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Gotham Air is the helicopter taxi you can order from your smartphone

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Gotham Air, a new ride-sharing service in New York City, has released its iOS and Android apps to the general public. They probably won't be replacing Uber or Lyft in most people's lives though, because as the name suggests, Gotham Air rents out helicopters not cars. Plus, its choppers only fly from Manhattan's Downtown Heliport to either JFK or Newark airport, and passengers can only have one 25-pound carry-on bag with them. The apps are easy enough to use, though: just sign up for an account, reserve a seat for $219 each (the service sometimes offers an introductory price of $99 for certain times of the day) and pay via credit card.

Yes, that amount is per seat. And the helicopter will only take off if a flight gets four reservations out of six. The app indicates which flights already have four reservations, so users can buy the fifth or the sixth slot without having to worry whether the flight's a go. If a customer bought a seat early and nobody else in the area wants to spend $$$ to fly on a helicopter to the airport, they'll at least get a refund. That is, unless they're loaded and can rent the whole aircraft -- and, let's face it, the service is most likely targeting the uber rich anyway.

According to Gizmodo's review, Gotham Air's choppers are FAA-certified and equipped with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Seeing all of NYC from above sounds like a great way to travel... the bad news is, passengers only have six minutes to enjoy the sights before the aircraft reaches its destination. In the future, the service might expand to other destinations, but that will only happen if it becomes a hit among moneyed Manhattan locals.

Don't see the iPhone app right now? Don't fret, Gotham tells us that yesterday's App Store outage held things up a little, but it should be available any time soon. The apps are now available to download!

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