Ride-hail service Uber is about to go airborne.
Starting July, Uber is rolling out Uber-Copter service for its Uber Reward Platinum and Diamond cardholders, offering the top-tier members an 8-minute helicopter ride to or from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport near Wall Street and John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The service, “Uber-Copter,” is expected to at least halve the amount of time it takes to travel from the southern point of Manhattan to the Queens-based airport for premium customers, according to The New York Times. But the service is going to be — unsurprisingly — beyond the budgets of people who wouldn’t already consider traveling the 13-mile journey.
Plus, this isn’t something just anyone can access: It’s reserved for Platinum and Diamond members of Uber’s Rewards program, which means you’ll have to already be dropping a lot of cash on rides to even qualify for whirligig service. If you qualify, the rides are available either on-demand, or bookable up to five days ahead of time—Pick-up is at a small city heliport located near the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and then at Kennedy you get a ride from the helicopter landing area to whichever terminal from which you’re departing (and vice versa if you’re flying in).
It’s the first official byproduct of Uber Elevate — an aerial ridesharing proposal that will eventually offer “an affordable shared flight” to passengers through a program called Uber Air.
“We’ve built Uber-Copter to provide us with insight and real-world experience as we continue to lay the foundation for Uber Air, ” Also added” Our plan is to eventually roll out Uber-Copter to more Uber customers and to other cities, but we want to do it right,” spokesperson Eric Allison told the NYT. “The main goal of this initial venture is to understand the operations behind aerial vehicles
Each helicopter will be able to carry five passengers, who must be Platinum and Diamond members of the company’s reward card, and their carry-on luggage. Like the ride-hailing service, each flight will be dynamically priced.
The service will go between $200 and $225 for each passenger.