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Uber’s new helicopter service lets riders smile wryly at the gridlock below


Uber’s ridesharing service started with cars. Later it added electric bikes and scooters. And now comes a helicopter.

Yes, Uber is adding a helicopter service to its fleet of vehicles, though admittedly its routing options and availability won’t quite be on par with its current offerings.

Uber Copter — yes, that’s its official name — will fly the eight-minute route between New York City’s Lower Manhattan and JFK Airport, with Uber cars at each end completing the trip, the NY Times reported. Uber claims the entire journey, door to door, will take around 30 minutes, saving you up to an hour if you were to drive the whole way, depending on traffic conditions.

The service takes flight on July 9 and costs between $200 and $225 per person, roughly three times what a regular Uber ride or similar taxi service would cost. But if you factor in the reduced travel time and the fun of seeing New York City (and all of those traffic jams) from up high, it starts to sound like a price worth paying.

An Uber Copter trip can be booked on demand via the app, or up to five days in advance, with trips initially offered on weekdays during the afternoon rush hour. Passengers can take with them one carry-on item and a larger bag weighing up to 40 pounds (18 kg).

Take note, though, Uber Copter is only available to Platinum and Diamond members of Uber’s rewards program; in other words, it’s aimed at folks who already spend much of their lives inside an Uber car or ordering from Uber Eats. Or both.

While Uber has dabbled in helicopter rides before, this latest effort looks like a far more serious attempt at a permanent service, though still a far cry from its slick flying-taxi idea that it believes has the potential to revolutionize urban air transportation.

Commenting on the imminent launch of the Uber Copter service, Eric Allison, the person leading the company’s aviation interests, told the NY Times: “This is a trip that so many travelers make … and we see an opportunity to save them a huge amount of time on it.”

Allison said the plan is to eventually take Uber Copter “to more Uber customers and to other cities,” adding, “But we want to do it right.”

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