Happy Presidents Day!
The last few weeks were super busy (not in a bad way), resulting in abandoning the second half of my Birmingham trip to get home early. But with that behind us I’m paying attention to travel deals again.
One of the most interesting (to me) is the launch of Gotham Air.
In partnership with a helicopter flight operator, Gotham Air provides helicopter rides from New York City to JFK and Newark Liberty airports. The ride is said to take six minutes.
Regular pricing is $199 to $219 depending on departure time, but currently promo code LAUNCH discounts the fare to $99.
That’s a great deal considering a taxi between the city and JFK can cost upwards of $50 and a decent car service can exceed $99.
And that doesn’t consider the time savings. A 6-minute helicopter ride vs. hour(s) in city traffic – not a tough choice. Heck, even full price doesn’t seem unreasonable given the time savings.
However, as with all newly-launched services there is the potential for “bugs” in the system. A few concerns came to mind based on either my own (limited) helicopter-riding experience or Gotham Air’s FAQs:
- A flight is not guaranteed to depart unless four or more seats have been paid in full. So if using this service I’d suggest having a back-up plan.
- Luggage is limited to one carry-on of up to 25 pounds. That’s a pretty onerous restriction even if you travel light. (The company says if you have more luggage they can “probably make special arrangements,” but does not say what cost/hassle such arrangements might incur.)
- Unlike taking a taxi or car service, you need to get to the heliport to begin the journey. They currently operate from just one heliport – at Pier 6 – although two more will be added “soon.”
- Helicopter rides are loud, cramped, and not always smooth (I personally get very motion-sick in them). Of course a 6-minute ride isn’t long, so I’m not saying this would be a horrible experience. Just suggesting it be viewed as a practical means of getting to the airport rather than an indulgent experience.
In any case, I would definitely consider this next time I’m in NYC. If you beat me to it, let me know how it goes!
- Hilton HHonors Dining: A signup bonus of up to 2,000 points. If you are unfamiliar with travel-provider-affiliated dining programs, see this post for tips. (Join by Mar. 31, 2015.)
- La Quinta Inns & Suites: 300 points for watching a video. Don’t forget to click the “Get Your Points” button at the end to input your membership information for the points. [Thanks to InACents.]
- Wilsons Leather: $10 off a purchase of $10+ with promo code 7785. I needed a new phone case and picked one up for a net cost of 49 cents. Although the code already gives free shipping, I used ShopRunner for free expedited shipping and free returns (though obviously I wouldn’t bother returning a 49-cent item). I did not see an expiration date to the promo code but since it is a Presidents Day offer I wouldn’t expect it to last beyond today.
- Neiman Marcus: $50 off a purchase of $100+ when paying with Visa Checkout. Any credit card can be used with Visa Checkout. (Expires Feb. 17, 2015.)
- Chick-fil-A: Free coffee (hot or iced) throughout February.
- Free pedometer (for AAA members). Or just download a pedometer app for your phone. 🙂 (Valid until Mar. 31, 2015 or while supplies last.)
Enjoy the remaining weekend.