The Complete Uber Helicopter Guide: How it Works & Pricing

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Many people would love to walk outside and hop into a helicopter to get from point A to point B. But, with the average helicopter or airbus ride that isn't in a touristy location, you could be looking at a $1,100 price tag. The idea of using a helicopter to get around is very alluring.

Up until now, using a helicopter as your main mode of transportation has been financially out of reach for the average person. However, all that is changing with Uber's new helicopter service. If you've used Uber before, you may be familiar with how the app looks and you might not recall seeing an option to call a copter to your location and there's a reason why.

In this Uber Helicopter Guide, we're going to break down everything you need to know about Uber's helicopter option so that you can navigate your way to a new form of transportation with ease. We know that you want to know exactly how Uber copter works, and we will explain that step by step.

If you're wondering how you can get picked up and dropped off as easily as if you were to catch a cab, keep reading because your next Uber ride could be an adventure.

What Is Uber Copter and How Does It Work?

Uber is not only one of the most popular car services around the world. In 2019 the team of Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate (ex Uber's subsidiary acquired by Joby Aviation) launched a helicopter flight product.

Basically, Uber copter is a new service launched by the popular ride-sharing app, Uber. So, you could refer to it as the Uber helicopter app.

Users can now request to be picked up and dropped off at John F Kennedy airport by helicopter in less than 15 minutes instead of a traditional Uber car or another form of transportation. It's another form of taxi, but by air which is where its popularity has stemmed from.

The service is available Monday through Friday during the afternoon rush only and can be scheduled up to five days in advance.

To use this service, open the Uber app on your phone and navigate to the "helicopter" option. From there, you will be able to enter your starting and ending location for your helicopter ride. Here's the thing though, you will only see the option if you're in a certain place.

Meaning if you're too far out of downtown Manhattan, the option will not populate. You will also be restricted to two locations. You have to be located in lower Manhattan and be going to JFK, or the other way around.

The process is quite simple. Once you plug in your location, an UberX car will come to you for pickup at the pickup location you entered. The UberX will transport you to the helipad where you will wait to board and then take off.

You will arrive at JFK and be taken to your terminal by another short Uber ride. Let's take a look at where the service is offered so that you get a better idea of what we mean about area restrictions.

Where Is Uber Copter Offered?

Uber copter is currently only available in New York. The route for these copters is often going to be from JFK to Lower Manhattan or vice versa. While it's likely that the service will expand, you unfortunately will only have the option to use it if you're not in certain areas of Manhattan.

This is why you may have never seen the option populate within the app. You have to be located below 110th street to see the service when you open your Uber app. While Uber copter is only available in that area, this is more of a reason to try it out on your next trip to New York.

Better yet, why not plan a trip to the Big Apple to give it a shot? This service is a popular option to use if you need to get to JFK from lower Manhattan and it's safe to say that's because you can fly right over any traffic that might cause you to miss your flight.

Uber helicopter locations also include the French Riviera. Take a look at our guide to using Uber in France.

How Much Does Uber Helicopter Cost?

So, how much does a helicopter cost? You might be thinking that catching a helicopter like you'd catch a regular Uber or an Uber XL would be too expensive to fathom.

However, it's pretty affordable when you compare the cost and the pros with the alternatives. Think about it like this, if you want to rent a helicopter, you could be paying $1,100 or more as we mentioned earlier.

Now, give this a thought, rideshare services in New York City, with Uber being one of them, has had their fares go up by at least 50% post-COVID-19. That's because of the high demand for these services. In fact, according to Curbed, at one point, a ride from Manhattan to JFK was $248.90.

So, if you round that up, it's $250 not including a tip if you decide to leave one only to sit in a traditional Uber while you wait in traffic and risk missing your flight. Would you believe that calling for an Uber copter is $50 less than that price? An Uber copter will range from $200 to $225 per person and one copter can hold up to six passengers.

Even on a day with lighter traffic, you could expect to pay as low as $35 to catch an Uber from Manhattan to JFK and that's not including the tip. You could also pay as high as $163 for levels of traffic that aren't as bad. Even if you decide to try out another rideshare like Lyft, their costs in a high traffic area are sometimes a bit more in some cases.

👀 Related Guide Lyft Prices

Consider Your Savings in Time

Uber Copter can make your travel more convenient by offering door-to-door airport trips that save you time and stress.

The thing with this is not only the cheaper price tag. You can also expect a significant difference in the time you spend waiting to get to your destination. The flight itself only takes 8 minutes.

Your wait for the copter in the comfortable lounge could take less than 5 minutes. If you add your wait and transport time together you're still only waiting 13 minutes or less until you reach JFK airport, or lower Manhattan, depending on if you're going one direction or another.

In case you didn't consider the time it would take you to get from lower Manhattan to JFK airport by sitting in a traditional Uber or Uber XL, even if your driver decides to take Grand Central Parkway, on a busy day you'll be stuck in traffic for at least 47 minutes, assuming all goes well. Considering alternative routes like hopping onto I-495 E or I-678, you'd still be sitting in your Uber for up to 58 minutes.

Keep in mind that this will depend on anything you come in contact with while on the road so there's still a chance you'll have to wait even longer. If you have a car in the city and decide to drive yourself to JFK, the airport is still 20 miles from downtown so you'd be waiting that same amount of time but if you go this route you'll have to find and pay for parking which can add up over time.

On a good day, your shortest route would still take 30 minutes. Now that we've talked about the alternatives, that 8-minute trip on an Uber copter may sound even better. While many people assume that a helicopter ride will break the bank, more traditional methods of transportation are sometimes more expensive.

The Benefits of This Service

Overall, the top benefit of Uber Helicopter NYC is that you can bypass heavy Manhattan traffic for a price between $200 and $225. That's a small price to pay considering the price of renting a helicopter in general. Not to mention, you're also paying for the experience.

So, the top benefits would be:

  • Flying right over heavy traffic
  • Making your flight either early or right on time
  • The experience itself
  • The cost is relatively cheap compared to other flight options
  • Seamless booking experience
  • Short wait times

While Uber copter is an innovative method of transportation, you should know that you won't always be catching a copter alone. There will be times that you will have to catch a ride with other passengers. There's a good reason for that though.

Uber intentionally has different passengers ride together because this is how they can keep the pricing so low. While you wait for your ride, you'll be greeted by an Uber agent at the helipad and you'll have a short time to wait in a comfortable lounge.

You will also have to watch a safety video while you're in the lounge so you could potentially look at it like, you're getting a usable helicopter safety crash course included with your price as well. You'll arrive at a private terminal where you'll take another quick Uber ride. That ride will get you to your designated terminal.

What you're paying for is a quick, fun, and different form of transport. $200 is a small price to pay to avoid rush hour altogether while doing a bit of site seeing.

👀 Related Guide Uber Scooters

Here's what it's like to fly in an Uber helicopter

Need to get to the airport fast? Uber now offers a helicopter service from downtown Manhattan to JFK airport in just 8 minutes. Is it worth the price?

Frequently Asked Questions

While this service is only located in one state, people still have a wide range of questions. Here are a few commonly asked questions that people often wonder about when it comes to Uber copter.

Where Else Is the Helicopter Uber Service Offered?

Right now, Uber copter is only available in New York City. However, Uber does have plans to expand into other cities all around the world.

While it's likely that larger cities will receive the service first, there are probably curious Uber riders that are wondering if they will see an Uber in helicopter California any time soon. As Uber prepares to launch more ideas associated with the service in 2024, potential riders will have to wait and see what the company has in store.

Does the Uber Helicopter Cost Stay the Same?

While a one-way flight for an Uber helicopter in New York costs between $200 and $225, this price does fluctuate based on demand. This, however, is like any other ride-share service out there. If there is a high demand and within the same time frame yes, the price could increase.

The good thing about this though, is that the copter service is like ordering a regular Uber ride. Once you lock in your price, that is the price you will pay. You will also see the price in real-time so if the price has gone up more than usual you could decide to wait to see if it goes down or opt-in for the service on another day.

You won't be surprised by the price because you will know what it is as you're booking. Also, keep in mind that you don't have to take an Uber copter back whenever you fly back into or from JFK. So, don't think about the price as a round trip because you could take a copter one way, and when you get back you could take another form of transportation.

What Are Uber’s Plans for the Future of This Service?

Uber thinks of this service as a flying taxi service that will allow passengers to get around the city with ease and no worry of traffic. They expect to expand on the current model of the service by as early as 2023. It's said that they have some quite ambitious ideas for the already innovative service.

Also, the air taxi project received $100 million from multiple investors so the company will have plenty of room to exercise its creative wits. The prototypes that Uber has been playing around with feature plane-drone hybrids that consist of a full cabin for its passengers and will operate with 12 rotors.

The prototype though has not been photographed recently so, we could guess that Uber has a big reveal in the works to match their quickened timeline for launching in 2023.

Can You Become an Uber Helicopter Pilot?

It's possible to become a pilot for Uber and the company has an entire manual about UberAir vehicle requirements as well as, missions. UberElevate is the name of the project and since its target goal is to provide aerial ride-sharing options across different cities, there are bound to be opportunities to arise especially after their service launch.

Air Travel Might Become the New Regular

Finding ways to get around is important, especially in larger cities that offer Uber helicopters. By using a platform like Best Referral Driver, you'll have access to all the information you need about ride-share services in your area, or anywhere you want to travel.

We are a community that consists of delivery and ride-share drivers so we know what riders and drivers are looking for and what they need. If you want to make or save more money on your rides, and even receive promo codes, join our network today.

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