Don’t you hate it when you can’t order a helicopter on demand?
We mean, all the hassle of finding a chopper is a total buzzkill, right?
Though most of us only wish we had such “problems,” last year there came a solution in the form of Blade. If you’re in the dark, think of it as an Uber for helicopters to fly those who can afford it extremely short distances.
It’s the brainchild of Warner Music COO Rob Wiesenthal, who set out to change the helicopter hassles of the wealthy two years ago with a shiny new mobile app for the chopper industry. He partnered with Steve Martocci, the cofounder of GroupMe and the music service Splice, to launch Blade last Memorial Day weekend.
And the Hamptons-heading NYC set breathed a collective sigh of relief when helicopter flights were made possible via a partnership with Liberty Helicopter between NYC and the Hamptons. Uber later partnered with Blade for a Fourth of July weekend promotion.
While a traffic-filled drive to the Hamptons can take a few hours, a chopper ride gets you there in 45 minutes.
Not surprisingly, the operation was a major success; it fuelled 800 trips to the Hamptons in just 16 weeks. Since, the app has been downloaded more than 20,000 times.
Like Uber, Blade is a logistics manager, and doesn’t own any of its own aircraft. Users can either select a future flight that has already been scheduled (it’s $575 per seat one way to the Hamptons from New York City) or create a flight for anytime they want. The thing is, though, if you want a whole new fight, you must pay for the entire chopper up front and hope that Blade fills the extra seats to counterbalance the cost.
And if they can’t, we have a feeling it’s no big deal.
What is a big deal, however, is the fact that – in the wake of last summer’s success – Blade has launched new services and destinations, and raised $6 million at a $25 million valuation from some pretty influential names in business.
Now, members can fly to Fire Island via a new seaplane service, Blade Aqua. Users can now also book a flight (for around $650 USD) to Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod from Manhattan. As an added perk for private jet set, the new Blade Bounce gets you from your jet and into the city in just five minutes. Upon arrival at JFK, Newark, Teterboro, Westchester, or LaGuardia, your chopper will be waiting within 20 minutes of booking for a cool $800-900.
Because, you know, a $60 cab into the city is just not worth the traffic and inconvenience.
A Blade experience is complete with perks like rose served in sippy cups, and luxurious lounges for waiting on your chopper.
The said new investors include the likes of Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Discover Communications CEO David Zaslav, IAC’s Barry Diller, Alex von Furstenberg, Raine Ventures, and iHeart Media chairman Bob Pittman.
The goal is for Blade to own all flights for distances under 200 miles.
So, if you find yourself in NYC this summer with bills to burn…
Photos courtesy of Flyyblade.com