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LufthansaHON
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Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:15 pm

Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:07 am

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Welcome to my latest trip report.
Here is a quick summary of a quite unique flight that I took recently. Enjoy!



Anyone who has ever been to Bangalore and has taken the dreadful road trip between the BLR airport and the city center (or even into the tech hub area called „Electronics City“) will know what I am talking about: On some days, the trip from the city center out to the airport will take 1.5 hrs for roughly 40 kms... and that would be a good day. On a bad day, the roughly 75km trip from Electronics City to BLR can take as much as 3 hrs – and result in stress, missed flights and whatelse.

I have done this trip myself a few times already, so I know how bad it can be. But finally, there is hope in the air (who accurate for a trip report  ) in the form of HeliTaxi, a new startup in Bangalore that has recently (as of March 2018) introduced helicopter shuttle flight between BLR Airport and Electronics City as well as a central city location, the old HAL Airport (currently used for military as well as General Aviation purposes).

The flights are operated a fee times a day, using Bell helicpoters that can seat 6 passengers. The flight time between Electronics City and the Airport is just 15-20 mins, and besides saving a lot of time it also provides some scenic views. The cost is roughly 45 US$ each way, which is around 2.5 x the price of an Uber for the same distance – yet much, much faster and super convenient. Well worth the cost.


On a recent trip, I was able to sample the brand new Heli Taxi experience myself.

One day before the flight, I used their App (which is quite basic at this point) to reserve a seat for the next day. I was then contacted by the company a few hours later to confirm the seat and arrange the payment, which was a bit complicated, as they are currently only able to process credit cards issued in India. Cash payment is also an option, but it would be much nicer to actually being able to use a credit card and receive a proper receipt (something I never receicved, despite being promised to be e-mailed a proof of payment).

On the day of travel, I took an Uber to the old HAL Airport located roughly in the eastern city center area. This is where the experience failed a second time, as the location of where the driver had to go to was not communicated properly. They should make it simple and have an address or fixed location in their app, so one can give that to the driver. Instead, I was told to come to HAL Airport, Gate 30.... which meant, the really good driver was still a bit lost and we had to circle almost the entire airport area, resulting in nearly missing the helicopter.


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Arriving at the HAL Airport Gate

But once I arrived at the right Airport entry gate, things were much smoother and this is were the experience really started to be great.

Once at the entry gate, a person checked my passport against a manifest and allowed me into the General Aviation area (Gate 30 is also one of the GAT entrances). There, security personal performed a bag check and I was then driven to the heliciopter landing area in a car, along with two more passengers who arrived ahead of me. The helicopter was scheduled to land near the private jet apron.

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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Private Jet Apron


We waited around 5 mins until the helicopter landed (coming in from Electronics City) and picked us up.


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Our Bell Helicopter on approach


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Bell Helicopter landing


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Ready for boarding


A quick 2 mins later we were airborne again, with a full load of passengers and heading out to the airport.
I will let the picture do the talking now, as it was also quite a nice day for flying.


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Taking off


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Heading out north over the city of Bangalore


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Quite some nice clouds, but an overall smooth flight


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Our pilot, he was all smiles and really friendly


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Just 10 mins after take-off, we were already outside the city


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Already approaching the BLR Airport


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - You can see the BLR expansion works when approaching from the south


At BLR, you land outside the main airport area and are then driven to the terminal by car, which is just a short 3 minutes trip.


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Getting ready to land, the helipad is visible on the center


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Final moments of the flight


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HeliTaxi Bangalore Helicopter Flight - Our Bell Helicopter after airing the at heli pad


So, how was the experience overall?

In my opinion, the service itself is super-nice, saves you a ton of time (especially going from/to Electronics City) and I also felt safe onboard the flight. The „ground experience“ at HAL Airport could be better, especially finding the right place was really difficult. But it is a new startup and I know they work hard to make things right. If they now are able to also ensure a smoother booking / payment process, then the whole service will get a big thumbs up from me.

Currently, the service operates during daylight hours only, not sure if they plan to extend that to evenings as well. But due tot hat situation, it is not really suitable for any Europe and East Asia bound flights (which allmost all arrive and leave late at night). But for any other flights, it makes traveling in Bangalore much easier.

Also, I was told they plan to add more aircraft in the future, so they can offer more flights per day (right now, it is a handful each day in each direction). I am really curious to see how it plays out and will for sure use them again.

You can find more details at helitaxii.com
 
Gr8Circle
Posts: 2477
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:44 am

Re: Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:28 am

Nice pics....interesting to know about this service....thanks for posting.... :)
 
blrsea
Posts: 1696
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 2:22 am

Re: Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:50 am

Nice to read a TR on the helitaxi. Was wondering how the response would be, and happy to hear that it was full on your trip. I hope it becomes a success. Need some out of box thinking as Bangalore roads are choked and there is no easy way out.
 
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LufthansaHON
Topic Author
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:15 pm

Re: Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:37 am

blrsea wrote:
...Need some out of box thinking as Bangalore roads are choked and there is no easy way out.



Indeed, and I feel there is a lot of room for innovation in urban transportation in Bangalore, as this service will certainly not be suitable for all travellers (due to flight times, availability, pricing, etc etc). But traveling to/from BLR is in general very, very painful.
 
jetwet1
Posts: 2487
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:42 am

Re: Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:14 am

$45 not to be stuck in traffic for 2-3 hours, that's a bargain, as you said, smooth out oa few edges and print money.
 
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LufthansaHON
Topic Author
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:15 pm

Re: Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:33 am

jetwet1 wrote:
$45 not to be stuck in traffic for 2-3 hours, that's a bargain, as you said, smooth out oa few edges and print money.


Indeed, and I do hope the service will "print enough money" to continue... for me, it is a major time saver.
 
SQueeze
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:33 pm

Re: Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:43 am

I look forward to trying this service too. Bangalore traffic is extremely dreadful. I wish it could land somewhere on Outer Ring Road itself. From HAL airport itself to OrR where most businesses are might take even an hour.

I hope they will make it convenient to book, Mẩy be even a tie-up with Uber!
 
SQueeze
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:33 pm

Re: Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:44 am

I look forward to trying this service too. Bangalore traffic is extremely dreadful. I wish it could land somewhere on Outer Ring Road itself. From HAL airport itself to OrR where most businesses are might take even an hour.

I hope they will make it convenient to book, Mẩy be even a tie-up with Uber! Imagine if one day it’s bookable through Uber.
 
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LufthansaHON
Topic Author
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:15 pm

Re: Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:21 pm

SQueeze wrote:
I look forward to trying this service too. Bangalore traffic is extremely dreadful. I wish it could land somewhere on Outer Ring Road itself. From HAL airport itself to OrR where most businesses are might take even an hour.

I hope they will make it convenient to book, Mẩy be even a tie-up with Uber! Imagine if one day it’s bookable through Uber.


That would be awesome, indeed, but for now it would already be nice to see just more flights per day... :)
 
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ojjunior
Posts: 553
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:31 am

Re: Flying the HeliTaxi helicopter shuttle in BLR

Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:57 pm

LufthansaHON wrote:
The flights are operated a fee times a day, using Bell helicpoters that can seat 6 passengers. The flight time between Electronics City and the Airport is just 15-20 mins, and besides saving a lot of time it also provides some scenic views. The cost is roughly 45 US$ each way, which is around 2.5 x the price of an Uber for the same distance – yet much, much faster and super convenient. Well worth the cost.


Whaaaat? USD 45??? And 2.5x a Uber?? Why would anyone call an Uber there then?
For USD 45 from GIG to Rio downtown for instance you can't even get in the helicopter...
Nice catch my friend.

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