How much does a balloon ride cost?

by | Jan 1, 2021 | Hot Air Ballooning

If you have been thinking about booking a hot air balloon ride in Seattle, you should get it booked now!

Private hot air balloon ride flying in front of Mt. Rainier

Getting to see Seattle and its beautiful landscape from thousands of feet in the air is an awe-inspiring experience. The cost of a hot air balloon ride differs by the operator, equipment, timing, and location. Although all the hot air balloon pilots in Seattle are qualified safe pilots, not all ballooning locations in Seattle are created equal. There are a few discount hot air balloon companies that fly North of Seattle in Woodinville and Snohomish. The truth is that the majority of guests are interested in one thing… Flying as close to Mt. Rainier as possible.

To fly with the top-rated and only 5-star balloon company in the best location (directly in front of Mt. Rainier), you’ll pay an additional $50-100 per person. It’s absolutely worth it. Nothing beats watching the sunrise in front of a 14,000 ft volcano from 3,000 feet. Not to mention high-end champagne, local baked goods, and entertaining award-winning pilots.

The cost to fly in a hot air balloon in Seattle:

The average cost of a shared hot air balloon ride in Seattle, Washington, is $300, and prices can range from $225 – $350 per passenger. Private hot air balloon flights start at $1400 for two guests. There is nothing wrong with selecting the lowest-cost balloon company; however, you get the experience you pay for with ballooning. You should ask yourself, do you want an extraordinary experience, or do you just want to go on a hot air balloon?

What makes Seattle Ballooning so special is that we fly right in front of Mt. Rainier. It’s the closest a hot air balloon can get to Mount Rainier without going into the National Forest. Many of our balloon flights take a flight path that goes over the White River, Green River, or Lake Tapps. It’s a bucket list experience that you’ll do once in your life. It’s worth spending a little more money for an unbelievable vs. ok experience.

Sunrise balloon flight near Seattle

Seattle group hot air balloon rides

Seattle ballooning has a variety of hot air balloon sizes to accommodate shared and private groups . Our hot air balloons carry 8-12 passengers and are brand new. These balloons stand over 100 feet tall and 65 feet wide. The actual size of our hot air balloon envelope is over 180,000 cubic feet. To put that into perspective, you could fit 180,000 basketballs inside one of our balloon envelopes. The basket itself has extra padding, is spacious, and has 360-degree open views with plenty of room for all passengers to be comfortable.

Our corporate hot air balloon fleet

Private Seattle based balloon rides

For guests looking for a private intimate experience or who don’t want to be around other folks due to Covid, a private Seattle hot air balloon tour is a perfect choice. Sunrise hot air balloon rides for two are romantic and perfect for anniversaries, birthdays, engagements, or a fun adventure!

Guests often ask: Which is better, a sunrise or sunset flight?

Surprisingly, sunrise flights are the best and slightly cheaper, typically by 10%. You get to see the sun peek over the cascade mountains while experiencing calm morning winds. We suggest booking a sunrise balloon flight for passengers who want to see vibrant colors from the sky. For passengers that don’t like waking up early, sunset flights are great as well. 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.

Sunrise hot air balloon ride near Seattle

So why does A hot air balloon ride cost so much?

The reason that hot air balloon rides cost a few hundred dollars per person is that balloons cost quite a bit to purchase, operate, and maintain. Also, there are only a few operators in the whole state with limited capacity!

How much does a hot air balloon cost

The cost of a commercial hot air balloon is around $92,000 – $105,000. That cost could balloon to $130,000 to $155,000 depending on the type of fabric, design, basket complexity, and burner model. Most commercial hot air balloons carry 6-20 people. At Seattle Ballooning, we only use the best hot air balloon manufacturers in the world (Cameron Balloons and Lindstrand Balloons). Our shared commercial hot air balloons carry 8-10 passengers, and our private flights comfortably fit 2-3 passengers. What’s awesome is all hot air balloons are custom built. That means that when you buy a hot air balloon, you get to pick the color and design of all 300 panels, the double burner model, and the design of the gondola or wicker basket. The hot air balloon equipment isn’t the only cost.

Let’s break down some of the costs for you to answer some of your questions!

  1. Insurance
    With all aviation-related activities, insurance is a requirement. Although hot air ballooning is the safest of all aircraft and we have a perfect safety record, we carry millions of dollars of insurance.

  2. Storage and Rent
    Hot air balloon envelopes fold down and are much smaller than when inflated; however, baskets are huge and heavy! Being in Seattle, it rains quite often, and we are required to have heated storage to keep our equipment in perfect shape. We have a large balloon port in Enumclaw, Washington, where we store all 7 of our hot air and gas balloons along with multiple open and enclosed trailers. If you have never been up close to a hot air balloon basket of a hot air balloon, they are substantial and weigh a ton! Our largest hot air balloon that carries up to 12 passengers weighs over 1250lb when full of fuel.

  3. Maintenance
    The condition of the balloons is relevant to the guests, but it is essential for Federal Aviation Administration inspectors. Hot air balloons need to be kept in perfect condition and require regular inspections and maintenance. Like all aircraft, hot air balloons are required to be inspected every 12 months or after 100 hours of flight time. All maintenance on a hot air balloon can only be performed by an FAA hot air balloon repair station. Unfortunately, there are only around 30 repair stations in the united states. We are lucky to have two expert hot air balloon repair stations in the State of Washington

  4. Employees
    Hot air balloons are amazing, but ballooning can’t happen without a chase crew. We employ multiple experienced balloon crewman that make sure are pre and post balloon flight experiences are perfect. Our chase crews are incredibly qualified and have worked with us for years. Keeping employees like this on our staff is a significant expense for any hot air balloon company.

  5. Fuel
    Here in Seattle, our hot air balloons use propane to heat the inside of the balloon envelope to create lift. Most hot air balloons will burn 50-70 gallons of propane on a typical flight and travel 7-10 miles. In countries where propane is not readily available, balloonists will fill their tanks with Butane; although butane is not as efficient as propane, it’s a fine alternative.

  6. Weather:
    At Seattle Ballooning, we pride ourselves on only flying in good weather. We have a slightly higher cancellation rate than most companies in the area because we believe that your safety is the #1 priority. We do not fly in bad weather, fly within 100 miles of thunderstorms, fly in the rain, if the clouds are too low, or if the winds are too fast. It can be frustrating to have your balloon flight be canceled on a special occasion, but we’ll do our best to reschedule you immediately for the next acceptable weather window. The good news is that we complete over 100 balloon flights each season from May-Sept.

  7. Making your hot air balloon ride extra special
    At Seattle Ballooning, we don’t believe in cheap champagne. We feel that if you are going to have an extraordinary adventure, you out to have a remarkable glass of champagne to toast post-flight. We typically serve aged champagne imported from France and serve local baked goods or chocolate. For those folks who want something to remember the flight by or post on Facebook/Instagram, we have flight tracks and photos that you can get post-flight. Lastly, if you are celebrating something special, let us know. We love being able to help with engagements, weddings, anniversaries, and bucket list check-offs.

If you’re ready to book your hot air balloon ride, get on it! Spots fill up quickly, and typically our schedule is booked out weeks in advance.

About the Author

Chief pilot of Seattle Ballooning. I get the opportunity to provide luxury hot air balloon rides just South of Seattle in front of Mt. Rainier. When you do what you love, it's not considered work.

Seattle Washington

https://seattleballooning.com/

I Have a Question