|Frequently Asked Questions|
How long is a flight?
We aim for an hour to an hour and a half in the air. There is no guarantee on this, because the actual landing time will depend on landing sites, wind, weather, sunset, and other variables. But we get as long a flight as we can. And by the time we do our passenger briefing before the flight (so you know what to expect, and know the safety procedures for landing), prepare and inflate the balloon, take off, fly for the hour or so, land, deflate, pack up, hold our flight celebration, and drive back to the launch site, you can expect the entire experience to last 3 to possibly 4 hours.
At what time of day do your flights take place?
We always fly either early in the morning at sunrise, or in the evening, near sunset. We are looking for the calm winds that usually occur at those times of day. But even at those times of day, it is still possible for the wind or the weather to cause us to have to postpone a flight. In fact, over 50% of our flights are postponed for weather, so don’t be too dissappointed if that happens.
The meeting or check-in times for flights are as follows:
What is your main flying season?
May Through October.
May I schedule a flight during the fall foliage season?
Certainly. The beautiful days of fall provide the pinnacle of beautiful balloon flights. But realize that our schedule gets full at that time of year, and weather gets even more unpredictable. And if your flight gets postponed at that time of year, it may be difficult to reschedule your flight before next spring! So think about scheduling your foliage flight in late Sept. when it is beautiful, and you will still have a chance to reschedule if necessary.
Do you just schedule flights on weekends?
We fly Monday through Saturday, and if necessary we can schedule flights on Sunday, too. This happens routinely in October!
How do we go about scheduling a flight?
We need the following information:
If the weather is bad, do we lose our deposit?
No, we will be happy to reschedule your flight. If that is not possible, your payment is fully refundable. The only time your deposit would be forfeit is if you fail to show up for a scheduled flight without a good reason. We ask for a 72-hour notice of any necessary change of schedule. The reason for all this is that we schedule very precisely. We do not overbook, like the airlines!
Will there be other people in the balloon with us?
Of course there will always be a pilot with you in the basket. There may or may not be other passengers. Our balloons are capable of carrying 3 or 4 passengers besides the pilot. If you would like to have the balloon reserved exclusively for you, we will be glad to do so. The price for a private flight is $795 per couple. This situation guarantees you of the best, most unobstructed view from the basket, and the most private, exclusive attention of the pilot and crew.
How high do we go on a flight?
A balloon is capable of going higher than most airplanes. But we usually only go high enough to give a good view of the area’s scenery. This is usually 2 or 3 thousand feet. Then we also usually spend some time at treetop height. Down here you can do things and see sights you can’t do or see from an airplane. You can pick leaves from the treetops, see the wildlife on the ground and in the woods, and talk to people on the ground. This is the fun part of ballooning!
Where will we land?
We are fairly confident that we will land in New York State! Seriously, when flying, a balloon just drifts with the wind (there is no steering wheel in a balloon basket!). So we never know just where we will land until we get there! That is part of the fun and the mystery of a balloon flight. That is why our chase crew follows us on the ground to pick us up at the end of the flight, wherever that may be.
How far do we travel?
We only fly when the winds are relatively light, and we just drift with the wind. So we usually travel something like 5 or 10 miles. A 20 or 30 mile flight is an unusually long one. Our longest ever was 111 miles.
Are there any age limits?
The only specific criteria is that if you are over 100, your ride is free! See below about frail passengers.
Is there an age minimum?
Again, there is no specific or legal minimum. But young children (especially 5 years old and under) may be frightened by the noise of the burner. And they are unlikely to enjoy the flight. They will probably be bored and want to get out after the first 5 or 10 minutes. So we recommend letting the little ones get to at least 6 or 8 years old before you take them on a flight. At that age they will enjoy the flight. Also, since the balloon is insured for a maximum of 4 passengers, no matter what their size or age, we charge the same price for children as for adults.
What about frail passengers? (elderly, ill, last-wish, etc)
On the one hand: we have flown many frail passengers, one 100-year birthday girl, disabled people in wheelchairs, tethers for Camp Good Days, etc.
On the other hand: We are quite adamant in requiring that an elderly or frail person should have an OK from his doctor to take his flight. And we (Carroll or Lee or Lisa) should talk with the person, his caretaker, and possibly his doctor so that everyone concerned knows the risks and possibilities of balloon flight, and of balloon landings.
I want to surprise my wife on her birthday. Can you send the confirmation letter in a plain envelope?
Surprises can be wonderful fun for everyone and we are happy to comply with such a request. HOWEVER, Surprises in which the recipient of the surprise does not want to get anywhere near a balloon basket, can be awkward and embarrassing for everyone. So if you are planning to surprise someone at the time of the flight, be very sure he or she really will be happy with the surprise. Otherwise you could find yourself responsible for paying for a flight noone wants to go on!
We have a group of 15 (or 20 or whatever) corporate executives. How many can you fly at once?
We can fly 4 in one of our balloons, and 3 in another. Beyond that, we might be able to make special arrangements with other balloonists. We will have to make some phone calls and get back to you.
Can you or do you do tethered balloon events, parties, promotions?
Yes. Such events need to be planned carefully to assure maximum success. We will be glad to help you. The initial phone consultation is free.