An eight-minute Uber helicopter ride from Manhattan to JFK International Airport was briefly cheaper than an Uber Black car for a small, select group of users in early November, according to prices offered by Uber.
The helicopter option called Uber Copter to JFK cost about $109 at a discounted price while an Uber Black ride cost about $163 -- about a third more expensive than the helicopter ride -- to JFK on the same day earlier in November. An Uber X, the next-best option below Uber Black, was about $100 for a ride to the airport that day, Bloomberg reported, citing Uber's numbers.
"The average Copter fare for the overwhelming majority of riders is $200 [to] $225 -- this is a temporary discount offered to a small, random set of riders," Uber spokesman Matt Wing said in a statement to FOX Business.
Uber cars pick up passengers at the end of their helicopter trip to bring customers all the way to their destination. Uber Copter is available to customers Monday through Friday during rush hour from Manhattan to JFK. Over the last four weeks, Uber Copter has saved riders an average of 35 minutes compared to driving, and the service has a 97% overall customer satisfaction rate, Wing said.
"Uber Copter has caught on quickly for riders in a rush. In just a few months, we've learned a lot and given New York City riders a hassle-free way to connect to JFK with a view you can't beat," he added.
Uber raised its prices in recent months in an effort by the company to remain profitable by the end of 2021 after its earnings fell throughout 2019. The company lost $5 billion in the second quarter of 2019.
The ride-sharing company cites surge pricing as the result of high demand for rides in condensed areas, such as cities like New York, San Fransisco and Washington, D.C.
"Sometimes ride requests increase unexpectedly. Bad weather, rush hour, and special events, for instance, may cause unusually large numbers of people to request an Uber trip at the same time. This creates conditions where there aren’t enough drivers on the road to serve the uptick in ride requests," its website reads. "Prices may increase to help ensure that those who need a ride can get one."
Similarly, prices can be discounted when demand is low or during special holiday offers.