Floating in a hot air balloon is a fun and peaceful experience, whether you’re a first-time flyer, or a seasoned ballooning veteran. A calm and safe hot air ballooning excursion begins with the right weather conditions, as hot air balloon rides are highly wind/weather dependent. Hot air balloons are unique in that they float purely with the wind speed + direction, so these conditions have to be just right for flight.
Luckily, Arizona has the most flyable days per year of anywhere in the United States for hot air ballooning, and is home to 300+ days of sunshine per year, so flight cancellations due to poor weather are not as prevalent as in other areas, but they do still happen on occasion.
Weather conditions that make for a safe + enjoyable balloon ride are:
- Wind conditions under 8mph in our flying area
(both on the ground as well as thousands of feet in the air where you will be during flight)
- The absence of storm conditions like rain, lightning, etc.
- An appropriate wind direction + speed that your pilot will use to guide the hot air balloon to an area with available landing sites
When all of these conditions are present, it makes for a great flight! Unfortunately, when one or more of these conditions are not present, it can cause a cancellation of your hot air balloon ride.
There are a few different ways a weather cancellation can transpire, and it’s good to be aware of each scenario, so you can be most prepared.
3 Types of Weather Cancellations:
1. Weather Cancellation – Day Prior
Though our FAA Certified Pilot Team is constantly monitoring weather conditions and forecasts, the forecasts available 24-48 hours in advance of your flight date are the most accurate, and this is when our pilot team evaluates if the conditions are favorable for flight. If the weather forecasts look significantly unfavorable the day prior to your hot air balloon ride, we will cancel the hot air balloon ride and contact you to inform you.
PRO TIP: Make sure we have the correct cell phone number + email address on file for you, so we can ensure you are contacted immediately if your hot air balloon ride is cancelled.
2. Weather Cancellation – Day Of
If our Pilot Team agrees that the weather forecasts look favorable for flight the evening prior to your hot air balloon ride, we will move forward with the hot air balloon flight as scheduled. That said, our Pilot Team also checks the weather forecasts pre-flight in advance of your hot air balloon ride, to ensure the conditions are right for flight. There are times where the conditions looked favorable the evening prior to your balloon ride, and change the day of your flight, leading to a cancellation of your hot air balloon ride on the day of your scheduled tour. We do our absolute best to provide our passengers with as much advance notice of a weather cancellation as possible, but sometimes Mother Nature does not provide us with as much notice as we’d like.
PRO TIP: We see a higher rate of weather cancellations with afternoon balloon rides (available in Phoenix, AZ seasonally November 1 – March 15), due to the afternoon heat. If you’re on the fence on whether to fly in the morning or afternoon, the morning flight is the safer bet weather-wise.
3. Weather Cancellation – At Launch
On the day of your hot air balloon ride, if our Pilot Team agrees that the weather forecasts look favorable for flight during their pre-flight checks, we will proceed with the hot air balloon flight and shuttle our staff, equipment, and passengers out to our desert launch site. At the launch site, if the actual conditions do not match those forecasted for the area, this can cause a cancellation of your hot air balloon ride at the desert launch site. This is our least favorite way for a weather cancellation of your hot air balloon ride to occur, as we know your time is valuable, but this can happen, and is something to be aware of with any hot air ballooning excursion.
PRO TIP: Book early on in your trip if you are visiting Arizona. This way, if weather becomes an issue on your initial flight date, you have the option to reschedule to another day.
We know a cancellation of your hot air balloon ride can be disappointing, but passenger safety is always our #1 priority, and we will never jeopardize that. You will not be charged if your hot air balloon ride is canceled due to poor weather, even if this happens at the launch site. Although we hope to have you up with us another time, there is never any pressure to reschedule.
As Captain Bill would say, “We’d rather be on the ground wishing we were in the air, than in the air wishing we were on the ground”.
Learn more about how we keep you safe up, up and away on our Health & Safety webpage.