It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's Gotham Air to the rescue of the frenzied NYC-airport traveler! For Manhattanites who have had their fill of epic schleps to and from JFK and Newark airports, this new helicopter shuttle service, launching February 9, 2015, has stepped in to slash the dreaded airport commute to as little as six minutes. Happily, fares are within range of more than just the ultra-rich, with intro rates priced from just $99 one-way—heck, that's not much more than what you'd pay your humdrum, earth-bound cabbie!
Considering that congested river crossings from Manhattan island and general on-the-ground traffic can easily consume an hour or two in a cab, while public transport just as easily commands the same time frame, six minutes sounds mighty sexy. Because nothing says vacation buzzkill like breathing in exhaust on a bumper-to-bumper run through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.
"This changes everything about travel," Gotham Air CEO Tim Hayes said in a statement. "Our customers can go from sitting in a car to relaxing in one of our luxe choppers within minutes. We plan to bring a new level of luxury and convenience to people's lives."
While Gotham Air is not a direct air carrier itself, is has partnered with leading helicopter company Helicopter Flight Services to operate the rides.
The fleet of 10 Bell 407 six-seater helicopters touts plush design, including Hermès leather furnishings. Apart from your seat on the quick jaunt, the fare covers extras like in-flight hors d'oeuvres (from chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery) and beverage service to enjoy en route. Not that six minutes necessarily grants you enough time to scarf down a croissant. Oh yeah, and there are some pretty stellar views included in the deal, too. Plus, there's a car transfer waiting to take you to your terminal once you touch down.
Introductory fares for first-time flyers will be a relatively affordable $99 per seat (on select midday, weekday flights); after that, clients can expect to pay one-way rates of $199 to $219 (depending on departure time). Not exactly peanuts, but you don't necessarily have to claim CEO or rock star status to secure your seat. It's definitely the most economical helicopter transfer service currently offered on the Manhattan market.
So, how does Gotham Air keep it so reasonably priced? Running multiple daily trips, where costs are shared by up to six passengers per ride, helps cut down individual expenses significantly.
Choppers will fly between a trio of Manhattan heliports with connections to John F. Kennedy International Airport or Newark Liberty International Airport. Flights will operate seven days a week, and can be booked on GothamAir.com or via their soon-to-launch free app. Crowd-sourced flights attracting at least four clients will begin operations in February; regularly scheduled flights will roll out in spring 2015.
Having covered all their bases, in the event of bad weather that might make a chopper flight unsafe, they'll send a nifty Tesla S car to drive you to the airport instead.
Flying taxis, the wave of the future. Now, if we can only get them to fly to LaGuardia . . .
To book and for more info, visit www.gothamair.com.