Earlier this year, Uber began offering Manhattan helicopter tours to John F. Kennedy International Airport to select passengers. These tours, starting at $ 200 per person, are now available to anyone with an Uber account.
However, don't expect Uber to send a helicopter to pick you up at home. The service includes an Uber ride to helipad in lower Manhattan, then an eight-minute helicopter ride, followed by an Uber ride to the terminal. Uber Copter is only available Monday through Friday during the afternoon rush. Depending on demand, prices may rise to as much as $ 225 per person.
Uber sees the helicopter service as an opportunity to gather data for its plans to launch a full-fledged taxi operation in 2023 using light electric aircraft. These planes are not in commercial service yet, so Uber is using helicopters in the meantime. Uber Copter is run by a company called HeliFlite, a company that also offers flights between Manhattan and the Hamptons.
"This is our first step toward what will be a future Uber Air network," said Eric Allison, Uber Elevate's manager, in a statement.
Uber bills the helicopter trips as a time saver, but a Reuters reporter who tested the service said it took 70 minutes in total, including a subway ride and two Uber trips ̵
Updated October 3, at 16.30 ET: Submitted Uber's objection to the time recorded in the Reuters report.