Crains - A startup that’s developing an air taxi plans to test the service in Chicago next month.
Eve Air Mobility, which is creating an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft—or eVTOL—is teaming up with a helicopter operator to offer 15-minute flights from downtown to Schaumburg and Tinley Park for $150 per person. The flights will be available Sept. 14-30.
It’s the second test for Eve, which plans to deliver its eVTOLs in 2026 to airline customers, such as regional carriers Republic Airways and SkyWest Airlines. Eve, a spinoff of Brazilian plane maker Embraer, previously conducted a mobility simulation in Rio de Janeiro.
Full disclosure, I am 100% committed to Team Midway. Always have been and always will be.
That said, holy shit is this monster news.
O'Hare is the big swinging dick airport of the Midwest. Arguably top 3-4 in the entire country. But it sucks if we're being completely honest. Aside from a few wicked nice United lounges, a couple Rick Bayliss food spots, and the Blue Line being able to get you to and from there there are no redeeming qualities about the place.
No doubt it was sweet back in the 80s. Probably state-of-the-art and the creme de la creme of international airports, but it's aged like a Polish lady living in South Beach. It looks like shit, it runs like shit, the newer airports have outshined it now, just exposing its flaws that much more, and worst of all, it is an absolute nightmare getting to.
I mentioned the Blue Line running to O'Hare but that's gotta be a last resort for you. For one, riding The L means risking your life every time you do with the crime in the city. Plus you have to deal with the homeless people sleeping everywhere on it, and the stench of piss and shit. Plus depending where you're coming from, it's still a hike. We're not talking about an express Euro train here.
If you travel to or from there by car, you're looking at lest an hour from downtown no matter what time of day or day of the week. It's unreal. Doesn't matter if its Monday-Friday, or the weekend, morning, noon, or night. You're sitting in standstill traffic or crawling your way along the Kennedy back and forth. It sucks.
And the worst part is on the way in, once you get passed the Edens split, traffic starts to free up and you're looking around wondering what the fuck was the reason for the slowdown and you can't find one. Every time. On the way out, it doesn't matter. You're squeezing 4 lanes into 3 and dumping it all into the country's 3rd largest city and it's just an absolute shit show.
Well now, a helicopter shuttle service changes all that. Being able to get downtown to O'Hare in 15 minutes is a game changer. Literally changes everything. And the best part is you don't have to be a rich asshole to enjoy the service.
$150 bucks isn't cheap but if you factor it into your trip it's not a make-or-break expense.
“We studied the movements in Chicago. It’s to show people they can save time,” Mauad says, estimating an air taxi cuts a 45-minute trip to 15 minutes. “It makes sense in places like Chicago, which rate poorly in traffic congestion,” says Crossley, who has studied the economics of air taxis. “If you make the assumption that travelers are economically rational, a fare-based service saves enough time that, if you value your time, there’s a large number of people who would get a higher value because (air service) is so much faster.”
I am all for this.
I've been flying United a ton this past year and have been amazed at how much they've turned that company around since that guy got dragged off the plane kicking and screaming and bleeding. Great customer service, flight change and bag charge policy, mileage program and upgrades, everything across the board they stepped up big time. If getting to O'Hare isn't mission impossible anymore this could mean huge things for them and some of the other great carriers at O'Hare (Delta, Jet Blue).
Hopefully the city can pull this off and not try to squeeze this company out of being able to operate a profitable business to the point they change their mind and go somewhere else like they do with everything else.
p.s. - if you want a crash course in how bad Chicago traffic is and the rats nest of our highway system read Carl's great highways of Chicago blog -