How to Ride the $10 Million Hermes Helicopter for Free
When Eurocopter created l'Hélicoptère par Hermèsthe Hermes helicopterwith the French luxury fashion house back in 2007, we're sure they didn't have a workhouse future in mind for it. But alas, if you've paid $10 million to buy one of the things, as a Tokyo aviation company did for the purpose of running helicopter shuttles between downtown Tokyo and Narita airport, then you're going to want to get your money's worth from it.
The Hermes helicopter has been flying the Tokyo skies for over a year now, whisking the world's creme de la creme off on 30-minute flights to the airport, when usually it would take 2 hours by car or train. If you book this on your own, expect to shell out just over $700 for the one-way flight, but thankfully there are other ways to enjoy it for free...
Hearkening back to the grand ol' days when airlines like TWA and Pan Am flew their first class flyers from downtown New York to the airports via private helicopter, modern-day ones like Virgin Atlantic and ANA are doing the same with this Hermes 'copter, just in Tokyo.
To take advantage of the complimentary transfer, you've got to be holding a J, D or R-class ticket (aka Business and Upper Class) on Virgin Atlantic, or First Class only for ANA. Call the airline to arrange the heli ride 72 hours in advance and be aware that you'll land in the Akasaka area and be taken the rest of the way to you destination by private car.
Curious? Here's all the info on the ANA program. In the end, the heli ride may be free, but just remember that you're probably paying through the nose for the First Class seats that got you the privilege.