Cameron is sitting in the front row of the safety briefing and though the instructor is in front of him, his eyes keep looking back a row at me. The smile he flashes is equal parts fear and excitement .
It might surprise you to know that nerves aren’t uncommon in my family. We have done some amazing things over the last few years of travel but before each of them at least one of us has had a bit of an “uh-oh what have I got myself into” look on our face. This time it’s Cameron.
I flash him a reassuring smile and his shoulders seem to relax a little.
We are about to try simulated sky diving and while it’s the first time for the boys, both Ish and I have tried it before. It was a blast. The feeling of soaring through the air is incredible and the 160 mph winds whipping your lips and face flesh around is enough to cause endless entertainment to those waiting for their turn outside the giant funnel. Ish and I laughed the entire time, only making our faces that much funnier.
Back then the kids were too young to participate, so when Aeroplan asked if we’d like to test out the new iFly Toronto location with the kids, we jumped at the chance.And once the nerves subsided, the giggles continued. We all had a blast.
Thinking of doing it yourself?
Here are a few things you should know:
1. Who can do it:
iFly Toronto takes kids as young as four! And there’s no upper age limit either. The key is good back and shoulder health. You’ll have to fill out a waiver on arrival but you’ll also have plenty of time to rethink your decision during the safety briefing before you fly. There are some other limits. Wind pressure is adjusted according to your weight so be prepared to step on the scale before you start and flyers must be under 230 pounds to participate in the basic packages. (Note that flyers over 230 pounds can participate in a specialized package. Information is available by contacting iFly directly.)
2. It can get messy:
Got a runny nose? Extra saliva in your mouth? A watery eye? Those winds will whip it right out of you and trying to move your hand to wipe snot out off your visor will only send you crashing to the floor…I’ve heard.
Try to ignore it. The good news is that you’ll be able to laugh at the people who follow you as loudly as they laughed at you.
3. No tech in the tube:
Yup. No cameras, iphones, music players or other gadgets. You’ll have the chance to lock it all up in a locker before you enter but I have to admit I did regret not having someone outside who could snap some photos. Have a friend who isn’t interested in participating? Bring them along. No such luck? Luckily you can purchase the video from iFly for about $30. It includes not only the members of your party but the flights of the party you’re paired to go into the tunnel with and the instructor’s demo video. You can see snippets from our flight in this video:
4. Once is not enough:
iFly sells the flights but if you’ve got a bunch of Aeroplan miles you can cash them in as well. For 9,500 miles per person, you’ll get two flights each along with the safety briefing and gear you need to wear in the tube. Either way there’s no question that when you’re done you’re going to want more. At the end of our two flights the boys were just starting to get the hang of it. iFly does offer cut rates on ongoing flights if you purchase before you leave. Otherwise, standard rates (or more miles) apply.
5. Nothing to Fear
Turns out Cam’s biggest worry was a factor of his imagination. He thought he’d have to jump into the tube! Not at all. As you can see in the video you simply lean in from the doorway while standing on the ground. The wind does the rest.
Conclusion: A fun day out and the perfect gift for that tween or teen whose birthday gift is always a challenge.
Aeroplan provided our family with tickets to try out this experience. As always all editorial and opinion are my own.