Booking Policies and FAQ

Cancelled Flights

Non-refundable deposit — Due to the complex preparations for hot air balloon rides and our commitment to safety (which may result in weather-related cancellations), a non-refundable $100 deposit is required for booking a flight. Our policy for applying that deposit is listed below, please read carefully.

  • If WE cancel your flight due to weather or other reasons, we will reschedule your ride and your deposit will carry over to the new booking.
  • If YOU cancel your flight for any reason at least 48 hours in advance, we will reschedule your flight and your $100 deposit will carry over to the new booking.
  • If your flight is canceled due to weather, we reschedule based on your availability and our openings.
  • If you cannot reschedule right away, your deposit will be valid for 2 years.
  • If you cancel your flight with a 48-hour notice and request a refund for fees paid, we will refund all fees paid minus the $100 that is not refundable.  This administration fee will remain as a credit for any flight with us for a future flight.
  • If you cancel with less than a 24-hour notice you will be charged a fee of 50% of the total booking amount. This applies to gift certificate flights as well or you can forfeit your certificate instead of paying the 50%.
  • If you fail to show up at the launch site with no notice, the entire fee amount will be due or you will forfeit your certificate.
  • If your flight is for a one-time only date, please make us aware of that prior to booking!

Shared Rides

If you are booking a shared ride with 2 or fewer passengers, we may need to change your date and will make you aware of the change no less than 3 days in advance (this is very seldom an issue), this is due to operational cost. We will, of course, make the change fit your schedule. If you are booking 3 or more passengers or have booked a private ride, this does not apply.

Unless you booked a private ride, your flight will be a shared ride – there will be other passengers in the same basket (maximum 6 passengers in addition to the pilot). For most flights, we will be using our basket that holds the pilot plus 6 passengers.

Weather 

Weather is always a factor with ballooning and for safety reasons, the conditions do have to be ideal.

  • A few days before your flight (normally on Monday) you will get an email from us about your flight with a weather update, meeting location, balance due and other needed details.
  • If the weather doesn’t look good or we need to change the meeting location we will contact you the day of your scheduled flight with updated information.

What to Bring

  • Feel free to bring handheld camera equipment.
  • Due to limited space in the basket, we recommend handbags; backpacks and large camera bags remain on the ground. The baskets are designed to carry passengers, not luggage.

What to Wear

  • Passengers should wear outdoor clothing that is comfortable for the particular season and the time of the flight.
  • Dress for being in fields (for landing) by wearing full shoes or boots and long pants. Please NO open-toed shoes, high heels or skirts.
  • Morning flights may encounter dew or wet covered ground. For winter and cool weather flying, we recommend wearing layers. Put on as many as needed to remain comfortable. You can always remove a layer or two. It will not be noticeably colder in the air.
  • For summer flights we suggest a hat or head covering. During takeoff, you usually feel the radiant heat from the burner.

Safety

All passengers must be in good physical health, capable of climbing in and out of the basket

  • Must be at least 42″ tall and over the age of six.
  • Any passenger under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian in order to sign the boarding pass at the time of flight.
  • Able to stand for at least one hour (unless wheelchair basket is requested and available) and capable of walking a distance of up to 1 city block at a leisurely pace.
  • Able to withstand a jar or jolt upon landing, equivalent to jumping off two steps or about 20″.
  • We cannot accommodate pregnant guests. 
  • Individuals with heart conditions, back or hip problems, weak knees or ankles, fainting spells, recent surgeries of any kind (within 6 months) or currently under the care of a physician, please provide us with this important information. Your pilot & crew need to know for your safety and flight arrangements. Anyone with doctor’s limitations should contact your physician. We consider your safety first.
  • Passenger’s weight is extremely important. For your safety and the safety of others that may be on board, please supply the most accurate weight when making your reservation.

Frequently Asked Quesions

Balloon riders must be at least 42″ in height and be at least age 6 or older. For safety reasons we cannot allow children to be lifted up to see outside the basket during the flight. There is no height or age restriction for tethered rides.
Balloons operate through the basic principles of gravity and heat transfer. As air inside the balloon is heated, it rises. As the air inside the balloon cools, it descends. To make the balloon fly, an inflator fan fills it with air, which is then heated.
Winds determine a balloon’s direction. Balloonists can steer a balloon, to a limited extent, by adjusting the balloon’s altitude to make use of different wind speeds and directions.
If you’re comfortable, then we’re comfortable. You should be of sound mental and physical condition and you will be required to sign a waiver of release indicating as such before boarding the balloon. Women who are pregnant are not permitted to take balloon rides.
The actual flight time averages about an hour. The entire ballooning experience, including pre-flight preparation, flight and post-flight celebration, may take three to four hours.
Winds are generally most favorable the first hours after sunrise and the last hours before sunset. The sun’s uneven heating of the earth’s surface causes strong, variable winds. In the morning, it takes a few hours for the sun to heat the earth’s surface enough to generate the thermal activity that creates wind. In the evening, the sun’s intensity has diminished enough to reduce winds to acceptable flight levels. Ideal winds are 3 to 6 mph.
Balloons typically fly from treetop level all the way up to several thousand feet, depending on what the pilot is trying to accomplish. The world record in a stock Aerostar hot air balloon is over 32,000 feet!
Balloon pilots come from all walks of life. Anyone with the desire to learn to fly a balloon can become a pilot.
Yes. There are two levels of balloon pilot ratings. The first is a private pilot. The pilot must have at least 10 hours of flight time in free balloons, which must include six flights under the supervision of an instructor. The private pilot must pass a written test, oral test and flight check prior to being issued a private pilot’s license. The second rating is a commercial pilot. The commercial pilot must have at least 35 hours of flight time, of which at least 20 must be in balloons (the remaining 15 hours may be in other aircraft). The commercial pilot must pass an additional written, oral and flight check prior to being issued a commercial pilot’s license. The holder of a commercial pilot’s license may operate a balloon for hire and may give flight instruction. (For additional requirements on both ratings, please consult FAA Regulation Part 61 for details.)
Many people start in ballooning as a crew person. In most areas, you can join a local club that organizes races and community functions. You can also join the Balloon Federation of America, which is the national sanctioning body for the National Championships and is dedicated to promotion of the sport. In addition, you can check the local yellow pages for balloonists in your area and offer your services. Or, the next time you see a balloon flying in your area, follow it and offer to help when it lands.
Balloons include several parts: the envelope (the fabric portion of the balloon), the basket, burners and fuel systems. The material for Aerostar balloon envelopes is made of an exclusive Aerostar Diamond Weave™ ripstop nylon with tough, durable coatings for heat and air retention. The basket is made of wicker, which is strong, yet flexible and is aesthetically pleasing. Burners can come in either single, dual, or triple. Our balloon has double burners.
Like cars and boats, new balloons can vary in size and amenities. You can start with a smaller sport model for around $27,000. These balloons typically carry a pilot and one additional person. The larger balloons that can carry two or three passengers in addition to the pilot will range between $27,000 and $60,000. There are many good used balloons on the market that vary in price due to size, age and flight hours.