preakness balloon festival
May 11-13, 2018
Howard County MD Fairgrounds
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE HERE!
Saturday Hot Air Balloon Fly-Aways are SOLD OUT.
Walkup reservations may be available for
Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Visit the balloon pilot tent at the festival for more information.
Hot air balloon rides are now available for for purchase at $250 per passenger. Please read all information provided below for full details. Questions? Please email PreaknessFestival@gmail.com.
Available Time Slots
The best time to fly in a hot air balloon is in the morning just after sunrise and in the evening 2-3 hours before sunset. This year, passengers will need to meet at the Howard County Fairgrounds at 5:45 AM if they are going for a morning flight and at 5:45 PM if they are going for an evening flight. Flights will be available on Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
Online: Passengers will be able to book a ride during one of the 5 flight opportunities. In order to book their ride, passengers will fill out the form on the website and submit a $50 per passenger non-refundable deposit.
Once passengers have submitted information and payment they will receive a confirmation email within a few days that contains all of the pertinent information for their balloon ride. The confirmation email will also contain the attached list of FAQs as well as the cancellation policy.
Walkups: Passengers will be able to book a non-tethered balloon ride on site during the event. There will be a sales table set up next to a 25 ft. cold-air adorned with a banner announcing that balloon rides are available. If any one time slot is sold out we will consider adding additional capacity.
A $50 nonrefundable deposit will be collected for each passenger at the time the reservation is made. The remaining $200 per passenger will be collected on-site during passenger check-in.
Hot air ballooning is a fair weather sport. If a cancellation due to forecasted weather is imminent, passengers will be notified via text and/or phone call as early as possible. If a flight window is cancelled, the event will attempt to roll passengers to other flight windows depending upon the forecast and availability.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Balloon Ride
How long is the ride? Each flight is different, pilots will try to make the ride last between 30 and 60 minutes. The entire excursion will take approximately 2 – ½ to 3 hours from start to finish.
What about tips? The pilots and crew work hard to provide outstanding customer service and make your balloon ride a truly memorable experience. Tips are not required but are appreciated.
What do I wear? Dress comfortably as you will be outdoors for most of the excursion. You ,must wear closed toe shoes such as boots or athletic shoes – no sandals or high-heel shoes are permitted. If you are taking a flight in the morning we recommend you bring another pair of shoes to change into after the flight due to the dew on the ground – your feet will be wet after the flight.
Is it cold in the balloon? Under normal conditions the temperature will drop approximately 3 degrees every one-thousand feet in elevation. We normally fly between 500’ and 1,500’ above the ground so the temperature will not vary greatly. If you are cold natured please feel free to throw a jacket in with you and we can stow it away in the basket until you need it.
Can I bring a camera? You are more than welcome to bring a camera or a video unit but please keep in mind the pilot is not responsible for damage which may result to the unit during takeoff or landing. Each passenger must be able to have their hands free to hold on during the lift off and landing and the camera cannot interfere with this.
Are there limitations? Absolutely – YES. If you are pregnant, just had surgery, have knee or back problems, or can’t stand up unassisted for at least one hour we are sorry, but no flights are allowed with these conditions. No Exceptions – please do not ask. If you have any of these conditions we are happy to give you a refund or transfer the certificate to someone else.
If you are older than 65 years of ageplease let us know ahead of time so we can talk about the flight and the physical requirements to ensure you are able to complete them. We require you to climb in and out of the basket, and at times the landings can be bumpy so we want to make sure you are aware of the conditions and you feel as though you will be able to participate in the flight.
Flight Date & Arrival Time: IF YOU ARE LATE AND WE ARE NOT ABLE TO TAKE YOUR FLIGHT, OR THE FLIGHT IS SHORTER THAN PLANNED, A REFUND IS NOT AVAILABLE NOR WILL THE FLIGHT BE RESCHEDULED.
For Cancellations : Please remember that more than likely once we have scheduled your flight we have had to turn away another person for the same date and time. If you need to cancel your flight it must be done no later than 48 hours prior to your scheduled meeting date and time. If we need to cancel the flight due to weather or other constraints we will try to notify you as soon as possible.
Cancellation, without cause, within than 48 hours of your ride may result in your loss of your balloon ride without refund or rescheduling if the weather during your scheduled balloon ride is conducive to a flight.
RE-BOOKING FROM 2018 WEATHER CANCELATIONS
If you were confirmed for a hot air balloon ride during the 2018 Preakness Balloon Festival event and were unable to ride due to weather cancelations, and would like to re-book for 2019, your $50 per passenger booking fee from 2018 will be applied for this year. Please contact us if you would like to re-book.