Are you thinking of going on a Hot Air balloon ride?
A Hot Air Balloon Flight is one of the most amazing things you will ever do and is on just about every person’s ‘bucket list’, for good reason. Flying serenely over a majestic landscape followed by a luxurious champagne breakfast is an amazing experience and everyone, yes everyone, should give it a go.
As a first time Hot Air Balloon passenger there are going to be a lot of ‘unknowns’, a lot of questions to be answered before you go. We wanted to address some of the bigger questions and help you make the step from starring up and wandering what it would be like to gazing down and having an awesome time.
Balloons flights are one of the safest forms of aviation. Most people are fast asleep in the morning whilst thousands, and thousands of balloons ascend all over the world, each and every morning. It is extremely rare for there to be any problems. So be assured you are in good hands!
If you want a little more information about Balloon Safety check out our blog: How Safe Is Hot Air Ballooning
Scared of heights, not in a Balloon!
This is something that is a little strange when it comes to ballooning. As a tour operator at least 50% of our passenger would say that they are scared of heights. They would tell us before the flight how they are really looking forward to the trip but are a little stressed (some were extremely stressed). But, the funny thing is, each and every one of them after the flight would say how much they loved it and how their fears disappeared once in the air. A balloon flight, for some reason, does not affect people as much if they have an issue with heights.
Maybe it is the basket and surrounding enclosure, maybe it is the gentle way you ascend and descend – no matter what everyone loves a balloon ride.
Balloon Flight Time
Whilst the actual balloon flight is around 1 hour the whole experience could take around 5 hours.
From the balloon tour operators headquarters you will usually travel to a launch field (which may be a long drive) in their retrieve vehicles where you will then have the balloon setup and inflated. Some times when travelling to the launch field you may stop along the way to release a helium balloon with a light attached to confirm wind direction.
When you finish your flight you will help pack up and drive back to your breakfast point. Breakfast could take an hour or more. Usually there is no rush for you to go as everyone is swapping stories and pictures.
Hot Air Balloon Clothing
During the flight itself you will have a huge envelope of heated air above you but during an early morning inflation and balloon setup it could be very cold. So rug up.
Wear sturdy boots and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Usually the launch and landing fields are damp first thing in the morning so your shoes will get wet.
During the flight there really is not much room for storage in the basket so where a jacket you can unzip or even wrap around your waist.
Sunglasses are a good idea and a warm hat or cap would also be a good idea. When the pilot fires up the burners sometimes the radiant heat can be quite hot, this is where the hat will help.
Balloon Passanger Gear
Essential gear includes a camera, sunglasses and sturdy clothing.
Just remember that it is not a good idea to have loose or hanging items. Your pilot will normally ask you to stow away anything loose as you come in to land as a small drag landing may occur (very safe and normal).
Friends and Family watching your Balloon Flight
Most tour operators allow friends and family to watch and tag along on your balloon flight. However they must not get in the way of the inflation and deflation process. You will need to check where they can park.
Many balloon operators rely on local farmers and council parks to launch and land on. So it is very important that vehicle do not follow into farms or ovals where only the Balloon Tour Operator has permission to go.
Most Balloon Companies allow friends and Family to join you for your balloon breakfast for a small fee.
How to Pick a Balloon Company
History is a really good indication of how good a balloon company is.
How long have they been operating?
What is their safety record like?
Normally a Balloon Company will sell you a ticket and you pick a day when you want to fly. So any balloon company will have a number of paid passengers looking to book on weekends when the weather is looking good. So if a company has only a couple of pilots or balloons you may not be able to fly when you want. Check this out when you book.
If you have any more questions you would like answered just drop us a line and we will love to help answer you question.