American Airlines Just Partnered With a Curbside Helicopter Service at LAX and JFK

Getting to your terminal on time at JFK means fighting for every inch — or having a cabbie who will — all the way through Brooklyn Queens … and then repeating the process through security, this time on foot.

It’s an exhausting start to a trip, and unless you book a flight for the crack of dawn or arrive three hours before your boarding time (Ha!), you can expect a mad dash to the gate. And it’s the same story (if not worse) at LAX.

Thankfully, that pain hasn’t gone completely unnoticed. American Airlines and helicopter-rental service Blade just announced a joint partnership whereby AA fliers can charter a private helicopter to JFK and LAX, take advantage of priority check-in and settle into a lounge before the real flight takes off. 

Blade, for those who need a refresher, is pretty much Uber for the skies. In addition to its famous Manhattan-to-Hamptons trips, which run upwards of $600 a seat, the company runs shuttles to and from Miami, Vermont, Nantucket, Vegas and music festivals. Hitching up with American is a smart pivot for Blade; instead of just being associated with rich kids of Instagram, this move establishes legitimate function for business-minded frequent flyers. In a press release, Blade’s founder Rob Wiesenthal says Blade flights to JFK and LAX will take “five to seven minutes,” and both NYC and LA already host multiple, easily accessible Blade hubs.

Of course, this is still going to cost you. Here are the numbers:

  • $695: The base price of chartering a helicopter. If you’re using this service by yourself, that number’s a hard lock. 
  • $278: What you can get that previous number down to, if you fill up your chopper. Blade allows five additional passengers at $195 a clip. Add each to the original $695, then divide by six, and you’ve got $278. Not terrible. (Note: L.A.’s a bit pricier, with that per-head cost closer to $335.)
  • $350: The cost of American Airlines’ Five Star escort service, which all participating passengers must sign up for. What does it get you? Priority check-in, expedited TSA screening and access to a private lounge with all the fixings (think LAX’s Private Suite). 

Yep, those numbers are going to add up fast. But if you have the money and are already spending a small fortune on your first-class seat, what’s the point of sitting in traffic? For more information on the new service, head here

Main image via Blade