Booking a hot air balloon ride: things to avoid and look for:
When booking a hot air balloon ride, there are important considerations that could save you time, money, headaches, and help you navigate the selection process for the best hot air ballooning experience. Below are the things to look for to make sure you’re optimizing your experience:
- Schedule your flight through an actual pilot-owned hot air balloon company, not a broker
We’ve seen many situations where a balloon ride broker has taken advantage of passengers and pilots. There are many brokers out there who will take your money and disappear with it, never to be found again, or they make promises they can’t keep. So what is a balloon ride broker? It’s a company or individual that sells tickets for a balloon flight without having an actual pilot or balloon. Basically, they’re just making money off of pilots who have spent years building their craft and companies. The local ride operator usually is not found on the top of the first page of a google search. You may have to look on the first few pages of google to find them. Also, most ride operators do not take full payment prior to the flight. Be wary of those companies that either take full payment, or do not offer a refund option. Click on the image below for an example of search engine results and what to look for to avoid brokers:
- The balloon company should have mostly positive reviews
A hot air balloon flight is a very special experience, but it can also go very wrong if you’re with an inexperienced pilot. Most companies have the occasional bad review, but if the company has mostly positive reviews, they’re probably a good bet. For example Rohr Balloons is the most highly rated hot air balloon company for rides in North Texas. Tripadvisor is a great way to check reviews. Yelp is another great resource. Definitely do your homework before picking your flight provider. Here is an example of a great review that clearly illustrates the type of company you will be dealing with:
- The ballooning website should have information about your pilot
A hot air balloon broker site will typically have a name like “[City] Hot Air Balloon Rides” and will have generic information on their website, or it will list another company’s name on their website. For example, Rohr Balloons is listed on brokers websites, but is no way affiliated with any brokers. Not all ballooning companies have information about their pilots, but at Rohr Balloons, we know that your pilot and crew are the ones who make your experience memorable so we are sure to introduce them on our website. If your pilot isn’t featured on the website, a good idea is to call and see if you can talk to the pilot (and make sure it’s not a call center). Most hot air balloonists will be happy to discuss their craft with you!
For more information on scheduling a hot air balloon ride or what to look for in a legitimate hot air balloon ride provider, feel free to call us at 214-733-9915.