BLADE Expands $195 Helicopter Rides To LaGuardia & Newark

Filed Under: Misc.

In late March, BLADE announced a cool expansion to their helicopter service in NYC. With the introduction of “BLADE Continuous,” they began offering continuous helicopter flights between Manhattan and New York JFK Airport every weekday from 7AM until 7PM.

The new five minute service costs $195 one-way per person, which they said was approximately the same cost as an SUV service doing the same route during rush hour.

How has BLADE Continuous been doing?

First of all, BLADE shares some interesting statistics in this Bloomberg story regarding users on this new service, which point towards this being quite a success:

  • Over 75% of first-time customers have never flown in a helicopter before
  • 22% of customers have come back the same month
  • The average age of customers is 38
  • 55% of customers are men
  • 95% of customers book through the mobile app
  • BLADE breaks even when they sell 2-3 seats (they have six seats total)

BLADE expanding service to LaGuardia and Newark

Similar to their JFK Continuous service, BLADE is expanding their service to both LaGuardia and Newark. For RPDR fans, Kennedy Davenport would be proud to see this (Newark, LaGuardia… Kennedy!).

Both airports will see continuous service from 7AM until 7PM on weekdays. As far as the locations for these services go:

  • The JFK service operates from West 30th
  • The EWR service operates from East 34th
  • The LGA service operates from Wall Street

These new flights aren’t yet on sale, but should be on sale soon.

BLADE wants to lower fares even more in the future

At this point BLADE says that their fares are comparable to Uber Black SUVs, and they also argue that their helicopters have lower emissions than SUVs (presumably they’re suggesting that six SUVs to the airport have higher emissions than one helicopter for the five minute ride).

However, BLADE hopes to lower fares even more in the future. BLADE’s founder hopes to lower transfers to the $70-90 range within three to five years, which would of course be awesome.

Bottom line

While $195 is still a lot of money, it sure is much more reasonable than what it previously cost to get a helicopter. For those who value their time and who are near the Manhattan heliports, the time savings could more than justify the additional cost over the next best option.

What do you make of BLADE’s expansion? Have you taken their new service?

Comments
  1. So convenient that I can get to the airport super quick…..without any of my luggage I need for that trip.

  2. Now they just need to add regular service BETWEEN the three airports — it would be a hit with people who end up with the insanity of “connecting flights” at different NYC airports. Then they should add flights to the top of the PanAm building in Manhattan…

  3. Other than the luggage limit, this looks pretty cool. It’s pricey, but not that bad compared to a SUV-level black car service.

    On a side note, am I the only one wondering what the deal is with all these all-caps brands? LEVEL, BLADE, EDITION…what’s going on here? Frankly, it looks stupid.

  4. @Tom you’ll get your wish. There isn’t the slightest chance Ben will fail us in this. He’s constitutionally incapable of resisting the temptation!

  5. If and when they accept the EXP Baggage allowance of 3 x 32 Kgs , they will be competitive. Otherwise not.

    Panam had the JFK rides for free to connect with Premium cabin international flights to Europe (East 60th Street to JFK T3, both defunct)). Only hand luggage accepted but you could check-in all morning at the Panam Building on 45th and Vanderbilt, and leave your checked bags with them. I am not sure what the return arrangements were, I never used them on the way back.

  6. I would love to try this service if they can somehow take care of my luggage… Maybe picking up my luggage in advance by car? I’d even be willing to pay extra fee for that.

  7. And the rides to the top of the Panam Building were discontinued even earlier (1970’s?) when a rotor blade fell into 42nd street and killed 3. I used it once. The view on landing was extremely cool.

  8. @Mkldh,

    They have partnered with Tote Taxi, which will deliver up to two suitcases for $85 if booked in advance. For last minute baggage transfer, they will handle that for you as well, for only $350.

  9. For those concerned with the baggage allowance it would be wise for BLADE to have a service that transfers baggage. They could include a van that picks up luggage from passengers (or have a drop off location) with couple different times and that van would take luggage to the airport in advance of passengers flying on BLADE. By the time you get to the airport your luggage is waiting for you. I doubt that a family of 6 would have only carry on to bring with them on the helicopter but having their baggage shipped to the airport in advance would work well.

    On the other hand I think this service will appeal to business travelers that won’t have much luggage and want to work in their offices closer to the flight time rather than having to leave much earlier to avoid traffic.

  10. I’ve used them and the luggage situation is ‘meh’ at best.

    There are a lot of one-and-done users of Blade and it’s clear when you’re in their lounges: Lots of instagramming, selfie-taking, etc. It’s not a business traveler’s service, not yet at least.

  11. I’ve used them once before. Worked 2 minutes from their ‘launch pad’ and thought i’d splurge before a trip from NYC to Paris.

    Yes, it was double the cost of a taxi, but I went from my desk to the airport in less than half an hour vs 60-90 minutes in a cab/subway. The time savings was great, but in general its too rich for my blood.

  12. Its a play for business people as mentioned above. Same day travel or maybe a quick overnight when just a small carry on will suffice. 2+ people would easily come out way head splitting an Uber or even a taxi – its been a while since I did a taxi to/from NYC airports but it is capped at around $55-ish I think?

  13. If they break even with 2-3 seats sold, maybe they should consider only selling 5 seats rather than 6 and allowing people to bring a reasonable amount of luggage. My carry-on plus personal item always weighs significantly more than 25 pounds, and I imagine that is true for most other people who don’t check bags.

  14. Unless you’re situated right next to the BLADE heliport you need, I question how much time you actually save using BLADE — especially after factoring in (1) the time it takes to get from your origin to the BLADE heliport, (2) the time it takes for BLADE to shuttle you from your helicopter to the *curbside* part of your terminal (my understanding is that this ride is shared with others, who may be going to different terminals than you are), and (3) the fact that you still need to show up at the heliport something like 15-20 minutes in advance.

  15. They need to go from airport to airport

    I’d think about doing LGA to JFK for $200 pp

    If United wasn’t as dumb as a brick, they’d consider JFK to EWR for premium passengers for $100 or whatever.
    At $3500 a pop, should be able to expand their international presence

  16. Anyone else notices how the airports are serviced by the heliport that’s furthest away from it? Don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad. On one hand you’re getting the most value, but also seems inefficient.

  17. I took this last month to JFK and it was about 45 min door to door from flatiron district to front of terminal 4. You can show up 10 min before the helicopter officially but one guy there showed up only minutes before and it wasn’t a problem. The actual helicopter ride is only 5-10 minutes long.

  18. Was it 4 or 5 pax that died on a blade flight last year? sorry but no boeing-style gypsy rotor service is worth the price.

  19. When they allow more than ONE piece of luggage ( which isnt realistic at all for literally 99% of those travelling) , then i maybe will consider this.

  20. If there was a City Air Terminal in NYC like there is in a lot of cities in Asia you could check in and check your bags then later take blade without bags to your flight.

  21. Aaron, there’s a reason for that which is where it makes the business most viable. For those travellers who are on the nearer side a cab is shorter, and cheaper so there’s less benefit. But their case is that if you’re closer to the heliport, the taxi ride is even more due to having to cross more traffic.

  22. Unless they can cut the price roughly in half I see this failing, as all previous similar services have failed. This saves only about 20 minutes given that you need to cab to the heliport and then transfer to the terminal (putting to one side the luggage issues), at a premium per person of over $100. Very few people value their time at over $500/hr. and most of those people don’t want to have a conversation with their clients to whom they are often passing on their travel expenses about why they need a helicopter transfer at such a premium. Would be happy to be wrong.

  23. For going Manhattan to JFK, once you add up time to:
    1) go from hotel to the heliport
    2) the helicopter flight itself
    3) shuttle ride from landing site to the airport terminal
    the helicopter service is only 15-20 minutes shorter than taking the LIRR+AirTrain which costs less than 10% of the helicopter price. This looks more like a flightseeing tour of NYC than an airport service.

  24. I remember there was a start up called Gotham Air that did this same “ride share” strategy and had an app for booking that flew to all three NY/NJ airports from Wall St, Morristown and other locations. Then suddenly they disappeared… were they purchased by BLADE?

  25. Claiming it’s comparable to an Uber Black SUV is so misleading.

    they don’t charge you 195 PER PASSENGER. if you put 4 people in an SUV, you’re paying the same fare.

  26. Its tempting to consider using this for EWR flights. For LGA and JFK not so much, but EWR it would be a more significant time saver for me.

  27. The issue is not the cost of a flight. It’s the insane cost is paid by the majority who do not use helicoptors. We are in a Climate Crisis. Helicopter travel is THE most polluting choice. AND Blade’s tarmac at the Pegasus VIP Heliport at W.30th ST is right in the middle of the Hudson River Park, irresponsibly dangerous and literally cropdusting the entire park with toxins. If you’d like, I can send you the 30 year history of New York’s citizens fight to close the Heliport. It will make a compelling story.-Jim ,New Yorker

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