Frequently Asked Questions About Balloon Flights

What is your payment and cancellation policy?

This varies depending on the flight you book. If you want to book an event flight with Labor Day Lift Off, the Red Rock Rally, or the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, please call for details on that cancellation policy. If you book a year-round flight, we ask that you contact us at least 48 hours before your flight time. If you contact us with less than 48 hours notice, or do not show up to your scheduled flight on time, a 50% charge of the total flight payment will be retained and a $35 reschedule fee per person will be applied at the time of reschedule. These fees become non-refundable under any circumstances, including cancellations due to illness. Any vouchers that were purchased through a third party (i.e. Expedia or Trip Advisor) will become void.

How long is the flight?

Flight time varies upon location, wind speed, and direction. However, we do aim for about 45 minutes - one hour.

How much time should I allow for the whole experience?

You should allow 3 to 4 hours for the entire experience, which includes driving to the launch site, the flight, driving back to the launch site and the post flight celebration.

What should I wear?

Please dress for an outdoor adventure. Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing. Dress in layers with long pants preferably. Bring a hat or sunglasses, the sun in the Southwest can be very bright. Wear comfortable closed-toed flat shoes (preferably sneakers). Wear sunscreen, which is easy to forget since you'll be getting dressed before the sun comes up. Also, don't forget your camera; you'll want to share your pictures with everyone! If you dress to the ground temperature, you should be comfortable in the air as well! Due to our balloon traveling with the wind, you won't feel much of a wind chill. Also, if you are standing near our burners it is similar to standing near a fireplace. So ultimately, the coldest thing is going to be your toes!

What time does the balloon take off?

Flight times vary throughout the year based upon sunrise and sunset times. For sunrise flights, we meet 30 minutes before sunrise. For afternoon/evening flights we meet 2.5 hours before sunset. For the most up-to-date timing, please give our office a call at (800) 725-2477.

How do I get back to my car?

There will be a chase vehicle that follows your balloon for the entire duration of the flight. Once landed, the Rainbow Ryders flight team will drive you back to our original meeting point at our office.

What if the weather is bad?

If the flight is delayed or canceled due to inclement weather, we will contact you to reschedule or refund you if you cannot reschedule.

Are there physical requirements to fly with you?

Due to insurance requirements, we are unable to fly anyone who is pregnant or who may be pregnant. Also due to insurance requirements, the minimum age to fly is 5. While there are no age maximums there are no seats in the basket, so passengers must be able to stand for the entire flight (about an hour) unassisted. If you are concerned about physical limitations, we always recommend checking with your doctor before booking your flight.

Is there a weight limit to fly with you?

We do not have a weight limit but due to the capacity of our baskets as well as the safety and comfort of all, individuals over 300lbs will be required to pay the price of an additional passenger.

Can pregnant women fly?

Unfortunately due to insurance requirements, we cannot allow any who is pregnant or who may be pregnant to fly.

Are your baskets wheelchair accessible?

Unfortunately, our baskets are not wheelchair accessible. All passengers flying are required to stand unassisted for the full flight time (about 45 minutes - one hour). There are very few hot air balloons in the world certified to safely carry wheelchairs, and only a handful that we know of in the United States. If you would like to discuss those options, please give us a call!

Are service animals allowed to fly?

Service animals will be required to come to our office prior to the flight date to test the burners. As long as your four legged friend is comfortable with the noise/temperature emitted, they are more than welcome to fly! We also require anyone wishing to fly with a service animal reserve for a private flight with an added pet fee, in consideration of others' personal preferences and allergies. Please give us a call to learn more about flying with your service animal.

How do you get in and out of the balloon basket?

You will put your foot into a slot in the side of the basket and swing your legs over the top, and then into the basket. There is no graceful way to do it but don't worry, our staff, crew, and step stools are always available to help!

Where does the balloon take off and land?

Rainbow Ryders' pilots meet our passengers at our well-lit, secure office. From there, we will study the wind conditions and pick the best location to launch. Our flight team will also drive you back to our office at the end of the flight.

How many people does each basket hold?

Our balloons accommodate between two and four people up to 12 to 14 people. If you do prefer a smaller basket, please mention that at the time of reservation. While we cannot guarantee anything (as it is due to however many people book) we will always do whatever we can to accommodate your request.

What is the flight like?

Once the balloon is inflated we will fly from ground level to a couple thousand feet above ground level, depending on wind direction and speed. Because of the burners, the temperature will be a few degrees warmer than the surrounding air. The sensation will be like you're floating, and it is very quiet other than the sound of the burner. Your experienced pilot steers the balloon by moving it to different altitudes to get different wind patterns, so the height of the balloon will vary throughout the flight.

What is a chase crew?

The chase crew members are Rainbow Ryders employees who follow the balloon via radio contact with the pilot throughout the flight. They will meet you when you land, pack up the balloon and return you to the Rainbow Ryders office.

Will there be anything to eat or drink?

After landing, we provide a celebratory toast and post-flight refreshments and snacks.

Should we tip our balloon pilot and chase crew?

Like all service providers, a gratuity is always appreciated. A typical tip would be 10-20% of the total price. Like the saying: If you like the ride, tip your guide.

Have more questions or need help?

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