Uber expands to the Hamptons and helicopters

To promote its summer SUV service to the upscale Long Island enclave, Uber is offering $3,000 chopper flights Wednesday.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
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Joan E. Solsman
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An Uber SUV sits near East Hampton's Old Hook Windmill
Starting this week, an Uber SUV can shuttle New Yorkers to the Hamptons to see sites like East Hampton's Old Hook Windmill, if the $3,000 fare for a chopper is too rich. Uber

Car-hire app startup Uber is expanding service to the well-heeled Hamptons this week ahead of the Independence Day holiday, a little more than two months after New York gave it the green light as the first taxi-hailing app to operate in city.

And to celebrate, Uber would be pleased to offer a $3,000 helicopter lift to the tony stretch of Long Island.

Starting Wednesday and running through Labor Day weekend, New Yorkers can summon a private driver to the Hamptons using the startup's iPhone or Android apps, or its mobile site at m.uber.com. One-way flat rates are $300 for uberX, its midrange car service; $400 for UberBlack, its high-end sedan or SUV offering; and $500 for UberSUV, a guaranteed SUV that can seat more people than an average car. The service is also available in and around the Hamptons.

But on launch day itself, you can take that SUV to a helipad and jump on a chopper instead.

A phone with the Uber app in a helicopter cockpit.
A phone with Uber's app in a helicopter cockpit. Uber
Uber will offer an UberChopper service Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m. that will dispatch an SUV to pick up customers, escort them to their nearest NYC helipad for a helicopter ride to the Hamptons, where an SUV will be waiting to complete the trip to the final destination.

Uber's business has expanded quickly, now in areas including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, London, and Berlin. It is also expanding its services, such as the rollout of UberX, which charges less for hybrid cars with shorter waiting times than traditional rides.

But its growth has been crimped by regulatory battles in many of the places where it and ride-sharing apps like it have arrived. New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission was initially resistant before allowing a pilot program with Uber in April. And cities like Chicago, Washington, Denver, Miami, and San Francisco have also had their tiffs with these companies in the past.

The Hamptons expansion shouldn't raise additional hurdles for Uber, the company said, as drivers are fully licensed to operate throughout that area.

Update, 10:12 a.m. PT: adds that Uber service is available in the Hamptons as well as to and from it.