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Will avoid this location in the future, recommend others consider their options before coming here!

Niagara Skydive Center Inc. Rated 3 by: HighHopes on 2012-06-17

Pros: Scenery/location. Facilities and craft were clean and in operating order
Cons: Customer Service! Owner/operator Tim was the worst staff member there!

I recently took my girlfriend here for her birthday. We opted for the tandem experience because we didn't have the time to do the training needed for a solo jump. I personally have done solo jump training in another province and saw how quickly the people that were doing tandem jumps were in and out of the facility. We were told over the phone that training for tandem would only take about 15 minutes and that we'd be on a plane quickly after that. We called on route to the facility and discovered that they were running "a bit" behind schedule, so we pushed our appointment half an hour and took our time getting to Dunnville.
After we paid and watched the 5 minute training video we were told to relax and wait for our training, as they were still running behind due to 1 instructor injuring her wrist earlier that day. I asked "are we to wait 10-15 minutes, or like an hour, hour and a half?" The fellow behind the counter, who was either wilfully unaware or reluctant to give an honest answer said "more like an hour, hour and a half". We were both dismayed but decided to wait, since we were already there.
We were introduced to 2 other guys who were waiting to jump as well. They informed us that they had already been waiting 2 hours before we had even gotten there. 1.5 hours later we were told we would still need to wait.
2 hours of waiting later my girlfriend was considering getting refunded and cancelling the whole experience. We had dinner plans for her birthday and at the rate we were going we were not going to make it back for her party. I, however, talked her out of it, assuming that we should be getting to go at any time now. Another hour passed, we were getting hungry, and we were still not getting trained. I asked again how much longer at the front counter, and he said "it'll be this plane load, then the next, THEN you can start getting suited up". I asked if that meant another half hour or what? He responded that it'll be at least half an hour but more like hour. I said we needed to go back into town to get something to eat and another staff member who was standing by the counter smirked, and suggested "take your time". We returned less than an hour later and continued to wait.
After waiting a total of 4 HOURS one of the instructors finally considered us and started to train the 4 of us. 5 minutes of training later we were getting suited up. I wanted to grab a photo of us in our suits and asked one of the instructors if we had time for a photo, as the camera was in the car. He said we still had 2 minutes, so we took a minute to go to the car and take a photo in place. After the photo as I was locking up the car, another instructor (who turned out to be the owner Tim) came around the corner huffing and yelling to hurry up (after we had waited for 4 hours for him!). I dropped my keys off at the front counter for safe keeping and made it back to the group some 30 seconds later to hear Tim loosing his temper, asking a fellow employee "where the hell is the other guy?". "Right here" he said, pointing at me standing right in front of him. Tim then hurriedly introduced himself to me, asking my name, forgetting immediately and just referring to me as "guy" from then on.
Inside the plane the tandem instructors were getting to know their clients a bit better during the 20 minute flight up, lightening the mood and distracting us from building anxiety. Meanwhile I was stuck with a cantankerous buzz kill who didn't want to communicate and had already done enough "customer service" to sour my excitement for the experience.
The jump was great and I although I should have probably focussed more on that, the whole time I was dropping I was thinking that I would have rather been strapped to anyone else at that time.
It took 4.5 hours for the whole experience to happen (6.5 hours for the 2 guys we jumped with) when we anticipated an hour tops. It seems we spent the same amount of time that training for a solo jump would've taken just waiting to go tandem. Had we known it was going to take the whole day we would have gone somewhere else, which is too bad because this place actually came recommended to us. To be fair, it seemed that many of the staff there were great friendly guys who were probably good at their job. I am pleased that my girlfriend was paired up with Chris, a caring guy who looked after her needs well. If she had gotten stuck with Tim I would have been far more disappointed.
TL;DR: Girlfriends birthday jump sullied by an unexpected half day of waiting and poor customer service.

(Review ID:7325)