5:28 PM


American Airlines is getting serious about their high-end business customers.

Starting March 13, 2006, you can catch a Sikorsky S76 between the Downtown Manhattan or East 34th Street Heliports (starting in April ‘06) and JFK Airport in only eight minutes flight time, saving as much as 82 minutes over the same trip by car. For $139, it’s being called “the ultimate taxi ride” in New York City.

Under contract with US Helicopter, the flights will land at American Airlines’ new terminal at JFK, Terminal 9, gate C43, right outside the Admirals Club. But what's completely cool is this:

Travelers who take the helicopter to the airport will save additional time by going through a security checkpoint and checking their bags at the heliport, bypassing lines at the airport
One has to wonder if American (and also United and Delta) are feeling the pressure of the success of business aviation as it steamrolls forward in 2005/2006. As more and more Top Bananas choose a Gulfstream, Citation or (coming soon) Eclipse over a Boeing or Airbus, the Big Three must continually come up with more and more ways to cater to their very elite flyers.

The $139 fare is called “limited, introductory” on U.S. Helicopters site, so we can only assume this will go up soon. To that I say this: If the Big Three really want this top end business, why charge them anything? Offer a limo or chopper ride gratis and see how fast a CEO can run your way.

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