Frequently Asked Questions & Important Information
Please read all the information on this page for nearly everything to expect about your hot air ballooning experience. Contact us with any other questions that are not included here and we'll be glad to provide an answer!
Policies & Waiver
Click here for our policies, terms, waiver, and other important information.
Hot air ballooning is an activity that is best suited for areas away from major population centers. Thus, we find hot air balloons flying over the non-congested rural areas of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The scenic, wide-open countryside allows for many perfect places to land. Our company serves two main locations as well as other flight areas within an hour of New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and other major cities in the Tri-State area.
We fly seven days a week from June through September. We only launch twice each day - once at sunrise, and again 2 hours before sunset - weather permitting. These times are when the winds are calmest to allow for a most enjoyable flight. During the middle of the day, it's usually too unstable to fly due to thermals and wind gusts. As an added bonus, sunrise & sunset are the most breathtaking times of day for balloon photography. The vivid light and rich color of the low sun on the horizon allows for many fantastic photo opportunities.
Sunrise and sunset times vary day-to-day throughout the year. For morning flights, we meet at the launch site 30 minutes before official sunrise. For afternoon flights, we meet two-and-a-half hours before official sunset. Be sure to factor in time for possible rush hour traffic on the highways in the afternoons. Late arrivals will be treated as a "no-show" and no refunds will be given.
Be sure to ask for the official meeting time when you call to confirm your flight. Confirmation is made by phone call on the night before your morning flight (between 8:00 and 10:00 PM), or the day of your afternoon flight (between 2:30 and 3:00 PM).
Our hot air balloon flights average just over an hour, although time in the air can range anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. Duration of flight depends on many variables such as wind and weather conditions, potential landing sites, daylight remaining, payload, altitude, temperature and other situational considerations. We certainly love to fly, and will try to extend the flight as long as possible. The ultimate decision on flight length is based on safety and is determined solely by the pilot-in-command.
The whole experience usually takes about three hours from beginning to end, so plan on being with us for at least that long. Due to the unpredictability inherent in ballooning, we cannot be responsible for late appointments afterwards. Come equipped with a sense of adventure!
• Average flight time of over one hour in duration (may range from 45 minutes to two hours)
• Special post-flight champagne toast ceremony (mimosas in the morning!) and refreshments
• Return transportation to the launch site
• Digital photos on the ground and in the air (on request, when available)
• Memories to last a Lifetime!
Ah, our number one question! See our pricing section for hot air balloon flight fares. All prices are per passenger.
To reserve a flight, we accept credit cards and checks/money orders in advance. On the day of the flight, we accept only cash or credit cards. Please inquire about our discount for cash payments.
Yes, reservations are a must. Call us to make arrangements at 908-208-1869.
We require a deposit payment of 50% of the total flight cost, payable by check at least one week in advance. The remaining balance is due at meeting time on the day of the flight.
In lieu of a deposit, we will gladly accept and hold a valid credit card number at the time of reservation. We will not charge your credit card until after the flight. This is the most convenient option for making reservations, as it eliminates the need to make a deposit payment. You may still pay cash on the day of the flight for a discount.
To arrange reservations for a flight or to redeem a gift certificate, call us at 908-208-1869.
Schedule as early as possible, and plan ahead. Weekends always tend to fill up first, with Saturday and Sunday afternoons being the most popular flight times.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend booking your preferred flight date at least two weeks in advance to ensure it will be available. However, last-minute bookings and schedule changes are always possible - just give us a call to find out if we have immediate availability. We can sometimes schedule your flight on very short notice - occasionally same-day service!
Yes. You must call us to confirm your flight in the final hours before meeting time. Confirmation is made by phone call on the evening before your morning flight (between 8:00 and 10:00 PM), or the day of your afternoon flight (between 2:30 and 3:00 PM).
Based on the weather forecast and actual conditions, we will make the final decision at that time to either meet at the launch field or postpone the flight for another day. Do not assume the weather is good enough, or too bad that we won't fly - call us to confirm before you leave for the launch site or decide to stay home.
If you do not check in, we will automatically assume you don't plan to arrive for the flight. Therefore, it is vital that you call to check in. We will not contact you except in extraordinary situations.
We have a generous cancellation policy to protect everyone in case plans happen to change between the time of reservation and the scheduled flight time. Cancellations and changes to your reservations can be made up to 72 hours prior to the scheduled flight time with no consequences (full refund). Cancellations within 72 hours of flight time carry certain penalties.
See our policies section for further details on our cancellation policy.
Gift certificates are valid for two years from the date of purchase. They are non-refundable, but are fully transferable. Be sure to inform us at the time of any changes in gift certificate details. We require the information of the new passenger for scheduling and flight planning purposes. Again, see our policies section for further details.
The hot air balloons in our fleet range in capacity from two to ten passengers, plus pilot, of course. The vast majority of our balloon rides are flown with balloons that accommodate a total of four to six passengers plus pilot. Therefore, on a standard flight, singles and couples will generally be paired with at least another couple. Exclusive private flights are always available to reserve the basket to your own party of two or more for more personal adventures. However, we've found over the years that the more people in the basket, the more fun everyone will have! We will generally bring out multiple balloons if your party is greater than 6 to 8 guests. Group rate discount applies for six or more passengers booked at one time.
Our largest balloon baskets have padded passenger compartments to accommodate our guests in comfortable luxury. The baskets have separate sections that can comfortably accommodate up to twelve passengers plus pilot. This allows greater privacy and even more protection than standard open baskets. Groups of passengers are separated and have their own personal space.
For occasions such as corporate functions, company picnics, workshops and other special events, we specialize in large group flight excursions. With advance notice, we can easily handle parties of 60 or more in numerous balloons. This offers the atmosphere and excitement of a private hot air balloon festival!
Exclusive flights cost a little bit more than a standard flight, but will reserve the basket to your own party of two or more. An exclusive flight is perfect for private occasions such as anniversaries or engagements. Exclusive flights may not be available in all locations or on certain dates. See our pricing section for details.
Plan to be with us approximately three hours from the meeting time. We will meet in the parking lot of our launch field, take the time to get to know all our passengers and introduce our pilots and ground crew members. Groups will be assigned to their pilot and the preflight briefing will then be given during which the pilot will explain everything and answer any questions. Guests are more than welcome to assist in the setup and inflation of the hot air balloons.
Once the inflation process begins, it will only be a matter of minutes before you will take to the sky in your beautiful balloon! The flight can range anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours, although most of our hot air balloon flights average just over an hour. When it's time to land, our experienced ground crew will be close at hand to assist with deflating and packing up the hot air balloon for return to the launch site. After we return, we will join in a customary champagne celebration to toast our balloon flight.
Since balloons only travel as fast as the wind is blowing, we won't go much faster than 8 to 10 miles per hour near the ground. If the winds low to the ground are any quicker than that, takeoffs and landings become a bit tricky. In those cases, we may decide not to fly. See our weather requirements for more details.
On average, our hot air balloon flights last just over an hour, so we will cover anywhere from 2 to 20 miles in that time. You'll traverse lots of countryside and witness diverse changes in scenery on a typical balloon ride in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
As to how high we'll be soaring, we can fly anywhere from treetop level to many thousands of feet up! Down low in the trees is arguably the most enjoyable part of any flight. You'll be able to pick leaves from the tops of trees and converse with earthbound folks as we gently float along.
We like to climb up high to give passengers an expansive vista from a few thousand feet up. On a clear day, New Jersey passengers can usually see the skylines of both New York City and Philadelphia on the distant horizons, as well as the Delaware Water Gap to the Northwest and even the Atlantic Ocean to the East! On a clear day, passengers on flights in Pennsylvania will see the skyline of Philadelphia to the East and Chesapeake Bay to the South.
The wonderful landscape of rolling hills and vibrant green fields will be contrasted with lakes, rivers, forests, neighborhoods, developments, shopping centers and other civilization we'll also gently float over on our hot air balloon flight. Wildlife is in abundance in the areas we fly, so we may see lots of animals from above, especially deer, geese, horses, cows, sheep and other livestock, and even hawks, foxes and other creatures less-frequently seen from the ground.
Can we fly over your house? Probably not, unless it's directly downwind in our flight path! Since they float along with the wind, hot air balloons can't be steered like a car or airplane. However, hot air balloon pilots can direct a balloon by maneuvering to find subtle changes in wind speed and direction. We have very accurate altitude control by using the burners to heat the air in the balloon, and by climbing and descending, we can use these wind direction changes to adjust our course.
Sometimes these wind changes are so significant that we can actually land close to where we took off from, but usually we'll only have a few degrees of "steerage" to work with. That is often enough directional control to be able to pick out specific downwind landing spots or waypoints from long distances away. In practice, we can usually target an intended landing area soon after liftoff. Our ground crew can venture ahead and wait there for us to land.
Not usually. Since balloons travel with the wind and can't be steered, we will land wherever the wind takes us - downwind from the launch site. Very rarely will we actually be able to land back where the flight began, although we've done it more than a fair share of times. A "round trip" flight requires winds aloft blowing in the completely opposite direction.
Most of our landings occur in front and back yards, parking lots, cul-de-sacs, housing developments, less-traveled streets, schools, parks and unplanted farm fields. You'd be surprised where we can actually fit a hot air balloon!
Ah... Good question! Actually, our ground crew will follow our path on the ground and should arrive before, during, or slightly after our landing. They'll help us pack up the balloon, and we'll return to the launch site in the balloon chase vehicle, which in our case are comfortable passenger vans.
There are no set age limits on who can fly. Children are always welcomed, however they should be at least 42 inches tall to be able to see over the basket edge. We don't often recommend children under six 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, many youngsters are afraid of the loud noise the burner makes. 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." We have carried a handful of passengers over 100 years of age!
Nearly everybody is welcome to fly with us! We've flown passengers from age 3 to 103. However, there are a few requirements we need to stand by to make the ride pleasant and enjoyable for all.
You should be in good physical shape with no recent surgeries, broken bones or other medical issues which may affect your ability to take part in a physical activity. You'll also need to be able to stand for the duration of the balloon flight (at least one hour). It is important that we be informed of all potential medical/physical problems at the time of flight reservation. In most cases there is no reason for us not to fly a passenger, but we do need to be aware. The safety of our friends and passengers is paramount. See our policies section for more details.
We regret that we cannot take up those who are far along in pregnancy. 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.
We're sorry that we cannot accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers. There are only a handful of hot air balloons in the world certified to do so, and only two that we know of in the United States.
Per FAA regulations, passengers 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.
Acrophobia: The fear of heights. I'll venture to guess perhaps 80% or more of all our passengers have some degree of apprehension about leaving the ground.
For those passengers who are adventurous enough to conquer their own fears and take to the air, 99.9% of them get back on the ground and vow to come back and do it again with us!
There's a simple explanation for this seemingly remarkable phenomenon:
When looking straight down the side of a tall building, parking garage or similar high place, you are able to visualize your physical connection to the ground. This actual perceived height is what makes you step back from the edge, grasp that railing a little tighter, or in extreme cases, get a little sick to your stomach. Not fun!
However, in a hot air balloon basket, there is no visible connection to the ground. This detachment from the earth essentially removes any uneasy sensations of height. Furthermore, there is no relative altitude in a balloon - whether two feet above the treetops or two thousand feet up, it all feels the the same. But the view is much better from up high!
We're sure you'll have no worries once you're up there. If you can get past your initial concern about leaving the ground, you'll be just fine!
Turbulence is unheard of, as we are not fighting the wind like an airplane has to. Since the hot air balloon floats along with the wind, there's no movement to worry about.
While airborne, the basket is perfectly balanced underneath the balloon and there is no rocking sensation. The entire flight is very smooth, and changes in altitude are gradual and hardly noticeable. Passengers who suffer from even the most severe cases of motion sickness will not feel any effects from a balloon ride.
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. Especially in New Jersey!
Although hot air ballooning is one of the safest forms of aviation, it still has inherent dangers like all other outdoor 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, there is always 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.
For many people, this is the best part - an exciting conclusion to an already adventurous flight! However, for others, a bumpy landing may not be quite what they expected at the end of a graceful balloon ride. We like to educate and prepare all our passengers that every flight has the potential to end this way. Although we will never launch when conditions are expected to result in such an exciting landing, there's always the possibility the landing might offer a little more fun than we anticipated. Whatever the case may be, our professional pilots are skilled and prepared to handle any possible situation in the air.
Balloons require ideal weather conditions, which are thankfully found much of the time. However, just because it's a beautiful sunny day, understand that it may not necessarily be a perfect day to go flying. The wind speed must be less than 8 to 10 miles per hour, and there must be no thunderstorm activity within 100 miles. Balloons don't fly in the rain. Even if has stopped raining recently before flight time, the ground may still be too wet for a balloon flight or there may be more bad weather on the way.
It is ultimately the pilot-in-command's judgment on whether or not the weather is suitable for flight, and that decision is made solely in the interest of safety. We'd love to fly all the time, but sometimes it's just not going to happen. There's an old and wise saying we use in the ballooning circle - "It's better to be on the ground wishing we were up there, than to be in the air wishing we were down here!"
Weather cancellations can and do occur, so please have patience. Sometimes we just cannot fly on your chosen date. We will reschedule you at a convenient later date as many times as necessary until your flight is completed. If you cannot reschedule after a weather cancellation, a refund of your flight deposit will be allowed. Gift certificates will not be refunded due to weather cancellations. If you have left a credit card on hold for your deposit, it will not be charged.
You should dress for an outdoor activity according to the season and temperature of that day. It's probably best to wear clothes that you aren't afraid to get wet or dirty, although we certainly won't aim to do such things! Appropriate clothing for ballooning is jeans, sneakers/hiking boots, and casual shirts. Taller passengers may want to wear a hat in the warmer months, as the burner generates heat.
Waterproof shoes or boots are a good idea in the mornings, as it's very common for the ground to be wet with morning dew. Shorts and skirts may not be suitable for some of our landing spots. Hiking boots, sneakers, or a comfortable flat shoe are the preferred footwear. Heeled shoes and open-toed footwear (sandals) should be avoided at all costs.
It is cooler in the mornings as well as after sunset, so an extra layer (sweatshirt, light jacket) might be well worth bringing along to either add on or take off as it gets warmer or cooler.
It will be nearly the same temperature up in the balloon as it is on the ground. The temperature drops a constant 3.5°F per 1000 feet above sea level. Our flights generally take us up 3,000 to 5,000 feet above the ground, so the coldest it would usually get on a normal flight would be about 10-20°F cooler than ground temperature. We'll often fly even higher if the passengers prefer to and conditions permit.
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, please have a neck or wrist strap, and make sure to bring a padded bag or case to stow your camera in before final landing. 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!
We carry bottled water on our flights, and offer to carry refreshments of your own on board as well, if needed. There is sometimes enough room per passenger for a small handbag, but anything beyond yourself and a camera is best left on the ground in your locked vehicle, or we will gladly carry it in the balloon chase vehicle so it can be there when we land.
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 sometimes nearly as much fun as flying!
Our ground crew members are volunteers who put in long hours and lots of effort strictly for the love of hot air ballooning. Although not required, it is common practice to tip these hard-working individuals. Like any personal service, if they do their job well, it shows your appreciation for their attention to detail. An appropriate amount would be 10-15% and can be given to your pilot to distribute solely among the ground crew.
Spread the word by telling a friend! Other than this website, we don't actually advertise anywhere. Word-of-mouth is quite important to us. We love to take up friends of customers, and often have repeat customers returning year after year. Perhaps you might also be interested in sharing some kind words or photos for the feedback page?
For hot air balloon rides in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or anywhere else, call us at 908-208-1869. You may email us, but phone contact is best since there's not always time to respond to emails when we're busy flying often.
We very much enjoy getting to know our customers over the phone before we meet to go flying. We will gladly answer all of your questions - no matter how many times you think we might have heard them!
We offer our hot air balloon flights through two standard booking methods - direct flight reservations or prepaid flight certificates. The price is the same either way arrangements are made, but the flight certificate will allow the recipient(s) the freedom to choose the time and date of their flight. Direct flight reservations hold your preferred date right from the start, and are recommended for weekend flights or during popular times of the year, especially foliage season from late August through early November.
A 50% deposit is required to reserve a flight date. In lieu of a deposit payment, we will also accept a credit card number, which will not be charged until after the flight. See our cancellation policy below for further deposit/refund information.
Gift certificates are always available and are valid for two years from the date of purchase. They are very attractive and make a wonderful gift. See the gift certificate section below for more details and policies.
Ballooning is a fair-weather activity. Inclement weather conditions may cause flights to be cancelled or rescheduled, so keep that possibility in mind when planning your adventure with us. Please don't 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 guests. We'd love to fly all the time, but sometimes Mother Nature just doesn't cooperate.
Weather cancellations can and do occur, so please have patience. Occasionally, we cannot fly on your chosen date. Weather cancellations can be rescheduled at your convenience. Previously-scheduled flights will have priority (first scheduled, first priority). We will reschedule you as many times as necessary until your flight is completed. If you cannot reschedule after a weather cancellation, a refund of your flight deposit will be allowed. Gift certificates will not be refunded due to weather cancellations. If you have left a credit card on hold for your deposit, it will not be charged.
• Weather conditions that will generally cause cancellation: High winds, rain, thunderstorms within 100 miles, low cloud ceiling or low visibility.
• Weather conditions that are preferred: Winds under 8-10 miles per hour, no precipitation, good visibility.
Click here for more weather information.
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
• Late-term Pregnancy
• 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, Hip Replacements, etc.
In many 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. Keep in mind the possible landing situations that may be experienced.
Unfortunately, wheelchair-bound passengers cannot be accommodated in our balloons. There are only a handful of specially-equipped wheelchair hot air balloons in existence in the world.
Per FAA regulations, passengers 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.
There are inherent dangers in absolutely everything we 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 100% 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.
|• ADULT Assumption of Risk Agreement||• MINOR Assumption of Risk Agreement (Children under 18)|
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 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.
• Cancellations or reservation changes at least 72 hours prior to the meeting time are permitted. Perhaps plans have changed or there is a scheduling conflict that has come up? That's perfectly fine - just give us a little bit of notice and there's no penalty whatsoever.
• Cancellations within 24-72 hours of the meeting time will result in forfeiture of the flight deposit (50% of total flight cost), or the equivalent amount charged to the credit card on hold.
• Should you fail to show up at the scheduled meeting time, or cancel less than 24 hours in advance of our 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."
Your gift certificate is your proof of purchase and is to be presented on the day of the flight. Do not lose it! You may keep it afterwards if you'd like.
Gift Certificates are valid for a maximum of two years from the date of purchase. There are no extensions to gift certificates. Each certificate has its own Flight Number and "Valid Through" date which is clearly marked in the bottom corner. The Flight Number is your reference number to use when calling us and is how we keep track of your flight information. Keep it handy when calling to schedule or check in for a flight, and it'll help make the process go very smoothly.
Schedule your flight as soon as possible. Don't wait to schedule your flight until the last 60 days of the valid period. Weather cancellations can and do occur, and more often than normal in the off-peak months (November through May). As stated above, there are no extensions - even due to bad weather - unless there are extremely exceptional circumstances.
Gift Certificates are non-refundable but are fully transferable. However, you should call us at the time of transfer so we may document any changes and make updates in our flight planning.
You must call us to "check in" and confirm the status of your scheduled flight between 8:00 and 10:00 PM the evening before a morning flight, or in the early afternoon between 2:30 and 3:00 PM for that day's afternoon flight. We will not contact you. If you do not call to check in, we assume you will not be showing up. At the same time, don't expect us to be at the launch site without a check-in call. Checking in is all-important - don't forget!
Call 908-208-1869 to check in and confirm your flight with us.
Our morning hot air balloon rides launch at sunrise. Morning flight passengers should meet at our launch sites approximately 30 minutes before sunrise.
Our afternoon hot air balloon rides launch within two hours of sunset. Afternoon flight passengers should meet at the launch site two-and-a-half hours before sunset. Be sure to ask for the official meeting time when you call to confirm your flight.
If you need directions, are lost, or are running late, call us anytime at 908-208-1869.
Late Arrivals & No-Shows
Please allow extra time for afternoon "rush hour" traffic backups along major highways. Late arrivals will count as a "no-show" unless all other passengers flying are willing to delay launch for your arrival (not likely!)
Above & Beyond Ballooning • Elverson, PA 19520 • 908-208-1869 •