Uber is expanding one of its pre-existing services and establishing a new one. On Tuesday, Uber announced that they would be expanding the availability of their conversation free rides, as well as launching their helicopter service in New York City. The latter will allow for a very quick trip to the airport, though it will of course be very expensive.
People looking to use these new Uber services will have to choose a Comfort Trip from a list of various options, which includes UberX, Uber Pool, UberXL, and Uber Black. The Comfort option will feature mid-size cars with extra-leg room, and allows customers to request an ideal temperature from their driver.
At the same time, riders from around the nation will now be able to request silent rides where the drivers won’t talk to them, in case they want to ‘take a nap or read emails’ according to the company itself. This service existed before, when it was launched in May, but it was only available Uber Black and Uber SUV, both of which are premium rideshare services.
As for Uber’s helicopter service, aptly named Uber Copter, it will be quick and expensive. The eight minute trips will only be available on weekdays during afternoon rush hour, flying riders between Manhattan to JFK International Airport for $200. That said, these helicopter trips won’t be available for just anyone. These rides, the number of which will be determined by demand, will only be available for Uber customers with the highest levels in the company’s reward program, Platinum and Diamond. It’s also worth noting that the helicopter flights aren’t performed by Uber itself, but rather by HeliFlite, a helicopter charter company based in New Jersey.
It’s also important to take into consideration that these helicopter flights only cover a very specific strip of land. In order for the helicopter option to even be available, the trip in question must start or end in lower Manhattan, JFK International, or certain areas of the West Side Highway. Uber will use its car rides to get its passengers to the helicopter, and the helicopter rides themselves will be able to be booked the day of your trip, or up to five days in advance. Up to five people will be able to ride on the helicopter at a time, and each of them will be able to bring a carry-on bag and a personal bag. The copter pilot cannot be tipped by the riders.
Uber is clearly branching out in its goal to become a ‘one-stop shop’ for everyone’s transportation needs. Their services will likely continue to expand to other types of transportation as time goes on, especially now that they are an IPO and need a new business strategy to make a profit. What service they will unleash next remains to be seen.