Remember how Kobe Bryant used to take a helicopter over Los Angeles to some of the Lakers home games? Well, "regular" people are doing that now. Extremely rich regular people, but still, people who would consider using Uber to pay for a helicopter ride. The New York Times wrote about the increase in helicopter usage in and around New York City, and how it affects daily life in the area.

New Yorkers use every type of transportation they can find. Cars, trains, buses, bikes, skateboards, roller blades, and anything else that can get them from A to B as quickly and affordably as possible. It's one of the most densely populated areas in the country, and the traffic reflects that. But there's an increasingly popular type of transportation in the city, and it's far different from any of the methods just mentioned. Helicopter demand is exploding, in part thanks to more affordable app-based companies. 

According to the NYT report, helicopter takeoffs at LaGuardia Airport have increased about 25 percent compared to 2017. At Newark Liberty airport, the increase is 21 percent. At Kennedy Airport, there were 1,064 helicopter takeoffs and landings in the first five months of 2018. In 2019, during the same time period, there were 1,966 takeoffs and landings.

Two of the biggest companies servicing these helicopters are Blade and Uber. The services run to the various airports, as well as several popular wealthy areas in Long Island such as the Hamptons. People will use the helicopters to get to or return from the airports or simply request them for quick getaways. According to the report, a Blade helicopter ride from West 30th Street in Manhattan to Kennedy Airport took eight minutes and cost $195.

Apart from highlighting the unpleasant reality that is the class gap, the incessant chopper sounds are bothering those destined to remain on the ground. 

“Just because somebody’s got a couple hundred bucks to get to the airport doesn’t mean they should be doing that to the negative impact of somebody else," chairwoman of a local community board in Queens Betty Brayton said. "They can get to the airport the same way everybody else gets to the airport.”

That said, complaining about noise in New York City sounds like an interesting fight to pick. Read more about the situation in the full story at The New York Times.


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