Traveling Smart

And away we go!

Like traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway, improving air travel in New York is a sticky affair. But US Helicopter has made a breakthrough: The company recently gained clearance from federal authorities to run a chopper between JFK Airport and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, with plans to add the 34th Street pad and La Guardia and Newark airports soon. The service, which costs $160 one-way and uses eight-seater Sikorsky S-76s, takes only eight minutes. As much as we love the speed, perhaps the real advantage is that if you're flying on American Airlines, you can get a boarding pass and check luggage right at the helipad, and then zip!—you're at terminal 9, gate 43, two doors down from the lounge, having bypassed shoe removal in front of 500 strangers. Other airlines may soon get on board. 877-262-7676;