Anyone headed to JFK or Newark airports soon has a chance to travel like a boss. A new service that bills itself as the “Uber of helicopters” is offering rides from Manhattan for as low as $99. Depending on the service used, pickup location and traffic, a taxi or car can cost in the range of $35-$60.
Tim Hayes is a music, concert and TV producer who co-founded Manhattan’s CBGB festival. As CEO of Gotham Air he wanted to create a helicopter service that catered to more than just the super-rich. According to the New York Post:
“I had been a helicopter passenger for many years, but this is my first helicopter venture,” said Hayes..
The idea took flight after Hayes chartered a helicopter to get his pal, Duff McKagan of Guns ‘N Roses fame, to the airport on time. He was stunned to get a $2,000 bill for a six-minute ride.
“I felt that there should be a better way,” Hayes said. “Chopper rides shouldn’t be reserved for the super-elite. That was sort of the ‘aha’ moment.”
While $99 is the starting rate, Hayes says, “After the introductory flight, prices will range from $199 to $219, depending on the time of day and the airport.” Gotham Air uses 10 Bell 407 choppers that it describes as the “sports car of helicopters.” They can fly up to 160 MPH and they offer “in-flight” food from chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery among other perks.
Since the low rate is just an introductory offer, it may not last forever. If you’re interested in getting to the airport like Obama or just avoid the always traffic snarled Van Wyck Expressway, then order up your flight soon.