The Uber Copter route running between lower Manhattan and JFK Airport is now open to all customers and groups of up to five can make the trip in as little as 30 minutes.
Uber Copter was soft-launched in July, allowing Platinum- and Diamond-level Uber users access to the service. The ride-hailing facilitator hoped to deliver door-to-door trips in as little as half an hour, traffic-depending. By normal means, the quickest way to get between Manhattan and JFK is usually the Long Island Railroad, which can often take as little as 50 to 75 minutes. By car in rush hour traffic, it can take as long as two hours.
This window is important, as the afternoon rush is the only time Uber Copter is available. It's a one-way route (there's no return option from JFK) and traffic is still a key contributor to trip times, The Verge reports, because the estimate includes a traditional Uber ride to the helipad in lower Manhattan and a second one from the landing spot to the JFK departure zone.
An individual ride (the chopper seats five) costs between $200 and $225, so the service is not for the budget-minded. Some media who have tried it out for themselves have reported longer-than-expected trip times, but as Uber points out, a lot of it is dependent on where the ride originates. Users farther away from the lower Manhattan helipad will experience longer trip times.
Uber would like to expand to new routes in different cities, but much of that will depend on the success of this program.