Balloon Ride FAQ’s
What type of flight package do you offer and how much does it cost?
“Platinum Flight Package” $275.00 per person (traditional shared basket flight)
The Platinum Flight Package is our World Class ballooning experience that has been receiving rave reviews and exceeding expectations for years. This package is for those guests who want it all and more!
Your Platinum Flight Package includes:
- Hot coffee, tea, hot chocolate and snacks upon arrival at the launch site as you watch your balloon being inflated and prepared for flight.
- An amazing balloon ride taking you from treetop level up several thousand feet above the ground and traveling 2 – 10 miles. You will be serenaded with classical music playing softly in the background as you take in the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains.
- If flight conditions permit, as a Platinum guest you may be offered the opportunity (if you would like), to take the controls and actually fly the balloon for a few minutes under the instruction of one of our highly experienced commercial pilots. Not only will you experience the highest altitude balloon ride in North America but you may be able to fly the balloon as well! Please note the ability to fly the balloon may not be available on every flight and is at the sole discretion of your Pilot In Command.
- Post flight you will take part in our traditional ballooning ceremony celebrating your great morning of flight. You will be served your choice of champagne, mimosas or sparkling cider as your pilot explains the history of ballooning and recites the balloonists prayer.
- After your celebratory toast to a great flight you will be treated to our exclusive, complete, sit-down breakfast prepared on site by our professional crew. The breakfast includes eggs, bacon, french toast, hash browns, muffins and fresh fruit. Your white linen, full breakfast will be served in the great outdoors surrounded by the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This is another Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides exclusive.
- At the conclusion of your once in a lifetime balloon experience each guest will receive a custom Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides champagne glass to cherish for years to come.
What is your flight season?
Our 2017 flight operations are closed for the season. We are currently accepting bookings and gift certificate orders for our 2018 flight season which runs from May 19th – October 7th. Sunrise flights are offered 7 days a week, weather permitting. Due to the high altitude mountainous environment that we fly in we experience harsh weather conditions and persistent strong winds in the late Fall, Winter and early Spring that prevent us from flying during that time period.
Where do the flights take place?
All of our flights launch from the same area in the South Park Valley. We have strategically located our balloon ride operations in this area so that we may conveniently service all of our guests from the Breckenridge Region, the Denver/Front Range Region, the Colorado Springs Region and the Buena Vista/Canon City/Fairplay Region from this one central location.
The South Park Valley is a National Heritage Area perched 9,000-10,000 feet above sea level located in the geographic center of Colorado. Our beautiful mountain valley offers the ultimate topography for hot air ballooning with a mixture of vast rolling hills, 360 degree panoramic mountain views and native wildlife. There are 54, 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado and 36 of them are visible from our flight area.
We have crafted our flight package to be a new, more interactive, hot air ballooning experience, participate as little or as much as you would like. It’s your day, live it to the fullest. We guarantee that you will love it! Come fly with us today! Click here for general directions to our launch site.
How long is the flight?
Our flights are approximately one hour in the air which is the industry standard. We fly in a high altitude, mountainous environment and weather conditions can change quickly. Therefore, our flights may be longer on shorter than stated due to weather, safety concerns and/or availability of landing sites. Please allow a good portion of your morning for the entire experience.
Are there any restrictions for your passengers?
All passengers must be in good health and be capable of climbing in and out of the basket and be able to stand for a minimum of one hour. For safety reasons we cannot accommodate pregnant women, people on supplemental oxygen or passengers over 80 years of age. Hot air ballooning is not a recommended activity for people who have trouble breathing at high altitude.
Do you have a maximum weight restriction per passenger?
We do not have a maximum per passenger weight restriction but our balloons do have a total maximum lift capacity. Passenger weights are required at the time of your reservation and we plan our flights accordingly.
Do you take children?
Yes, we take children 5 years of age and older.
How many passengers can you accommodate per day?
Our fleet of balloons can accommodate up to 23 passengers per day with our largest balloon carrying up to 13 passengers.
How far in advance should we make our reservation?
We recommend that you make your reservation 2-3 weeks in advance. Please be advised that holiday weekends may book up much farther out. We also encourage you to book early in your stay in the event that inclement weather creates the need to reschedule your flight. Last minute reservations may be available so be sure to call and ask.
What is your cancellation policy?
Should you need to change or cancel your reservation we require a minimum of 7 days notice. A full refund will be issued if you cancel your reservation 7 or more days prior to your scheduled flight date.
What happens if our flight is canceled due to inclement weather or insufficient reservations?
In the event that your flight is canceled due to inclement weather or insufficient reservations we will try to work with your schedule and ours to reschedule your flight. If we are unable to complete your flight due to continued bad weather or scheduling conflicts we will issue a full refund.
What factors are involved in determining if the weather is conducive to safely fly balloons?
Hot air ballooning is arguably the most weather sensitive sport in the world. Ballooning is all about light winds with 5 mph or less being ideal. You are truly at the mercy of Mother Nature with the only steering mechanism being the wind itself. Thus, we are looking for a stable atmosphere with fair skies, light winds and no fronts or precipitation in the area. In the ballooning community there is a saying that goes as follows: “It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than to be in the air wishing you were on the ground.”
Do you offer private flights for just two people?
We fly large commercial balloons which have minimum weight requirements. Due to these requirements we do not offer private flights for two people.
I am pregnant. Would I be able to fly?
For safety reasons we cannot accommodate pregnant women.
Why are the flights only done at sunrise?
Our flights take place at sunrise because that’s the only time of day in Colorado when the winds are calm enough for safe ballooning. There is essentially a 2-3 hour window of time after sunrise that is safe to fly balloons. After that time the suns heating of the surface begins to create thermal activity and the winds become too strong and unstable to fly. In many parts of the world you will see balloons in the late afternoon around sunset when the winds calm down. This is fairly common practice but not in Colorado due to our erratic weather pattern and strong afternoon winds.
I have a fear of heights will I be okay on the flight?
We have flown hundreds of guests who have expressed a fear of heights but we have never had someone so afraid that we had to bring them down prematurely. The basket is very stable, there is no swaying, all movements are very slow and peaceful.
I get motion sick will I be okay on the flight?
All movements are slow and subtle and typically motion sickness is not a problem. However, we occasionally will have a guest become nauseous on the flight. We believe that there are several contributing factors involved, such as, lack of sleep the night before, anxiety, not eating before the flight and not being acclimated to the high altitude will be the cause in most cases rather than the motion itself.
How does it feel to fly in a balloon?
It can be characterized as surreal. There is no sense of motion as the basket hangs motionless in the air mass in which it is suspended.
How do hot air balloons work?
Hot air balloons rise because the air inside the balloon is warmer than the surrounding air and the resulting pressure differentials produce an upward lift.
What temperatures should we expect on our flight day?
May and June temperatures range from 30-40 at take off and 50-60 degrees post flight. July and August temperatures range from 40-50 at take off and 60-70 degrees post flight. September and October temperatures range from 30-40 at take off and 50-60 degrees post flight. Please note that it is not uncommon for it to be slightly warmer in the air than on the ground due to a temperature inversion at that time of the day.
How far/high do we fly?
Because ballooning is 100% weather dependent no two flights are identical. Typically our flights take us from the treetops up to several thousand feet and travel approximately 2 to 10 miles.
How do you steer a balloon?
The only way to steer a balloon is by finding different wind directions at different altitudes. Our pilots are specifically trained for mountain flying and are extremely skilled at navigating the balloon.
Is ballooning safe?
Ballooning is an adventure sport which does have inherent danger. However, it is extremely safe when basic common sense is applied and you only fly in the right weather conditions. At Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides passenger safety is our #1 priority. It’s simple – if the weather conditions are not safe we will not fly….period.
Is ballooning regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration?
Yes, ballooning is a very well regulated sport. Our professional FAA certified pilots are commercially rated with thousands of hours of mountain flying experience. We are fully insured and all of our equipment is inspected and certified in accordance with FAA guidelines.
What should we wear?
Dress for the season and layer your clothing. The temperature at take off ranges between 30-45 degrees and can be 60-70 degrees upon landing. Appropriate clothing includes a light jacket, long pants, tennis or hiking shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses. Baseball caps are encouraged due to the heat put off by the balloon burners. No shorts, open-toed shoes or sandals please.
What should we bring?
Cameras, video cameras and an appetite for your once in a lifetime adventure! We’ll supply the rest. Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides cannot be responsible for your personal property.
Is it customary to tip your pilot and crew?
Yes, gratuities are greatly appreciated and are shared evenly amongst the staff. However, tipping is completely at your discretion and need only be extended for exceptional service. The average tip is 10%.
What separates your company from your competitors?
At Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides we pride ourselves on our honesty, integrity and ethical business practices. We continually strive to be the most professional and well respected hot air balloon ride operation in Colorado.
This is our first balloon ride. What questions should we be asking?
Some pertinent questions may include:
- How long have you been in business?
- Have you had any accidents?
- Are you fully insured?
- Is this a national ticket outlet or am I dealing directly with the company providing the flights?
- Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?
- What is the total price per person?
- Are there any hidden fees such as taxes, use fees, fuel surcharges, transportation charges or service fees added?
- What amenities are included in the flight package? Such as: complimentary transportation, in-flight classical music, post flight champagne toast and sit down breakfast, souvenir champagne glasses?
Do you accept Soaring Adventures, Skyrides or any other national ticketing company ticket/voucher?
No, we do not accept any ticket/voucher that is not sold directly from our company. BUYER BEWARE – the companies that sell these discounted nationwide balloon rides for use at over 200 locations are not legitimate balloon ride businesses as they would like you to believe but rather national ticket outlets. They will sell you the tickets and then it is your responsibility to find an actual balloon ride company to accept them. The balloon ride companies that do accept these tickets are generally start-ups or struggling businesses that cannot generate their own customers. The majority of these businesses will only fly you if they do not have other passengers paying full price. So please, do your homework and be an educated consumer. Remember the saying “you get what you pay for”.
Do you offer a military discount?
Yes, we offer 15% off of our standard rates for active and retired military. Use promo code Salute15 when making your online reservation. The military discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount offer. Thank you for your service to our country!
Do you offer tethered rides?
No. All of our flights are non-tethered. Our flights typically travel in the vicinity of 2 to 10 miles in distance.
Do you offer a non-alcoholic alternative for the post flight toast?
Yes, we have orange juice and sparking cider is available upon request.