Gotham Air’s New $99 Helicopter Between Manhattan And JFK/EWR

It looks like a new crowdsourced helicopter service is just around the corner in New York City.

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Gotham Air seems to want to be the Uber equivalent of NYC helicopter transfers, in that they’re basically facilitating helicopter trips through an alliance with Helicopter Flight Services, who have a fleet of helicopters. Here’s the disclaimer on their site:

Gotham Air is not a direct air carrier but rather provides technology and information services enabling consumers to obtain aircraft charter services from FAA certified and DOT registered air carriers who exercise operational control over all flights.

Gotham Air will offer six minute flights from three Manhattan heliports to Kennedy and Newark Airports.

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The cost for first time users will be just $99 one way, and after that they’ll charge $199-219 depending on the departure time.

While it seems slightly unnecessary for a six minute flight, they’ll be serving hors d’oeuvres provided by Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, as well as drinks on afternoon flights.

Furthermore, they’ll have an inclement weather guarantee, whereby if the helicopter can’t fly due to high winds or low cloud coverage, you’ll be driven door-to-door in a Tesla S.

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My one concern is that it seems like flights won’t necessarily operate unless they have four passengers. Per Gotham Air’s website:

Do you want to start your own flight at the exact time of your choosing?  No problem. You simply start a flight and request your flight time. As soon as 4 seats have been sold, the flight is confirmed. You are never on the hook for anything more than the price of your seat.

So will they published a “guaranteed” schedule and this is in addition to that, or otherwise how can they offer reliable service if booking a seat is contingent upon others booking?

Bottom line

For $99 I’ll definitely give Gotham Air a try. It’s now actually cheaper than an UberBLACK to JFK.

I do think this has the potential to work since they’re really just providing an interface through which people can conveniently and (relatively) affordably book helicopter transfers between Manhattan and EWR/JFK. So it’s not unlike Uber, Silvercar, etc.

Do you plan on giving Gotham Air a try?

Comments

  1. The main issue here is getting to the heliports, which are placed away from buildings and near the rivers, for obvious reasons. So while it’s super cool, unless you work near one of them, then it’s probably not worth the cost of getting a cab to the heliport and then getting a ride.

  2. Being able to leave your hotel or place at a reasonable hour during rush hour (for, say, a Transatlantic evening flight) is worth a pretty significant premium over Uber prices.

    Do they have luggage limitations?

  3. When ushelicopters was delta parter snd i could buy delta tickets with trip starting from downtown manhattan, every week i used them.
    Getting in the helicopter on the street downtown and exiting at delta gate at one of the NY airports, it was very cool. It was no more than 8-10 min ride. TSA was set up at the heliport so i was inside secure area arriving to delta flight.
    One drawback was the weather. They only flew VFR and many times it was a no go in the last second. Getting in a cab at that point guaranteed missed flight at airport.

  4. @Justin

    You asked the same question that first popped into my mind as well. The luggage part matters, and it’s no small issue in terms of weight on a helicopter (depending on what kind of ‘copter it is).

  5. Same experience as @Endre. I did like the USH service from the airport into the city, provided great views and beat sitting in a black car/cab for over an hour.

  6. I will definitely use them if they depart from the heliport on the westside highway, i think it’s around 30th street.

  7. I never had problem with one or two checked luggage plus two carry ons with UShelicopters. Most of passengers had multiple checked luggage. USH used larger helicopters (6+ passengers) not sure what Gotham uses

  8. i was all set to dismiss this until i remembered i work across the street from one of the heliports. might be worth checking out. although i kind of have an irrational fear of helicopter flying.

  9. @pavel Fear? Just think if it this way. When the engine stops, it simply becomes a piece of a simple rock. 🙂

  10. Just looked it up.. USHelicopters used Sikorsky S-76. If I read it correctly, the maximum baggage compartment load was 600 pounds (272 kg).
    They charged $159 from one way between Manhattan and JFK or Newark. I never paid that because I always flew with Delta ticket.

  11. Sounds interesting but I had a similar question about four-person minimum. How far in advance do they decide whether to fly or not to fly — will there be enough time to take a cab?

  12. Historically since the late 1940’s, every other helicopter service that has offered ‘scheduled flights’ from Manhattan Heliports to New York Metro Airports has failed. What is this company doing different? Seems that the numbers just don’t work…

    Awesome Flight currently offers ‘on demand flights’ from Manhattan Heliports to Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark, and Teterboro costing less than $1,000 in many cases and it’s your private helicopter (not shared with who knows who.)

  13. @ Keith — Well keep in mind what’s unique here is that Gotham Air is really just a technology company enabling this. So the fact that they’re not buying their own helicopters, have limited startup costs, and can hopefully close the gap between demand and capacity means that they at least have a fighting chance, in my opinion.

  14. Dear Sirs,

    I would like to have a Helicopter flight from JFK to EWR. As I can not find this possibility, would it be possible to Fly from JFK to EWR via Manhatten?
    It would be for two persons with luggage. We will arrive at JFK on August 30th arriving 15.50 PM on Swiss,
    (Flight Nr. LX 14)
    May I kindly ask you if this is possible and can you send me a quote.
    Thank you very much and have a nice weekend

    Andreas Maissen

  15. Well,
    It is hard to compare the price with a BlackCar.
    In a BlackCar, you can split the price if you are more than 1.
    And furthermore, even if you are alone, the service is different, since Gottham only allows 12 lbs per passenger, and you can without any problem have 2 bags of 50 lbs each in a blackcar, this is quite different !

  16. We are arriving at jfk around 14.30 on the 10th May and would love to take advantage of your $99 flight into New York, but really need reassurance that that price is correct or are there extras to be added to that figure? I look forward to hearing from you.

  17. I would like to travel from EWR to JFK on Sunday March 6th around 10am-10:30. Please advise if you have something available.

  18. Doesnt seem like the company exists anymore…. Tried calling and downloading the app to no avail… 🙁 Would have loved to use this service.

  19. Hmm interesting, seems like a great time saver. Saw Casey’s vlog with his helicopter ride from JFK to downtown Manhattan and was interested in seeing how much each ride cost. I’m sure he’s paying more than $99 for the private charter.

  20. Would like a flight from Philadelphia, Pa to JFK airport date and time
    1:00 p.m. May 23, 2017

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