No, not the day-walking vampire hunter. Blade is a free app that’s basically the Uber of short distance air travel. I’m talking helicopters. You may even remember when Uber partnered with Blade for a July 4th promo.
Warner Music COO Rob Wiesenthal had the idea to make an Uber-like app but for the helicopter industry. He partnered with the cofounder of GroupMe and music service Splice, Steve Martocci, and together they created the operator and logistics managing app Blade.
Basically, Blade does all the work of finding you a helicopter if you’re looking to make a trip less than 200 miles.
Get to da choppa!
Currently, they only operate in the NY-area, with one way seats to the Hamptons or Fire Island from NYC at $575.
What you do is either hop on a flight that someone else booked or create your own flight on your schedule and hope others fill your seats to bring your cost down. It really is like an Uber Air (if that were a thing). You do everything from the app. There are no operators, agents or emails exchanged. Just a simple app.
Not sure that there’s a big enough market for helicopter rides? Well Google’s Eric Schmidt would disagree.
As would Alex von Furstenberg, Discover Communications CEO David Zaslav, Raine Ventures, IAC’s Barry Diller, and iHeart Media chairman Bob Pittman. They’ve all invested in Blade, raising $6 million for the company at a $25 million valuation.
When a 3-4 hour trip to the Hamptons suddenly only takes 45 minutes because you can book a chopper right from your phone, the convenience is worth the price.
They’ve even got a friggin’ seaplane: Blade Aqua.
Yes, there’s a seaplane service to Fire Island.
Going to Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod from Manhattan? Got an extra $650 and a smartphone? Then you can take Blade and fly in style.
And it will be in style. You get a paper, water, a drink, a snack and even a Mercedes Benz ride if weather grounds your chopper. (Though that offer is only valid Memorial Day 2015 through Labor Day 2015.) Blade’s luxury lounges are also unlike a normal heliport, they’re pure class.
But that doesn’t mean it’s only available for the ultra-wealthy. Blade said:
“These people aren’t assholes saying, ‘I’m some banker flying above traffic and screw you.’ They’re people who view it as a fun luxury to them. Seventy percent of people had never flown in a chopper before. We’re making it really easy to do, and it’s completely done from your app.“
When you think about NY traffic and how convenient it would be to soar above it, that price seems pretty damn affordable. Best part is there’s no membership or anything. The app is free and you only pay for the flight you specifically request.
What’s amazing is the Blade Bounce service which will get you from your jet to the city in five minutes, as long as you’re at JFK, Newark, Teterboro, Westchester, or LaGuardia. Book the chopper and 20 minutes later you’ll be on your way for about $800-$900.
So not only is it classy and convenient, it just sounds like a really fun way to travel.