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New York Skyride SCAM

Limerick, Ireland
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7 posts
23 reviews
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New York Skyride SCAM

As we walked passed a side entrance of the Empire State Building, my boyfriend and I were approached by a Skyride employee called Shawn. He convinced us that for $54 each we would skip all the queues, watch the Skyride show which he said "was just like a helicopter ride" and get access to the 86th and 102nd floor. I told him I wanted to buy my tickets from the official ticket office but he said he was official and he showed me his badge. We bought the tickets which came to $102.

We had to wait over 20 minutes for the Skyride show which was TERRIBLE. The video of the helicopter ride was blurry and went way too fast so you could not see any of the sights properly. The seats jerked far too much and IT WAS NOT ENJOYABLE.

Then we had to queue to get on an elevator which only brought us to the 80th floor. We had to queue again for the 86th floor. We thought we had bought the express pass but we queued for over an hour.

After spending some time looking out from the 86th floor we approached an Empire State Building employee selling tickets for the 102nd floor to ask her how do we get up there. She said our tickets were not valid for the 102nd floor and that we had been scammed. She advised us to ring our credit card company to cancel the transaction as we were not provided with the service we bought.

We immediately went to complain to the Skyride office. While we waited to speak to the manager the other staff made rude comments to us. We spoke to two managers and they even brought Shawn up to speak to us. He denied what he said when selling us the tickets and said "You're just bummed cause the show was crap. I can't change that." A female manager who we spoke to started shouting at us saying "We never sell tickets to the 102nd floor." I asked to see the receipts but she would not show them to me. I tried to look at the receipt but she shouted for security saying I was getting aggressive and we were escorted out of the building by a security guard. Other tourists stopped and stared at us like we had done somrthing wrong. We were so upset. I've travelled all over the world and I cannot believe that a scam like this could happen in such a great city.

Atlanta, Georgia
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5,273 posts
16 reviews
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1. Re: New York Skyride SCAM

I fell for the same scam, except that I sort of smelled that it was a scam but went for it anyway.

My wife and I were told by the guy selling the tickets that they were express passes and that we would not have to wait in any lines (which is an outright lie and like you, we had to wait in four separate lines - security, Skyride desk, elevator to 80th floor, and elevator to 86th floor). It did however get us up to the observatory in 30 minutes rather than the 2+ hours they were estimating for the regular line. I guess that was a small benefit, as it resulted in 90 fewer minutes of being yelled at by the ushers to GET IN LINE.

Note that you do not have to do the Skyride if you don't want to - just exchange your voucher for an observatory ticket at the Skyride desk (that's what we did).

I would take the advice of the person who suggested that you charge it back on your credit card - that it is the only thing that will get anyone's attention at this so-called attraction. I am planning to do that myself, but so far the charge has not appeared on my account.


New York City, New...
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4,250 posts
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2. Re: New York Skyride SCAM

In all cases in the US and abroad, it's always a good idea to buy from official ticket offices. Or when in doubt or approached by someone, ASK someone in an office. If someone is not behind a desk of an official office, they can be anyone.

Edited: 05 May 2011, 02:13
Dallas, Texas
Destination Expert
for Boston, Orlando, Walt Disney World
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100 reviews
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3. Re: New York Skyride SCAM

I agree with cooki been approached before but always refuse these kind of sales pitch.

Boston, MA
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for Boston
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4. Re: New York Skyride SCAM

I've posted before against the sky ride. In our case (2 years ago) he didn't say "express pass" he said we'd skip the ticket line and only have a very short security line. All true .... but I HATED the ride and have been advising people ever since to avoid it.

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2 posts
84 reviews
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5. Re: New York Skyride SCAM

Sept 2012, fell for the SCAM also. You expect that as this team of sales people are right outside the front door of the empire state that they are the preferred supplier, but its all a scam. Our ticket included a cruise round the statue of liberty which we decided to use on our last night in NY. We went to 5th ave to the sales staff 2 hours before the boat was scheduled to leave as when we bought the ticket 2 days prior there was a bus taking people to the port. On this occasion they said we had to go directly to the port ourselves. And they gave me an address. I was a little confused as the address on the card they gave me was different to the address on the flyer for the boat. I then clarrified this with two seperate members of staff all whom confirmed that the card represented the right address. because of the delay in getting this answer we took blind faith and got a cab to a port that was only for the daytime boats and not the evening boat for which we were trying to get on. By this time it was 15 minutes before the boat was due to depart and we were on the opposite side of the Island to where we were meant to be. So extremely dissapointed we had to leave NY withough our trip to lady liberty.

Others be ware. just buy the $25 ticket and save the additional $20 dollars sky ride are charging and pay for dinner!

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406 posts
38 reviews
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6. Re: New York Skyride SCAM

Wanted to bump this for people who are not aware of the practises of this company.We did ESB on our last day only as it was included in the CityPass (which for us was excellent value). The Skyride employees are on the streets for blocks around the ESB and are quite in your face about stopping anyone who could be a tourist. They stopped my OH while I was distracted and would have conned him with tales of "you will have to queue for an hour" etc. When I stepped up and said we already had tickets the sales rep wanted to see them to check we had "the right type"! I kept on walking and passed many other reps who were spinning the same lies. FYI on a Monday afternoon we were in and out of the building in 40mins and would recommend TOTR over ESB if you are only planning on doing one.

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59 posts
9 reviews
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7. Re: New York Skyride SCAM

Don't feel bad for falling for the scam - I believed they were genuine too! I hadn't realised until I just read this.

Luckily we didn't use them, but as Ozgirl says, they are very 'in your face', and are clearly very good at conning people.

With people like that on the street right outside, who can blame some people for being conned by it?

Destination Expert
for Israel
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36,694 posts
38 reviews
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8. Re: New York Skyride SCAM

There is an old expression that goes, " If it is too good to be true, it probably isn't! " ---words to live by all over the world.

9. Re: New York Skyride SCAM

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