You will spend about an hour floating through the skies of the Champlain Valley accompanied by one of our experienced pilots. Balloons fly from treetop level to several thousand feet over the ground, but don’t worry about the height. Our passengers compare the sensation to standing on the first step of a ladder, and safety is always our highest concern. One boarding pass is required for each person who will be flying.
Balloons fly twice each day: once at sunrise, and again about two hours before sunset. When you have decided which you prefer, please call Odyssey Balloons at (802)730-3941 to arrange your hot air balloon flight. We will match our schedule with yours and arrange a date and time to meet. Our flights take place from several locations in the Burlington, VT area, but the exact location of the balloon launch is determined by the weather on that day. We will advise you of the exact location on the date of the flight. The next step is for us to review the weather just prior to your flight. We examine the weather reports and forecast about two hours before the scheduled flight and decide if conditions are favorable for flying. Since ballooning is very dependent on the proper weather conditions, it is not unusual if your flight is postponed one or more times. Please be patient! If we have to cancel your flight, is only out of concern for your safety. Every passenger we have ever postponed has agreed that the thrill of flying in the right conditions was worth the wait.
If you are scheduled for a morning flight:
We will call you about one hour before our sunrise meeting time to wake you up and tell you where to meet us. We will call ONLY if the weather appears appropriate for flying. If we do not call and wake you, it means that we have judged conditions as not acceptable. Please call us later in the morning to reschedule your flight.
If you are scheduled for an afternoon flight:
We will call you about one hour before our scheduled flight time regardless of the conditions. If the weather is favorable, we will tell you where to meet us. If the flight has to be rescheduled, we will do so at that time.
Please dress appropriately for your balloon adventure.
Casual, loose fitting cotton clothing and closed flat shoes are required to climb into a balloon basket. The temperature at altitude is about the same as on the ground, so dress for the day at hand: an additional jacket or sweater is not required but you can always bring it along. Our ideal landing field is a smooth grassy lawn, but sometimes we have to land in a scruffy or muddy field. For this reason, long pants are highly recommended. Avoid drawstrings, perfume, loose jewelry and nylon or spandex materials, for everyone’s comfort and safety.
You are always welcome to bring your camera or camcorder along with you, but we cannot be responsible for these items. A small camera or camcorder bag is advisable for stowing it away just prior to landing. Please do not bring food or beverages to be consumed during the flight, as they will not be allowed onboard. Smoking is absolutely prohibited in or near the balloon for safety reasons.
When we meet you at the chosen “balloonport”, we will make a final weather determination. We usually have a very clear picture of the winds by this time, but occasionally we have to cancel the flight at the last minute. You will lock your car and join the crew on the launch field, where you and your friends are welcome to observe the balloon assembly. Before we actually start inflating the balloon, we will give all passengers a complete briefing, then we will instruct everyone where to stand during the launch procedure. Then we fill the balloon with cold air, stand it upright with heat from the burner, and help you climb on board. The pilot adds more heat, you wave goodbye to your friends and away we go!
We will fly for about an hour while our experienced chase crew follows on the roads below us. If your friends or family wish to remain, we ask that they do not follow the chase vehicle, for traffic and safety reasons. After landing, the crew helps to repack the balloon, the landowner is thanked, and we all board the chase vehicle for a ride back to the original launch site. There we rejoin your friends, celebrate your flight with a traditional champagne toast, and share stories of your experience. The whole process, from the time you arrive at the launch site, takes about 2 1/2 hours.