News has surfaced of Uber's newest venture courtesy of today's New York Times - Uber Copter.
'Uber Copter offers the first real demonstration of the Elevate experience, ' said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate. A one-way trip will take eight minutes; that same trip by auto would be about an hour without rush-hour traffic.
Here's how it works: Customers can book an Uber Copter trip right on the spot or up to five days in advance of their desired flight time. Once seats are reserved, passengers will receive an email from Uber with a boarding pass. The flights, which take off from near the Staten Island Ferry and land at a helipad near Terminal 8, will run Monday through Friday during afternoon rush hour. Blade CEO Rob Weisenthal revealed to Sean Captain of Fast Company that his company is profitable in its "core market" of the New York City area.
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Travelers in a hurry will get driven to the Staten Island Ferry terminal and arrive at a helipad near Terminal 8 at JFK, where another auto will drive them on the tarmac to their departing terminal. Passengers will only be able to carry on personal bag and one carry-on, limited to no more than 40 pounds, due to weight constraints of the helicopters.
Uber partnered with Heliflite, a helicopter charter company whose fleet utilizes a dual engine and dual pilot system.
"The ride-hail giant will not only contend with several other helicopter companies in Manhattan offering a similar type of service, but also with groups protesting against the use of commercial flights over the Big Apple", Uber's head of aviation, Nikhil Goel, said in a blog post.
Uber Copter won't be the company's first foray into commercial aerial operations. Flights cost $195 per person one way, and include private vehicle transfer between the helicopter and the terminal.