Cell phones are allowed on board but must be turned off or in airplane mode. You may not place or accept calls, text messages, etc. while in flight in order to be in compliance with FAA regulations. You make take selfies/pictures HOWEVER YOU MAY NOT EXTEND YOUR CELL PHONE BEYOND THE VERTICAL PERIMETER OF THE BASKET IN ORDER TO GET THAT "PERFECT" SHOT! If you were to drop your cell phone from several thousand feet above ground it will reach speeds in excess of 200 mph in free fall - with potentially devastating consequences impacting people or objects on the ground. This rule will be STRICTLY ENFORCED during flight by the Pilot In Command.
Our balloon port is owned and managed by an American Airlines captain. Balloon America flies exclusively from La Mariposa Resort, 1501 North Houghton Road, Tucson, Arizona 85749. La Mariposa is located on the west side of Houghton Road 1/2 mile north of Speedway Blvd. and 1/2 mile south of Tanque Verde Rd. Look for the TWO LARGE STONE MONUMENTS that mark the entrance just a few yards west of Houghton Rd. The name of the street you will be turning west on is E Corte Vista La Mariposa. Follow it past the main building to the south end of the paved parking lot across from the tennis courts. Park there. We take off from the large polo field to the west.
We don't have room on board for purses, camera bags, back packs, etc. and you will not be allowed to bring them. No food or beverage is allowed on board except SMALL plastic ONLY (NO METAL) bottles of water. Most of our passengers show up seriously overdressed for the flight with multiple layers of heavy clothes anticipating frigid, arctic conditions. You won't need them! The only chilly part of your morning is while the balloon is inflated in a defined layer of cold air (known as an inversion) that is approximately 200 feet deep. Once we ascend above this layer it is typically TWENTY DEGREES WARMER. Plus you are moving with the wind so there is no wind chill factor AND you have all that nice hot air above you to keep you comfortable! We do not allow any scarves, neckties, open toed shoes or selfie sticks. We recommend wearing a cap with a brim like a baseball cap, sun hat, etc. and sunglasses. Please review our website FAQ section FIRST for many frequently asked questions instead of calling us. Most of your questions have already been answered there in detail. http://www.balloonridesusa.com/faqs.html
Please arrive at your assigned time. Please limit coffee consumption prior to your flight to one small cup and seriously consider using the bathrooms located in the main building locker rooms upon arrival. We don't have facilities on board hot air balloons! Yet. :-)
Please park at the south end of the paved parking lot upon arrival - we fly from the polo field next to it. DO NOT check in with anyone at the front desk of the club - we are not affiliated with them and they do not have information on our activities on the property.
Cancellations and Transfers: When you make a reservation, we block space for you on an exclusive, definite basis, remove it from inventory, and often must turn away other paying passengers who would like to go on the same flight you have reserved. We guarantee that space will be available for you that morning. We do not take tentative or speculative reservations, overbook our flights, or have standby status. All Sales are final and NO REFUNDS once booked with the following exceptions: A minimum of four passengers total must be booked in order to opereate this tour. If we have fewer than four all passengers previously booked will receive a full refund. If we are forced to cancel a reservation due to wind or weather conditions we will issue a full refund.
We FREQUENTLY have passengers advise us many days in advance of a flight that in their opinion the weather is not going to be suitable for flying. With the advent of instant information everyone is now an "expert" at predicting suitable weather for flying hot air balloons. If you get your information from Weather.com, Accueweather.com, Weatherunderground.com or any other commercial weather service they are FREQUENTLY WRONG, ESPECIALLY WHEN FORECASTING MORE THAN 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE! As professional FAA Certified Commercial Pilots we undergo extensive training and education in meteorology and weather related issues. We are EXPERTS at forecasting local weather and have access to comprehensive private data streams far beyond the pablum that is available to the general public. If we have to cancel a flight due to weather we will notify you very early the morning of the flight BY TEXT MESSAGE ONLY - usually before you get out of bed. We WILL NOT CANCEL A FLIGHT THE NIGHT BEFORE since we don't have up to date information available to make an informed decision. If we cancel a flight due to weather we will either refund you in full or - if you prefer - re-book you for a future date. Please see our website for a detailed description regarding our cancellation policies: http://www.balloonridesusa.com/reservations.html
We enjoyed learning about ballooning and a great morning of floating and flaming above the Catalina Mountains. Captain Ron is an expert!
The night before our trip we received a text message canceling our flight for 2. The text alluded to this being possible as they require a 4 passenger minimum. I reread their information on their website and don’t see this stipulation. They do state that if you would like to guarantee a private flight for two or more passengers consider booking a Private Tour. We didn’t book or want a private tour. We did receive an immediate refund.
Don't even know why this company sent me a review for my "flight". I have signed up twice to go and both times it has been cancelled an hour before flight time. Basically the "flight" never occurred either time.
My daughter and I had a great time!! We will definitely visit Captain Ron again for our next hot air balloon ride!!
We had perfect weather and a perfect pilot. Thank you so much!
The ground crew was attentive to the waiting passengers while the balloon was getting ready. The flight was terrific and Capt Ron narrated most of the flight with information about the flight and points of interest along the way. Altho pricey, it was worth the experience. Especially the champagne and social gathering of passengers after the flight. The whole thing was awesome! I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to take the adventure.
Captain Ron was amazing, both as a pilot and a tour guide. We had a great experience, one of our group has been a fixed wing pilot for about 40 years and I am a pilot in training. He explained everything in great detail, and was very interesting to listen to as well.We will definitely recommend him to anyone who we know that wants to experience a balloon adventure. He had a very neat trick to open the Champange bottle at the end as well. Thanks Captain Ron for a memorable adventure. The 4 Canadians.
The Pilit, Ron, was a pure delight. Fun sense if humor, very knowledgeable and all around great guy.
I took my wife to fulfill a "bucket list" wish for her - and she was absolutely thrilled with her flight. From the moment we arrived it is obvious that Captain Ron and his crew have it all together. Our takeoff was as smooth as silk - and we flew over a flowing river and a dedicated riparian preserve. We had a video drone flying along side us capturing our adventure! After some much appreciated low and slow flight we climbed to just over 4,000 feet above ground and had 100 mile views extending into Mexico and also across the Arizona border into New Mexico. Our landing was about 7 miles from our departure point, and the crew was ready and waiting for us. After a soft touchdown we said our goodbyes over a Champagne mimosa toast back at the resort. What a wonderful experience and definitely the highlight of our trip to Arizona. We'll be back!
We were very happy Ron had space in his basket, especially since it was a last minute decision on our part. It was a very smooth flight from take off to landing. Despite having to land the balloon on a quiet residential street, we never felt worried about the landing location and Ron handled the police after the landing very professionally!
Wow! What an incredible experience!! Captain Ron kept us completely at ease with his obvious expertise.. He is a true artist of his craft. We got to see all the way to New Mexico and into Mexico from about a mile up! This was a great birthday gift for my wife. She thought I'd shoot the idea down because I'm uncomfortable with heights, but I suprised her and went all in with her. I'm glad I did- wouldn't want to have misses that supercool adventure!! Thanks, again, Captain Ron!!! Ben and Tammy Gierer
Smooth ride, informative Captain. Awesome landing on a neighborhood street. Everyone came out to watch!
From start to finish my party of four was thoroughly impressed with Captain Ron and his team. Their professional yet fun attitude was appreciated and made it an exceptionally fun morning. Captain Ron was much more than just a pilot. He schooled us in the art and science of ballooning - explaining what he was doing and how he was doing it. After the flight we had a chance to meet the owner and manager of the balloon port, a former Marine fighter pilot and current Captain for America Airlines. We had a nice chat with him while drinking out post flight Mimosas - next to a duck pond!
Was expecting a longer and higher ride. Did not enjoy flying over homes and big box retailers. Expected to see sunrise but by the time we took off sun had already risen. Original booking was for 7am but it was changed to 8am, presumably due to weather conditions. Captain was very friendly and entertaining. Not worth the money.
We had a fantastic ride. Captain Ron took great care of us. There wasn’t much wind, so finding and navigating the landing we learned was a bit more challenging for him. For us it meant a longer ride :-) and our landing was great. We’d do it again in a second. Thanks much Ron and Crew.
Awesome experience and the pilot and ground crew were exceptional. I can easily recommend this to my friends.
Ron was super fun, professional, and a joy to fly with!