Several weeks ago I wrote about Gotham Air, which I suppose is trying to be the new Uber or Silvercar of New York City helicopter transfers. They don’t operate the helicopters themselves, but rather facilitate it through their app and website. I guess you could say they’re a helicopter-sharing tech company.
They cut the commute between NYC and JFK/EWR airports down to six minutes.
While their fares are $199-219 each way (which isn’t horrible, in my opinion), they have introductory rates of $99 when you enter promotion code LAUNCH at the time of booking. The promotion code is apparently only valid for bookings through tomorrow, Tuesday, February 17, 2015.
That actually makes them cheaper than an UberBLACK car since their recent price hike.
At the time Gotham Air wasn’t actually bookable, though Gotham Air is now finally bookable through their website, for flights beginning Wednesday, February 18, 2015.
The part of their business model that I don’t get is that each helicopter has six seats, though they only fly if at least four of them are sold. In other words, take a look at the flights listed below:
The ones in blue are still contingent upon more seats being booked, while the one in green is definitely flying.
While I get where they’re coming from (it’s not economical to fly a helicopter with one passenger that paid $99 and they’re only facilitating the transfer), I think this is a big obstacle in trying to use the service. If you can’t count on a flight operating, how are you supposed to plan around it? Hopefully over time as demand picks up it’s less of an issue, but I just don’t see how that’s supposed to work in practice. Here’s how they describe it:
Thank you for your reservation request. “Shared charter” helicopter flights are confirmed when a total of four seats are reserved. You can see your flight’s status on your mobile phone or watch your inbox for the updates. Flight time listings turn GREEN when the 4th seat has been sold.
The other thing that’s a bit odd is that you seem to be limited to one 25 pound carry-on:
Helicopter passengers are allowed one carry-on with a maximum weight of 25 lbs.
That doesn’t seem very practical if you’re headed to the airport, no? My carry-on weighs more than that. 😉
Would you give Gotham Air a shot given their rates and restrictions/policies? If anyone flies with them, I’d love to hear about your experience!