For Kenya’s Wealthy, UberChopper Rises Above The Traffic

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Taxi-hailing app Uber has partnered with a Nairobi helicopter charter service, Corporate Helicopters, to transport business clients and the well-to-do across parts of Kenya without having to deal with automobile traffic.

The service will be available in Mombasa and Nairobi, Ventures Africa reported.

As Uber has done in the past when introducing a new service, the San Francisco-based tech company will give some Kenyan customers a chance to try out the helicopter service free.

To get a ride, Kenyans can apply online for tickets to win a ride with a local celebrity. Winners get to fly on Sept. 4 across the Rift Valley or along the Mombasa coastline on 20-minute helicopter rides.

Uber recruited local celebrities to help kick off UberChopper. Ticket winners may get to ride with one of the following: Larry Madowo, Huddah Munroe, Eric Omondi, Chef Alim, DJ Lenium and Miss Global Kenya — Tima Keilah, according to PetMaxFlame.

UberChopper has already launched in other cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Lisbon, Shanghai and Cape Town, CitizenTV reported.

It was first tested three years ago when Uber used helicopters to fly customers between New York and the string of Long Island seaside communities known as the Hamptons, where wealthy New Yorkers vacation.

Globally, Uber has tested alternative modes of transportation including rickshaws and boats,  The Star reported.

Other Uber add-ons you may never have heard of include destination-specific perks, like UberWine or UberSki, Bloomberg reported.

In Amsterdam, UberBike, lets bikers mount their bicycles onto a car if they’d rather not pedal home. UberPitch is a recurring pop-up service that lets entrepreneurs book a ride with venture capitalists and private equity investors in business capitals from Boston to Berlin.

For a company like Uber, creating a hyper-local service is a challenge, Bloomberg reported. It has to be offered instantly at scale, which means Uber must work closely with drivers to ensure there are enough cars equipped with bike racks to meet demand right away.

Uber Kenya said the Uber Chopper promotion is part of its unconventional advertising approach to achieve a “wow factor” and create awareness among consumers, according to the Star.

Local media did not report on how much the chopper service will cost. If you have to ask, chances are you may not be able to afford it.