The New York Post put Uber’s new helicopter shuttle to JFK to the test, racing the app-based company and its chopper from Midtown to the hub against old-fashioned New York City Transit. Starting from the Post’s Midtown headquarters at 1:15pm on Oct. 4, two reporters competed to be the first to reach the airport’s new TWA Hotel. Spoiler alert:The copter lost by three minutes.
The chopper contestant pre-booked an Uber Copter flight, which costs between $200 and $225, depending on the time of day. Uber Copter promises a six-minute flight to JFK. But first, the journalist had to grab an Uber to Lower Manhattan, as the service only picks up south of Houston Street. Slowed by midday traffic, the Uber took 24 minutes (at a cost of $30.67, before tip) to reach Spring Street’s Balthazar, where the reporter caught a second Uber to the heliport. That 13-minute ride brought the reporter to the heliport near the South Street Seaport.
Before leaving, the reporter and other fliers-to-be sat through a two-minute safety video. The Uber Copter took off at 2:25pm, and the reporter complained the ride was rocky and, without an offer of any ear protection, very loud. On the upside, the reporter said the views of Brooklyn and Queens below were gorgeous.
The flight lived up to its promise of a six-minute trip, touching down at JFK at 2:31pm. The reporter had to take a final Uber to the agreed-upon finish line at 2:40pm, or one hour and 25 minutes after leaving Midtown.
Meanwhile, the rail-riding contestant’s trip began with an admittedly lucky break, swiping into Rockefeller Center for $2.75 and catching a Queens-bound F train as it approached the platform. The journalist had a six-minute wait on a platform at Forest Hills-71st Avenue to transfer to the E train, which finished off the MTA’s leg of the trip to the Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue-JFK Airport stop. A $5 ride on the Port Authority-run JFK AirTrain got the reporter to Terminal 5 by 2:25pm, right as the Uber Copter was taking to the sky in Lower Manhattan. A 12-minute stroll from the terminal to the TWA Hotel got the subway-riding reporter there by 2:37pm… three minutes before her Uber-Copter counterpart arrived.
Uber contends that the copter service is only intended for customers already in Lower Manhattan, so a traveler starting off there would have beaten the subway.
Source: New York Post