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Review: How is the 5 minute, $145, Blade helicopter transfer from Manhattan to Newark or JFK?

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This is our review of the Blade helicopter transfer service from Manhattan to Newark or JFK airports in New York.

Reader Chris, who recently contributed a very popular article on how to get a second UK passport, was in New York recently and offered to review Blade for us. We were happy to agree.

Over to Chris …..

Blade helicopter servce New York review

Anyone who has flown to New York will have at some stage suffered the hell-like traffic getting in and out of Manhattan from JFK or Newark. On a recent trip I managed to swap from a $110 and 90 minute Uber to Newark to a $145 (using a referral code) and five minute helicopter flight with Blade.

There really is no quicker or more convenient airport transfer in the world. Where else can you pretend to be Logan Roy from Succession as you fly over the Statue Of Liberty on the way to make your flight? 

Costing $195, Blade runs a twice hourly service to JFK and Newark. It departs and arrives at their helipad just off the Hudson River near Hudson Yards on 30th and 12th Avenue.

How to book Blade

You can either book a private helicopter for $1775, which takes up to five passengers and operates on demand, or for $195 book the by-the-seat service which runs from 7am to 7pm weekdays and varying times over weekends. 

If you’re booking your first flight (like I did) then use my promo code ChrisC457 for a $50 discount. I get $25 off a future flight too – and I’m really keen to try this again. You can book at blade.com.

Blade New York helicopter transfer review

The online booking process at blade.com is as easy as it should be and the app offers an almost identical experience. You pick your airport, whether you’re departing or arriving, the date and the time. If you are departing Manhattan it asks what time you want to arrive curb-side. If going from an airport then it’s what time you land. You fill in your flight details and it gives you the options for your Blade times.

My domestic flight from Newark departed at 10am so I got an 8.35am Blade followed by a private SUV transfer. The app said that I’d be at the terminal by 9am.

You can book for flights well into the future or as soon as 30 minutes later. There are various meet and greet, transportation and insurance options plus flexible ticketing permutations.

Timings

You need to be at the Blade terminal 10 minutes before your flight. If connecting from a commercial flight and flying to Manhattan then Blade will monitor it for any delays and put you on the next available service if needed.

Review blade helicopter transfer service New York Newark

Baggage rules

For international travellers the one downside to Blade is the baggage policy. Since I was travelling domestic I only had carry-on luggage, which is exactly what fits into a Blade.

You are allowed:

“Only one commercial airline carry-on (21.7 in x 13.7 in x 9 in), which will be stored in the aircraft’s baggage compartment, and one personal item (eg. Laptop, Purse, etc.) are allowed per person no heavier than 25 lbs across both carry-on bag and personal item combined.” 

In reality my bag wasn’t weighed but was collected by their staff so I suspect if it felt heavy they might have.

If flying with more bags, Blade has partnered with Tote Taxi. Tote will pick up and deliver two bags anywhere in Manhattan for $105 and your baggage will either meet you at the helipad at the airport or be transferred to your accommodation.

My Blade experience

I arrived at the lounge just after 8am for my 8.35am flight after a quick Uber from my apartment. Located a few blocks from Hudson Yards the area is not too busy.

Blade helicopter terminal New York

The car pulled in by the easily marked entrance and I made my way inside the lounge. Upon entering I was greeted at the bar, confirmed my destination and had my ID checked. I was given a wristband to wear and a small Blade tag was put on my case.

I was shown the helicopter outside the window that was taking us, was told there were two others on the flight with me and that as soon as they arrived we would go.

Since I was the only person in the lounge I had my pick of chairs and took the end of a large sofa. I was offered a drink, taking a well made proper coffee rather than booze at this time of the morning.

The lounge gave off cool Virgin-ish vibes, with open windows showing the helipad and a large bar area from which you could pick what you fancied. There was one bathroom with amenities available on request. I didn’t see any snacks, but also didn’t ask for any since I’d grabbed a bagel before leaving my apartment.

I got chatting to the member of staff who said they were expecting a pretty busy afternoon but the morning flights were usually fairly quiet. She gave me a portable Blade wine glass which you could take on to the flight with you.

Blade helicopter review

Ten minutes later another passenger arrived and around 8.25am the final passenger turned up. We were individually asked to wait at the end of the lounge. The helicopter started up and we confirmed our bags as they were placed into the hold. We then followed, single file to the helicopter. A short walk over the helipad and we jumped in, put our headsets on and awaited take off. Sadly no one played the Succession theme tune.

The helicopter had three soft style seats facing towards the cockpit and two armchair style seats facing the back. With three of us there was plenty of room, but with five it would be a bit of a squeeze – albeit only for five minutes.

The pilot quickly checked we were all going to Newark and within seconds we lifted up and smiles lit up across all of our faces. There really is no cooler way to head to the airport.

The first two minutes or so were spent travelling down Manhattan with glorious views of Lower Manhattan and Freedom Tower. We flew directly over the Statue Of Liberty before hanging a right towards Newark Airport. As the Manhattan skyline moved into the distance we had the unique aerial vantage point of watching planes land and take off at Newark.

Blade helicopter transfer New York review

The headsets allowed us to talk to each other, the pilot and hear ATC and before we knew it we were flying over the runway, over the terminals and around Newark before coming down to land at the private terminal. As expected it was five minutes on the dot.

We exited the Blade and were walked to their private terminal and quickly ushered through into a waiting SUV. Our bags swiftly followed. 

We spent eight minutes driving to the terminal, longer than the time we had spent in the air, and by 8.50am I was inside.

Blade helicopter Newark

Frustratingly, despite giving my flight details and departing terminal, I was dropped with the two others at the wrong terminal. Nobody checked what terminal we were going to and by the time I realised their mistake it was too late. In the future I’d be sure to mention to the driver what terminal you are heading for. After the glamour of a helicopter I found myself schlepping on the skytrain across the airport.

That mistake aside I can’t fault Blade. It is a classy, exclusive yet accessible experience. If you are travelling solo it’s not really much more than an Uber or a taxi and so much quicker. For a family the cost savings aren’t there, but the time savings are. 

For the price you pay it is incredible value, super efficient, super cool and you get a free sightseeing trip thrown in! 

Blade flies from New York airports, Miami, The Hamptons, Nantucket and beyond.

Use code ChrisC457 at sign up and receive a $50 discount toward your first flight at blade.com.

Comments (85)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • crunky says:

    in my experience;

    the quickest way, to/from midtown, is always

    LIRR Penn – Jamaica 16-22mins express/local trains every few mins

    JAMAICA Air Train to Terminal [T5 has the longest walk to the air train]

    typically about 30 mins from exiting customs, to standing in PENN

    LIRR $5- $10.75 depending on peak/off peak/city fare

    Air Train $8

    on tuesday it was $13 and 30 mins for me.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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