20 Feb, 2019FORTUNE.COM
American Airlines is expanding its Five Star Service luxury options by joining forces with the helicopter company Blade.
The airline Tuesday announced the service, available to flyers at Los Angeles (LAX) and New York (JFK) airports.
The partnership will provide flyers with an airport shuttle through the Blade Bounce program, giving flyers a private helicopter ride to bypass street traffic and long lines at the airport. Once their helicopter lands, flyers will meet a personal escort who will walk them through priority check-in and an expedited TSA screening, before leaving them at their gate or at an American Airlines Admirals Club.
“We understand the value our customers put on their time and a personalized end-to-end travel experience -- whether it is a private travel experience, a little more luxury, fine dining in the airport or getting to the gate quickly, we have them covered,” Janelle Anderson, American Airlines Vice President of Global Marketing said in the news release.
Anderson added the service will give customers more options when flying American.
According to Fast Company, Blade will be available to all American Airlines passengers, regardless of where they’re seated in the cabin. But the service isn’t financially accessible to everyone, and can cost upward of $1,600 for the combined departure and arrival service.
That’s not the only cost. Former New York City Parks commissioner Adrian Benepe told Fast Company the Blade rides cause both noise and air pollution.
“People who fly in helicopters to the airport are putting their convenience, the few minutes of time savings, over the happiness and health of millions of their neighbors,” Benepe said. “If there were a nonpolluting, quiet hovercraft or electric helicopter ... I would have no problem with that.”