Uber lifts off with new helicopter option
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Ride-hailing giant Uber will begin offering helicopter rides in New York City in hopes of cutting the commuting time to the airport.

Beginning on July 9, Uber users in Manhattan will be able to call a helicopter to take them between the city and John F. Kennedy International Airport in an eight-minute flight, according to a report in The New York Times.

Flights will cost approximately $200 per person one way, although costs may be higher or lower depending on demand. The option will only be available to “Platinum” and “Diamond” users, the top two categories of the app’s loyalty program Uber rewards.

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The service will include picking up passengers in a car and taking them to the helicopter, as well as taking them from the helicopter to their terminal at the airport. The flights will depart from a heliport near the Staten Island Ferry and arrive at Kennedy’s terminal 8.

“This is a trip that so many travelers make a day, and we see an opportunity to save them a huge amount of time on it,” Eric Allison said, the head of Uber Elevate, the Times reported.

The current trip from Manhattan to Kennedy takes at least an hour via car, according to paper, and it can be nearly double that in traffic. Train options to and from the airport take between 50 and 75 minutes.

But Uber promises their helicopter option will take just 30 minutes in total, including the ground transportation to and from the helicopter.

“Our plan is to eventually roll out Uber Copter to more Uber customers and to other cities, but we want to do it right,” Allison told The New York Times. “The main goal of this initial venture is to understand the operations behind aerial vehicles.”

Rides will be available on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.