UberCHOPPER Takes Flight in LA

For one day, Uber offered its car service users a chance to book a helicopter for $1,500

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For one day only, Uber offered its car service users the chance to book a helicopter ride in Los Angeles. Gadi Schwartz reports from Van Nuys for the NBC4 News at 6 on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2014. (Published Sunday, Aug 31, 2014)

    There may be a day, not too far in the future, when we pull out our iPhone 127C and call for the nearest spaceship in our neck of the galaxy, because we really, really need to hit that new plasma restaurant on Centauri 6.

    But until then? The rideshare boom is very much terrestrial-based. Summon an automobile, get in, get out, all without defying gravity or sailing over traffic.

    That all changed in a rather dramatic and visual way on Sunday, Aug. 31 when a helicopter began to transport riders to Malibu with the sole purpose of quaffing wine. Well, quaffing wine and hashtagging the heck out of their experience, socia media-style, because, yeah, they just took a helicopter to their next glass of wine.

    It was no mere helicopter, though: It was UberCHOPPER, as in Uber, the car company that picks people up and drops them off, quickity-like, a titan in the new (newish?) share economy.

    "For a while it said no chopper available, and then all of a sudden it said 11 minutes, so I clicked it and it said 'en route,' and I said, 'No, way!'" said one user.

    Will there be UberCHOPPERs on every corner now, hovering while awaiting passengers? Well, no. It was a promotion, just on the final day in August.

    UberCHOPPER wasn't, however, strictly like any other scenic helicopter ride. The experience required that you use an Uber app, which calls an UberBLACK -- a posher set of wheels, yep yep -- to wherever you happen to be standing while staring at your phone. "If an UberCHOPPER is available, we'll give you a call to confirm the details." The UberBLACK will eventually deliver you to a helipad.

    And then? You're in a helicopter, headed for Malibu, to drink wine, eat cheese, pet animals, and go on a safari tour of the property.

    Are you hearing a soft-rock '70s soundtrack over that visualization? The soaring-over-the-city part? A few bow-chickas thrown in, to lend your jaunt a touch of extravagance? Yeah, you're so visualizing this.

    The cost: $1,500 (or $500 if you "split the fare," as Uber breaks it down).

    The demand was high, Uber said.

    No doubt about it: We'll be summoning spaceships soon. Mere months? Maybe.

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