Frequently Asked Questions
How is a typical day spent?
Approximately one-third of each day will be devoted to our balloon adventure. The remainder of each day we’ll enjoy quality sightseeing with our private guides and fine dining in superb settings.
Do we change hotels?
On each trip we stay in one hotel, and explore the region each day by balloon and private car. Our Turkey program is an exception, as it is a longer trip and operates in two different areas of Turkey.
Do we travel in the balloons?
Our balloons are used for local, low level sightseeing only. We do not travel in the balloons.
How long is a typical balloon flight?
We are in the air approximately an hour and a half, except during our winter trips when our adventures are longer. Our balloon related activities occupy approximately a third of each day, including transfer to the take off site, inflation of the balloons and the wonderful happenings that occur at our celebrated champagne landings, shared with delighted villagers.
Is age a consideration in making the trip?
Age is no barrier to enjoying our entire program. Our youngest guest was six years old and our most mature, 93.
Is there a feeling of motion in the balloon?
In the calm conditions in which we fly there is nothing that makes the basket sway. It hangs motionless in the air mass in which it is suspended. Tranquility and calm are words frequently used by our guests to describe the sensation they feel in our balloons.
Will I sit or stand in the basket?
Guests normally prefer to stand in our balloons, to more easily take in all the constantly changing, beautiful, and interesting scenery that surrounds us. However, we can easily accommodate those who wish to be seated.
What if a flight is postponed due to weather?
Our areas were chosen for their moderate weather and gentle wind patterns necessary for successful sightseeing in our balloons. Our trip dates coincide with the best weather in each of our areas. Our experience over 30 years is that weather has permitted 85 percent of our flights to operate on schedule. In the event a flight is postponed due to weather, your hosts and drivers will be standing by with alternate plans for enjoying the day.
How high do we fly our balloons?
Our goal is to create a full appreciation of the areas in which we fly. Whenever possible, we drift low enough to reach out and caress the treetops or to speak to people on the ground in little more than a speaking voice. It is a wonderful sensation to watch the beautiful countryside gently slip by, just beneath our feet.
Is there a plan for what we will see by balloon?
Yes. We have numerous take-off sites in all of our locales. We select one upwind of a castle, a vineyard or an area we would like to take you through, to drift downwind for a really good look.
Can you steer a balloon?
Our highly skilled pilots are able to adjust the balloon’s direction of drift by climbing or descending, to take advantage of layers of air moving in different directions.
How many times will we fly?
We plan to fly once each day, excluding departure day.
What is the size of your staff on each trip?
We have approximately as many staff as guests on each trip.
What is your advice about photography?
With our beautiful balloons and all the magic they produce, the number and quality of great photographic opportunities is remarkable. The views are spectacular and the many happy faces reflect the great joy our programs create. Indeed, bring your cameras. Our baskets are roomy and there will be ample space. Calculate how many pictures you might normally take on a trip of this length, and prepare for two or three times as many.
Which time of year is best?
Each of our trips has its own distinct personality, providing a consistent level of enjoyment. Choose your favorite season or destination.
How much balloon experience do you have?
We pride ourselves on an outstanding safety record during 34 years of operation. Our highly skilled staff pilots, each with more than 5,000 hours of balloon pilot experience, vastly exceeds the FAA requirement of 35 hours for a commercial balloon pilot’s license. In addition to demanding annual FAA safety inspections, our balloons must also pass our own regular maintenance and safety inspections.
Will I be comfortable in a balloon in winter?
Yes! Our trips are based in Gstaad, one of the lowest major ski areas in Europe, and well known for its mild winter weather. At only 3,100 feet above sea level, Gstaad is approximately one mile lower than Aspen and Vail, and enjoys much warmer winter temperatures. Average high/low temperatures in the Gstaad region are 39˚F/29˚F in January and 48˚F/30˚F in February. Notice in our video and dvd the absence of gloves on our guests. In fact, it can get quite warm. At noon on a sunny day, it is not unusual for our guests to remove their outer jackets.
Contributing substantially to your comfort is the fact that the balloons are always moving with the air mass in which they are suspended. Thus there is no wind to chill you. You will also find the balloon baskets quite spacious and comfortable.
Why is winter in the Alps so perfect for ballooning?
In general, winter winds in the Alps are the most gentle of the entire year. Cool winter air lying in the valleys is much more stable than the warm air of summer, and remains relatively calm for long periods of time. Soft breezes of less than 10 mph, the maximum wind in which we will launch our balloons, are the norm. They occur regularly and approximately 85 percent of our flights operate on the published daily schedule. In the event a flight is postponed due to weather conditions, your hosts and chauffeurs will whisk you off by private car to enjoy some of the many attractions of the area.