When a friend invited me on helicopter ride from Manhattan to Newark Airport, I jumped at the chance.
Blade wants to be the “Uber for helicopters” and has both scheduled and on-demand service in LA, NYC, and Miami. This is a service I had been wanting to check out for sometime, but it was more than that. Despite serving in the US Air Force, I had never flown on a helicopter before!
The helicopter was chartered to Newark Liberty International Airport where I conveniently had a United flight home to LA that evening.
I took a ferry across the Hudson River from Paulus Hook station next to the Hyatt Jersey City hotel to 39th St. From there, it was a short walk to the West Midtown Heliport off 30th St.
The “airport” is simply a narrow helicopter landing strip and two trailers — one for JetSmarter and the other for Blade.
The Blade “lounge” is quite swanky, with dark tones and a bar offering complimentary cocktails.
There is no security checkpoint or even a formal check-in. There were four of us traveling to Newark Airport and being the last to arrive, I was greeted by name by one of the uniformed hostesses. She placed a red band around my wrist which noted my seat number and served as my “boarding pass”. My bags were also tagged.
One great thing about flying private is a more flexible departure time. You go when you are ready. Our helicopter was waiting so even though we were booked to depart at 5pm, we left around 4:50p.
BLADE – West 30th Street Heliport (JRA) – Newark (EWR)
April 28, 2017
A hostess led us outside and helped us board.
The pilot welcomed us onboard and provided a safety briefing. In addition to your seatbelt, life jackets are strapped around you in a pouch. Flight time was predicted to be 8-minutes.
While there is no “service” on a 8-minute helicopter flight, you can take drinks from the lounge to enjoy during your flight. These are collected upon boarding and returned by the pilot shortly after takeoff.
Flying a helicopter is certainly a different sensation than an airplane, especially during takeoff and landing. We quickly lifted off and seemed to gently glide along the Hudson, taking in stunning views of the Manhattan skyline on our left side.
Over on the right we flew over the Hyatt Jersey City I had just spent the previous night in:
Moments later we approached Ellis Island and Liberty Island, with incredible view of the Statue of Liberty:
Now came the fun part. As we approached EWR, Air Traffic Control would not give us clearance to land. Runways were too busy. Thus, our 8-minute journey doubled as we circled Newark Airport.
Finally we were given clearance to land on Runway 11 and gradually descended in, gently rocking to the ground before hovering over to the private jet terminal.
Here’s a video of the landing–
The pilot said he had never had to hold for so long. None of us were complaining! We walked inside the terminal and were driven over to the Terminal C.
Let’s just say I could really get used to flying helicopters. My first helicopter ride was so much fun and there is certainly no better way to get from Manhattan to JFK or EWR than by helicopter. Remember, Delta partners with Blade if you want to try this service out on an upcoming trip.