Weaving through Manhattan's busy traffic can be a pain — especially for travelers rushing to catch a flight. But now, passengers starved for time have another option: Uber's helicopter taxi service.
The Uber Copter, which was rolled out to all users on October 7, zips passengers from lower Manhattan to John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport with an eight-minute chopper ride.
Each trip comes with a $200-$225 price tag, depending on demand. Rides on the five-seater helicopter are available on weekday afternoons from 2-6 p.m.
A full Uber Copter journey comprises two trips of ground transportation and a helicopter ride.
Here's what a typical trip looks like:
- Book your Uber Copter trip with the Uber app — you'll see Copter as an option if your journey starts within the designated zone. This can be done up to five days in advance, or just 30 minutes before your flight.
- An Uber car will pick you up from your location and bring you to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport.
- At the heliport, you'll check in and watch a 90-second safety video before boarding. "This process is intended to take as little time as possible as Uber Copter is meant to provide time savings for people to get between Lower Manhattan and JFK, and vice versa," an Uber spokesperson told CNBC in an email.
- Embark on your eight-minute chopper ride to JFK airport, where you'll land at a helipad near Terminal 8.
- There, an Uber car will take you to your departure terminal.
Passengers can bring along one carry-on suitcase weighing 40 pounds (18 kilograms) tops, and one personal item.
The ride hailing giant says their Uber Copter service will help customers save time on their commute.
"Uber Copter can change the way you travel, offering door-to-door airport trips designed so you can spend less time stressed and even less time in traffic," the company wrote on their website.
Though Google Maps estimates that a ride from Lower Manhattan to JFK airport takes only 24 minutes, in reality, rides are usually between 45-60 minutes due to notoriously bad traffic. Traffic congestion is such a big problem that New York will be adopting congestion pricing from 2021 to manage traffic flow in the area.