The following should help you make your decision.
As you have chosen to look at buying a balloon flight for either yourself or as a gift, you are now checking out web sites to see what is available. There are quite a number of companies offering various options and to make your choice may be a little difficult. The following is purely impartial advice that hopefully will assist you with your purchase.
Hot Air Ballooning is totally weather dependent. Be aware that you may not get your flight on your first attempt. On average passengers will get their flight within the first three attempts, however occasionally the weather will not be suitable to fly and it can take further attempts before you find yourself airborne.
Availability of flights is very important. Some operators choose not to show their availability before you have purchased your balloon flight. Therefore it would be advisable that you check availability with the operator by telephone before making your purchase. If they are reluctant to give their flight dates before you book then you should consider if it is wise to go ahead with your purchase.
This advice is purely to prevent your having to travel many miles from your original choice of venue to a different launch site to get your balloon flight. The reasons behind the operator not giving you their flight dates could be that they have no flights to offer from your choice of venue or that they are overbooked. Either way, it would be a pretty dismal outcome to something that should be fun and exciting if you were not able to get your flight from your chosen launch site.
Flight duration varies between companies. Most will advertise approximately one hour. Is that forty, fifty or sixty minutes they are offering? Ask the question.
Some companies close down for the Winter (October – March). That could be five or six months of your twelve months validity on your voucher. Do they offer you an extension of time on your flight voucher? Again, ask the question.
Once you have made your purchase, the flight voucher is usually valid for one year from the gift date. In that year you would be expected to make at least six attempts to fly. It would be somewhat unlucky to have to make that many attempts, but as mentioned earlier, it does happen occasionally. Having made those attempts your voucher automatically extends on for six months. Should you not have made sufficient attempts to fly you would then be faced with an extension fee. The passenger therefore needs to be pro-active booking flights - before experiencing something wonderful.
Refunds: Most companies only sell a non-refundable voucher, so please check the refund policy of the company before you book. In extreme circumstances the decision is with the operator of your choice.
One Last point to consider. If the deal looks to good to be true - It probably is.