Uber launches helicopter service in NYC, expands ‘no talking’ rides nationwide

Uber launching helicopter service in NYC

(CNN/AP) – Uber rolled out new options Tuesday, including an expansion of conversation-free car trips and a helicopter service called “Uber Copter."

“Uber Copter” rides, however, are only available in New York City.

Another catch: Only customers who’ve achieved platinum and diamond status in the company’s rewards programs are eligible.

There’s just one available route, between JFK International Airport and a heliport in Lower Manhattan.

Lucky passengers flying in Uber’s futuristic helicopters will make the trip in about a half hour.

But it won’t come cheap. A single ride costs about $200.

Uber Copter is part of the company’s push into flying vehicles, which is expected to launch in Dallas, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia, in 2023.

The service will eventually be branded under the name “Uber Air.”

Also on Tuesday, the ride-hailing giant launched “comfort” rides nationwide.

Riders are guaranteed a minimum amount of legroom in cars less than 5 years old and can use the app to tell drivers they don’t want to talk. Comfort rides cost 20 percent to 40 percent more for time and distance than standard Uber rides.

In May, the company launched “quiet mode” on its premium ride-hail services Uber Black and Uber SUV.

Users will now be able to select a “comfort” trip from a list of options including Uber Pool, UberX, Uber Black and UberXL.

Uber says it's responding to requests from business travelers and other riders.

The move could help Uber boost revenue, which could nudge the company closer to profitability.

Uber has yet to turn a profit and lost $1 billion in the first quarter of 2019. Executives have said it could take years to turn a profit.

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