Uber Copter is now live in NYC and I kind of want to try it
Get to the choppah.
Uber Copter is now live and it’s now offering Uber users a different mode of transportation: a helicopter. Yes, a fucking helicopter. While that may sound silly, it makes a lot of sense in a city like New York City. If you ever had the privilege of driving in it or taking any other mode of transportation, then you know how much of a shit show it is trying to get to one side of the city to another.
Well, this is where Uber Copter comes in. Instead of taking an expensive cab or Uber ride, or worse, a train – you take to the skies in a helicopter. The service recently rolled out earlier this summer, but it was only available to Platinum and Diamond reward members. Now it’s open to everyone with an Uber account.
Recently, Tim Stevens of CNET’s Roadshow got a chance to try it out. Here’s what it was like:
Booking an Uber Copter is about the same process as ordering an Uber X. “I entered my chosen time of departure and, in addition to the usual UberX and Uber Black offerings, the app also gave me a new listing for Uber Copter,” Stevens writes.
In this case, the trip cost Stevens $199.82, which honestly isn’t all that bad for a helicopter ride. But the cool thing here is that Uber Copter also books you an Uber X to get to the departing heliport, as well as another at the final destination.
For the price of $199.82, the app not only reserved me a helicopter ride from the heliport on the southern tip of Manhattan, but also lined up an UberX car on one side to get me to the heliport as well as a second car to get me from the JFK heliport to the hotel. This was all done completely seamlessly.
So, cool, booking is easy and convenient and pricing seems to be just about fair. But how’s the actual flying experience?
You’re flying in a helicopter so it’s obviously going to be fast. How fast? Well, it took just eight minutes for Stevens to get from downtown Manhattan to JFK. That’s right, eight minutes. That’s insanely fast.
After a quick check-in at the terminal and a short safety briefing, I was escorted (along with four other passengers) out to the helicopter and, after a second short safety overview, away we went. Less than eight minutes later we touched down at JFK.
One thing that Stevens stresses about his experience with Uber Copter is baggage. Since you’re flying in a tin can above the streets of NYC, you obviously can’t take heavy luggage. Stevens notes, “passengers are limited to a personal item (purse or small laptop bag) plus a single piece of baggage that must meet TSA regulations for carry-on size.”
As for the overall experience? Stevens says it’s absolutely worth the premium if you’re trying to get to JFK in a hurry. And judging from this post, I kind of have to agree with him. $200 sounds expensive, but in the many times I’ve been in NYC, I’ve seen surge pricing get as high as $100 for a trip across the city. So being able to fly in a helicopter for an extra $100 seems like a no-brainer for me.
Uber Copter is now live in NYC. Trips will run between lower Manhattan and JFK airport Monday through Friday during afternoon rush hours. Uber Copter is accessible through Uber’s iOS app. Android soon to come.
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