The high-priced world of helicopter service is about to go high-tech.
A new company called Blade is launching a service between New York and the Hamptons this week, with plans to expand to other vacation spots of the rich in the future. What sets Blade apart from other chopper services is technology—it uses an app that make flying easier, faster and cheaper.
Rather than calling a reservation center and dealing with charter companies, Blade clients can book their flight with just three taps on their iPhone. If they can't find a convenient flight, they can charter their own chopper and sell seats on it by using Blade's crowdsourcing function.
Think of it as Sidecar for the helicopter set.
"We are in a very app-centric world," said Evan Licht, general manager of Blade. "You order food, look at clothes, you don't have to leave your apartment, let alone let go of something in your hand, to be able to get everything that you want." With the Blade app, "you do these three taps, and you can be on your helicopter within 10 minutes."
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It's not cheap. A one-way trip from Manhattan to the Hamptons will run you around $500. That's comparable or slightly less than other services. But Blade can make it cheaper if you charter your own chopper for around $2,700. If you sell the six other seats, you can cut your own ticket price to less than half that price.