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.
With this package, you'll receive: (1) Your balloon piloted by an FAA Certified Commercial pilot with 30 years of accident and incident free experience. (2) Exclusive authentic Taittinger French Champagne toast (not inferior cheap sparkling wine like our competitors) post flight in crystal flutes next to our duck pond. (3) A full breakfast of your choosing served post flight. (4) One hour to One hour and fifteen minutes in flight, about 3 hours total from arrival at our launch site to return. (5) A photo album taken from our fixed mounted Nikon 35 mm wide angle camera to capture high resolution selfies YOU take with a remote control. SO much better than ANY phone selfie! (6) Our Hasselblad camera equipped drone flying beside us to capture incredible video of you taking off and flying hundreds of feet above the ground. This video is edited then posted on You Tube with titles and music for you to share with friends and family. This is an exclusive ONLY with Balloon America! (7) Exclusive on site password protected access to the Sky Island Eco Tour. Travel 7000 vertical feet skyward and 64 miles on an American Scenic Byway. This self-guided audio visual driving tour starts 5 minutes away from our balloon port - although you can take it any time during your stay in Tucson. This highly curated tour takes place on the General Hitchcock national scenic byway - with some of the most awe inspiring scenery in the world. You'll climb almost 7,000 vertical feet to the top of the Santa Catalina mountain range. Highly educational, this tour includes: * Stories about discoveries made by UA scientists here in the Santa Catalina Mountains. * Graphic slide-shows that help interpret what you see on the trip up the Catalina Mountains. * Animated videos that explain complex science in an easy-to-understand way. * Music by the band Calexico, and narrated by Calexico front-man Joey Burns
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 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. No refunds once booked. If we are forced to cancel a reservation due to wind or weather conditions we will issue a full refund MINUS a 4% credit card fee. This is an upfront expense which we cannot recover or have reversed regardless of reason.
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 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