Frequently Asked Questions

Where do we fly?

We fly in the heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico. On any given flight we may fly near the Petroglyph National Monument, See the "Sandia" or "Water Mellon" Mountains. We may fly along the Rio Grande River for a close to the surface dip known as the "Splash and Dash!" We sometimes fly toward downtown, or even over Old Town Albuquerque. We have a 360 degree view, and can see mountain peeks well over 60 miles away on a clear day! We also have great aerial views of Balloon Fiesta Park here in Albuquerque. With each flight, our destination is unknown!

What if we have bad weather?

In the event of inclement weather, we will offer you the chance to reschedule for another day, if you have a back up day available. We always suggest making your reservations for one of the earliest days of your stay, so that if we do have to cancel, you may have a second or later day available. If the weather is bad on all of the days you are here, or you only have one day, of course there is no charge!

When can I go for a balloon ride?

Balloon rides are best scheduled in the early morning. The second best choice for scheduling is early afternoon in the fall and winter months when the weather allows afternoon flights. We usually meet about a half an hour to 45 minutes before sunrise, and 2-3 hours before sunset, however your exact meeting time will be given to you when you place your reservations, or when you call us to check in from your hotel once you have arrived. The months from March to November are the best months to schedule because the temperatures are the most comfortable, but we do offer flights year round!

Where will we meet?

We have a map printed on our home page with the directions to our meeting site. Our pilots make the final choice of where to launch based on the actual weather conditions just prior to flight time, so we may have you get in our vehicle, or we may have you follow us a short distance to our launch site. All transfers back to your vehicle are included!

How far, how fast, how high will we fly?

Typically we will fly anywhere from 3 to 15 miles in an hour, depending on our wind speed. We will climb anywhere from 100 to 1,000 feet above the ground, and on occasion a few thousand feet above the ground as we maneuver toward potential landing sites before touchdown.

How much time will it take?

The balloon ride experience takes about 3 to 3.5 hours on average from start to finish. That’s from the time we meet you up until the time we drop you off, or return you to your vehicle. However, some adventures may take longer than others. Most of the time we fly about an hour but we do like to fly longer when possible! (Beware of those who "Guarantee" the longest ride. WEATHER and SAFETY are the deciding factors, and you may be disappointed with another company that gives you a shorter flight and blames it on the weather, after they build up your expectations! We believe in only promising what we know we can safely provide, then try to exceed your expectations whenever possible!)

What kind of fuel does the balloon burn?

Hot air balloons use propane to fuel the burner. Just like the propane used in barbecue grills. However the burner system in a hot air balloon gives off much more heat. In fact balloon burners produce up to 45,000,000 BTU!

Who makes the balloons we will be riding in?

Cameron Balloons US. Cameron Balloons is the world's leading balloon manufacturer. Cameron built the first 2 and ONLY balloons to successfully go all the way around the world! Cameron Balloons are the safest, and most expensive balloons in the world. Cameron Balloons are built right here in the United States. Their factory is located near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and you can learn more by visiting:

Where do we land?

We never know the exact spot of where we are going to land, but don't worry! Our chase crews are in constant radio communication with our pilots, and will find us and return us safely back to our starting point. It is all a part of the adventure!

How many people fit in the basket?

We operate different sized balloons. The smaller balloons will carry 2 to 4 passengers and the pilot. Our Family baskets will comfortably hold up to six full size adult passengers plus the pilot, however we do welcome families with kids, and we can accommodate families of more than 6 based on each passengers weight, so call for details! Keep in mind that all baskets are private unless you have asked for our "Shared Basket" option, and October 1st through 15th.

Do we need reservations?

Yes. But we usually can accommodate last minute bookings up until the night before a flight, so give us a call! We usually have spaces available for tomorrow!

What should I wear?

Wear clothes for being outside. Long Pants are better than shorts or skirts, and closed flat toed shoes are better than heels or sandals. The balloon burner produces some extra comfort heat for the passengers, so it will usually be a bit warmer in the air than it is standing on the ground! Taller guests may want to wear a hat. If you are concerned about getting cold feel free to wear layers so you can remove them if you become too warm in flight. Don't forget the camera!

What if I am afraid of heights or have motion sickness?

Ballooning is smooth and quiet. There is no feeling of turbulence to affect your stomach, as we move with the wind, and not against it as with flying in an airplane. If you already feel comfortable in an airplane then you should be just fine. We have never had to land early to sooth someone's fear of heights but we can if we need to.

How do you steer the balloon?

Balloons drift with the wind and have no additional steering. A balloonist can control his or her altitude and can use the varying direction of winds at different altitudes. Navigation this way may offer winds in many directions, or on some days, the winds may go the same directions at all altitudes... Each flight is different and unique!

Are you required to have a license to fly balloons?

Yes. In fact flying balloons is the same as flying airplanes. Each balloonist is required to pass a written test and a flight test by the Federal Aviation Administration and must fly a certain amount of hours in balloons to give rides. Also each balloon must be maintained to standards set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure airworthiness.

How old are the balloons we will be riding in?

At Private Balloon Flights, we have a strict balloon replacement policy. Our balloons stay in service between 6 and 18 months before we replace them with Brand New ones. This keeps them Strong, Clean, Beautiful, AND in good repair. Some of the other companies are flying balloons that are 5 to 15 years old. We care about your safety and comfort, and only the newest and finest balloons enter our fleet! (You would never settle for a 5 to 15 year old rental car, so why would you settle for a balloon in that condition?)

Q: What is the Cancellation Policy for MY flight?

A: Depending on your flight date, they are as follow:

1) Flights scheduled to occur during the Fiesta (9/30 ~ 10/15 ALL DATES INCLUSIVE) must be cancelled by 5:00PM MDT on 9/25. All fiesta flights (9/30 ~ 10/15) booked after 9/25 are NON CANCELABLE at any time.

2) All other direct book paid flights, (10/16 ~ 9/29) must be cancelled at least 24 hours* in advance. Due to slight variations in sunrise and meeting times throughout the flying season (5~7AM) we use 6AM mountain time to standardize and simplify this policy.

* Please note some gift certificates, flight tickets, or fund raising vouchers purchased from an auction or 3rd party may have an extended cancellation time of 48 ~ 72 hours in advance! Please read your document carefully. If no cancellation time is specified on your document, the standard 24 hour notice is required.

FYI: No-shows or failure to cancel your Fiesta flight prior to 9/25, or any other flight with the required notice outlined above will result in a charge for the flight to your credit card, or the forfeiture of your certificate / flight voucher. You will receive credit for a paid flight at a time and date more convenient for you (certain blackout dates may apply). NO CASH REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN.