Art Basel Miami Beach

Uber Will Give Free Seaplane Rides During Art Basel

The word "Basel" is actually old German for "Please help, I cannot stop belching wads of money into the sky." Art Basel Miami Beach, which begins this week, may be America's most frightening display of the useless expenditure of wealth. Pretty much the entirety of Manhattan and Los Angeles converges on Miami to, I don't know, confess their sins to men dressed like Santa, or buy images of nude Barbie dolls rubbing their nether-regions on exposed bananas. Visitors also do a lot of drugs this week.

So naturally, traveling by humble bike or bus is out of the question during Basel. Nobody gets this like Uber: So now the ride-sharing company will be ferrying people around Miami using a straight-up seaplane, creatively dubbed "UberSEAPLANE." The service will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Astoundingly, the rides are free.

If you're jacked up enough to take a propeller plane ride during Basel, you'll be thrown in a limited-edition Uber SUV, which will cart you and your friends to the Sea Isle Marina, where you'll board your own luxury yacht, which will then take you to the Miami Seaplane Base Dock. The plane can hold up to six people.

The plane doesn't really go anywhere: According to Uber's press release, the seaplane will give an aerial tour of Miami Beach, Wynwood, and downtown before landing back at the same dock. You'll then take another yacht across the bay, which will then connect to yet another luxury SUV.
This isn't Uber's first insane Basel stunt: Last year, the company used Basel to debut UberBOAT, a luxury yacht that carried riders across the bay for a $35 flat fee. This year, UberBOAT is also back, but it's free this time around. (The boat will run from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.)

Both experiences this year are sponsored by Effen Vodka, which pays rapper 50 Cent to promote its oddly named brand of spirits. Though Uber is offering "Effen Upgrade" packages, which, if requested, send art-wrapped Uber cars to your location with custom photo booths inside. Sadly, none of the Effen experiences include run-ins with 50 Cent.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.