Why We Don't Do Groupon

Although Skydivers appear to defy the Law of Gravity, we cannot escape the Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns.

In keeping with our philosophy of offering the best experience safely, we must embrace only sustainable business practices that allow us to have enough profit to pay excellent instructors, maintain and purchase new equipment, keep our plane in top condition, and provide continuing education for jumpers and staff. If you as a customer do not care about these things, then maybe Skydive Kansas is not a good fit for your needs. However, if you care about more than just location and price, you should consider our services.

We do, however, want to say thank you to our customers, and we do so by:
  • Offering Tandem training and allowing you to fully experience a skydive, even if it means we take more time with each individual. You are not just a number, not just along for a ride.
  • Extending discounts for your effort in scheduling ahead and committing to skydiving with us by putting down a deposit. We know you're serious, so we are too. (We're serious about having fun!)
  • Rewarding people who organize a group and act as a liaison by offering a group organizer discount.
  • Considering that people's time is valuable, so we communicate constantly about plans, both personally by phone and email as well as via twitter, facebook, and our website. If we can save you a drive due to weather, we will.
  • Giving returning tandem students reduced prices. We want you to come back!
  • Structuring pricing for earning a license as low as possible.
  • Reaching out to the community through events, fundraisers, sponsorships, and support.

We are in this for the long haul.

Even after almost 20 years in business, we want another 20 more! To be sustainable, we must not pay other agencies to take part of our revenue when we are capable of scheduling and reaching customers ourselves. We must also not offer services at prices below our cost. This is why we don't do Groupon or any other similarly structured scam. The skydiving industry has small margins given high costs of aviation related activities, and no business can sustain a trade off of longevity for cashflow today. As a consumer, choosing a smart company whose team thinks long term and cares about your experience would not only be preferable, when you're talking jumping out of an airplane, it's a no brainer!

It is true...

You get what you pay for.

Booking Agencies

is a SCAM!

DZO's from across the country are currently discussing how to address this issue that creates bad PR for the sport.  Here's how you can tell it's a scam:
• The web site encourages the reader to call and make an appointment. There is never any physical address listed.
• The complete package price includes a port fee, weather insurance and sometimes an extra charge to ride in the big plane.
• After you give out your credit card information you are told where the drop zone is. No one is ever told where the drop zone is until money has changed hands.

Beware of Booking Scams!
We DO NOT accept national gift certificates from any organization, for example 1-800-Skyride. We are also NOT affiliated with http://kansasskydiving.com although they use our name. They are NOT an actual physical dropzone, but a facade website intended to divert customers away from actual established places.  Their claim to have the "best" safety record is probably true:  If you make zero jumps, you have zero incidents!

See litigation against Skyride! (20 Aug 2007)

Learn why this is a scam that hurts our sport:
http://www.uspa.org/about/index.htm#consumeralert from USPA! (29 July 2005)
www.1800skyrider.com  (an anti- Skyride website)
http://www.funjumper.com/skyride/  (list of scams)
http://www.makeithappen.com/jumps/review/cedartown.html (Jan Meyer's compilation)
Hot Air Ballooning (It's plaguing hot air balloon industry as well.)
1-800-SKYRIDE Rip Off
Google "1-800 Skyride Scam"

Two people heading this fraud are actual skydivers Ben Butler and Cary Quattrocchi. USPA took action against them, was involved with litagation and posted a consumer alert cautioning would be jumpers. (Search USPA minutes for Skyride.)

I was contacted by 1-800-Skyride several times to solicit our involvement in accepting these national gift certificates.  I declined for many reasons (glad I did) but I believe that is why they have focused a website directly against our dropzone.

If you've been a victim of this, contact the Better Business Bureau in your area.

Update on 27 May 2009:
Depsite litigation and rulings against them, Skyride continues to operate and rip consumers off. They have not changed their practices significantly. I still receive phone calls from those who have been in contact with the Skyride company under various aliases; these consumers express their disconent and suspicion. Skyride's practices continue to plague our sport and give the wrong impression about most reputable dropzones who want to supply a great service at a reasonable price. Skyride also continues to operate their website pretending that they are Skydive Kansas. Be cautious as if anything, these unscrupulous individuals have become even more covert in their ability to scam.

Update on 30 Jan 2005:
USPA at their recent Board of Directors meeting denounced the business practices of 1-800-SkyRide and "strongly urged" them to discontinue.  An owner from SkyRide was present to take the reprimand.

The following is taken with permission from www.skydivenewport.com (Thank you Marc Tripari!)

Beware the middleman!

In the recent months many websites have popped up offering skydiving gift certificates and attempting to book reservations for skydiving.

They appear to be representing a skydiving center in your local area and make claims that they have the highest skydiving safety record, use the best equipment, have been serving the local area for a long time, offer the least expensive skydive, and have the closest jumping location to metropolitan areas.

However, these websites are actually nothing more than a middle man or skydiving reservation agency which costs you money. Be leary of their many misrepresentations!

To help you determine if a website represents an actual skydiving center:

The only regulatory agency for sport skydiving in the USA is the United States Parachute Association (USPA). The USPA is a membership organization that maintains and regulates a group member listing of drop zones which abide by the association's Basic Safety Regulations.

Still not sure if they are legitimate, call the 800 number and ask where they are located. If they cannot answer immediately without asking where you are calling from, then you have reached the middle man!

You might be asking "why not go through one of these agencies?"

  1. Deceptive business practices: They employ a templated website which offers the same facts and pictures across the country, but claim to represent a local drop zone.

  2. Location and distance: The agent will only book you with a participating skydiving center, sometimes several states away!

  3. Bogus fees: Airport Fee, Homeland Security Fee, Poor Weather / Re-Schedule Fee are all tacked on after you have already paid over the internet and arrive for your appointment. You may initially only pay $165 over the internet. However after you arrive and add up the fees, your bill can quickly exceed $250 for the jump alone. The Homeland Security Fee is especially troublesome, since it preys on our fears of terrorism and your belief that you are contributing to National Security.

  4. Low budget operations: Usually, the skydiving center in the area who is participating with these booking agencies is so small and low budget that they are unable to market for themselves. And if they can't afford marketing, how can they afford good instructors, quality gear, or have properly maintained aircraft?

Making a skydive is an experience you will remember and cherish for life. It is important that this experience be performed by a competent, professional center associated with the United States Parachute Association. Choosing to make a reservation with an agency which makes claims of, but has no control over, safety, instructors and equipment quality is literally throwing caution into the wind. Do your research before you jump. Your safety and enjoyment depend on it.

The above information has been brought to you by a concerned community of USPA certified skydiving centers serving the Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware areas, and Skydive Newport, Rhode Island.