Here is a guest entry from Philadelphia-based freelance writer, Alaina Mabaso, who sampled XOJet’s helicopter transfer and WiFi-equipped Challenger 300 business jets in New York on 3 February.
Thirty minutes to travel a couple New York City blocks by car? No worse than waiting for the bus during my usual travels.
But today, I’m sampling life in XOJet’s 8-passenger Challenger 300. XOJet wants northeast bizjet customers to know that there’s no need to take one of those pesky taxis, subject to all the woes of Manhattan gridlock, when a helicopter can take you from Wall Street to the Teterboro, NJ airport in six minutes flat.
When I arrive at the pier, the Bell 430′s blades are already throbbing, as if it too is impatient with the cars. As I trot under the thundering rotors, I try to imagine that I am not a writer who woke up extra early to ride crowded trains from the Philadelphia suburbs to NYC, but that I am a seasoned corporate traveler who demands the fastest service to the airport. As partners to XOJet’s fleet, HeliFlite copters are the speediest taxis around, taking you deep into the next state in a fraction of the time it takes to cross a city by car.
The helicopter’s cabin holds four, and it seems bigger than my apartment’s kitchen. My previous experience in helicopters has involved headphones engulfing my ears against the racket while I tried not to nudge any of the controls. Today, I could barely see the two pilots up front, and I’ve had a harder time conversing inside of my brother’s Mustang.
As a snow-covered NYC spread out under us, the horn-honking tangle at intersections and the trash bags piled on dingy snow-banks receded into a towering, iconic grace. A few minutes later, as I mount the steps of the jet, I realize that not everyone has to feel the chilly security-line floor under their stocking feet before they board a plane.
As we seem to float up off of the runway and gain altitude, a perfectly plane-shaped patch of tarmac in an expanse of snow remembers an aircraft that must have been left out in the recent storm. It was a small, sunny, convivial world aboard the jet, full of luxury leather seats, press kits and premium beverages. Instead of hearing the pilots, faceless and godlike over an intercom, I strolled up and said hello. A little turbulence sent us to our seats of our own accord – no frostily polite flight attendants needed.
Returning from Teterboro to the Wall Street pier in the helicopter over spectacular views of NYC, I almost expected the opening credits of a romantic comedy to begin scrolling across my view. But an hour like this – even if it’s the norm for America’s most successful business-people – is better than a day at the movies for the rest of us.