Getting to the airport from home isn’t a big deal for many people. Getting to big airports in big cities, however, is often a challenge-filled obstacle course. Problems with traffic, public transit, and shuttles can add plenty of stress before the indignities of the TSA lines begin. Off with your shoes!
- Uber Copter is offering rides from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy Airport.
- The 8 minute ride will set you back between $200 and $250 one-way.
- As of writing this, the service is only available Monday thru Friday and in the afternoon.
Traversing the 15 miles between Manhattan and John F. Kennedy airport in Queens is one of the most difficult of all. A decade ago, your choices were to test familial or friendship bonds by asking someone for a ride, hop into a taxi, or request a black car and hope that they’d pick you up when and where they said they would. Then you’d pray for limited congestion on the Long Island Expressway.
Of course, you could also ride the subway. May the force be with you.
Fast-forward to today, and using your smartphone you can request a Lyft or an Uber and check to see if the Queensboro Bridge or the Queens Midtown Tunnel offers more favorable traffic conditions. You’ll still be stuck, of course, so no matter what you’ll want to give yourself about two hours to get to the terminal.
Unless, of course, you go by helicopter.
Uber Copter Saves Time, Not Money
On July 9th, 2019, the dominant ride-hailing service launched Uber Copter. Service is reserved for Platinum or Diamond Uber Rewards members and is offered only through Apple iOS (sorry Android fans). Also, for now, it is limited to areas of Lower Manhattan south of Houston, along with some locations along the West Side Highway.
To use Uber Copter, simply put in a request through the Uber app. The service is available from Monday to Friday during the afternoon. An Uber car will come to pick you up and take you to a heliport. There, an Uber-branded helicopter, in partnership with HeliFlite, will whisk you (and up to 4 others – remember, this is a ride-share service) to JFK in about 8 minutes.
Uber says that a Copter ride will cost between $200 and $250, which is a lot of money. Taking the subway and the AirTrain runs $7.75 and takes about an hour. A taxi costs around $60 plus tolls and a tip. An UberX from the World Trade Center to JFK runs close to $120, plus tip.
Still, time is money to the movers and shakers who can afford Uber Copter. Paying double compared to an UberX and getting to JFK in a fraction of the time is clearly worthwhile. And Uber Copter works going in the reverse direction, too.
Clearly, Uber Copter is aimed at business travelers. In fact, you can’t take more luggage than a single carry-on bag and a handbag or laptop case. But for heavy-hitting suits dreading the trip to JFK, stepping coolly out of a helicopter mere minutes after wrapping up another multi-million dollar deal to grab a flight to Brussels or Beijing is priceless.
Especially while escaping the insanity of cross-town travel and the LIE.