Want to see Arizona like you’ve never seen it before? Then take to the skies for a bird’s eye view from a hot air balloon. This bucket list worthy adventure will take your breath away and surprise you in a few ways! Choosing a reputable, safety conscious, highly rated company is key. Look no further than Hot Air Expeditions in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Hot Air Expeditions
This ranks as my favorite activity we did while in Arizona. It’s also the most uplifting!
Hot Air Expeditions is the number on ballooning company in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, and when you take a flight with them, you’ll understand why. They’re a family owned and operated business for the past 24 years, and they have also been rated “Best Balloon Flight in Phoenix” by Fodor’s Travel for the past 21 years in a row. What they offer: a fun, friendly staff; the highest safety standards; a delicious gourmet breakfast; and a one of a kind experience.
Despite my willingness to try new things, I was a bit hesitant and anxious about this experience. For starters, I get queasy looking down from tall buildings. But I went for it, and I’m so glad I did. Actually, the sensation of looking down didn’t bother me at all from the balloon.
The rendezvous point is the Deer Valley airport, but Hot Air Expeditions can also pick you up at your hotel or resort if you would prefer. Nothing like a 6:15 AM pick up! Can you tell I’m not a morning person? Nick, our chauffeur, also was part of the ground crew that follow the balloon while it’s in the air. From the airport, we drove for another 20 minutes for our flight launch spot.
Here’s where my mind was blown. I had no idea that our balloon would hold 19 people! What?! The basket was huge, and each section could hold 5 people. My preconceived notion about ballooning was already out the window. We were actually in one of the two balloons that Hot Air Expeditions launched that morning.
Up, up and away! What an uplifting experience. The amazing thing is that it is so calm and peaceful, and you cannot feel any wind because you travel WITH the wind. Fact: if a candle was lit during your flight, the flame would remain motionless because there is no breeze as you travel with the wind.
I was thankful that we had calm air and a gorgeous day for ballooning. The conditions are usually perfect for ballooning in this area, so they rarely have to cancel.
Incredibly, we reached almost 5,000 feet during our hour long flight. Our balloonist Tommy told us that they keep the balloons below 6,000 feet to avoid commercial planes. I’m all for that!
While airborne, you can see for miles. Try to spot animals like coyote, deer, or roadrunners. You can get some breathtaking photos from the balloon. Or simply soak it all in. It’s pure bliss.
Back on Terra Firma
Our smooth landing behind us, we now awaited a delicious breakfast, complete with champagne and mimosas! Post flight, tables magically appeared at our landing spot, complete with a delicious breakfast. Catered by Vincent’s on Camelback, an acclaimed local restaurant with French and Southwestern influences, we feasted on Southwestern Vegetable Quiche, warm croissants, cheese, and apple slices. Did I mention mimosas?
The Balloonist’s Prayer was the toast for the table:
“May the winds welcome you with softness.
May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well that God
joins you in laughter and sets you gently
back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.”
Everyone received certificates commemorating our launch and inducting us into the Ballooning Society with the “Certificate d’Ascension En Machine Aerostatique.” Sounds fancy, huh? That’s French for “I’m on a hot air balloon.” (Like the songe “I’m on a Boat” from Saturday Night Live.)
While we ate, the crew packed up the balloon. Can you believe that this 350,000 cubic feet balloon can fit in a 4 by 4 foot bag? Seriously!
Summary: Hot Air Expeditions escorts you through a wonderful ballooning experience. Flights available mornings year round (weather permitting) and seasonal afternoon flights (November-March).
Thank you to Hot Air Expeditions for hosting me and my husband and for giving me the opportunity to experience hot air ballooning. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own, and you can count on my honest feedback.
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