Sundance: Helicopter Services From Uber and Blade Vie for Business
Uber and Blade launch festival transportation services for festgoers, marking the first time helicopter options compete for business above Park City.
The skies above the Sundance Film Festival are quickly filling up. Two well-known transportation services — Uber and Blade — are offering helicopter services to and from the film festival, which kicks off Thursday and continues through Jan. 31.
Uber, which just received approval from the city of Los Angeles to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport, recently announced that it would operate UberChopper for Sundance in partnership with Airbus. That service offers $200 trips, or $300 at night, complete with Uber SUV service from Park City's helicopter pads. UberChopper also debuted last May at the Cannes Film Festival.
Meanwhile, Blade has joined the Sundance schedule, marking its first foray into the transportation business on the West Coast. The company is already well-known to Manhattan travelers for its private jet rental service (like a carpool service) to Miami as well as helicopter transfers to destinations such as the Hamptons.
Blade's Sundance service offers six seats in a helicopter for $595, but what sets the company apart from other options is its lounge service — think music, cocktails and a cool, retro vibe.
“We’ve never done Sundance and so far, the entertainment companies are really embracing us,” said Blade co-founder Rob Wiesenthal, who is known in the industry for his executive vp and CFO roles at Sony and later as Warner Music Group COO. “It started this morning and it’s going really well. We will be moving more business to the West Coast.”
Blade's service will land on a multimillion-dollar estate in Park City, Utah, and features a lounge inside the house, Wiesenthal added. As for car transportation from there, Uber cars, ironically enough, will transport passengers into the thick of the festival action.
The company already has strong entertainment industry affiliations. By December 2014, the service raised approximately $5.2 million from top executives including Discovery Networks CEO David Zaslav, Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt, IAC chairman Barry Diller and iHeartRadio CEO Bob Pittman, along with the Raine Group. And according to Blade, more than 75,000 travelers have downloaded the company's app. ￼￼