Skydiving vs Bungee Jumping Differences

Monday, May 25, 2020

In 2011, while traveling through the South Island of New Zealand, I did what many do when visiting this incredible country – go bungee jumping! My death-defying leap took place at the highest bungee jump destination in New Zealand – a heart pumping 440 feet (134m) at AJ Hackett’s Nevis Bungy location. The jump takes place above a rocky ravine in the middle of the Nevis canyons with water running below – it’s everything you want in horrifying visuals as you imagine your demise!

As a skydiver, I didn’t think the experience could possibly compare to jumping from a plane, but I was wrong; the experience is different, but amazing in its own way! In this article, I’ll break down the differences between skydiving and bungee jumping and what makes each one so great!

Biggest Differences Between Skydiving and Bungee Jumping

The differences between skydiving and bungee jumping vary in altitude, a fail-safe should things go wrong, and time. Like skydiving, bungee jumping requires the jumper to walk up to the edge and make a conscious decision to jump. This is what makes both of these experiences so rewarding – looking fear in the face and not backing down. This, however, is where the similarities end.

  • Altitude – A typical skydive usually takes place from between 10,000’ and 14,000’ whereas a bungee jump is usually a few hundred feet or in my case 440 feet… dangerously low in skydiving terms!
  • An Emergency Back Up – Should the bungee cord snap, there is no recourse… death is likely. With skydiving, there are multiple fail-safe backups such as a reserve parachute, an automatic activation device to deploy the reserve should the skydiver not do it themselves, a reserve static line, and even a MARD system. Additionally, having more altitude gives a skydiver the benefit of time to sort some problems out. With bungee jumping, there is no time. Learn more about when the parachute doesn’t open on our blog post, What Happens if the Parachute Fails to Open When Skydiving?
  • Time – The length of time that each adventure lasts for couldn’t be more different. A bungee jump lasts for mere seconds whereas the skydiving experience is much longer and in my opinion much more enjoyable. With a skydive, the excitement of a 15-minute flight to altitude adds to the experience with the buildup. Once leaving the plane, there’s a full minute of free fall followed by five minutes under the parachute.

Having bungee jumped myself, I wished the experience would have lasted longer!

Is Bungee Jumping Scarier Than Skydiving?

Between the elements of altitude and an emergency back up (or the lack thereof), I’d have to say bungee jumping is way scarier than skydiving and this would definitely be the case if you have a fear of heights which may seem ironic.

When crouched in the door of an airplane at 14,000 feet, you can’t see anything on the ground with any detail. Instead, skydivers look out on the horizon and somehow, people who are deathly afraid of heights can feel comfortable jumping. The opposite is true for bungee jumping. I remember peering over the edge and I could clearly see the rocks in which my body would hit in the ravine below should things have gone horribly wrong. Fortunately, I lived to tell the tale!

Skydiving is scary but tons of fun. Bungee jumping is definitely scarier… and still tons of fun!

Skydiving vs Bungee Jumping – What Each Feels Like

Perhaps the biggest difference between skydiving and bungee jumping is what each feels like. The sensation of falling between bungee jumping and skydiving couldn’t be more different. In skydiving, jumpers reach speeds of 120mph entering a zone known as terminal velocity. Terminal velocity is essentially riding on air molecules that feel very stable making the experience feel amazing; you don’t feel descent or speed. You feel like you’re floating.


With bungee jumping, you only feel descent and speed. At no point do you feel stable and this is another reason that bungee jumping is way scarier.

The Verdict – Skydiving or Bungee Jumping

Of course, if you love feeling scared, you may prefer bungee jumping, but in my honest opinion, nothing tops skydiving! Plummeting towards the ground is a great rush, but the rush of exiting an airplane is incredible as a cold wind hits your face! There’s nothing like that rush which is then followed by the exhilaration of free fall which makes you feel like you’re flying! Who doesn’t want to fly?!!!!

My bungee jumping experience was incredible and the good folks at AJ Hackett Bungy did a great job. I recommend it, but if I had to choose between one or the other, skydiving wins hands down! If you have more questions, check out our FAQs or contact us to book your adventure today!