Blade Helicopter Review (JFK to Manhattan)

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What an awesome way to visit New York City… Last Friday, my wife and I flew JetBlue to JFK and helicoptered from there to Manhattan. It was fantastic. And, thanks to JetBlue’s very generous status match for Delta elite’s, the helicopter ride was free.

a man in a suit sitting in a plane

Early this fall, JetBlue offered a status match for Delta elites. Thanks to my Delta Platinum elite status, I was given near top-tier Mosaic 3 status, and thanks to my wife’s Delta Diamond elite status, she was given top tier JetBlue Mosaic 4 status. Both of us will keep our status throughout 2024 because we each picked up a new JetBlue Business card (and the terms of the status match allowed for a full year of status for anyone with that card or the JetBlue Plus card).

JetBlue’s top-tier Mosaic 4 status includes a very interesting perk: 4 Blade helicopter transfers between Manhattan and JFK or Newark Airport. Thanks to my wife’s Mosaic 4 status, we had 4 Blade transfers to spend this year and we’ll get 4 more to spend next year!

Blade Basics

  • Normal price: One-way transfers start at $195 per person, but when I picked a random date and time on Blade’s website, I was quoted $275 per person.  You get a $50 discount if you book round-trip.  So, I think that best case would be to pay as little as $340 round-trip per person, but that $500 round-trip per person is probably more common.
  • Baggage limit: Each person is allowed a personal item and a carry-on bag, but together the bags must total no more than 25 pounds.
  • Manhattan heliports: There are two Blade heliports in Manhattan:
    • East 34th St
    • West 30th St (this is the one I flew into)
  • Supported NYC airports: Blade can be booked from JFK or Newark airport (EWR)

JetBlue’s Mosaic 4 Blade Benefit

  • Mosaic 4 members receive 4 Blade credits each year in which they qualify for that status.
  • Credits are valid only for transfers between Manhattan and NYC area airports (JFK or EWR, in either direction)
  • Blade credits can be used for companions, but the JetBlue Mosaic 4 member must be one of the passengers
  • You must be flying JetBlue the same day
  • As long as your bags are within Blade’s weight limits, there are no extra fees of any kind for flying Blade.

What to expect when flying to NYC

We flew JetBlue to JFK and then Blade to West 30th St.  Here’s how the process went:

  • A Blade rep sent a text before we boarded our JetBlue flight telling us to reply when we deplaned at JFK.
  • After we deplaned, I replied via text and was told that a driver would meet us outside of baggage claim.
  • The driver was already in place by the time we got outside and so we were on our way in no time.  There happened to be another Blade passenger at the same terminal at the same time and so three of us were transported together to Blade’s JFK location.
  • We relaxed for a few minutes in a Blade lounge
  • When it was time to go, a Blade rep came to get us and escorted us out to the helicopter which already has its blades spun up and our bags loaded.
  • Four passengers loaded into the helicopter (which put it at full capacity).
  • We took off and approximately 10 minutes later, we landed at Blade’s West 30th landing pad.
  • We were then led to a small departure lounge where complimentary drinks were available in creative to-go glasses.
  • Our bags were brought to us in the lounge and we were off.

Blade Review

We loved it!  This is THE way to get to the city!  It was so cool to walk out of JFK’s terminal 5 and to be greeted immediately by a driver who took us to the heliport and then to fly to Manhattan!  We were lucky to have spectacular weather and so the flight was smooth and the views were fantastic.  The only thing I’d change is that I’d want to fly on the right side of the helicopter next time when coming into the city because the right side had better views.

Due to Blade’s severely limited weekend hours, we weren’t able to take Blade back to the airport for our return trip this time.  You can be sure though that we’ll plan another trip next year to do this again and we’ll make a point of timing it right so that we can go both ways.

Would I pay for this service if it wasn’t comped by JetBlue?  I would definitely consider it for a special occasion, but I’d have a hard time justifying the price for a regular trip.  It would be cool if JetBlue would make it possible to use points to book Blade at good value.  Then I’d be interested in doing this every time!

Blade Photos

Blade Airport Transport

a car parked on the side of a road
This is the car that took us from JFK Terminal 5 to the Blade heliport at JFK
a car parked on the side of a road
Another car waiting to transport passengers
a silver car parked on a street
Another car waiting to transport passengers

Blade Heliport at JFK

a building with a blue awning
Entrance
a room with blue chairs and a table
Blade Lounge at JFK
a blue helicopter on a tarmac
Time to board!
a blue helicopter on a tarmac
About to board…
a group of people getting off a helicopter
Boarding!

Blade Cabin Photos

a group of people in a plane
The Insta360 camera captures video in every direction and erases its own selfie stick from the images.
a group of men in a helicopter
That’s me enjoying the view as we lifted off. We could talk to each other through the microphones attached to the headsets. I don’t recommend sitting on the left side since the right side had better views (although I did have a great view of the statue of liberty)
a group of people's legs in a car
While the seats were spacious and comfortable, there was hardly any space for feet.
a man in a plane
Don’t worry, there was a window between me and the world, you just can’t see it in this image.
a man in a helicopter
Craning my neck to glimpse the excellent view of the city. New Jersey was to my left.

Views from the Air

a city next to a body of water
This is my favorite shot

a view of a city from the sky

a city with a bridge and a body of water

a city with many buildings

a city with a body of water and a small island with trees
View of Little Island (which is worth visiting if you’re in the Chelsea / Greenwich Village area)

Landing Heliport

a city with a body of water and a parking lot
View from the air of Blade’s heliport. The building to the right is the arrival lounge. The building to the left is the departure lounge.
a blue helicopter on a concrete surface
Our helicopter landed safely and smoothly.
a room with a window and chairs
Blade arrival lounge
a group of bottles on a counter
Blade arrival lounge bar. Drinks are complementary.
a glass with a brown liquid inside
Drinks are poured into these hybrid wine-glass/to-go cups 
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28 Comments
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Tony W

It looks to me like the weak spot of this service is the luggage situation.

Joe

Weight and balance is a big thing in a small aircraft. Heck even CRJ’s have to ballast and/or force moves from time to time.

Yeshivabucher

Are you sure the 4 blade passes renew jan 1 I was under the impression that all the perks were not renewed just extended through 2024

yeshivabucher

from language of the status match offer implied if you achieved the status it would extend the perks that you would get through 2024 not grant remainder of 23 and renewal for 24

yeshivabucher

. just chatted they said 4 total; not 4 and 4

Dean

This is so cool!!!

Mnfinfan

I loved it and was also the beneficiary of the status match to Mosaic 4, I only managed to fly from Manhattan to JFK but in 2 weeks I will get to use 2 more passes doing a there and back.

“I don’t recommend sitting on the left side since the right side had better views (although I did have a great view of the statue of liberty)” that’s true if you’re coming from JFK, but going to JFK from Manhattan the left side is the better side to sit. I sat on the right and got a great view of Statue of Liberty too lol.

But loved the whole experience from start to finish, the ease of it and beating the rush hour traffic was a huge win.

chopsticks

I’d take the free heli ride too, but this service is silly. Who’d think this was “a business”? It’s obviously not at this price point. And that luggage limit is nuts. If you’re over the limit, do they at least courier your bag to you in a couple of hours?

Mnfinfan

Yes they do courier your bags to the airport, there are a couple different ways that they will do that so it makes your flight or be delivered to your location. The price point is for those who can afford it, when I used it, there were 2 Jet Blue passengers, me and another and two paid passengers for a total of 4 passengers. I think I was in the air for 7 minutes and it sure beat the NYC traffic.

Shadrach

Great pictures Greg. Do they have a height considerations? I am 6’3 and looking at your pictures the legroom looks like a puzzle.

Explore

Nice camera, I assume yours?

Q: do sellouts happen with any frequency?

rdover1

One of the many reasons I love reading your material is you discover the oddest awesome stuff. Well done on another one!

Hal

Blade sucks.. I don’t need to go to 30th W or 34th E. I end up wasting more time to go where I need to go in NYC. I would rather fly into HPN by charter and uber to the city

Lee

You fail to consider the context of Greg’s article — that is, he has free passes to use Blade and he’s reporting on its use. You also fail to consider Greg’s audience — who are more likely to fly into one of the three major commercial airports.

But, let’s consider your scenario for a minute. You say that you would charter into HPN (Westchester) to go where you need to go in NYC. Seriously? If one were going to NYC and did not want to waste time, as you say, one would charter into TET (Teterboro) and not HPN. TET is typically a 20 to 25-minute drive into the City. HPN is typically a 40 to 45-minute drive into the City. So, either you are ignorant about your own circumstances or you are a troll talking poop. Whatever it is, your parents must feel ashamed about your incivility.

LarryInNYC

Also, who says “30th W” and “34th E”?

The comment could be translated as “Look at me! I know an airport code!”

All that said, it would be cool if they had a landing point on a rooftop helipad in a more central location. It’s largely forbidden for safety reasons, I think, but wouldn’t it be great to arrive on the roof of the PanAm building (or whatever the kids call it these days).

Mushu_Pork

WORST FREE HELICOPTER RIDE EVER!!!

Dude, lol.

Lynn

So that means Blade sucks?????

Lee

What was the total time from a) pickup at baggage claim to b) receiving your bags at the arrival lounge on the West Side? Thanks.

Lee

Previously, Blade had been an offering within AA’s Five Star Services. One could even have used points to book it. But, no longer. For some time, I have strongly considered Blade. It’s all about time. Your answer has helped me. Thanks.

Let’s say that your gate-to-curb was 5 to 10 minutes and we subtract it from your time. Now, add back in 5 minutes to receive your bags. And, let’s say that from either heliport to one’s hotel is 10 minutes. So, curb-to-curb is about 45 to 50 minutes. During low-traffic periods, you’d be looking at 35 to 45 minutes curb-to-curb with a limo and it’s similarly priced. (Shameless plug: Empire CLS is perhaps the most respected limo service in NY and LA.)

BUT, during high-traffic periods, you’d be looking at as long as 2 hours. So, for someone who is transiting during high-traffic times of the day, Blade can in fact be a very practical resource . . . worth every penny . . . and not just an ooh-wow splurge.

Thanks again. Big help.

LarryInNYC

Also consider:

The car service is for up to four people, and includes standard baggage. The economics are much different if it’s not just one person.There’s some value to be had just from the helicopter ride. That value is positive if you like helicopter rides, or potential negative if you can’t figure out how they stay airborne.

Last edited 4 months ago by LarryInNYC