Attention, rich people: if you live in Shanghai or Hangzhou you can now charter a helicopter using the popular (maybe recently-hacked) American ride service app, Uber.
Tomorrow (Saturday, April 25) customers willing to fork out a cool 2,999 RMB (about 484 USD) can summon a EC135 helicopter that will take them on a sky cruise over Shanghai’s most scenic locations, Uber announced on its Weibo account. A similar service that would take customers on an aerial tour over Hangzhou’s most attractive locales will launch in May.
The UberCHOPPER service—which will include a ride to the heliport in a Mercedes-Benz CLS sports sedan—is for now just a one-day pilot program. The trial run this Saturday will commemorate the one-year anniversary of Uber’s entrance into China. Since its debut in Shanghai, Uber has expanded into nine mainland cities, including Chongqing, Wuhan and Chengdu.
The entire trip will last from three to four hours, the company said on its website. It’s pretty much as simple as hailing, well, an Uber.
1. Select #UberCHOPPER in the Uber app from 9am to 10:30am on Saturday, April 25th.
1. Set your pick-up location and press the request button.
You will receive a phone call confirming your request, and an Uber will be dispatched to your location. When you arrive at the Helipad, the trip will be ended in-app, but the experience begins.
It is unlikely UberCHOPPER will become a popular form of commuting anytime soon. China’s airspace is still tightly controlled by the military, and all low-altitude flights require approval from the government one day in advance. For now, Uber is marketing the service as sightseeing service for (rich) tourists and dating couples. The company will consider expanding the service based on the success they see Saturday.
UberCHOPPER, which comes on the heels of UberBOAT in Hangzhou last week, is being launched a time Uber’s future in the Chinese market is uncertain. The merging of Chinese ride-hailing apps Kuaidi and Dididache last month, which together now take up an estimated 99 percent of the market share, has seriously threatened Uber’s already tenuous and legally murky presence in China.
Uber started offering helicopter service in America last year, ferrying rich people from New York City the Hamptons and Montauk. It has since expanded to offering helicopter rides to rich people in L.A., Melbourne, Australia and Cape Town, South Africa.
Read the terms and conditions for UberCHOPPER here.
By Lauren Teixeira