"What If Our Parachute Doesn't Open?"
Version United States
Season The Amazing Race 3
Episode Number 1/11 (025)
First Broadcast October 2, 2002
Viewership (in millions) 9.50[1]
Ratings/Share (18-49) 3.9/10[1]
Episode Chronology
Previous "Follow That Plane!"
(previous season)
Next "This Seems Like the Path Straight to Hell!"

What If Our Parachute Doesn't Open? is the season premiere of The Amazing Race 3.


In the premiere episode, 12 diverse teams of two set off on the first leg of the Race starting in the remote Florida Everglades and quickly make their way to the crowded streets of Mexico City. One team teams begs for money at an airport, and tensions escalate quickly when another team leaves their belongings in a taxi. Some embrace the thrill of skydiving, while one team must overcome an extreme fear of heights to stay in the Race. Several twists occur as teams confront major obstacles on the way to the Pit Stop.[2]


Route Markers

Teams must choose a marked Mercedes-Benz M-Class and then drive themselves to Miami International Airport. They then have to book a flight to Mexico City, Mexico, their first destination, with two provided flights available. The first seven teams would be on the earlier American Airlines flight, while the last five teams are on the Aeroméxico flight leaving 50 minutes later. Once in Mexico team must find the Angel of Independence statue to find their next clue.

Teams receive a picture of a man named Pablo and must use the picture for reference in order to figure out that the clue's location is at Zócalo.

Teams must make their way to the Hotel De Cortes where they had to find the desk for Mexi-Mini Charters and sign-up for one of three charter buses leaving the next morning to an unknown destination. The first four teams departed at 8:00 am, four more at 10:00 am, and the last four at 12:00 pm.

The Fast Forward instructions were given to them after receiving their clue at Zócalo.

Teams will have to go to Plaza Santo Domingo and find a typewriter shop. There one of the shopkeepers will have a special message for them, the Fast Forward pass. Ken & Gerard won the Fast Forward.

Choice A: Wings
Teams had to board a plane, climb to an altitude of over 10,000 ft (3,000 m) and have each team member skydive in tandem with an instructor. When both team members landed, an instructor would give them their next clue.

Aaron & Arianne, Derek & Drew, Flo & Zach, Gina & Sylvia, Heather & Eve, John Vito & Jill, and Tramel & Talicia chose this task.

Choice B: Wheels
Teams chose one of the donkey-drawn carts and, using a supplied map, directed a driver who speaks no English 7 mi (11 km) course through a Mexican village to receive the next clue.

Andre & Damon, Dennis & Andrew, Michael & Kathy, and Teri & Ian chose this task.

Teams must drive themselves to the Hacienda San Gabriel de las Palmas in Puente de Ixtla to check in.

For coming in first place, Ken & Gerard won a seven night Caribbean vacation on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas cruise ship.


     First Place •      Eliminated     Last placer on a Non-Elimination Leg     Season winner •      Season 2nd place •      Season 3rd place • Used the Fast Forward
 1st place 
Ken & Gerard
 2nd place 
Flo & Zach
 3rd place 
Aaron & Arianne
Lifelong Friends
 4th place 
Michael & Kathy
Long-Distance Dating
TAR3-John Vito-Jill
 5th place 
John Vito & Jill
 6th place 
Heather & Eve
Law School Roommates
 7th place 
Andre & Damon
Cop and Fireman
 8th place 
Dennis & Andrew
 9th place 
Teri & Ian
Married Parents
 10th place 
Tramel & Talicia
 11th place 
Derek & Drew
 12th place 
Gina & Sylvia
Soccer Moms


  • This episode marks the first time the country of Mexico is visited.
    • Thus, It also marks the first time a North American country outside of the United States is visited.
  • This episode's title was said by Eve, who was worried about skydiving.
  • First and only US season to have its premiere air in the month of October.