Uber Copter Begins $200 Helicopter Shuttles in NYC, Other Cities to Follow

Time to fly

Time to fly. Image uber

Not all Uber users will be able to take advantage of Uber Copter, however - the aerial rides will only be available to Platinum and Diamond members of the Uber Rewards loyalty program. No, of course not - but the cost of an Uber ride for that same span is roughly $70 to $90 according to a third-party fare estimator, and the price can go even higher depending on demand, so it's actually not that much of a stretch.

In any case, dissimilar to Uber's auto service, it has a predetermined route that keeps running between a location close to the Staten Island Ferry in Manhattan and Kennedy Airport with a flight time of around eight minutes.

The Uber Copter ride would try and cut that down to about a half-hour with only eight minutes of airtime, while the rest is by ground transportation. "We've built Uber Copter to provide us with insight and real-world experience as we continue to lay the foundation for Uber Air", Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, said in an emailed statement. The helicopters can accommodate up to five passengers and can be booked on demand or days in advance. Passengers will get a confirmation email that doubles as a boarding pass after the seats are reserved.

Travelers in a hurry will get driven to the Staten Island Ferry terminal and arrive at a helipad near Terminal 8 at JFK, where another vehicle will drive them on the tarmac to their departing terminal.

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"The ride-hail giant will not only contend with several other helicopter companies in Manhattan offering a similar type of service, but also with groups protesting against the use of commercial flights over the Big Apple", Uber's head of aviation, Nikhil Goel, said in a blog post. Each helicopter will be capable of carrying five passengers and their belongings.

The helicopters will be operated by HeliFlite, a Newark, New Jersey-based company with a fleet of twin-engine helicopters.

Uber Copter won't be the company's first foray into commercial aerial operations.

However this isn't an option for travelers with large suitcases: Each rider will be limited to one personal bag and one carry-on, weighing no more than 40 pounds.

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