Ride-hailing service Uber is taking to the air in the metropolis’ Manhattan area where users with cash to spare would soon be able to book helicopter flights to John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport through their apps.
Uber on Thursday announced its Uber Copter offer, saying its flights to and from Lower Manhattan would become available to all app users on October 7.
Uber had made the feature available to its premium members in June.
The roughly eight-minute flight would cost between $200-225 per person and includes ground transportation on either side of the trip.
Passengers can bring along a small suitcase and have to watch a safety video before takeoff, similar to that on an aero-plane.
Uber’s prices are roughly comparable to those of competitors, including Blade, which offers a $195 trip from Manhattan to the JFK Airport.
Those services, however, do not offer ground transportation to the final destination.
The flights in Uber-branded helicopters are operated by HeliFlite Shares, a licensed New Jersey-based charter company.
For now, Uber rides shuttling passengers to the heliport in Manhattan are only available from the southern tip of the island to prevent customers from being stuck in traffic and cut down on travel time.
Uber says the service is intended to reduce travel times but when Reuters tried the Copter on Wednesday, a trip from its Midtown office to the airport took 70 minutes, including a subway ride downtown and two Uber rides to and from the heliport.
That’s about the same time it would have taken by regular taxi in moderate traffic.
The company plans to launch commercial electric airborne services in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Australia’s Melbourne in 2023, with users hailing flights from the top of designated buildings.