How long is the hot air balloon ride?

Flight time varies on location, wind speed, and direction.  However, we do aim to fly for about 60 minutes.  The hot air balloon ride experience is around 4 hours from pick up to drop off at the meeting point.

How do you steer a hot air balloon?

Navigating a balloon is unlike any other aircraft because it cannot be steered in the conventional sense.  Hot air balloons use directional control by moving the balloon in different wind directions at different altitudes.  The art of steering a hot air balloon to a specific location is the highest demonstration of ballooning skill.  By Transport Canada, a hot air balloon is officially a non-steerable aircraft.  However, balloonists can steer a balloon to a limited extent.  Knowledge of the wind at different altitudes during launch, flight, and landing is the key factor for getting the balloon to a specific location.  To steer the balloon, balloon pilots increase or decrease altitude.  To increase altitude, the hot air balloon burners are used to warm the air inside the balloon.  The pilot can also vent hot air out the top, causing the balloon to descend more quickly.  In the simplest form, Balloon pilots steer or control the balloon using wind patterns and adjust their altitude to move it horizontally.

How giant are hot air balloons?

Hot air balloons range in size.  Small private hot air balloons carry 2-4 passengers.  Commercial hot air balloons range from 150,000cf to 500,000cf and larger to accommodate larger baskets and additional guests.  Balloons are over 65 feet wide and 10 stories tall, using nearly 3000 sq. yards of nylon fabric, 9 miles of thread, and 3/4 mile of reinforced nylon webbing (load tapes).  The balloon size depends on how many passengers would like to fly at one time.  We have multiple hot air balloons to handle any group size.  Our largest balloon can carry up to 12 passengers.  The largest balloons in the world hold as many as 32 passengers.

How can I get involved in hot air ballooning?

Many enthusiasts get their start as a member of a chase crew.  You can get involved with a local pilot and our local Calgary Balloon Club (via their website); if you live in Western Canada, email or call us to ask how you can become involved. 

How can I learn to fly a hot air balloon?

Anyone with the desire and drive to learn can become a balloon pilot.  This includes passing a written test and a flight test.  Most folks learn about balloons while working on a crew and/or taking lessons from a commercial balloon pilot instructor.  Transport Canada will issue a student license and a private pilot balloon license after you have gained the required experience.

How do hot air balloons fly?

Hot Air Balloons operate using the basic principles of gravity and heat transfer.  The balloon descends as the air inside the envelope is vented or cools.  It rises when the air inside the balloon is heated.  Pilots use wind layers at different altitudes to steer the balloon in different directions.

How high do hot air balloons fly? 

Hot Air Balloons can achieve over 30,000 ft when attempting to set records.  However, our typical hot air balloons fly from treetop level up to 2000 feet, depending on the wind speed and direction.  In Cities, we are limited in altitude by the classification of airspace.

How much does a hot air balloon cost?

Like boats and automobiles, new balloons vary in size and quality.  A new sport balloon typically costs around $45,000.  These balloons usually carry the pilot and 2-3 passengers.  Larger balloons that can take four to six persons in addition to the pilot will range in price between $80,000 and $100,000 (for the envelope, gondola, tanks, and instruments).  Big commercial balloons (10 to 15 passengers) are $100,000 plus.  Used equipment is available.  Private used hot air balloons can be purchased for under $10,000.

How much does a hot air balloon weigh?

Our largest hot air balloon, including the envelope, a basket, and 75 gallons of fuel in 5 tanks, weighs 2051 pounds.  Once we add the pilot and passengers, plus the hot air balloon is inflated, it will weigh significantly more in the air.

How is a hot air balloon inflated?

After the balloon envelope is laid out and the lines are connected, two gas-powered fans force air through the mouth of the balloon.  The fans cold pack the fabric giving our pilots room to light the balloon’s burners.  This process is called “cold inflation.” Once the balloon fabric is filled with cool air, the burners are ignited to heat the air inside the balloon.  Within moments, the balloon will stand up and be directly over the basket.  At that point, our pilots do a safety check of all equipment, and guests are invited to board.

What fuel do hot air balloons use?

At Kiss The Sky Balloons, our largest balloon carries 75 gallons of propane in stainless steel fuel tanks.  Our average balloon ride uses most of that fuel with an appropriate amount left in reserve for safety during the hour-long flight. 

How far does a hot air balloon travel?

The distance a balloon travels during a balloon flight depends on the wind speed. 

How long is an average balloon flight?

At Kiss The Sky Balloons, our hot air balloon rides last about an hour and the whole experience is about four hours.  We typically fly in winds that range from 5-12 mph at different altitudes allowing our hot air balloons to cover 5-10 miles.  Our ground crews follow the balloon via GPS and radio contact.  The balloon will land in an open area with the balloon ground crew to help recover and disassemble the equipment; once the balloon is packed up, passengers will return to the meeting site.

How many people fit in a hot air balloon?

Hot air balloons are limited by weight and number of passengers.  Some hot air balloons can hold up to 30 passengers.  Here at Kiss The Sky Balloons, we have multiple commercial hot air balloons that carry 2-12 passengers.  If you have a large group needing numerous balloons or would like a private group flight, we can accommodate you as well.  Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a question about your party.

What about bad weather and hot air ballooning?

We are committed to your safety at Kiss The Sky Balloons, so we do not fly in poor weather conditions.  We do not fly in the rain, thunderstorms, high wind, or low clouds.  Our pilots are weather experts and use multiple weather resources to decide to fly.  The wind, temperature, pressure, rain, and fog all play a role in our decisions.  If a balloon flight is cancelled due to weather, we will reschedule the flight for another day.

What should I wear on my hot air balloon flight?

We have a few suggestions about what to wear for your balloon ride.  The fields we launch from can have dew in the mornings, so wearing closed-toed shoes, like boots or sneakers, is a good idea. Sunrise balloon flights can be a little chilly on the ground, but it’s good to remember that there is no wind chill in the balloon, and you’ll have a propane burner above you.  That heater above you is also an excellent reason to wear a hat.  Layers are always a good idea.

What will I see on the hot air balloon ride?

You’ll get stunning views.  Depending on the balloon’s flight direction, you’ll fly over trees, water and buildings.  Wildlife is active in the morning, allowing guests to view deer and birds.  Our flying area is also filled with farms and horse ranches.  Bring your cell phone or camera with plenty of space available for photos!

What area does the hot air balloon flight over?

We fly in the most beautiful area possible without disrupting (and avoiding) the airport operations.

Why do hot air balloons fly early in the morning and late in the evening?

Sunrise and sunset are the best times to fly!  The sun heats the ground unevenly during the daytime, causing fast and variable winds.  The winds are generally calm and favourable for hot air ballooning in the first few hours after sunrise and the last few hours before sunset.

Is there a maximum weight limit for passengers?

Balloons, like all aircraft, are subject to weight and balance.  The average weight for your party should not be over 250lb per person, or additional tickets need to be purchased.  The total passenger weight is affected by the temperature around the balloon and its altitude.

How much time should I allow for the whole ballooning experience?

The whole experience is around 4 hours for your balloon tour.  This includes driving to the launch site, the flight, the post-flight celebration, and returning to the meeting point.

What time does the hot air balloon take off?

Flight times vary throughout the year based on sunrise and sunset times.  For sunrise flights, we meet approximately 45 minutes before sunrise.  For afternoon/evening flights, we meet approximately 2.5 hours before sunset.  You’ll want to arrive 15 minutes before your flight reservation time, as we cannot wait for late parties.  To see exact meeting times, please review the details when booking.

How early do I need to show up for my reservation?

You’ll want to arrive 15 minutes before your flight reservation time, as we cannot wait for late parties.

How do I get back to my car?

Our chase crew will follow the hot air balloon during your flight.  Once landed, the Kiss The Sky Balloons flight team will drive you back to the meeting point (where your car is parked).

Physical requirements to fly in a Kiss The Sky Balloon?

At Kiss The Sky Balloons, there are no age maximums; however, there are no seats in the basket.  We have taken many guests in the 80s and 90s who are in good physical condition.  Guests must be able to stand for the entire flight (about an hour) unassisted.  There are bolsters for passengers to hold onto and lean on.  We also suggest booking a sunrise flight for passengers over the age of 75 or parents that have kids.  Children, kids, and infants aged 0-9 are not allowed to fly.  Parents/guardians should also be mindful of flight times with children, as there are no restrooms on the flight, and many can get bored and restless standing in the balloon for an hour.  The maximum weight for any passenger is 250lb (if weight exceeds this, two tickets must be purchased).  All guests must sign a declaration that they don’t have any serious medical problems such as – Heart problems – Knee & backbone Surgery in the previous six months.  If you have recently had surgery or back problems or are concerned about physical limitations, we always recommend checking with your doctor before booking your flight.  How do you get in and out of the hot air balloon basket?  The basket has footholds.  You will put your foot into a slot in the side of the basket and swing your legs over the top and into the basket.  It’s like getting on a horse; there is no graceful way to do it!  Due to Covid, all passengers must be able to get in and out of the balloon without our crew’s assistance.  For passengers who don’t want to climb in, we can pre-board while the basket is laid over.

Where does the hot air balloon take off and land?

Kiss The Sky Balloons pilots meet passengers at the meeting point on the booked date.  We will look at the wind conditions and select the launch location.  We have many launch sites and designated landing locations.

What is the balloon flight like?

The balloon ascends very gradually, and most people barely notice that the basket has left the ground.  The basket is ultimately still as it floats through the air and does not swing or rock.  After the initial ascension, most passengers don’t hold on and start taking photos with their phones.  Our pilots steer the balloon by moving it to different altitudes to get different wind patterns, so the balloon’s height will vary throughout the flight.

What is a hot air balloon chase crew?

The chase crew members are Kiss The Sky Balloons employees responsible for safely launching the hot air balloon.  Duties of the crew include putting together and setting up the balloon, following the hot air balloon in our chase vehicle, talking with landowners and getting permission to land the hot air balloon on their property, and making sure the property is left as it was initially found.

Will there be anything to eat or drink?

You are welcome to bring a water bottle on the flight, but alcoholic aren’t allowed while you are in the air.  We provide water in flight and a post-flight celebratory toast with aged champagne and snacks.  Feel free to bring your own as well.

Should we tip our balloon pilot and chase crew?

It is not expected, and we strive to provide an exceptional experience.  Like all service providers, a gratuity is always appreciated. 

Hot air balloon ride gift certificate information:

Your special person will have the flexibility to pick the best date and time for their hot air balloon adventure.  You’ll receive an email with the gift certificate information to print out or forward to the recipient.  Kiss The Sky Balloons’ core season is from June 1st – October 1st (we try to expand depending on the weather). 

Can you get vertigo flying in a hot air balloon?

Passengers do not get vertigo or get dizzy.  It’s because there is no physical link between the balloon and the ground.  During the ride, the basket remains stable and motionless. 

Who manufactures hot air balloons?

There are five major hot air balloon manufacturers in the world.  We use several commercial hot air balloons.

Do you need a license to pilot a hot air balloon?

Yes.  Transport Canada regulates all aircraft, including hot-air balloons.  Our pilots are all commercially trained pilots with valid medicals.  Obtaining a private hot-air balloon pilot license includes practicing with an instructor, passing a theoretical exam on-air rules, meteorology, radio communication, balloon equipment, and a medical exam.

Does it get cold up there?

You should wear clothing that you are comfortable in.  It’s not any colder in the air than on the ground. The temperature only decreases by 2 degrees every 1000 feet of altitude.

Can we sit in the basket during the flight?

No.  There are no seats.  All passengers need to be able to stand for the hour-long flight and the ability to bend their knees for the landing.  There are bolsters to hold on to.  We typically say that if you can jump off a kitchen chair without hurting yourself, you are ok to go ballooning.

Can my family and friends come to watch it?

Of course!  We can send them the GPS coordinates to follow so they can take photos and be there when you land.  Your family and friends can also follow our crew, experts in following the balloon.

Why is champagne offered after a hot air balloon ride?

Champagne and ballooning have gone together since the 1780’s when hot air balloons first took flight.  We will share the stories about how it came to be.

When was the first hot air balloon flight?

The first manned hot air balloon flight occurred on November 21st, 1783, in Paris, France.  It was built by the Montgolfier brothers and was flown by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes.

What days and times do hot air balloons fly?

At Kiss The Sky Balloons, we attempt to fly balloons seven days a week from June through October.  Morning and evening flights are available.  Morning flights are at sunrise, and evening flights are usually 2.5 hours before sunset.

Which is better, a sunrise or sunset flight?

We always recommend sunrise flights as they are the best.  Sunrise flights are more affordable while experiencing calm morning winds.  We suggest booking a sunrise balloon flight for passengers who want to see vibrant colours from the sky.  For passengers who don’t like waking up early, sunset flights are unavailable for now but maybe in the future.  Hot air balloon flights in the evening launch an hour to an hour and a half before sunset and are often a little more adventurous due to increased winds.

Can you accommodate large groups?

Yes.  Our largest balloon carries 12 passengers, and we can take a larger total between all our balloons with planning for folks planning corporate retreats, conferences, and team-building exercises.  Feel free to call us (855-KIS-S111), and we can help you plan it.

What if I have a fear of heights?

Not to worry.  Many hot air balloon pilots are nervous when on the edge of rooftops and glass floors too!  They are all fine in the balloon because it is a different experience.  A fear of edges is just that, being afraid of the “edge” of something, like standing on a roof, near a cliff or drop-off, a bridge, or a building window.  A balloon basket doesn’t have an edge; it has walls that come up to most guests’ rib cages.  Also, you cannot “fall out”; you would have to climb your way out!

Do I need a jacket or coat?

It is recommended to wear layers that are comfortable for the temperature.  It is not colder in the balloon than standing on the ground.  Since we move with the breeze, there is no wind chill.

How far in advance should I book or reserve my balloon flight?

Our flights are very popular because we are locally owned and operated.  We suggest visitors and locals book multiple weeks or months in advance, especially if you want a weekend or a particular date.  If you are from out of town, we suggest booking your hot air balloon ride to take place toward the beginning of your trip.  We can reschedule your group for another day if the weather conditions aren’t perfect.

Which hotel and places do we pick up from?

We don’t provide pick-up from hotels.  We suggest ordering an uber.  If you are looking for something more unique, like a limo, we can help suggest companies.

Does the balloon land back where we launch from?

We rarely land in the same place where we start.  Typically, we end up 5-10 miles from the starting location.  However, there are a few times when the winds allow us to fly back to where we started.  It’s every balloon pilot’s highlight!

When do you cancel a balloon flight?

Hot air ballooning is an activity that only operates in good weather.  We don’t fly in rain, fog, snow, fast wind, or if there is a threat of thunderstorms in the area.  Your flight will be rescheduled at no additional cost.

Can I join a balloon ride if I am Pregnant?

You should not.  It is possible to have bumpy landings.  A few months after the child is born is a great time to reward yourself and go on a ballooning date.

Want a balloon tether?

None are available at the moment.

Tethers are an operation where we tie the balloon down to 3 points with 75′ ropes and allow 100+ guests per hour to experience going up in a balloon.  Great for giving rides to multiple people at events, parties, grand openings, etc…..… Tethers only occur within two hours of sunrise OR starting 1 and 1/2 hours before sunset.  WE DO NOT AND CAN NOT TETHER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY.  Winds during the day are unpredictable and often accompany gusty and thermic conditions.  The area for a tether needs to be at least 200′ x 200′ clear of ANY obstructions.  This includes power lines, light poles, trees, and parked vehicles.  Although we prefer to do tethers on grass, they can be performed on pavement if required.  Three vehicles must be driven onto the grass to achieve a tether.  To book a tether, please get in touch with us; we can consider it and email a contract.

Are there seats on the balloon?

No.  There is no place to sit.  All guests will need to stand for the hour-long flight.  Unfortunately, we cannot bring stools, chairs, or wheelchairs on the flight.  Guests additionally need to be in a physical condition that allows them to climb in and out of the basket.

Is there a minimum number of passengers required?

No.  We are very popular due to our operation, and we are rarely not fully booked.  If you book a shared flight, you will be with other guests.

Is it safe, or is it scary?

Hot air ballooning is very safe and not scary.  It is safer to fly in a hot air balloon than to drive.  Some guests are worried about getting seasick or airsick.  It doesn’t happen in balloons.  Additionally, all our pilots have Transport Canada licenses, are accident-free and do not fly in marginal or poor weather.  There is no turbulence, stomach-dropping, G-forces, or roller coaster-type movements.  Ballooning is peaceful.  Folks that are scared of heights enjoy ballooning.

How much are hot air balloon tickets for kids?

We have the same fares and pricing for children and adults.

Do I have to wear a mask?

We follow Alberta Health Services guidelines.  Any passenger or member of staff showing any symptoms of being ill will not be allowed to participate in any part of our tour.  Please let us know as soon as possible before your flight if you aren’t feeling well, and we will reschedule you.

Can you take people who are physically disabled or are in a wheelchair?

Unfortunately, our baskets are not wheelchair accessible. 

Can I bring a camera?

Yes.  Feel free to bring cameras, phones, and video cameras.  

Can I smoke on the balloon flight?

We don’t allow smoking or vaping once you have been picked up for your balloon tour.

Are you flying in during wildfire smoke?

If smoke is causing issues with visibility or will be unhealthy for our pilots and guests to fly… we will cancel.

Do gift certificates expire?

Kiss the Sky Balloons certificates are valid for three years.

Do you have gluten-free food?

We do not provide specialty foods; however, you are welcome to bring your own for the post-flight celebration.

Do you have non-alcoholic drinks?

If you don’t drink alcohol, that’s fine.  We provide bottled water to all guests post-flight.  You are always welcome to bring your refreshments.

Can my dog, cat, animal, or pet come on the balloon?

We do not allow guests to bring any animals on the balloon flight.  

What does the flight include?

Our hot air balloon flights include transportation to and from the initial meeting location, aged champagne, and delicious snacks.

Is there a weight limit?

Yes.  The average weight per group needs to be under 250lb per person.  The maximum weight for any passenger is 300lb (if weight exceeds the group weight, two tickets must be purchased).  

Can I skydive from the balloon?

We don’t.  Because of the airspace limits, we do not allow skydiving from the balloon.

Can I bungee jump from the balloon?

Sorry!  We do not allow bungee jumping from our hot air balloons.

How do I redeem my gift certificate?

During the booking process, you can redeem your gift certificate by putting in your gift certificate code after May 1, 2023s.

What is the cancellation policy?

If guests are cancelled for the weather, we will do our best to reschedule you.  If guests cancel at least 48 hours before your scheduled flight, there is no penalty and guests may reschedule.  Unfortunately, no credit will be given for cancelling with less than the required notice or for no-shows.

Do you still fly if there are clouds?

Yes, as long as they are not too low.  Some of our best pictures are taken on partly cloudy days.

Do you cancel if the mountains are covered with clouds?

No.  Either way, the view will be unique.  We don’t guarantee the view as we can’t control the clouds.

When is the Kiss The Sky Balloons’ flight season?

Our 2023 season is from June through October.  We fly at sunrise daily.

Do you perform hot air balloon weddings?

Yes.  If you are going to get married in a balloon, the best is to book a private group balloon flight.  We don’t perform them or sign off on the paperwork, but you are welcome to bring an officiant to marry you.