Let’s discuss the best tunnel time rates for you. While prices can differ from tunnel to tunnel, I’m focused on getting you the best rate for working with me at iFly Loudoun. There are a couple options. NOTE: I don’t go in depth about coaching included time here.
Update! You can read about my coaching included tunnel rate here! I give a quick discussion of its benefits and drawbacks — it might not be the best option to suit your needs. Keep on reading to find out more about other options available to you.
iFLY Loudoun Rates and Comparisons
1) Standard Rate
The standard rate for an hour is $975. If you want to buy smaller chunks of time, the rate goes up. For example, a five minute block at $99 ends up being $1,188 an hour. The advantage is you don’t sign any agreement and can fly it at any time.
2) Bulk Time
This rate involves purchasing bulk time and signing the bulk time agreement. You can get better rates depending on how much time you’d like to buy. You have to buy a minimum of an hour, but can also buy in five, ten, and twenty hour increments. Expect some scheduling challenges however. If flying on the weekend is important to you, you’ll find your windows of how much time you can fly are limited to just a few hours during the day. If you wait until night time, or non-peak hours, your weekend scheduling becomes more flexible. Be prepared to book well in advanced, as first time fliers will often book the entire weekend weeks in advanced.
3) Standby Time
This is the cheapest rate, which can be bought for 12.50 a minute. This ends up being a $750.00 hour, which you must put on account upfront. This time technically could be flown during peak hours. However the agreement states that you can only book a half hour ahead of time. So if you show up to the tunnel and see that time is open an hour out, wait around 25 minutes, and 35 minutes out first time flyers come in and purchase the rest of that time, you have to wait for the next option. On a weekend that next option might be 12 hours out. This account is best for folks with weekdays off, locals who live or work very close to the tunnel, or teleworkers who can camp out in a team room and wait.
Furthermore, you may find yourself at the management’s discretion, and they could deny your request to fly for a number of reasons such as if the schedule is running late. In my case, I’ve encountered resistance for coaching clients, even if they are paying through the tunnel and the tunnel is keeping their profit. The argument was that they could select their on the clock coach if they were flying bulk time, but since they are getting the “rock bottom rate” we were not to bend over backwards for them. Seems kind of silly when they tunnel is collecting an extra $3 per minute for on the clock coaching, bringing your tab per hour to $930.00, but that apparently is the policy. It’s up to you if saving the extra money is worth being treated differently.
4) Return Packages
If you did fly with an Earn your Wings or Spread your Wings package, which is the intro packages for first timers with high mark up, the plus side is you qualify for return flyer rates. If you buy a voucher the day of, you can get 10 minutes of flight time for $159, which comes to the hourly rate of $954. The awesome thing about this package is you can schedule it for any time, and you don’t have to put front the money to purchase a full hour!
While the package does come with free belly coaching, if you want quality attention and coaching you will probably want to keep a coaches card, contact them beforehand, and pre-tip $30. Remember, coaching usually goes for $50 for 15 minutes, and the “free” coaching you get basically means that the instructor who would have gotten paid before is now being asked to do the same work for nothing. Furthermore, you are taking the space of up to five first time fliers, who probably would tip and buy iFly products that pay commissions. While I am thrilled to see people return with these packages, and I am glad I can save them money, this sort of return business becomes more of nuisance versus my other customers who pay more for tunnel time and I am under no obligation to coach. Therefore when they pay for coaching I help make their training time as valuable as possible. Consider buying your return package from the coach you are working with, as they also get a small commission for the sale.
5) Costco Packages
Costo will run a deal for its members for an earn your wings with video for $40. This gets you two minutes, at $20 a minute. But the real key here is it gets you in the door for purchasing return packages, without having to bite that retail bullet. Don’t have a costco membership? Get someone who does to get one for you — it’s transferable.
Other ways to save:
1) Coach Rates
You can read about my coaching included tunnel rate here!
Some franchise or non-ifly tunnels offer some great deals. For example, iFLY Utah offers a block of time that goes through a coach, and therefore comes with coaching. It ends up being less than what you’d pay for time without coaching! I also had such a deal at Orlando in 2011. Corporate iFLY’s apparently offer something similar, however it is only made available to level four instructors, and since I’ve been working for the company, has not been emphasized or been clarified when asked about. It can also only be accessed when your coach is off the clock, further adding to scheduling problems.
2) International Tunnels
The Russian tunnel is known to be among the cheapest modern wind tunnels in the world, due to the exchange rate. Listen around for deals like this.
3) Pre-Opening Specials
If you see an iFLY is popping up near you, consider getting a preopening special. You can save an additional $25-50 per hour, but are subject to all those restrictions I mentioned above in the bulk time agreement. You can split it with up to four people. Buying 20 or 50 hours is going to get you a rate below $700.
Keep in mind tax laws are different in different places. For example, in Virginia Beach the tax on entertainment was approaching 10%. At iFly Loudoun, tax isn’t applied on top of your tunnel time rate.
5) Boogie Specials
Occasionally these specials with pop up at boogies. As about them. Sometimes they are a great deal. Other times you could get a better rate by understanding the options above.
The Bottom Line
If you don’t have thirty grand lying around at the time of a convenient windtunnel opening, a standby account is your best rate. However, the headaches associated with it might be enough to turn you off from it. I know in my experience I am less enthusiastic to work with a client who may or may not be bumped from the schedule. It’s risky and frustrating for me to take the time to come out to the tunnel just to do 5 minutes of coaching instead of the larger amount of time proposed.
If you are willing to take the hit on buying a spread your wings for four minutes at the higher rate, you will save money by purchasing multiple Return 10’s for yourself. It’s up to you to make sure this time is spent wisely by teaming up with a coach and working out a deal. I’d happily come in on my off time to coach one of these packages at my $35 for 10 minute rate, or $100 for 30 minute rate. With the ease of scheduling, this is a great way to get the hourly rate without paying for an hour. Indeed, this is how I suggest going about getting level one certified.
Bulk agreements are the best way to fly and be treated like a normal customer by clocked in staff. Remember though that you are going to still have to pay for coaching, and with the right coach you will not really interact with the clocked in staff anyways.
If you’re willing to travel, you can definitely get a better hourly rate from some world renown coaches. You’ll have to find them and work out your deal. You’ll also have to fly to them, take time away from home, pay for hotel, etc. It does sound like a fun adventure I would definitely consider, but it does take a lot of planning as well.
If you are interested in working with me in the wind tunnel let’s talk and see how we can get the best value for you.