How Long Is a Hot Air Balloon Ride?

How Long Is a Hot Air Balloon Ride?

If you are like many people, you likely have a fascination with flight. Indeed, the human fascination with flight has existed for as long as birds were in the sky.

While it is impossible to fly with a pair of wings, you can get a taste of the skies on a hot air balloon. Being on a hot air balloon, for many, is an indescribable feeling. The experience can leave you breathless — from the view you get from above, not from the altitude.

Imagining the experience of overlooking everything, you will see why many people pay for hot air balloon rides. Of course, one of the questions you might be asking while reaching for your wallet is how long one takes.

How long will your next hot air balloon ride take? What factors will contribute to the length of the ride?

Read on to learn the answers to these commonly asked questions about hot air balloon rides.

How Long Is a Hot Air Balloon Ride on Average?

How Long Is a Hot Air Balloon Ride on Average?

Many companies offer hot air balloon rides to interested customers like yourself. Of course, ask any company the average length of a hot air balloon ride, and you might receive different responses.

On average, you can expect a hot air balloon ride to take anywhere from 45 minutes to an entire hour. Right away, this tells you that you may need to go to the restroom before your flight. Also, you might need to check with some of your companions who may have oxygenation and cardiac problems.

Some companies offer flights that last an hour or just a little less than that. For instance, Sky Drifters offer hour-long flights for anywhere from $175 to $275 per person. The length and rates for hot air balloon flights are also similar for Compass Balloons and Rainbow Ryders.

Sundance Balloons take people for flights that can last about 90 minutes. This length is one of the longest flight times you can experience onboard a hot air balloon.

In short, if you’re about to take a trip on a balloon, expect your flight to be about 45 to 90 minutes. A ballpark flight time would be about an hour.

What Contributes to the Flight Time?

What Contributes to the Flight Time?

Barring company-related differences, several factors can shorten or lengthen your overall flight time. Here are these factors:

Weather and Wind Conditions

The weather will affect the safety of flying on a hot air balloon. On a warm sunny day or at dusk are times when flying is ideal. On the other hand, when it starts to rain, the person manning the balloon will set it down for the sake of safety.

The wind also needs to be less than 10 knots. Any higher, and the balloon may drift uncontrollably. For this reason, a hot air balloon trip can be cut short if the wind suddenly picks up.


Chase crews need to follow a hot air balloon to recover it. They recover the balloon as soon as it lands. Of course, a chase crew can only follow the balloon as far as roads allow them to.

The pilot of the balloon recognizes this. As a result, if the pilot notices the wind blowing the balloon too far from where the chase crew can follow, one of two things can happen.

Either the pilot changes altitude to direct the balloon closer to the chase crew’s path, or the pilot sets the balloon down before it gets blown too far off course.

The Party Size

For a small party of three or four, hot air balloons can remain airborne for an hour or so. This is because the balloon gets to preserve what fuel it has for carrying a few people.

As you might imagine, the more people a balloon carries, the more fuel is necessary for flight. The more fuel the balloon uses, the less time it can stay in the air.  

Balloon Size

Of course, “small” is relative. It comes down to the size of the balloon. A larger balloon will likely have more capacity to hold a larger group of people. With the larger gas cylinders and balloon envelope, larger balloons can stay airborne longer than smaller ones.

Hot Air Balloon Rides — an Hour with the Skies

For most companies, a hot air balloon ride can be roughly an hour long. Given the presence of certain factors like the weather, you can expect the ride to be shorter, at around 45 minutes. Of course, with a bigger balloon and favorable wind conditions, your ride can be as long as an hour and a half.

However long your flight takes, you can bet on an incredible experience — one you will remember for a lifetime.