The London Helicopter company will run up to 15 flights a day from Battersea heliport at £199 per person for a 20 minute flight (or from Redhill if you find yourself £70 short). It's a price that makes the Shard look reasonable, but we suppose you're not paying for the view as for the experience. The BBC's Tom Edwards went up yesterday and tweeted some photos of the South Bank, Greenwich and Hyde Park.
Helicopter tourist flights have been common in New York for years and it's perhaps surprising that London's taken so long to join in; though coming so soon after the crash at Battersea, we wonder if passengers will be put off. Another dissenting voice has come from the Globe Theatre, where helicopter noise regularly disrupts the open air performances. We were there yesterday and heard about an incident Tuesday night where a – what is the collective noun for helicopters? A fleet? A Budgie? – flew over and the poor actors could barely be heard. (The rumour is it was Beyonce on her way to the O2.) The London Helicopter company promises it'll avoid the Globe during performances, but its route is restricted to the river. Basically, Shakespeare never had to put up with this shit.
In any event, this is as good a time as any to dig up our old post about views of London cheaper than the Shard (which we may now retitle with something about helicopters).