News & Opinion | June 6, 2019 11:40 am

Uber Is Launching a Helicopter Service in July

Your next Uber ride could be in a chopper

Uber will start providing helicopter flights from Manhattan in July
Uber will start providing helicopter flights from Manhattan in July
Isaac Benhese/Unsplash

We’re still waiting on the futuristic flying vehicles Uber Elevate promised three years ago, but the company’s aerial ambitions are finally getting off the ground with Uber’s new helicopter service.

Uber Copter will allow passengers to book fights through the Uber app starting in July, The New York Times reported. For now, the service will only be available in New York City, where test flights have begun taking off from a heliport near Wall Street.

The service seeks to provide quick transport from Manhattan to nearby airports. While the drive from lower Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport can take at least an hour (and more than twice that in rush hour traffic), Uber’s helicopter ride will last a mere eight minutes.

“This is a trip that so many travelers make a day, and we see an opportunity to save them a huge amount of time on it,” Uber Elevate head Eric Allison told the Times.

The helicopter business isn’t exactly an untapped market. A new startup called Blade Urban Air Mobility already offers helicopter transport from Manhattan to nearby airports, which customers can also book through the Blade app.

“There may be no greater validation of Blade’s strategy than Uber entering the urban air mobility market in New York City,” said Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal.

The average Uber Copter ride will reportedly cost between $200 to $225 per person, and will only be available to Platinum and Diamond members, the top two tiers of Uber’s loyalty rewards program.

Allison also told the Times that Uber plans to expand the helicopter service to other cities in the future.

“Our plan is to eventually roll out Uber Copter to more Uber customers and to other cities, but we want to do it right,” he said.

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