Satire | Top 10 considerations for an Uber Copter future

By Alex Dolinger, Staff Columnist

The future is upon us, my friends. Uber announced in July the beginnings of helicopter services in New York City to and from JFK Airport for $200, with plans to expand and make aerial ridesharing available to the masses by as early as 2023. This rich nonsense has me imagining a future where ordering a helicopter from your phone is commonplace. The Uber Elevate website has concept images of Skyports, which are just big landing pads that look like something out of the 2014 film adaptation of “Divergent.”

While it may look like we’re descending into the dystopian future that YA novels warned us about, it’s time to get serious. Due to the horrifying reality of climate change, soon, America is going to sink into the ocean and we will be unable to drive cars. We as a nation need to be prepared for a future of summoning airplanes from our phones. These are the top 10 situations we need to get ready to face in our new dystopia.

  1. Flying to class because you’re tired

We’ve all been there. Sometimes the depths of South Oakland are as vast as they are dirty and mysterious, and the thought of traversing them at 9 a.m. is too much to bear. Luckily, Uber has a way for you to get to your bio lecture faster and for more money than ever before. The street trash will scatter in your wake as you fly in style to Langley in no time at all.

  1. Bad flyers

Have you ever sat in an Uber that is going way too fast, running red lights and making a horrifying noise that leaves you wondering if this ride will be your last? What is the aircraft equivalent of pressing your foot into the floor in hopes that the driver will receive your energy and brake? Soon we will all find out when we are hundreds of feet in the air over Downtown and hear our Uber pilot yell over the super loud sound of the helicopters, “People fly like idiots.”

  1. Lost items

Leaving your belongings in an Uber is unfortunate but common, and Uber has taken measures to make the process of reclaiming your items easier by creating a way to contact your driver after your ride. While drivers aren’t responsible for lost items, I’ve heard many a success story. But what happens when you leave your purse in a helicopter and it’s hundreds of miles away? What happens if it falls into the ocean? I’m afraid to find out.

  1. Getting dropped off at the wrong location

Mistakes happen. Sometimes somebody enters or reads an address wrong, and you’re blocks away from where you should be, and you’re too chicken to ask to be taken to the right place. In this new dystopian future where a helicopter could take you anywhere, a mistype could potentially take you to the entirely wrong city. I know what you’re thinking — “People will be more careful when they’re flying” — to which I ask you, will they really?

  1. Leaving reviews

When you want to make someone’s day, you hit them with that five-star rating and a “great service” or a “good conversation” badge. What go-to review badge buttons will be applicable for Uber Copter rides? Can you really listen to music enough to compliment it when you’re in a helicopter? They are very loud. Can you really have good service and amenities in a helicopter? I’m no helicopter expert, but I don’t think they are equipped for complimentary phone chargers, and any mints or water bottles are at risk of being victims of turbulence.

  1. Venmo requesting your friends for $200

It’s currently very acceptable to take an Uber trip with friends and request the $5 they owe you on Venmo. No drama, no fuss. But what happens when the trip Downtown to get fancy dinner costs $200 or more? The sheer magnitude of incomplete Venmo charges would total more than the national debt.

  1. Helicopters are loud

This is something to consider no matter which side of the helicopter you’re on. Helicopters make a lot of noise, as anyone who has lived on campus can gather. When they are a more mainstream form of travel, will there ever be any escape from the percussive, obnoxious noise of helicopters whipping through the air? Or will we all be trapped in a prison of endless cacophony?

  1. Safety

Listen. We are already battling a scourge of creepy men in cars. I don’t even think helicopters have license plates. If passengers already aren’t safe in Uber’s current medium, why are they spending money on something even more dangerous?

  1. Figuring out where to land

The Quad becoming a green space that can no longer welcome cars — besides the Panther Grille, even though it totally runs over the flower beds — made things very confusing for Uber drivers and students everywhere. With Pitt’s track record of needless, inconvenient renovations — I’m looking at you, Bigelow Boulevard beautification — helicopters will be hovering all over the place trying to find a good place to land. There’s only so much Uber traffic that University Place can take!

  1. Making horrid small talk with the pilot

While the future is uncertain and ever-changing, there are few things that will always stay the same. We can all take comfort in the fact that once you step onto your first Uber Copter and put on a protective headset — remember, helicopters are loud — without fail, your pilot’s voice will crackle through the headphones and ask, “So where are you headed?” You will tell him where you are headed, and he will provide an anecdote about it that you don’t want to hear. Balance is restored.