This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Getting to and from New York City airports can be painful, especially during rush hour. Taking a taxi can get pricey and public transit can be inconvenient.

Helicopter transfers have started to become more popular as a way to quickly travel to one of the city’s airports — flights sometimes take less than five minutes. On-demand helicopter flights like BLADE are becoming more popular, and Delta even partnered with the company last year to offer seamless transfers from Manhattan to your gate at JFK.

Now, United has started a new service offering helicopter flights between Manhattan and its hub at Newark International Airport (EWR). The airline has been running an ad campaign in the city touting the ease of accessibility to Newark via cab or train with slogans like “FASTEWR” and “CLOSEWR” — now United is making access even faster, for those who can afford it.

The service started in mid-May, a United spokesman told TPG. Flights are operated by HeliFlite and passengers can choose from three Manhattan helipads to arrive or depart from (East 34th, West 30th and Wall Street). Once your helicopter lands at Newark, you’ll be driven from Signature, a company operating a private terminal, to wherever your United flight is departing from, either Terminal B or C. If you’re flying into Newark, you can use the service to get into the New York too.

Heliflite’s fleet includes 10 AgustaWestland AW139s, four Bell 430s, four Sikorsky S-76s, and a Bell 429, all relatively large, twin-engine helicopters.

A Bell 429 operated by Heliflite. Image courtesy of Heliflite.

Prices aren’t cheap — you’ll have to shell out $2,099 for one to three travelers and $2,199 for four to six people. (Those figures are for the whole helicopter, not per person.) Helicopter transfers are bookable through United Signature Service which provides VIP travel services, like personal shoppers and airport concierges. If you do book a helicopter you’ll receive other benefits from United like assistance from a personal concierge, club access, and priority check-in.

Unfortunately, these steep prices won’t help on your quest for United elite status. No Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs), Premier Qualifying Segments (PQSs) or Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQDs) will be earned if you arrange a chopper through United.

And if you’re concerned about baggage, Heliflite’s aircraft should be able to accommodate most traveler’s luggage. A United spokesman told us that the Bell 430 has a max cargo weight of 500lbs and the Sikorsky 76B can hold up to 600lbs. If you go over that limit, Signature Service will make separate arrangements for transportation of excess baggage to Newark.

BLADE offers helicopter transfers to Newark and you can book an entire six-person chopper from as little as $1,325 for a one-way flight from Manhattan to Newark — although that price doesn’t include the $250 car transfer to the United terminal. Individual seats on scheduled Blade flights can be booked from $195 one-way.

Driving from Midtown Manhattan to Newark takes about 40 minutes during off peak hours — rush hour traffic can add 20 to 30 minutes more. Train travel runs an hour or more, depending on where you’re leaving from in the city.

United’s been focusing on improving its premium services over the last two years, since rolling out its Polaris Business class experience. The airline opened its third Polaris lounge in Newark last week and has been incrementally retrofitting its long-haul aircraft with the new Polaris seats.

Featured image of a Leonardo AW139 courtesy of Heliflite. 

The article was updated to include mentions of United elite status, travel times to Newark and helicopter baggage limits.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.