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