If you have been considering going for a hot air balloon ride, we certainly don’t blame you.
Getting to see your city, or a new landscape from up in the air, flying at a leisurely and enjoyable pace and height is pretty incredible.
The only problem with hot air balloon rides is that they are quite expensive.
The reason why these balloon rides cost so much comes down to a few factors.
We will explain why hot air balloon rides cost so much, and when we are finished, you may have changed your mind just a bit about the overall cost.
Why Is A Hot Air Balloon Ride So Expensive?
The reason that hot air balloon rides are so expensive is that they cost quite a bit to operate and maintain.
No business will stay open unless they are also making a profit.
For a hot air balloon company to make a profit, they are going to need to charge you several hundred dollars to go for a ride.
If you are wondering how a big balloon could cost so much money, we will help break this down and answer some questions for you.
Costs of Owning and Operating a Hot Air Balloon
Of course, the costs of owning and operating a hot air balloon are going to vary from one location to the next, however here are some standards that every hot air balloon company will have to deal with.
If you think that these hot air balloon companies can fly people around without insurance, you are wrong!
Insurance is not cheap when you are operating a hot air balloon.
People in a basket floating around hundreds of feet up in the air is not something that insurance companies see, ending all that well.
In reality, a hot air balloon is not all that dangerous, but if you think about the risks, they will be paying a lot of money for insurance.
If there were to be an accident, it is likely going to cost the insurance company millions to clear it up.
When payouts of this size are anticipated, the premiums will be quite high.
2. Storage and Rent
Hot air balloons fold down and end up much smaller than when they are inflated; however, you will still need quite a bit of space to store one.
This space is going to be rented out probably and a hot air balloon company may also have to rent a field where they can launch and land their balloons.
If you have never been up close to a basket of a hot air balloon, they are quite a bit.
Some are made to hold several people, and they are quite heavy.
Companies that own several balloons will end up needing an extensive area to store all of their equipment.
3. Cost Of The Ballons
Buying a hot air balloon can cost anywhere from $20,000 up to $80,000.
The pricing is mostly dependent on the size of the balloon.
The large balloons that can fit ten or twelve people all at once are going to be closer to the $80,000 range.
Of course, buying just one balloon is not going to be a massive investment.
Most companies own several balloons to try and increase their profitability.
Anytime you own a piece of equipment that has moving parts, you have to assume there is going to be maintenance.
In the case of hot air balloons, there is quite a bit of maintenance and inspections as well.
Hot air balloons need to be kept in top condition.
The condition of the balloons is not only going to be relevant to the guests, but it is essential for the inspectors as well.
Inspectors will be able to quickly tell if a hot air balloon is adequately taken care of.
Larger hot air balloon companies will likely keep a mechanic on staff that they will need to keep employed, which leads to our next point.
We don’t know about you, but if we are flying in a hot air balloon, we want someone that knows what they are doing.
People are going to want a person that is qualified and has excellent customer service.
Keeping employees like this on staff is going to be a significant expense for a hot air balloon company.
Hot air balloons require fuel to run.
Depending on the price of gas at the time, the cost of a ride in a hot air balloon could cost quite a bit of money.
When fuel is cheap, companies may adjust their rates or offer sales to try to encourage more business.
The last item on our list of why a hot air balloon ride is so expensive is the extras.
Are you going to go for a hot air balloon ride and not get your picture taken?
How about the champagne they serve at the end of the route?
These are things that play into the cost of the ride and make it much more expensive.
At the same time, taking a ride in a hot air balloon is not going to be something that you do every day.
Since this is a more infrequent experience, you may consider the idea of going for the upgrades and enjoying the experience thoroughly.
You can see based on our list of expenses (and this doesn’t even include them all) that hot air balloon rides add up pretty quickly.
When you think of the overhead and the startup expenses, the cost of the individual rides doesn’t seem all that bad.
An owner of a hot air balloon company needs to make a profit.
If they don’t make a profit, there is genuinely no reason for them to keep the business open.
If you end up paying several hundred dollars for a hot air balloon ride, you can know that the owner of the company only sees a tiny portion of this.
How much does it cost to go up in a hot air balloon?
The price of a hot air balloon ride is going to vary considerably based on a few key factors.
The main factors used to determine the cost of the hot air balloon ride are as follows.
- Number of people
- Location of the ride
- Day of the week
- Time of the year
- Length of the ride
If you are going to take a hot air balloon ride for four hours to see the fall foliage in peak season, you are going to pay several hundred dollars per person.
Something like this could end up being about $300-$400 per person.
If you are looking for a weekday particular in a less popular city, you may find deals for around $150 a person.
The pricing of the hot air balloon rides gets pretty high when you think about taking an entire family up on the ride.
Some hot air balloon businesses will give a discount if you are bringing the whole family.
If you want to get a great deal, you should look for a shorter ride and take it on a weekday.
Some companies have a hard time filling their schedule during the week, and they would instead make a little bit of money than no money.
How dangerous is a hot air balloon ride?
A hot air balloon is a surprisingly safe way to travel.
As far as flying transportation is concerned, a hot air balloon is among the safest.
When you take a ride with a reputable company, your odds of having a hot air balloon accident are extremely low.
Fatalities in hot air ballooning are very rare and sometimes are less than three people per year.
When you consider car accidents and even shark attacks, hot air ballooning is safe.
The most considerable risks while riding on a hot air balloon are going to be because of the weather.
If there is wind or storm while you are in the hot air balloon, this is where there could be an accident.
One way that hot air balloon companies avoid this is to make sure that they only fly at times where the weather is going to be perfect.
They will take a close look at the radar and make sure the conditions are safe.
You may also notice that hot air balloon rides most often occur at sunrise and sunset.
Although you may have thought that this was because of the beautiful views, it is more about the weather.
The weather at sunrise and sunset tends to be very calm with light winds.
This will help everyone have a much better experience while flying.
On calm days hot air balloons can fly at any time of the day.
Don’t be disappointed if your hot air balloon ride gets canceled because of weather-related issues.
Cancellation because of weather is the owners of the company trying to keep you safe.
How long does a hot air balloon ride last?
A typical hot air balloon ride is anywhere from one to three hours.
You will have to decide what type of ride you want.
A one hour ride is going to go very fast and will give you a broad overview of an area.
A three-hour ride will be more of a tour and allow you to see much more.
If this is your first hot air balloon ride, you may want to go for a shorter period and see if this is something that you find enjoyable.
Some people have issues with height and the movement of the hot air balloon when they are up in the air.
If it turns out riding in a hot air balloon is not for you, at least you will be back on the ground in just a few minutes.
You may notice that some hot air balloon companies offer four or even five-hour rides.
This is a much higher time commitment and expense as well.
For a ride, this long, make sure that you bring along some food and drinks and that you are prepared to stay in the air for this period.
Riding in a hot air balloon is an exceptional experience.
If you love looking out the window of a plane, you will not believe how much you can see from a hot air balloon.
The views of the sunrise or sunset that you will get are going to be unmatched.
When you consider all of the costs that a hot air balloon company is faced with, the pricing of the overall ride is genuinely not that overwhelming.
If you are on a tight budget, look for those weekday deals that will keep costs down but still provide a great experience.
All things considered, it certainly beats purchasing your own hot air balloon!