Known as one of the top 3 world’s best destinations to join a hot air balloon ride; Cappadocia has its own personal charm; which is one of the reasons why you definitely can’t compare this tour to any other balloon ride around the world.
If you are planning to visit Cappadocia, most probably you consider the possibility to join a hot air balloon tour during your stay but even though this activity is AMAZING, we all know that there are many different aspects to be taken into consideration before you can finally book it.
Here is everything you should know about hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia!
In this post I’ll follow a Q&A style so if you have specific questions; it’s gonna be easier to find exactly what you need:
What is the best season to book a hot air balloon ride?
In theory the balloon companies operate everyday, 12 months of the year, however there are periods when the number of cancellations increase (from October to March).
What are the different balloon categories?
- Standard: 16 to 24 people in the basket, normally takes one hour of flight.
- Deluxe: maximum of 16 people in the basket, normally takes 01:30 hours of flight.
- Private: exclusive for you or your group, duration and other details may vary according to what you need.
Some companies also have a 4th category between standard and deluxe; which is called “Comfort”.
How much does it cost?
- Standard: between 150€ and 180€ per person
- Deluxe: around 250€ per person
- Private: around 500€ or more, it really depends on the flight duration and how many people will be joining this ride with you.
All prices mentioned are quoted for cash payment. If you would like to pay with a credit card, taxes may be added.
Please note that these rates can increase or decrease according to the season. In case of any discrepancy with the actual market, this post will be edited.
Is this a safe activity?
Sure! The hot air balloon business is part of a solidified industry and like every single thing on the Turkish tourism sector; it’s regulated and well controlled.
Why are there cheaper offers online / on the streets?
This is a serious business like I mentioned before, which means people have to pay taxes, pass through inspections, graduate in different types of courses to take a license and become a pilot as well as purchase good material and invest on safety.
All these things have a cost which is then translated into the final price.
I am not saying that the guy who offered you a 50€ cheaper balloon ride is a bad guy or that he runs an illegal business BUT be sure that once you cut the costs, you gotta cut something else… Maybe the value of the insurance, the experience of your pilot, the age of the balloon equipments. It’s really a matter of choice regarding your priorities and what is valuable for you.
It’s also important to mention that sometimes a balloon ride is cheaper because of the “itinerary”. Once you have an inexperienced pilot, he will probably take off, fly in circles and land. With a pilot who’s in the business for longer; you are able to go around fairy chimneys, pass through valleys and really enjoy what you’re paying for.
How can I pay for my hot air balloon ride?
In most cases you are advised to pay for your balloon flight on sight, before taking off. The options of payment are in cash (Turkish Liras, American Dollars and Euros) or credit card with addition of taxes.
What is the flight duration?
It depends on which flight category you choose. The minimum is one hour and maximum is usually two hours for VIP flights organized under request.
Please note that sometimes due to weather conditions the pilot may shorten or extend the flight duration.
How can I book it?
Here through this blog, as well as through the internet or on the streets.
Don’t worry, the price is exactly the same from any of these options and you won’t be charged extra if you do it through an intermediate!
To have someone based in Cappadocia taking care of your reservation and monitoring everything is for sure a good way to assure a stress free ride with zero unpleasant issues.
What is the best hot air balloon company?
It’s impossible to give a name that answers this question simply because I didn’t have the opportunity to fly with all companies and believe me, there are MANY.
Some are good, some are regular, some are awesome, some are truly overrated but be sure that they’re all approved by the local authorities.
One of my “go to” recommendations is XXXX which has excellent reviews on Trip Advisor and experienced pilots on their team.
Are children allowed?
No children under 7 years old are allowed on balloon flights however, even if the child is above the recommended age, the company management should check the child’s height before confirming the allowance. Kids under 12 years old have 50% off the booking price.
If you want to take your child to a balloon ride, please consider that kids in general may feel frightened, restless and bored while standing in a basket for an hour or more.
Are pregnant women allowed?
No. The balloon companies have strict rules regarding pregnant women as well as women who suspect of a pregnancy.
What does a hot air balloon ride include?
Pick up, drop off, insurance, a light breakfast with some drinks and pastries, a commemorative flight certificate or medal and sometimes a champagne toast depending on the flight category you choose.
What time will I be picked up?
Early in the morning, way before the sunrise. The exact time may vary according to the season, weather conditions and also your location.
When will I learn about my pick up time?
The companies usually inform the exact pick up time one day before the flight, by the end of the afternoon when their program is all set.
Where will I be picked up?
Wherever you are. During the reservation time you’ll be asked the name of your hotel or address. On the flight day a driver will stop by and take you to the company’s head office.
Why are the rides so early in the morning?
Mornings are the best period of the day to fly a hot air balloon due to the wind speed, temperature and other more detailed weather conditions.
Why do we see some balloons in the sky during the afternoons?
New pilots need some practice before being allowed to carry passengers. When you see hot air balloons flying in the afternoon, you’re actually seeing a training session.
How many people will be in the basket with me?
It depends on the balloon flight category you choose. The maximum is 24 people for the standard category.
Where do we go during the ride?
You’ll pass through some valleys, fairy chimney concentrations, vineyards, canyons and in some cases the town.
What time will I be back to my hotel?
The entire procedure takes around 3 hours, being one hour of flight. The latest you may reach your hotel is around 08:30 AM.
How high do we go?
During your balloon ride you may reach up to 3.000 feet from the ground.
What should I wear?
Comfortable clothes and sport shoes! As the ride starts early in the morning when the weather tends to be colder; I advise you to wear long pants, long sleeved t-shirts, a jacket or coat, sunglasses and a hat.
What Should I take with me?
Your passport, your smartphone, your camera and your wallet. As the space inside of the basket is small; big equipments or bags are a problem and may be forbidden by the crew.
In case you don’t have a camera or just don’t want to take yours; don’t worry: the crew can record, take some nice photos and provide you a CD with this content (extra taxes may apply).
Will I feel cold during my hot air balloon ride?
No. You’ll be under a heat source (the gas burner) during the flight so the outside weather won’t affect you, however you may feel cold on the way to the departure area and during the balloon inflation; so it’s always good to take a coat or a jacket.
Is it quiet during the ride?
Absolutely. The gas burner isn’t on all the time so you will be able to enjoy peace and tranquility while appreciating the view.
Does the basket sway?
No. The basket follows the wind direction so no quick movements will bother you or give you any type of motion sickness.
How is the landing procedure?
Pretty calm most of the time. Experienced pilots from reputed companies are known for smooth landing skills and sometimes they can even land directly on the trailer that carries the basket away.
Do we land at the same spot where we took off?
No. As the balloons follow the wind direction, the landing spot is different from the place where you take off, however everything is well controlled and the chasing crew is monitoring every step of the process.
What is a “chasing crew”?
That’s the name given to the support team who assists the passengers before, during and after flight. If a hot air balloon company was an airline, the chasing crew would be the flight attendants.
Can my flight be cancelled?
Yes. Balloon flights depend on weather conditions and if this conditions are not appropriate, your flight will be cancelled and postponed to the next morning if that’s your wish.
What happens in case of a cancellation?
If you have one more day in Cappadocia and would like to try again you can inform the company or the intermediate responsible for your booking.
Companies tend to reschedule your flight to the next morning in case of a cancellation; however this is not a 100% guaranteed event. If in the end you can’t fly due to these type of inconvenience; you won’t be charged.
Can I cancel my reservation?
Yes. However your case must be analyzed if you would like to get a refund. Each company has their own cancellation policies and it’s highly recommended that you read each clause of the voucher to be sure of your rights and duties as a client.
Should I book my hot air balloon ride in advance?
Yes. Companies can get their mail boxes totally congested and sometimes there is even a waiting line. To be sure that you’ll be able to join a hot air balloon ride; please book it in advance.
Who flies my hot air balloon?
A licensed hot air balloon pilot who passed through a lot of educational requirements, as well as practical training.
What are the requirements to become a hot air balloon pilot?
After graduating from High School, the person who wants to become a hot air balloon pilot needs to join one of Cappadocia’s three flight schools, complete 25 hours of flight, 90 hours of training and get a PPL (Private Pilot License).
With this license in hands, all new pilots are required to complete 60 more hours of flight experience during a 6 months period to be eligible to get a CPL (Commercial Pilot License).
Once the 60 hours are completed, the beginner pilots have to enroll in extra classes, complete more 15 hours of flight plus 42 hours of lectures.
After getting their CPL, new pilots will be able to fly 12 people balloons for 6 months and then take a final test to receive their definitive license with permission to fly any type of balloon.
Is there any organization that controls ballooning in Cappadocia?
Sure! All ballooning activities are controlled by The Federal Aviation Administration and are subjected to the same rules applied to airplanes.
Was there any accident?
Yes! Balloons are not 100% safe as well as motorcycles, cars, buses, planes and ships. Accidents happen but once they do, it’s our duty to analyze the reasons!
Most of the few accidents that have ever happened with balloons in Cappadocia; are a result of the “cheaper deals” you can find.
Professional people, professional material and professional experience have a price and once you try to cut the costs, automatically you’re decreasing the quality.
There have been cases where pilot’s were too inexperienced, didn’t have the necessary license, equipments failed, there was a third part error…
Possibilities are many but as you can read all around the internet, every month there are thousands of hot air balloon flights being completed with not even a single mistake.
The best way you can prevent yourself to be involved in a bad situation is to choose wisely and give preference to those who run a serious and reputed business.
Unfortunately there are scammers in this sector so what you SHOULDN’T do in any case is to book a balloon ride thinking solely on discounts. This is a serious activity and has to be treated like that.
Where are the balloon parts manufactured?
Mainly in the UK where they pass through a detailed inspection before being authorized and shipped to Turkey.
Are you planning to visit Cappadocia and enjoy the best of its activities, restaurants, hotels, services and experiences? Please check my other posts and get in touch to book a stress free top quality holiday with Aphelios Travel stamp of reliability + 100% guaranteed satisfaction.