iFLY is the Perfect Gift for the Cautious Thrill Seekers in Your Life

This post is sponsored, but the opinions are 100% our own.

The holidays are in full swing, and the specter of gift giving looms large.  Nobody wants to contribute to clutter, and I don’t know too many people who are hoping for more “stuff” in their lives.  Giving “experiences” is where it’s at!  Experiences like… skydiving?  OK, it’s true: flinging myself out of a moving aircraft and plummeting to the ground is not an act I’m ever going to willingly undertake.  But that’s not to say that I haven’t wondered what it would be like.  A big part of me has always wanted to be more of a daredevil. 

Enter the perfect solution: iFLY!  Indoor skydiving is as close to the real thing as you can get, with no risk of falling to your certain death (a good thing).  Basically, you get the experience of hovering, lifting, and freefalling through the air in the safety of an enclosed vertical wind tunnel.  It’s so safe, in fact, that anyone over the age of three can theoretically do it! 

Intrigued, my four-year-old and I made a reservation at the SF location for the late morning on a Wednesday (a perfect time slot, since the majority of groups and families come on evenings and weekends).  I had shown her some YouTube videos of kids flying at iFLY on Tuesday night, to pump her up for the experience… and boy was she excited.  When I picked her up from daycare to head over there, all her friends and teachers asked where we were going; my daughter had excitedly told everyone that she’d be flying up into the air, maybe to Mexico, that day.

We checked in via computers in the lobby, entering basic contact information and signing waivers confirming that we weren’t pregnant or injured.  Then we headed upstairs, where we sat outside the wind tunnel and watched other groups flying while we awaited our turn for “flight school.”  Wow – even watching strangers was fun!  People of all ages and walks of life took turns in the tunnel.  We saw everyone from first-timers struggling to stabilize, to clearly seasoned professionals practicing new tricks.  Those pros looked so elegant and effortless… I bet that’s how I’ll look, I whispered to myself.  My daughter was so excited to see another kid just a little older than she, smiling as she spun in the air. 

So excited… so she said. 

We watched for about twenty minutes, and the whole time I couldn’t believe how excited my daughter seemed about flying.  She is not much of a risk-taker, and I had been surprised when she expressed an interest in the first place.  And sure enough… just minutes before we were to start our turn, she looked up to me matter-of-factly and stated, “I’m not going in there.”

Aaaaaand… that was it.  No amount of sweet talk, pleading, or (I’m ashamed to admit) bribery could convince her to don a flight suit and join me!  My fantastic instructor, Lawrence, assured me that this was totally normal.  He tried his charms, but my daughter was immune.  Since my daughter’s flight was already pre-paid, I would up getting double the flight time (I could also have chosen to just come back another day for a single flight).

Bless his heart, Lawrence really tried to get my daughter to budge. She employed her “stiff as a board” defense mechanism… with a smile. 
Before I knew it, it was my turn!  Lawrence went over some basic hand symbols to help me adjust my positioning while in the tunnel, and I suited up in a loose jumpsuit and helmet.  (My daughter planted herself on a bench to watch me go.)  I took a couple deep breaths, shook off my jitters, and jumped into the wind.  Instantly, I was up in the air – it was a huge rush, and I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified.  Luckily, Lawrence was with me the whole time, and any time I started to veer around too quickly, he came to my rescue. 
Lawrence is telling me to spin.  OK… I’m just trying to keep my arms from flapping off, thanks. 

I wound up doing four one-minute flights, which doesn’t sound like a lot but which actually felt like a ton.  (Apparently a free fall during an actual basic airplane jump lasts around four minutes, too.)  My daughter was really excited to see me in the air at first, but by my third flight I looked over to her expecting a smile, and she was staring intently at a t.v. screen in the corner of the lobby, showing fish slowly swimming back and forth. 

I never knew I had so much loose skin on my face! (Note my daughter in back, watching fish swim by.  Hello I’m flying in here like a dang bird!)
I am sold on indoor skydiving.  I can’t wait to go back!  iFLY is really a fantastic experience, and the perfect gift (hint, hint).  They even have Flight School for kids 4-16 years old that includes weekly group classes with team building, one-on-one coaching, and flying… perfect for kids who are ready to fly, and also for those like my daughter, who was so excited about the idea but had a hard time jumping right in.  Happy flying and happy gifting!


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