I Really Want to Take a Helicopter to the Airport
December 16, 2009
US Helicopter is a company operating out of a heliport a few blocks from my Wall St. apartment. They offer helicopter rides to the airport. $165 and you’re there in 8 minutes.
But it’s better than that! I went in there once, to ask a question, and saw that you get to go through airport security at the heliport, with just five or six other people, thereby skipping the line at the airport. This is because the helicopter is going to drop you on the tarmac, inside the airport, not out front like a taxi.
I first heard about US Helicopter when they started running ads on the top of taxis; the ads said — if I may paraphrase — “$165 to JFK. Bill that extra hour.” I laughed and laughed when I saw it; certainly the helicopter service will save you an hour or more. And naturally, you will spend that extra hour at the office, where you will bill at least $165 for it! Only in New York, I thought.
For the non-New Yorkers, though, keep in mind that a taxi to JFK or Newark (the two airports served by USH) will cost $45 for JFK, and at least $80 for Newark. There are trains and shuttles that go to both airports, but unless you live in exactly the right place, you will almost certainly have to shlep your stuff up and down numerous sets of subway stairs, etc., to even get on the shuttle or AirTrain. So, an extra $85-120 to skip taking your luggage on the subway, save you probably several hours, and allow you to skip the security line really doesn’t sound so bad. Also, you get to ride in a helicopter. I really haven’t mentioned that part enough. You get to ride in a helicopter! Right past the Statue of Liberty! Then to the airport! Also, I can walk to the helicopter from my apartment!
So, I have wanted to do this for some time. Readers of the blog have seen that I have recently traveled to Sweden, Edinburgh, and Toronto. There have also been trips to Virginia and Ohio in the last eighteen months or so. But every time, for some reason: no helicopter. Once, I didn’t realize until I had booked my flight that the helicopter doesn’t go to LaGuardia. Once, I didn’t realize that it doesn’t operate on weekends, at all (the Wall St. location and the “bill that extra hour” thing should’ve made the target market pretty obvious). And now, just as I am headed out for another trip this Friday, I was hoping to take the helicopter (to Newark! on a weekday!), except that all service has been halted for an indefinite period of time. Probably something to do with that target market.
The last time (and the first time) I rode in a helicopter was when I went on tour in the Middle East.
We (three other comedians and I) did two shows on the USS Enterprise in the middle of the Persian Gulf, and were flown by helicopter to the USS Gettysburg to do another show there.
For some reason, I found these buttons funny.
We landed on this!
The show we did in the tiny mess hall on the Gettysburg — I don’t think there were microphones, and the comics just stood behind a lunch table — I remember as being one of the best of my life. I’ve never heard a packed room laugh so loud. I still have a USS Gettysburg belt buckle, which I keep intending to put on an appropriate belt and wear in a non-ironic way.
I hope USH gets its act back together. Because I want to be in a helicopter as soon as possible. Thank you.