With adrenaline still pumping we’re eager to tell you all about our experience of booking the iFly skydive and what you can expect when you get there. We’re going to give you a full and honest review of what we thought, and you can be assured it is our opinion because we paid for the actual skydive ourselves.
What is an iFly Indoor Skydive
Have you always fancied doing a skydive but have a fear of heights, or you’re just not sure whether you will enjoy it? Indoor skydiving gives you the ability to feel what it’s like as you freefall during an actually skydive, but without the 10,000-foot drop. Wind is pumped into a flight chamber which is used to keep you buoyant and unlike skydiving you simply feel like you’re flying, rather than falling. Because we haven’t built up the courage yet to even consider an actual skydive, this option seemed perfect for us and to be honest it has been on our bucket list for a while, so it was time to tick it off!
For the stats nerds out there, the flight chamber at iFly is up to 14 foot in diameter, so plenty of space to move around. The wind tunnel is up to 1600 horsepower and the max air speed is up to 180mph.
Booking Your iFly Skydive Experience
We did our booking online, but you always have the option if you’re not computer savvy, to call iFly and do it over the phone. Their number is 0845 331 6549 and they are available Monday to Friday between 9am and 8pm, or Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 6pm. There is a £1.50 booking fee if you decide to use this option, so just be aware.
We’re going to delve a little more into the online booking because that’s what we did and in all honesty it was pretty easy. The iFly website is really well laid out and covers everything you will need, from the facilities, any points you need to be aware of such as health risks and of course the booking options.
How to Book iFly
When you click on ‘book flights’ you will see option boxes, with the first one being the location of your iFly. We have specifically mentioned Manchester because it is the one we visited, but they also have locations in Basingstoke and Milton Keynes.
The next question will be what type of flyer you are and this will depend on whether or not you have been before. For most it will be ‘first time flyer’, but for those of you return flyers you will get your next booking at a discounted rate. There are also sections for groups, parties, corporate and school trips.
For the first timers when you click through you’ll have numerous options, but the top two are packages for one person and then a package for two people. Most of the time they have discounts on, but we paid £49.99 per person for our taster experience. The cost will increase if you’re booking on weekends and school holidays because of how busy it can get.
After you have chosen the package you want, you will click onto a calendar. Simply pick your preferred date and the system will show you what times are available and how many spaces are left. iFly ask all fliers to arrive 45 minutes before their time slot, so make sure you take into account the travel time and that extra waiting time.
iFly Additional Options
You’ll then move on to the add on’s which is a completely personal preference, although we did buy the digital combo for £15 per person which includes one photograph and a video of the experience. But you can hire a superhero flight suit to make it extra special and a virtual reality (VR) experience.
iFly will automatically throw in a reschedule plus option for £2 per package, so if you don’t want it simply untick. The reschedule option means that you can move your flight to another day, up to 48 hours before your flight date. Some people like to have the comfort of knowing that they have a backup should things change. We stupidly paid the extra amount, even though our flight was within 24 hours of our booking. Sadly, the site didn’t prompt us to say it was less than 48 hours and as such wouldn’t be redeemable; so just bear that in mind.
After that it’s all the usual personal information such as name and address, and then bank details to pay. Most forms of banking are accepted, but head to the FAQ section if you need more information.
Once the booking has gone through you will receive an email of your confirmation with all the details you need and an order number. Make sure you double check all the information when you receive the email and read through the ‘must know information before you arrive’.
iFly Induction and Waiver
Within the information in your email, there is a link to a waiver which must be filled in before you arrive, or you cannot fly. The waiver is a lot of the usual terms and conditions, plus a few tick boxes to make sure you are healthy enough to enjoy the experience. Then there is a video and small test after to confirm you understand the hand signals and rules. It all seems quite overwhelming but honestly, it’s just an insurance for the company.
So that’s all the booking malarkey done, now time to tell you all about the best part, the flight itself.
What Happens on the Day of the Indoor Skydive?
Just a reminder about ensuring that you arrive 45 minutes before your scheduled flight time. Upon arrival you’ll be met by staff on reception who will give you the lay of the land; where the toilets are etc.
iFly Viewing Area
For the Manchester venue we then went upstairs which is where you first see the flight chamber. They have a little café there where you can buy food and drink and watch other thrill seekers take flight. This is also the area where your friends and family will sit and wait for you and can watch as you have your sky diving experience.
The instructor will call for you and take you through to a room to get your equipment on. They will ask if everyone has signed the waiver and they are aware of the hand signals, don’t panic too much because they are also labelled in the chamber waiting area.
We were asked a number of times if we had ever dislocated our shoulder, so it may be wise if you have, to contact iFly before you book. There are other conditions such as minimum age and weight which may stop you from being able to fly, so make sure you have looked on the site first.
You will be given your flight suit by the instructor, but a big tip is take your shoes off to put the suit on. When you put your shoes back on make sure you tie the laces on them tightly. Only laced shoes and trainers will be allowed in the flight chamber, if you don’t have a pair on then they will give you some.
For girls with long hair, this is when we recommend you tie it up and if possible in a bun, because boy does it get knotted in the wind tunnel. You’ll then be given your helmet, goggles and asked to put in ear plugs, because it can get loud. With all the equipment on you can take last minute photos, but all loose items must be stored in a complimentary locker, including your mobile phone. So yep, that means no mobile phone in the flight chamber or the waiting area of the chamber.
Inside the Indoor Skydiving Chamber
Once everyone is geared up you will move into the flight chamber area. There’s a seating section where all participants will wait in a row for their turn. The instructor will take one person in at a time and help them stay afloat and in the middle of the chamber for a 60 second period. To go into the chamber, you simply fall in and the wind will push you up.
Pictures and video will be taken during this time for those who have purchased any of the media, or who want to afterwards. The feeling when you are in there is thrilling and in all honesty really hard to explain. It’s pretty much how you would imagine floating on air would feel like. The instructor will ask you to move your arms or legs in certain ways to get the best position which will keep you afloat. But if you’re anything like us you’re so amazed by it all you forget they are there and completely blank on what you’re supposed to do..oops.
After your 60 seconds the instructor will move you toward the door and you’ll go and sit back down. But wait for it, because you get a second go, which is great because you now know what to expect. Again, the same thing happens on your second time around, but hopefully you’re a little more knowledgeable.
High Fly Experience
As you enter the door of the chamber the instructor will ask you if you want to go up for a high fly. This has an extra charge which was £10 each when we did it. Basically, after your second lot of 60 seconds is over, they will start to spin you round and you’ll fly up to the top of the chamber with the instructor, spinning around and then back down again. You’ll do this twice and boy is it incredible!
Once everyone in your group has had a go, you’ll get to see the professionals at work, because one or two of the instructors will do a little show of their moves in the flight chamber. Then you will head into another room and remove your suits, googles, helmet and ear buds, so they can be cleaned or binned. The instructor will explain that a certificate will be emailed to you and how to access any media package you’ve bought. Then that’s it!
In total the experience will take between an hour and two hours, depending on how busy it is.
Media Package on iFly – Photos and Video
We’ve mentioned it slightly above, but you have the option to purchase photos and a video of the experience. Photos will be taken during both flights as will a video. If you choose the media package, then you will have the option of one photo and the video. The video has both flights on it and a special extra at the end with the instructor’s solo flight. All media will be kept for 6 weeks, so you can either choose what you want at the iFly venue or do it at home.
If you didn’t pick a media package, then you can pay on the day after you’ve taken a look at your photos. It is the same price so there’s no discount for booking early. They have a number of photo machines in the reception area where you can view the pictures and video, but again remember you can always check them out at home.
iFly Location Manchester
Just for those of you who are visiting the Manchester location, you will find iFly in the leisure village near the Trafford Centre. It is in the same area as the Chill Factore which is an indoor ski slope and the American Golf Driving Range. This location is the perfect day out where you can combine a few bucket list experiences in one day, or simply head into the Trafford Centre for shopping and a bite to eat.
IFly is it Worth it?
So, you have all of the information on how to book, where to go and what it involves, but is it even worth your time. Let’s start with the negative points and that is pretty much the cost to time ratio.
You are paying nearly £50 and in essence you only get 2 minutes in the chamber. For most people that is a deal breaker, but if it’s something you have always wanted to do, then we have to accept the cost. We imagine the expense is due to the sheer cost of running the wind machine and of course the risk in terms of injury, so they would need to be heavily insured. But aside from that there wasn’t anything else we could point out as something that would put you off.
When it comes to the pros, the main one is the sheer thrill of that feeling of floating around the chamber. Even if it’s for a small period of time it’s exhilarating, and you can really get yourself at a good height if you position your body correctly. We would definitely recommend paying extra to be swirled up the chamber and spun around. It certainly gets your heart pumping and is so much fun.
In general, the process from arrival to leaving was seamless, though we did go on a weekday. We waited a few minutes after we got there and suddenly we were called through to get our gear, so we can’t complain that we were made to wait a long time.
Whether you add this to your bucket list will be down to how you feel about the cost. Ours ended up being about £150 in total when we added the media package and the extras. You can go in for a third time but again it’s at an additional cost. We would recommend the video though because it’s fun to watch back over and over.
Our overall verdict is WE LOVED IT! But we probably wouldn’t pay to do it again now that it’s ticked off our list. As to whether we will do a skydive next; you never know, keep your eyes peeled!
You can grab special offers for iFly at BuyaGift.