Frequently Asked Questions
We do not charge your credit card until after your flight on the date of your choosing. If you choose to book online through our reservation button on our book now page, your credit card number just holds your spot and you will not be charged until the day of your flight. If you prefer to call us to make a reservation, we will take your credit card number as a way to hold your flight as well. Should the weather not permit a safe balloon flight, we will work hard to reschedule you on a day that works for you. Reservations are handled on a first come, first serve basis.
Can other people come to watch? Can family or friends follow in their vehicles?
Sure! Others are welcome to follow behind our ground crew in their own vehicles. If it is an exclusive flight, we will usually offer friends or family the chance to ride along in the chase vehicle. This allows them to be a part of the action if desired, which is nearly as much fun as flying! If they would like to be part of the chase crew and be part of the set-up and ground process, we will make sure they have an active ground adventure and are informed about the whole process. Ballooning is a spectators and photographers dream, so if you feel a friend or relative would enjoy being a part of the adventure, bring them along!
Can I bring a camera?
Absolutely! You are encouraged to bring along a camera, digital camera or small video recorder. You’ll be able to capture beautiful pictures aloft to remember your flight by and to show friends your exciting adventure. However, if you use a neck or wrist strap, you will be required to stow your camera upon landing so a padded bag or case is strongly recommended! We cannot be responsible for personal belongings. Bring twice as much film/memory as you think you’ll need, and then some. Many people fill up their memory cards or run out of film in the first few minutes after liftoff!
Should we tip our balloon pilot and chase crew?
Like any other service provider, a gratuity is always appreciated. A typical tip would be 10% per person. Like the saying goes “if you like the ride, tip your guide!”
What should I wear?
Winter, Fall, and Spring: in Indiana can be cold in the mornings, so dressing in layers is recommended. We advise our passengers during these seasons to wear what they would when hiking or working outside. During the summer season, it can often range between 65 and 70F (mornings) at take off and as much as 85F when we land! Layers are suggested including shirt,sweater/fleece, then a light to medium jacket. It’s best to wear clothes that you aren’t afraid to get dirty, although we certainly won’t aim to do that! Appropriate clothing for hot air ballooning are jeans, sneakers/hiking boots, and natural materials rather than synthetic. Passengers may prefer to wear a hat, as the burners generate a fair amount of heat. Shorts and skirts may not be suitable for some of our landing spots. Hiking boots, sneakers, or comfortable flat shoes is the preferred footwear. Heeled shoes and open-toed footwear (sandals) must be avoided.
Is ballooning safe?
YES! The most dangerous part of the hot air balloon ride is the drive to the launch field! That may sound like a joke, but it’s the truth. Although hot air ballooning is one of the safest forms of aviation, it still has inherent dangers like all other recreational activities. Please be aware of your physical limitations when scheduling a balloon ride, as it is important to understand all the possible risks involved. If in doubt, consult your doctor or physician about the suitability of a balloon ride. The weather is the most influential factor on any hot air balloon flight, and the winds will determine our landing conditions. Despite all the advances in modern forecasting technology and up-to-the-minute aviation weather resources we have at our command, weather is still ultimately unpredictable in flight. Keeping that in mind, although rare, there is the possibility of an occasional windy, bumpy landing. In this case, the basket may make a firm touchdown, tip over in the direction of travel, and drag along the ground until the balloon deflates and we come to a final stop.
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I’m totally afraid of heights! Will I have a problem? Will I get motion sickness?
Bloomington Balloon Rides, Indiana's best balloon ride company, caters to scaredy-cats! The sensation of the balloon taking flight is of of the ground leaving the balloon softly. Since the balloon is gently carried with the wind, there is very little jerking around during flight. If you can overcome your initial concern and come equipped with an adventurous spirit, we promise you’ll not only be perfectly fine, but walk away from the experience ready to do it again! Motion sickness is unheard of during balloon rides. Once in the air, your balloon will not jerk around or experience turbulence, which is the cause of motion sickness. You will have a great time!
What is your cancellation or schedule change policy?
We schedule all flights on a definite basis and do not overbook flights. When you make reservations to fly, we ensure specific space in the balloon for your party. If we are full for a certain flight, we must turn away potential customers. Last-minute changes or cancellations deeply affect our schedule as well as other passengers’ plans. Therefore, we have a generous cancellation policy in effect to protect everyone in case plans happen to change:
Changing or cancelling your chosen date of flight requires 48 hours notification or payment will be kept without ability to reschedule. Perhaps plans have changed or there is a scheduling conflict that has come up? That’s perfectly fine – just giving us a little bit of notice and there’s no penalty whatsoever.
Cancellations within the time of your flight to 48 hours out of the meeting time will result in forfeiture of the flight. Gift Certificates are not refundable, but are transferable. Please contact our reservation desk for transfer procedures.
Should you fail to show up at the scheduled meeting time, the full flight fare will be due. Failing to show up at all – or arriving late enough to miss the flight – is considered a “no-show.” Notification for cancellations must be made by phone with Bloomington Balloon Rides. You can not leave a message. Please call 812 322 2214 to reschedule within the allowable time.
Where do we fly?
We meet at the Monroe County Airport in Bloomington, Indiana. This location is the most convenient for travelers who do not know the area and very close to most of the area hotels. From the meeting point we will load in our vehicles and head to one of several launch sites in the area. We choose the launch site on the day of the flight that provides the safest and best direction of flight based on the winds. Our meeting site will always be at the airport not in a random shopping area like some other ride operators. This is safest and most convenient for all our passengers!
Can weather affect our flight?
In short, weather is the single most important aspect on whether or not our pilots choose to fly or not. Inclement weather conditions may cause flights to be cancelled or rescheduled, so keep that possibility in mind when planning your adventure with us. We ask that you try not to be upset if we have to inform you it’s not flyable on the day of your flight, we can’t control the weather. All flight decisions are made in the best interest of the safety of our passengers, pilots, and crew. We’d love to fly all the time, but sometimes Mother Nature just doesn’t cooperate. Certain weather conditions that generally result in cancellations: Moderate to high winds (8+ MPH on the ground), rain, thunderstorms within 100 miles, low cloud ceiling or low visibility. Temperatures over 90 degrees during the flight. Weather conditions that are optimum for safe balloon flight: Winds under 5 miles per hour at ground level is preferred, no precipitation, and good visibility.
What medical conditions are a concern?
We must be notified beforehand of any possible medical issues which would be cause for concern. Such conditions may include but are not limited to:
- Long-term or debilitating illnesses
- Severe Osteoporosis
- Inability to stand for extended periods, reliance on a walker/cane, etc.
- Requirement for oxygen breathing equipment, kidney machines, etc.
- Recent Major Surgeries, Broken Bones, Joint Replacements, etc.
In most cases, we should be able to accommodate the passenger in question; however, we need to know what limitations may be present so we can plan for a safe experience. If in doubt, consult your physician about the suitability of a balloon flight. Per FAA regulations, passengers clearly under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot and will not be flown. Refunds will not be given for those who arrive in a such a state.
Are there any age requirements?
We don’t recommend children under five years of age, mainly because they’ll have to stand still for an hour. Most kids that young will get fidgety and restless after a few minutes of standing in the same place. As well, some youngsters are afraid of the loud noise and heat the burner produces. However, if you’re sure your young child will be willing and able to behave well, we’ll be glad to have them join us on the balloon flight. On the other end of the spectrum, there is no such thing as “too old” our flights have carried many passengers over 70! We regret that we cannot take up those who are pregnant. If you wait a few years and take your child up when they’re old enough to appreciate it, it’ll be a much more enjoyable experience for the both of you.
Is it colder up in a hot air balloon?
The temperature will feel nearly the same in the balloon as it is on the ground. The temperature drops a constant 3.5°F per 1000 feet above sea level. Whenever possible, our flights take us higher than 2,000 feet above the ground, so the coldest it may become on an average flight would be about 7-10°F cooler than ground temperature. Often because of the excitement, you will feel warmer in the air.
Do I have to sign a waiver?
There are inherent dangers in absolutely everything we all do each day. You can get hurt doing anything – driving a car, taking a shower, crossing the road, mowing your lawn, climbing a flight of stairs, or riding a bicycle. Ballooning is not a magical exception to this rule. There are always inherent risks present that we do our absolute best to minimize and avoid. All passengers must read, understand, and sign our Assumption of Risk Agreement. In the case of minors under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian must sign the Agreement. Please take the time to view and understand our Assumption of Risk Agreement before you come to fly with us. Both variations are presented here so you can read and comprehend clearly before you show up. Passengers who refuse to sign the Assumption of Risk Agreement will not be flown. This Agreement does not absolve us from responsibility – it is our absolute duty to minimize risks and ensure the safety of all people in the air and on the ground. We expect to never have the need to use these signed pieces of paper for their intended purpose.