As you research the best dropzone to suit your needs, use caution. Booking agents and third party vendors have found a compelling mix of misrepresentations that are luring people into making misguided decisions. You think you’re booking with a reputable dropzone in close proximity to your city, but in actuality you’re paying a premium to a middleman whose nonrefundable purchase is for a dropzone that may be hours away. No bueno.
Before you make a booking, double check that the company represented on the website is an actual skydiving center. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:
The easiest way to catch the middleman in the act is to take note of the physical address of the dropzone and make sure it matches that of an airport. No airport, no skydiving.
Most of these vendors list an 800 number on their site because their call center is in a nowhere-ville. When you call to inquire about their location, they’ll likely ask you where you are calling from before they can furnish an address.
Check their credentials.
The United States Parachute Association (USPA) is the only regulatory agency for sport skydiving in the US. Third party vendors often cite membership with another agency, most frequently the National Skydiving Association (NSA) … which doesn’t exist.
Do the math.
A common tactic in maximizing the con is to add a number of fees on top of the tandem price. Airport fee, Homeland Security fee, Gear Rental fee, Weather fee, Reschedule fee … the list goes on and on, and the price goes up and up. Required fees should be spelled out on the website. If things aren’t adding up, ask for the webpage that describes the fees.
Study the details.
Look for specifics on the website, such as the name of the airport, description of facilities and equipment, and a list of amenities. Not found? You’re probably on a generic website that represents dropzones across the country.
Mull over the motivation.
It’s dropzones that are small in size and margin that tend to partner with these controversial booking agencies. In an industry built on trust, you have to wonder: if they’re cutting corners on marketing, where else are they saving a buck?
At Skydive Snohomish, we are committed to safety and professionalism. Always have been, always will be. Our dropzone is not affiliated with any sort of middleman or central reservation systems. We believe that supporting those types of businesses compromises the integrity of our operations and the skydiving community as a whole.
Have questions or concerns? Connect with us – we are here for you.