Imagine finishing up at a bar, stumbling out into the street with your friends, and pulling out your phone to get a ride, only to have a helicopter swoop down minutes later and fly you and your inebriated crew home before dropping you off, SWAT-style, on the roof of your apartment buildings. Gotham Air wants to make that a reality — at least sort of. While the ride-sharing (fly-sharing?) service won’t pick you up on demand outside a bar, they do want to make access to helicopters as easy as scheduling a black car to take you to the airport.
It works a little bit differently than you might be used to with the standard ride-sharing services. Upon opening the website, instead of seeing a map of currently available drivers, you’ll be greeted with a list of scheduled flights with the number of available seats. If one of the trips meets your needs, simply sign up for one of the seats and pay your reservation fee. If you need to go downtown at a different time, set a new flight time through the site, or call them to schedule a trip that works. With 24 hours before the scheduled departure, the app will inform you whether you reached the minimum four seats needed to lift off.
What are the advantages of traveling by helicopter, you ask? Well, besides the fact that it’s how certified badasses get to the airport, it’s also impressively fast. When we ran the trip through Google Maps, we found that the drive from Gotham Air’s main heliport in Manhattan to JFK Internal Airport was only about 15 miles, but had an estimated trip time of an hour and a half, with two partial toll roads.
Take a chopper, and Gotham Air estimates the same trip takes only six minutes. That’s a pretty shocking difference, especially when you consider how baller you are if you catch a helicopter so you can catch your flight. An elevated coolness level and a shorter commute aren’t the only reasons to take Gotham Air. It’s also about about as the same price as reserving a black car, which is pretty reasonable considering you get to take a freakin’ helicopter instead. You get basic amenities like heat and A/C, plus luxury features like reduced-noise rotors, and champagne if you think you have time for a glass.
Of course, it’s pretty easy for heavy rain, low fog, or high winds to ground your aircraft, but Gotham Air has that covered too. If your flight is canceled due to weather, you’ll receive a full refund on the trip, and they’ll set you up with a black car driver, armed with one of the cars from their fleet of Tesla Model S electric vehicles. Fly or ride, Gotham Air has is definitely the coolest ride-sharing app around.