Uber has opened its New York City helicopter service to all of its customers, so now anyone with the ridesharing app — and $200 to spare — can take a flight between JFK Airport and a Manhattan helipad in just a few taps.
Uber Copter launched for its top-tier customers in July 2019, but the company now wants to gauge its popularity among all Uber customers in New York City as it considers further expansion of its various transportation options.
Of course, a helicopter service is a little more niche than cars, bikes, and scooters, but the ridesharing company says the New York City service will also offer it a way to gather data for a more comprehensive all-electric Uber Air service that it plans to launch at a later date when technology and regulation allow.
The current service flies between New York City’s Lower Manhattan and JFK Airport in just eight minutes, with Uber cars at each end completing the trip. The entire journey, door to door, should take around 30 minutes, which can save passengers up to an hour if they were driving the whole way — depending on traffic congestion.
The flight costs around $200, around three times what a regular Uber ride or similar taxi service would cost. That’s pricey, but you’re paying for big time savings, as well as an awesome view of the Big Apple.
At the current time, flights with Uber Copter are only available on weekdays during the afternoon rush hour.
Uber Copter is now available for all riders, enabling people to seamlessly travel from Manhattan to JFK
The pilot is designed to generate learnings for a future all-electric Uber Air ride-sharing network. pic.twitter.com/oUtDSO67Zg
— Uber (@Uber) October 3, 2019
Anyone who opens the Uber app inside Uber Copter’s designated pick-up zone will see the service as an option. The designated zone includes all of Manhattan south of Houston Street and select areas with access to the West Side Highway, the company said in a blog post.
Riders can book an Uber Copter trip on demand via the app, or up to five days in advance. One carry-on item is permitted, together with a larger bag weighing up to 40 pounds (18 kg).
Uber is touting the service as “the first step toward building the future of urban air mobility and transforming urban aviation.” It says that by 2023 it wants to launch a ridesharing service for the skies using fleets of small, electric, vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft to transport people between suburbs and cities, and eventually within cities.
But it’s not the only outfit with this ambition in mind, as a slew of competitors are already racing to build their own electric-powered flying taxis for a similar kind of service.
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