Can a helicopter ride be budget travel?

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Until the end of October, Delta Air Lines is now offering discounted US Helicopter Service between JFK airport and Manhattan for its travelers traveling in economy class on domestic and overseas flights.

The 8-minute helicopter service costs $45 one-way, which is about the cost of a 30-60 minute cab ride from JFK to midtown Manhattan. In comparison, the cost for the ride at other times of year is $159 one-way.

The catch: You have to have bought your ticket since Sept. 1, 2008 for travel through Oct. 31, 2008. If you bought a ticket for travel months ago for travel during this period, you don't qualify.

The service also includes speedy check-in and baggage check to final destinations and expedited TSA screening. US Helicopter operates 27 daily flights, Monday through Friday, via a heliport near Wall Street and the East 34th St. in midtown. Book via delta.com or via 800/221-1212 or through a travel agent.

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