Uber-for-Helicopters Takes on Pope Traffic

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Photo: Blade

Blade, the Uber-for-helicopters service that ferries New York’s elites to and from the airport, the Hamptons, and so on, is offering a papal special: For $95, it will take you between East 34th and First and West 30th and the West Side Highway during rush hour. The trip, which loops around the southern tip of Manhattan, should take five to eight minutes once you are in the aircraft.

But is it a good deal? Depends on your door-to-door and how much you care about money, I guess. You could take the 7 train across town, which would take about half an hour, including walking time, and would cost $2.75. Biking might be the fastest option, depending on road closures, and would cost $9.95 for a 24-hour Citi Bike pass that you could use for as many 30-minute rides as you would like. (If you had your own bike, of course, the marginal cost would be zero.) Walking might not be such a bad deal either: 40 minutes or so, again discounting road closures, and cost-free. Once you add in the presumed travel time to and from the heliports, the helicopter deal looks even dodgier. Say you were going from Lincoln Center to Kips Bay. You’d have to get in a cab, or on the subway, or take a walk to get to the heliport anyway, eroding any of the cross-town time savings. Might as well just stay underground, right? Or maybe do spring for the helicopter! Probably a lovely view from up there. Think of it as a little touristic adventure before a rape-and-pillage business meeting.

Of course, such cost-benefit analyses likely do not plague Blade’s users, the kinds of people who think nothing of paying $895 to get from JFK into Manhattan or a few hundred to get out to the Hamptons. Time is money. Though, in that case, they should probably get out their bike helmets tomorrow. Or eff it. Who knows? Let’s just all stay home.