BLADE Now Offers $195 Helicopter Transfers Between Manhattan & JFK

Filed Under: Misc.

BLADE has today announced an interesting expansion to their airport helicopter service. For those of you not familiar, BLADE is basically the Uber of helicopters — they’re the largest arranger of helicopter flights for civilian travel in the US. They’re ultimately an air charter broker and not a direct air carrier, and work with DOT/FAA licensed air carriers to provide their service.

BLADE has now announced a more consistent and reasonably priced option for flying between Manhattan and JFK.

“BLADE Continuous” will offer continuous helicopter flights between Manhattan and New York JFK Airport every weekday from 7AM until 7PM.

The new five minute service will cost $195 one-way per person, which they say is approximately the same cost as an SUV service doing the same route during rush hour. It will operate from BLADE Lounge West at the West 30th Street Heliport. Ground transportation between the JFK helipad and all commercial terminals is included.

The BLADE Lounge West is located just 1,000 feet from Hudson Yards. Meanwhile at JFK, BLADE will have a presence in the lobby of the soon to open TWA Hotel.

As it’s described, this shared service will be the largest urban air mobility initiative in the United States, and long term they hope to lower costs even further.

Here’s a video showing the experience to JFK:

Meanwhile here’s a video showing the experience from JFK:

This is certainly much more reasonable than their previous pricing. This could represent significant time savings compared to driving, so I’m sure many will find this to be worthwhile. However, be aware that BLADE limits you to one 20 pound commercial airline carry-on per person, which is a major limitation if you’re traveling with more stuff.

Furthermore, while not luxurious, the subway and AirTrain to JFK do provide a consistent travel time, and can be a great option during rush hour.

Can you see yourself using the new BLADE Continuous service between the city and JFK?

Comments
  1. Crazily enough, I’m not convinced this is a time-saving service, or if it does it will save you 5-10 minutes at most. For most people, it will be very difficult to get to the heliport on 30th and the West Side Highway. If you work on Wall Street you can try to zip up the west side, but getting across town at most times is hellish, and if I were getting a car from a Midtown office to the heliport, I’d budget at least 30 minutes.

    Then add the waiting time for the flight (Blade says you have to be more than 10 minutes early or they cancel your reservation) and the time from the JFK heliport to the terminal, and you’re surely looking at an hour or more. The unglamorous subway-LIRR-Airtrain solution remains the best bet, and lately has been getting me to JFK in 45 minutes, a solid half-hour faster than taking a cab.

  2. I don’t see any prospect of success at this price point and the baggage allowance doesn’t help. I don’t worry about how much my bag weighs and I don’t need anything more to think about when I travel. If I’m traveling light the E Train/AirTrain combo is a great luxury at any cost (far preferable to sitting in traffic).

  3. Great for my colleagues and myself who fly into NYC from Chicago, and don’t like to stay overnight. A quick trip to JFK after a meeting downtown is a big deal for us. We have chartered choppers in the past to do precisely this to meet the aggressive times so that we can get home in time for dinner with our families.

  4. Do they baggage limits?
    Normally helicopters have an issue with suitcases. So most likely only for those with small carry on no?

  5. Yes, at the headline rate this is just a tad more expensive than a luxury car service to JFK (which will generally go for around $150-$200, but with a car service I get lots of luggage capacity and can fit 3-4 people for a single rate. The $195 fare you quote you said is PER PERSON and does not include luggage. Also, a luxury SUV car service will pick you up anywhere in the NYC region whereas you need to get all the way to the heliport on W 30th to use the helicopter service. So, my conclusion is that despite the headline, this actually isn’t that practical.

  6. A friend of mine who was a traffic reporter in NYC survived her first on-air helicopter crash, but not her second one.

    Hard pass.

  7. I’ve done Blade Bounce many times, and I can say the following: 1. It’s definitely a time saver during rush hour; 2. It’s NEVER a 5 minute flight, more like 10 minutes; 3. It’s a BEAUTIFUL ride; 4. The cost is about what a sight-seeing helicopter would cost, and this ride is equally fun; 5. The lack of a post-security connection is a pain, but with Clear now at T4 it’s become a lot easier.

  8. I would 100% do this on my next trip from Manhattan to JFK, but if I’m going to JFK then I have luggage! I even do just carry-on but it’s still more than 20 lbs, so here I am, willing to pay the $195 each way, but I can’t, because I travel with luggage, like pretty much everyone else heading out to JFK will be.

  9. There is a good chance I will try it at least one way, mainly just for the experience and the views. I generally only stay in NYC for one or two nights, so the luggage requirement will not be too much of an issue, but can’t imagine how most people would deal with it.

  10. If they added an option to pick up my luggage earlier in the day by Van from hotel, or drop off by Van to my hotel, then that would solve the luggage weight restriction for me.

  11. As somebody commented this seems perfect for business travelers doing day-trips to/from NYC which lots of people do.

  12. Ahh…..but if there are two of you then the luxury sedan seems to be a better value and well there are two of you to enjoy the New York drama……..and make you chuckle about how lucky you are to live on the West Coast………..

  13. With the amount of helicopter crashes recently, no thankyou.

    Also, no luggage? do they think I travel with a jacket and a toothbrush? no thankyou.

  14. Many readers are probably too young to remember when New York Airways twin-propeller Boeing Vertol helicopters provided a regular service between Manhattan and New York’s airports.

    Landing atop the Pan Am Building (now the MetLife Building) was always a scary thrill because your helicopter dropped straight down into a forest of skyscrapers and you didn’t see the landing pad until moments before touchdown.

    In the mid-60’s there were more than 20 flights a day between Manhattan and the Pan Am Worldport (Terminal 3) at JFK.

  15. AirTrain is brilliant but takes an hour to get to the West Side. Super cheap! tho. It’s my “go-to” and works well.
    I tried a luxe attempt for my April 5 trip…. but for some reason there was an automatic added $100 pick up at baggage to escort to helipad. So, the $195 turned into $295.
    Would do it once- just for the 1% Lifestyle Experience.
    Thanks for the tip!

  16. The LIRR is still the best bet, in my opinion. 20 minutes to/from Jamaica from/to Penn Station, and an additional 10 minutes on the Air Train. Door-to-door in under an hour.

  17. Hudson Yards seems like as good a place as any to base your helicopter transfer business near. That may actually make this viable.

  18. I second rail as being reliable and safer. Heliocopter looks cool though.

    One note: While the MTA needs your money and is direct-ish, don’t forget to mention the LIRR from Penn/Atlantic terminal. It’s 20 minutes to Jamaica and ~15-20 to JFK. I prefer it to an uber/Lyft/Juno as NY roads are terrible and the drivers can have unusual senses of hygiene.

  19. @jbj = correct timing.
    @schar= accidents don’t happen like that.
    But, as I have found in NYC, everyone! has an opinion about all things.
    I love the phrase “meh”.

  20. @Lucky – I hope you will consider reviewing Blade soon. I took a similar helicopter transfer from NCE to Nice Ville last May and it was reasonably priced and views were amazing!

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