The only time you will ever get me jumping out of a plane is if it’s going down and jumping out is my only chance of survival.
So skydiving is a ‘no go’ obviously.
I mean, I’m sure the views are amazing as you’re floating down above the earth with a parachute, and I’m sure the adrenaline rush afterwards is massive. But I honestly couldn’t think of anything worse than PAYING to vomit from fear as I fly thousands of feet into the sky to then throw myself out of an aeroplane and freefall towards the earth. Sorry, but no thank you!
But my boyfriend is one of the crazy people who do choose to do a skydive. He did a skydive years ago and has been buzzing to do another one ever since. So, for his birthday I decided to treat him to the next best thing… an indoor skydive.
On Sunday, we headed to the iFly Manchester, near the Trafford Centre, for a morning of high-flying fun.
If you’re wondering what iFly is, it’s an indoor skydiving experience. You go, with an instructor, into a plastic tunnel that hits you with up to 165mph of wind force to create the impression that you are flying/falling with style. A pretty cool day out, right?
Tips before you go
To make things quicker on the day, complete your ‘Declaration of Risk’ at home. It’s quick and easy and is just a case of checking some boxes and filling in your emergency information.
On the day, wear comfortable clothes (no jeans) and lace-up trainers. Ladies, make sure you tie your hair back or you’ll be trying to get a brush through it for the rest of the week!
What to expect at iFly Manchester
You are instructed to arrive no later than an hour before your flight time. So give yourself time for parking, especially if it’s at the weekend. The Trafford Centre area was very busy on Sunday when we arrived, even though it was 10.30am.
You will then sign in at reception and go upstairs to a waiting room. There’s a cafe if you need a refreshment. Or if you have someone with you who isn’t flying but just supporting, they can keep themselves occupied while you fly.
While in the waiting room, you get to watch people currently doing their ‘indoor skydives’. Everybody will be watching you when you go in too. But don’t worry about getting embarrassed – once you’re inside, you won’t be aware of anyone other than yourself.
Approximately 45 minutes before your flight, you will be called into a briefing room where you will watch a video about the experience. You will be taught four very simple hand gestures that will instruct you during your flight. There is barely anything to learn, so don’t worry that it’s going to be a lot of rules and regulations to follow and remember. It’s very simple – remember, little kids do this, so it has to be simple.
You’ll then get suited and booted with a helmet, earbuds and goggles before you head into the airtight ‘skydiving’ tunnel.
There are lockers to put your valuables in if it will give you peace of mind. There are also toilets in the changing room, so if you need a nervous wee you can go before your flight.
What did I think?
Well, my first ‘flight’ was pretty terrifying. The trick to it is relaxing and allowing your body to just float in position. But with the wind force making it more difficult to breathe, I started to panic and could not ‘for the life of me’ relax. I nearly called out after just 20 seconds of my first flight, but I was determined to last the whole minute. I was shaking like mad afterwards.
However, on my second flight, I knew what to expect. I wouldn’t let my fear get the best of me and I worked harder to relax. As a result, it was a much more enjoyable experience.
I managed to ‘fly’ on my own more and maintain the position easier. My flights were like night and day from each other. My first one was panicky and unsteady, while my second was smooth and controlled. Everybody made noticeable improvements from flight to flight. It’s clearly something that you can get better at the more you practice.
It’s all about relaxing!
Is iFly Manchester worth the hefty price tag?
So, it is pretty expensive for an indoor skydive. The package that we got was the simplest plan which included two 1-minute ‘skydives’ each. I also bought the family media package so that we could keep all our pictures and video footage of our flies. This came to £137.90 in total.
When you are there, you also have the option of purchasing extras for your experience. For £7 extra, you can fly up to the top of the tunnel with the instructor’s assistance. Most people ended up choosing this option on their second ‘flight’, but I definitely didn’t feel confident enough to do it.
If there is time at the end of the session then you can opt-in for an extra flight too for the discounted rate of £14 extra. Richard’s hand was the first to fly up when we were asked this at the end – he absolutely loved it!
So, the whole experience is not cheap. That being said, you are paying for a professional instructor to keep you safe and they put on a show for you at the end that is super impressive. You obviously get your own experience in the skydiving tunnel, and while you wait, you get to watch everyone else in the tunnel (which is very amusing).
Why not make a day of it?
The iFly Manchester is right next to the Trafford Centre, which means there are plenty of restaurants to dine at and shops to browse. After our exciting morning at iFly, we headed over for a spot of shopping and eating and it was the perfect way to spend the rest of the day.
Next door to the iFly there is also an indoor skiing and snowboarding rink, so you could make it a totally active day and fit in two extreme sports. But for me, personally, I need a break after so much exertion!
It was the best day out Richard and I have had together in a long time. The perfect mix of laughter, thrills and making memories.
If you’re too chicken to do a real skydive, like me, then this is a great alternative. You get an idea of how it feels to ‘fly’ and maybe it will even excite you so much that you’ll want to do the real thing. You could even go the ‘whole hog’ and get a VR headset to make it feel like you really are doing a skydive. Choose your adventure!
Make sure you book in advance. The iFly Manchester gets very busy, especially at weekends, and I don’t know if you can just drop in on the day. There are also other iFly locations in Basingstoke and Milton Keynes. Happy flying!