Hot Air Balloon Ride

Frequently Asked Questions

If you do not find your question here just call us at (425) 487-8611.  Office hours 8am - 5pm Monday through Sunday.

What happens if the weather is bad?

We instruct everyone when they schedule of the need to call two days in advance of the flight to confirm the date and time of their event. Then, it's necessary to call us 60 to 90 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting time to make sure the weather is expected to be appropriate for the flight. No matter what the weather is like where you are, please still call. The weather can be very different in two spots that are not that far apart. Also, the weather is very changeable with the passing of a small amount of time. We spend a lot of time studying the local weather in our specific vicinity. So don't assume based on what you are seeing wherever you may be what the weather will be for your flight. If we end up cancelling your flight, we can reschedule for you if that works. Or we can refund any money you have paid which is important especially if you are from out of town. The decision is yours! Occasionally, the indicators of bad weather the day before are evident and we may cancel the day before or early in the morning the day of. That is rare but we want to be respectful of everyone's time including ours! We give you as much advance notice of a cancellation as possible. Once in a while, it looks like the weather is going to cooperate and we meet our passengers; it is possible at anytime before the balloon actually takes off, that the flight might gets cancelled. It doesn't happen often, only a few times a year, but it can happen. We would love to avoid that but it is important for your safety. The same options as above are available for you; reschedule or get a refund. Unfortunately, we have been known to get it wrong — just like the weather person you see on the news on TV. That is our least favorite part of hot air ballooning.

What should I wear?

Remember, this is a sporting event! Casual attire is absolutely appropriate, even expected on a hot air balloon ride. You will climb into and out of the basket that you will ride in so you'll more comfortable in slacks or shorts. Skirts and/or dresses are highly discouraged. Often we are asked if a jacket is needed. In the morning, it is often chilly when we meet. But by the time you are in the air it has warmed up a good deal. So for morning flights, we recommend layers so you can adjust as the temperature increases. Of course, it is the opposite for evening/sunset hot air balloon flights. Basically, as you are landing and the sun is setting, you may wish to have a long-sleeved shirt or another layer of some sort available since it will cool off at least a bit. As for footwear, again, this is a sporting event. Particularly, in the morning the field we launch from may be dewy which may be uncomfortable if you are wearing sandals or any open-toed shoes. Keep in mind that on any flight, we don't know where we will be when you will de-board. There could be tall grass with hidden obstacles or other conditions unfavorable to flip-flops, sandals or open-toes shoes of any sort. We strongly suggest athletic shoes. And, in case they get a little wet, you might want to bring along a spare pair to change into. Please: No heels and definitely do not wear your favorite pair out in case they get soiled! Finally, people have the notion they should wear a hat since the burners will blast overhead intermittently. They do radiate a little heat down into the basket. Our pilots are all at least 6' tall with the main pilot and owner being 6'3" and they do not wear hats. You will probably be fine without a hat. Having said that, if you usually wear a hat, are fair complected or just want to play it safe, by all means bring a hat. Even if you bring one, you can change your mind! That covers just about everything. If you have questions or would like more information, please give us a call!

Who flies the hot air balloon?

The FAA requires that only individuals who have had the training to possess an FAA Comercial Pilot's License with a Lighter Than Air designation can fly a hot air balloon. Insurance companies impose more restrictions requiring hours and hours of flight time. The bigger the balloon the more experience is required. It can take a long time to accomplish the time necessary to be signed of to fly passengers commercially since probably can only get a couple of hours in each day at the most. Often only one hour can be completed. There will be days when no flight can take place due to weather and wind conditions.

How long is the flight?

Most flights deliver close to forty-five minutes to an hour of airtime from launch to landing. Flights in the morning tend to yield more airtime since the winds are calmer — typically an hour to an hour and 15 minutes where evening flights with brisker wind run 45 minutes to hour. The most important thing is to keep in mind that the length of time you will be in the air is entirely decided by Mother Nature and wind conditions she provides at the time. It is important to pay close attention to her provisions and strictly comply to maintain our over 30 years running perfect safety record!!

What if something comes up at the last minute and we cannot keep our reservation?

If it is more than 48 hours before your reservation and you need to cancel or reschedule a better time, you can do that on line yourself or call and we can assist. If it is between 24 hours and 48 hours, we will charge you 50% of the full price. If less than 24 hours, you will be charged the full amount. You will be able to apply the amount you are charged to another flight at sometime in the future on a standby basis. Many are able to enjoy our flights with one or two alternate standby arrangements. Some end up scheduling a handful of times before they get to fly with us. Still others schedule several times before it works out. Don't get discouraged if that is your case. We want you to get your money's worth but it may take a measure of patience and even determination. It may seem obvious, but just in case, double check with everyone in your party regarding availability for the time you are planning and confirm with the babysitter if that is appropriate before reserving. Allow plenty of drive time to ensure a timely and safe arrival at the meeting site. We recognize that life can happen with the most careful planning. However, we have a limited amount of space and have saved your space as you request.ed In all likelihood we have turned down others for your spaces. As well, weight is a critical factor in ballooning. In preparing for the flight, we ready the appropriate equipment to accommodate the guests we are expecting based upon scheduling. Conducting the event may prove to be a problem if not enough weight will be on board. Trying to change out equipment at the last minute is too time consuming to accomplish with time constraints based on the effects on the wind of sunrise and sunset.

What About Small Children?

We do not allow children under the age of 5 years old for insurance reasons. The sides of the hot air balloon basket are 52 inches high and you can not hold your child up during the ride, so they need to stand on their own for over an hour. If the child is not tall enough to see over the edge of the hot air balloon basket, we have a one step little stool that they can use during the ride, but not for takeoff or landing. The sound of the hot air balloons burners can sometimes be overwhelming for younger children. We have ear plugs available or you can bring some ear muffs or something that the child is more comfortable with. The burners are not constantly running, but are used during the ride to keep the hot air balloon at the desired elevation. If you are not sure this is for your child, you're welcome to bring your child out to watch an earlier launch of a hot air balloon ride before scheduling. At that point, your child will probably have some input as to if he or she wants to go for a hot air balloon ride or not.

Can you steer a hot air balloon?

The burners allow the pilot complete control of ascending and descending. But the balloon is propelled by the wind. Wind directions and speeds usually vary at different altitudes. The skill of the pilot becomes evident as he navigates up and down, taking advantage of what the atmosphere has to offer, maneuvering to an appropriate place to set down. We use approximately a dozen different places for launching. Which one is selected is based on careful consideration by the staff based on weather reports from several official weather sites taking into consideration where we want to end up.

What if I'm afraid of heights?

In a hot air balloon ride, nothing is expected of you other than enjoying the incredible views. You don't have to worry about doing anything. Hot air balloon rides can be a wonderfully memorable experience like no other. They are freeing and breathtaking, allowing you to gain a perspective you might otherwise never experience. Being in a hot air balloon expands your perspective and the results are lasting! The wind propels the hot air balloon as the pilot manages the burner, so you're never moving at extreme speeds. This slow motion is perfect for people who need a soft way to overcome acrophobia. Unlike flying in a plane or taking a ride in an elevator, a hot air balloon ride is gentle. It eases its way with the wind, absent of any jarring or extreme movement. Sometimes you don't even realize when you lift off! Interestingly, people do not get motion sickness on a hot air balloon ride. Honestly, some find the first few minutes to be challenging because they do not know what to expect. But after a short time, you will realize it isn't like a carnival ride where you thrashed about. Rather, it is a gentle floating sensation enjoyed by anyone who experiences it. Really, it only takes an open mind to give it a go!Once you're back on the ground celebrate your accomplishment!

How high will we go in the hot air balloon ride?

Almost every hot air balloon flight goes to at least 2,000 feet above the ground. There are several factors the pilot uses to determine the altitude you will achieve on each flight. Some include the current wind direction and speed, if there is a cloud cover and if there is cloud cover, how high it is and proximity of flight area to airports -- especially major ones.

Is a hot air balloon ride Safe?

Ballooning is very low risk from the FAA's perspective From a statistical point (The Aviation Accident Database), the FAA finds that hot air ballooning is the safest form of all air travel and rarely involved in aviation crashes.

What all is included in the price?

Each flight provides transportation from the meeting site to the launch site and about an hour of flight time. The Sunrise Flight concludes with a celebration including sparkling wine and juice (a mimosa). Sparkling wine is enjoyed while aloft during the Sunset Flight while you take in the awe-inspiring panoramic views. Sunrise and Sunset guests will enjoy a quick story about how hot air ballooning began and why champagne (sparkling wine) became a tradition followed by the customary toast. Non-alcohol sparkling cider is available as appropriate or if preferred. Water is always available. Finally, you will board the van to head back to the meeting site for your car. While en route, you will share photos and reminisce about your favorite parts with your new friends. So many memories!

What should we bring?

Do I have to sign a release form?

RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT Notice: By signing this agreement, you are forever releasing and waiving your rights to make a claim for injuries or damages against OTR ADVENTURES INC. Read this document carefully before signing 1) I acknowledge that I have voluntarily applied to participate in Hot Air Balloon flights and associated activities to be conducted by; OTR ADVENTURES INC. 2) I am aware that Hot Air Balloon flight is a potentially hazardous activity. Some of the risks include, but are not limited to, loss of or damage to personal property, arrest for trespassing or other violations of the law, injury or fatality due to capsize of basket, or other vehicle, collision with obstacles on the ground or in the air, accident or illness in remote places without medical facilities, immersion in water, and hypothermia, falling from a balloon while in the air or on the ground, fire or flame and temperature extremes or inclement weather. I am voluntarily participating in these activities with knowledge of the danger involved, and I hereby agree to accept and assume any and all risks of injury or death and verify this statement by placing my initials here:_____ , _____ , _____ ,_____,(passenger) 3) As a passenger, I agree to help make the flight safer by pointing out any potential hazards such as power lines or other Balloons in the immediate vicinity. I also agree to follow the pilot's instructions throughout the duration of the flight. 4) By signing this agreement, I certify that I have no physical or mental condition that prevents me from participating in any Balloon activities. 5) In consideration for being permitted by ,OTR ADVENTURES INC., herein referred to as OTR, to participate in these activities and use of their facilities, I hereby agree that I, my assignees, heirs, distributees, guardians, and legal representatives will not make any claim against, sue, or attach the property of OTR, its agents, employees, and contractors for any injury or damage resulting from the negligence or other acts, howsoever caused, by any employee, agent. or contractor of OTR, as a result in my participation in Hot Air Balloon flights and associated activities. I hereby release OTR, its agents, servants, and employees, from all actions, claims, demands, that I, my assignees, heirs, distributees, guardian, and legal representative now have or may hereafter have for injury or damage resulting from my participation in Hot Air Balloon flights and associated activities. Further , I agree to indemnify and hold harmless OTR and its agents, servants, and employees against any claim for injury or damages that I may sustain as a result of my participation in any of the activities of OTR. 6) I have carefully read this agreement and fully understand its contents. I am aware that this is a release of liability and a contract between myself and OTR ADVENTURES INC. , and sign it of my own free will. Executed at: Woodinville Washington , Date: __________________ , ______2022 Passenger Signature ________________________ Print Name Clearly____________________ Passenger Signature ________________________ Print Name Clearly____________________ Passenger Signature ________________________ Print Name Clearly____________________ Passenger Signature _________________________ Print Name Clearly____________________ Phone Number: (____)______-___________(Parent/Guardian of Passenger) ____________________ _

Do hot air balloons have weight restrictions?

All hot air balloons are certified aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration with weight limitations for safe operations. Our baskets have 2 separate passenger compartments, each measuring 55” Long x 30” Wide x 52” Tall and designed to carry 4 passengers in each compartment in comfort and safety. If your party's weight averages 200 lbs per person or more, sometimes (but not always) this can become an issue when trying to combine comfort and safety for the flight and everyone on board. If this becomes an issue, we will reach out to you with options. We reserve the right to decline your reservation if it affects the total passenger load for that flight. If you need more information, please call us at 425-487-8611.

Can we cancel?

You can cancel anytime for any reason for a full refund or change the date of your booking yourself with the link on your email confirmation you will receive up until 48 Hours before your flight, or call us. We would be happy to help. Life happens and sometimes things come up at the last minute, with enough notice, even if it is inside the cancellation window, we might have people on the waiting list still wanting to go for a balloon ride at the last minute and if we can find someone to take your place we will waive the cancellation fees.

Will I/we be flying with other people?

Most of our passengers sign up for a shared basket hot air balloon flight which is the best value. We put groups together -- but only nice people go for hot air balloon flights! Or you can arrange a private flight for yourself and up to 7 other of your selected guests. It is more expensive and the choice is yours.

How do we get in and out of the basket?

There are two approaches to accomplish this task. Most often, once the balloon is inflated and standing upright, people climb into the basket utilizing two square holes built into one side of the basket while holding on to the top of the basket. Then while sitting on the top, you will swing one leg over followed by the other and either drop to the floor or climb back down on the inside. This is a link to a picture of someone boarding. If you are uncomfortable with this process or unable to achieve this, it is possible to "pre-board". Prior to the balloon being fully inflated and while it is still horizontal, you can board by sitting on the edge of a compartment then easily maneuvering to a position on your back that will have you standing on the floor of the basket as the inflation process brings the basket fully upright. This is what that looks like.

How much in advance do I need to reserve?

Much of the time you can schedule the flight for the date/time you desire a day or two beforehand; sometimes even the same day! Especially if there are only two of you. Upon occasion, a large group, perhaps a corporate event or a family gathering, etc., may fill our capacity for a particular opening, maybe days, weeks, even months in advance. So the larger your group, the earlier you should commit, to secure the date and time you desire. Please check the schedule and reserve as soon as you know when will work for you. You can put yourself on a waiting list if there isn't currently availability for your time.

Is a gratuity expected?

Gratuity is never required, but always welcome. If you want to show the crew your appreciation for their efforts. We split tips between the pilot and crew members for your balloon.
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