de Blasio and State Senator Chuck Schumer called for stricter regulations on helicopter rides, with the Mayor even proposing that all rides over Manhattan be banned aside from those taken by emergency and first responders, uniform services, and news camera crews. To date, no official action has been taken.