Helicopters are a luxurious way to travel, and Uber has now made it easier than ever to book one through its app.
Here’s everything you need to know about using the Uber helicopter service, including how much it costs and how to book.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Uber Helicopter?
- When and Where Is Uber Copter Available?
- How Long Does Uber Copter Take?
- Who Pilots Uber Copters?
- Is Uber Copter Safe?
- How Much Does Uber Copter Cost?
- What’s the Difference Between Uber Helicopter and Flying Taxis?
- How to Request an Uber Helicopter
- Is It Worth It to Use Uber Copter?
- What’s Next for Uber Copter?
- Final Thoughts
What Is Uber Helicopter?
Uber Helicopter is a premium transportation service to and from JFK International Airport that Uber offers in some parts of New York City.
While only available in New York at the moment, it’s part of Uber’s goal of transforming urban aviation.
Uber’s helicopter service is available to all Uber users.
While you can get a copter ride to John F. Kennedy Airport with other companies, like BLADE, Uber offers the same convenience Uber users enjoy when ordering regular Uber rides.
When and Where Is Uber Copter Available?
Uber Copter is only available in New York City.
Specifically, it will only show up for rides booked to and from Lower Manhattan and JFK.
It’s also available in some parts of Brooklyn.
Furthermore, Uber Copter is only available Monday-Friday, from 2-6 PM EST.
Is Uber Helicopter Still Available?
Yes, Uber Helicopter is still available.
If you don’t see it, you may be outside the Downtown Manhattan boundaries in which the service is available.
Specifically, you have to be below 110th Street for it to pop up in your app.
Uber Helicopter Locations
Uber Helicopter is available in New York City, but only for riders heading to JFK.
It’s only available in Lower Manhattan and a few areas of Brooklyn.
Your ride to or from the airport must start and end in those designated areas to book a helicopter ride.
How Far in Advance Do You Have to Book an Uber Copter?
You can book a copter ride on Uber on-demand, just like a regular Uber ride.
You don’t need to schedule it ahead of time, though you do have the option of reserving your ride up to five days in advance.
Suggested Read: How to schedule an Uber ride in advance
How Long Does Uber Copter Take?
The helicopter ride itself takes around eight minutes, from start to finish.
However, when you book a helicopter ride with Uber, you are also booking regular Uber rides to the departure helipad and from the helipad to the airport terminal.
There are four parts to an Uber Helicopter ride:
An UberX car will pick you up from your apartment and take you to the helipad.
This step can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20-30 minutes, or even longer.
It all depends on traffic and where you are being picked up from.
You will wait in the waiting room until the helicopter is ready to leave.
Remember, the helicopter ride isn’t private but shared with a few other Uber customers, sort of like Uber Pool.
This step won’t usually take more than a few minutes, as Uber uses advanced technology to coordinate the arrival of all Uber Copter passengers.
You will depart in the helicopter towards JFK.
The actual helicopter ride takes around eight minutes.
An UberX car will take you to your terminal so you can catch your flight or to your airport hotel.
This step shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, either.
The steps are similar when booking the Uber Copter service from the airport to Manhattan, except in reverse.
In total, you can expect the entire process to take around 30-50 minutes.
In addition to those four steps, it can take a few minutes to walk between your Uber ride to the heliport.
Is Uber Copter Faster Than Uber?
Usually, but not always.
Remember, Uber Copter is only available between 2-6 PM, Monday-Friday.
During those times, and especially during rush hour in the late afternoon, the gridlock in New York City can be terrible, and navigating the congested Manhattan roads can be a nightmare.
Getting to the airport from Manhattan can easily take two hours or more, even if Google Maps promises a shorter travel time.
Of course, exceptions exist.
If the roads are clear, taking a regular Uber car to the airport might not take that much longer than an Uber Copter.
However, every New Yorker knows what the roads are typically like during the afternoon rush hour.
Who Pilots Uber Copters?
Uber doesn’t hire employees for its car services, and it doesn’t hire pilots, either.
Instead, it outsources its Uber Copter service to HeliFlite.
Despite that, you can expect to see the Uber logo on the helicopter that takes you to the airport.
Can You Become a Contracted Uber Helicopter Pilot?
No, you can’t work directly for Uber to pilot its helicopters.
You may be able to work for HeliFlite, however.
If you do so, there is a possibility that you will be able to pilot Uber Copter flights.
Is Uber Copter Safe?
Not only has the FAA and DOT licensed HeliFlite, but the platform has also earned ARGUS Platinum and Wyvern Wingman safety ratings.
It has robust safety measures in place to ensure your security, and its pilots receive extensive training.
Remember, the helicopter flight only takes a few minutes, and the pilots make the trip multiple times a day.
How Much Does Uber Copter Cost?
When Uber first released the helicopter service, it announced that the average price will be $200-$225 per ride.
That price is all-inclusive – it includes your ride to and from the heliport, too.
At the same time, the price is subject to demand.
Unlike other helicopter services to JFK, which charge a flat rate, Uber’s pricing is subject to demand surges, so the price can fluctuate from one minute to another.
Uber Helicopter Price vs. Uber Lux
In NYC, you can also order Uber Black or Uber Black SUV, which are luxury transportation options in luxury cars or SUVs.
Using Uber’s Price Estimator, I was able to check the rate for an Uber ride from Lower Manhattan to JFK on a Thursday afternoon:
- Around $70 for Uber’s regular service, UberX
- Approximately $120 for Uber Black
- About $175 for Uber Black SUV
Considering that the average price for an Uber Copter ride is over $200, we can conclude that Uber Copter is more expensive than UberX/Uber Black.
I didn’t see Uber Lux available.
What’s the Difference Between Uber Helicopter and Flying Taxis?
Flying taxis are not yet available anywhere in the world, though flying taxi services are set to arrive in the next few years in Dubai and other cities.
There are several main differences between Uber Helicopter and flying taxis:
- Uber Helicopter uses regular helicopters while flying taxis will be “flying cars” with unique designs
- Flying taxis will be electric
- Flying taxis will be available to take you from one spot to another within the city, not just from the city to the airport or vice versa
How to Request an Uber Helicopter
The process for requesting an Uber Copter ride isn’t much different from requesting a regular ride.
- Open the Uber app.
- Enter your destination, which should be JFK or an address in Lower Manhattan (if coming from JFK).
- Select Uber Copter from the ride options at the bottom of the screen. Swipe up if you don’t see it. It will appear if you’re in the designated area.
- Click on “Request Copter or Schedule.”
- Select the number of seats on the next screen.
- On the next screen, choose “Depart Now” if you’d like to go right away. Otherwise, schedule it in advance by selecting “Depart At” or “Arrive By.”
- Tap on “Next,” then confirm your ride request on the next page.
- Read the terms and conditions. Click on “Agree and Request.”
Is It Worth It to Use Uber Copter?
However, it does depend on how much time you have and your budget.
Uber Copter will typically get you to the airport a lot quicker than a regular Uber, but it can cost you a lot more.
Remember, booking an Uber Copter ride is also an experience, and the views are amazing.
What’s Next for Uber Copter?
It’s not entirely clear what is next for Uber Copter.
In 2020, Jolby Aviation acquired Uber Elevate, launched in 2016.
Uber Elevate and Jolby Aviation aim to transform aerial transportation in the future.
Jolby aims to operate flying taxis by as early as 2023.
However, flying taxis may still be several more years off.
Not only does the technology need to be fully developed, but regulators must come on board to approve them.
Where Will Uber Helicopter Be Available in 2023?
Uber Helicopter will only be available in NYC, as Uber has not yet announced any expansions to the service.
However, in the next few years, we may see the service expand to additional cities across the United States.
Ordering a helicopter ride on an app might seem like something from the future, but it’s been possible for a couple of years already.
Uber Copter is one of the most practical ways to catch your flight on time if you’re in a hurry and are coming from Lower Manhattan.