LeonB1985 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 10468 times:
A bit of background info...
I recently decided to take an advantage of a Citibank and American Airlines AAdvantage offer to get a free flight to New York. I had seen US Helicopter’s Sikorsky 76 service between JFK and Manhattan mentioned on various websites and thought I’d check out prices, not expecting it to be a viable option. I was surprised that on the date I was flying into JFK, a single flight to TSS (East 34th Street Heliport) was ‘only’ $109 – a lot less than I would have expected, so I went ahead and booked. Not only had I never flown on a helicopter before, I thought this option would be far more comfortable and convenient than the Subway, which I had initially been planning to take.
US Helicopter’s website advised to allow a minimum of 120 minutes if connecting from an international flight with a non-partner airline (as I was), so rather than taking a change with a 110 minute connection, I opted for flight UH210, scheduled to leave at 15:45, some 3 hours 25 minutes after my arrival. I thought this would allow for any delays out of LHR and in case I should get stuck in JFK’s notorious immigration queues.
Departure Airport: John F. Kennedy, New York (JFK) Destination Airport: East 34th Street Heliport, New York (TSS) Airline & Flight Number: US Helicopter, UH202 Aircraft Type: Sikorsky 76 Registration: N154US Date: 11 March 2008
After I had cleared immigration (very quick and painless!) and collected my bags in Terminal 8, I took the AirTrain over to Terminal 3, since US Helicopter uses Delta’s terminal. At around 13:30 I checked in at the First/Business class counter where the check-in agent seemed surprised to have a helicopter passenger. “Oh, we’ve got one for US Heli!” she commented to her colleague. My suitcase was tagged, I was handed my boarding pass and directed towards the security check point. I headed over to security and was given a thorough going over! Only afterwards did I look at my boarding pass and realise that my boarding pass had the famous SSSS on it – a first for me. I wonder if this is the norm for passengers travelling on the helicopter services into Manhattan?
I walked around the terminal for a while before heading to the very drab and dull gate. I went to speak to the US Helicopter staff at the desk, and they quickly asked whether I wanted to travel on the next flight, in around 20 minutes. Not wanting to spend even longer walking around the terminal, I accepted, and we (two other passengers plus myself) were given a full safety briefing in the terminal. We were then driven out across the ramp where the driver collected my suitcase. There was a B767 blocking the taxiway, so we had to wait for some time for the helicopter to arrive.
Our S76, N154US, soon arrived and taxied to the stand. The Captain got out and we were led aboard, with rotors running. Hand luggage was placed in the hold, along with my checked suitcase. I opted for a seat in the first row, behind the First Officer, the door was closed and off we taxied.
The flight lasted just under 10 minutes, with some amazing views of JFK and the Manhattan skyline. Photography was permitted onboard throughout the flight (but not whilst on the ramp), so I’ll let my video and photos do the rest of the talking now!
My view facing forwards
There we are
Take off video
JFK getting smaller as we head towards TSS
Seeing this jetBlue A320 land was amazing - sorry it's so blurry!
Looking over the FO's shoulder
Amazing skyline in the distance
The Empire State Building is in clear view
Looks all the more impressive from a helicopter!
Looking towards the UN (and my hotel too!)
Almost there... East 34th Street Heliport
On the ground - the Captain's 'office'
N154US departing TSS
Hope you've enjoyed the photos and video. I would definitely recommend trying US Helicopter on one of their routes between NYC area airports and Manhattan if you get the chance!
02hilliert From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2007, 520 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 10457 times:
Great trip report, something completely different, good job. i'd love to do one of these flights. My favourite place in NYC is South Street Seaport, where you get a great view of helicopter movements, i really have to do one of these flights myself, not cheap though.
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 10413 times:
You don't see many TR's on helicopters so yours was welcome. I especially liked the take off video next to DL terminal. That used to be the Pan Am terminal and it brought back memories of flying out of there on Pan Am to places like Antigua and Paris on their 707's and 747's in the late 60's and early 70's. Also next to the DL terminal used to be the BN, NE and NW terminal. My first flight on a 747 on NW JFK-ORD in 1971 was out of that terminal. I also remember flying BN to DAL.
I couldn't tell from behind. Was the pilot a woman or long haired man?
B707forever From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 459 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 10372 times:
It really is a ride worth taking. The old NY Helicopter that also went to 34th Street was an amazing ride with great views, and needless to say, the quickest way to JFK! Of course the best was riding from atop the Pan Am building (now Met Life building) until they had a crash which put a stop to that.
LeonB1985 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (6 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 9531 times:
Thanks for all the feedback! Unless I am mistaken (and photos may suggest otherwise), I *think* the co-pilot was a man, but can't now be 100% certain as it was only the captain who got out when we boarded/disembarked.
Mason From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 749 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (6 years 10 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 9187 times:
Interesting, so how much time did you actually 'save'? I can appreciate that taking this flight has its "cool" factor, but if you had collected your bags and headed to a car, I bet you would have been in Midtown around the same time, if not sooner? I just returned from NYC, and we made it from Midtown to JFK in 32 minutes, door-to-door, via the Queens-Midtown tunnel, at rush-hour.
It is interesting that we (I) should bring this up. Living outside of Portland, OR, and with my folks up in Seattle, I calculated the 'savings' of flying v. driving. The drive takes about 3 hours, door-to-door. Running a best-case scenario for the PDX-SEA flight, door-to-door times I figured only saved about 30 minutes! Just some food for thought. Cool pictures, though. Thanks.
DeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8916 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 7939 times:
Just flew US Helicopter today - JFK to Downtown Manhattan. What an experience! It was my first time in a chopper (and it just happened to be the aforementioned N154US, same seat too!) and loved it. Showed up at JFK at 2:50, got a gate pass through security, bought my ticket at 3:07 and was whisked away to a van to go to the chopper, where the rotors were already going and we took off 2 minutes after I got in. Kind of VIP lifestyle-ish - show up at the airport 20 minutes before departure and buy a ticket and go from there.