Personal flying taxis are all the rage at this year’s #CES2020. What started as a drone-like contraption with a pod for a human passenger in 2016 is gaining traction with visions of self-flying air vehicles as the original eHang model continues to be tested.
Similarly, Uber is working hard to create an on demand helicopter ride service hailed from an app and met on designated rooftops and helipads. But while the rules and regulations guiding these new transport forms – called eVTOLS
-- make their ways through the long halls of federal and state legislatures, BLADE
, a convenient air mobility solution, is alive and well and ferrying travelers over the crush and chaos of traffic to central urban locations and metro airports.
BLADE Urban Air Mobility is a technology-powered, short-distance aviation company committed to reducing travel friction by enabling cost-effective air transportation alternatives to some of the most congested ground routes in the U.S.
Travelers can book by the seat on scheduled flights throughout the Northeast and West Coast (or charter a flight anywhere in the world). As a virtual airline based in New York City it now offers air taxi services in the New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco areas and contracts with various operators to fly to a number of scheduled destinations. It also runs an app that allows users to book a seat when they want, as well as arrange charter flights.
The company currently operates seven lounges in three states, including four in Manhattan, one in Nantucket, and a seaplane lounge in downtown Miami. Commutes that take an hour or more take minutes through the service, which is a shared seat model so passengers just book a seat, not the whole aircraft.
New this year is BLADE Aspen, which flies between Manhattan, Westchester, Los Angeles, and Aspen on select Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays.. The jets are six retrofitted Gulfstream IV-SPs, reimagined to accommodate 10 guests and give each passenger a captain's chair. Of course, passengers can book the whole plane if they choose, or just a seat. All is possible.
On-board, guests enjoy full in-flight service from BLADE SKYcx cabin attendants. They use preloaded iPad Pros to watch first-run movies, and get those special premium class personal care kits to take home.
Flight time between Westchester and Aspen is four hours, while flying between Los Angeles and Aspen is one hour and thirty minutes. BLADE may be the only way to fly directly between Manhattan and Aspen without the hassle of the going through airports or booking an entire private plane. Passengers by-pass the need to stop in Denver and drive the distances to the Aspen ski mountains. They can have breakfast in New York and head straight to the lifts from the local Aspen air strip by lunch.