Over the years a bunch of different helicopter services have offered service between the main airports in New York and Manhattan which have come and gone, but now there is another one: Blade Helicopters!
There are a couple ways to look at these services and to compare the different providers with each other, since the prices that were out there varied greatly across the board.
If I remember correctly, the first mainstream service was U.S. Helicopter which used Sikorsky S-76 models to shuttle passengers around and the price wasn’t cheap either back then (~ 2008) yet the company closed down as their business model was apparently not sustainable (at least at the time).
I took it once just for fun and enjoyed the experience of flying a Helicopter in and out of New York as it’s without a doubt one of the most spectacular cities in the world to look at from above. Since U.S. Helicopter shut down, I haven’t followed the market, partly because I didn’t visit NYC as frequently, but roughly a year or so ago offers started popping up in the media and various airline websites promoting new services.
The last one I read about was called Gotham which used to offer $99 rides back in the day, but they often ended up being cancelled because the operator didn’t want to fly when only a few people had it booked. Of course the financial overhead and pressure is obvious: When you offer rides for that low a price, you better have deep pockets to subsidize this promotion during the introduction period.
Right now with Blade Helicopters, the price for a single ride has been set at $295 [$195 as per April 2017] which isn’t cheap (a little expensive rather) but should ensure the trip allows the operator to make a profit or at least break even when the helicopter isn’t fully occupied.
You can access the website for Blade Helicopters here.
If you want to hire your own, private ride it will start at 895$ for a six seat helicopter. That means if you have 3 passengers fix you can just as well request your own helicopter or at least get a quote for it.
To make a decision if such a helicopter transfer is worth the money, you have to look at the parameters of your trip. Where are the arrival and departure points of your helicopter and how much commuting is required to get to these points? I wouldn’t pay a premium of $200-220 compared to a limousine or taxi for a 45 minute time saving.
I don’t get the impression that it’s actually worth it for the sake of saving time in comfort unless it’s really jammed on the way to/from JFK which can happen at times. It is however something special as an experience to enjoy the view of Manhattan while flying in/out and could be paired nicely with a leisure visit.