Just about everyone who travels to
Cappadocia in Turkey
wants to take a hot-air balloon
flight and see the
Cappadocian "moonscape" at dawn from
Cappadocia has 25
balloon companies and 220 registered balloons, with up to 100 balloons
flying on any morning. How do you
choose a company that will give you
a safe, fully satisfying flight?
Choosing a balloon company is an inexact
science, because so much
depends on the particular pilot and
ground crew of your aircraft, the
weather conditions on the day you
fly, and the actions of other balloon
I cannot guarantee
satisfaction from any tourism service
provider because there are too many
factors out of my control, but I do
believe the companies below offer good
The companies recommended below are
all small, with the small-basket balloons
that make a flight more personal and
enjoyable. It's easy to reserve your
flight directly with any of the balloon
companies mentioned below. Mention
you do. Here's why.
A high-quality ballooning company with experienced pilots and ground crew, Voyager offers a superior
flying experience. Mention TTP and get upgraded from a Standard to a Comfort flight at no extra charge. More...
Butterfly Balloons is a purposefully small company that consistently receives top
ratings for its flight experience.
They know how to make your flight interesting,
and they are very safety-conscious. More....
Founded by one of Cappadocia's largest and most experienced tourism companies, Royal seeks to provide a premium flight experience for its clients. More...
Whichever company you choose, flight
safety is an extremely
click here and read this!
If you do not choose one of my recommended companies, here are points to consider and questions
to ask when choosing a hot-air balloon
1. How much experience? The
company may be new or old, but you
want an experienced pilot who
is intimately familiar with the region,
because the pilot will be your guide to the landscape during the flight.
2. New equipment or old? Like any aircraft, a hot-air balloon has a lifespan. Careful use and upkeep of this valuable equipment keeps it safe and in reliable working order. You can't know the age or condition of the balloon you'll fly in, but by choosing a reputable, reliable company, you'll be better assured of their equipment.
3. Do the company's balloons
take off from the same launch site
every day? Taking off from the same
launch site every day, a
pilot cannot take advantage of changing
weather conditions as well as a flight
that takes off from a launch site
chosen with regard to the day's weather.
Premium (ie, the longer, more expensive)
flights are likely to use a better-chosen
launch site and give you a more satisfying
4. Will you be on the first
(or only) flight of the day? Demand
for flights is so high that some
balloons fly at dawn, land, then
take on a new load of passengers
for a second flight. This may cut
both flights short, and passengers
on the second flight may return to
their hotels too late for breakfast
or a daily tour. There may also be
safety issues. It's generally better
to be on the sole flight, or at least
flight, of the day.
5. How many passengers will
be in the balloon basket with you? Believe
it or not, there are huge
balloons that lift baskets with
32 passengers in them. Do you really
want to fly in a balloon-bus?
Overloaded balloons, whether large or small, are also inherently unsafe because passengers may not be able to take the "landing position" (facing away from the direction of travel, back to the wall of the basket, hands holding rope loops, knees bent) in case of a windy landing. If there is not enough room for all passengers to take the correct Landing position, chances are high that someone may be injured in the event of a windy landing.
Here's what makes a value-for-money flight, whatever the price:
Smaller is Better
In general, smaller balloons and
baskets give better experiences—particularly
if they are not filled completely.
Pilot's Language Ability
Will the pilot and the
other passengers speak a language
you understand? Pilot
commentary on the landscape, wildlife, geology, history, local culture and ballooning itself, is a huge contributor
to flight satisfaction, as is
conversation among your fellow passengers.
How fluent is your pilot in your language? Some companies will tell you the pilot speaks your language when in fact s/he may only be able to say "Good morning," "How are you?", etc.
Pilot's Quality Flight
It's easiest for a pilot just to lift you into the sky and stay there while you marvel at the view and take lots of photos. But you'll have a much more interesting, memorable and valuable flight if your pilot works at it, tests the air currents, and takes you through the valleys and between the volcanic cones. Good pilots love doing this, lazy ones don't bother. Your experience will be richer and your photos spectacular if your pilot cares about your flight experience, and this is worth paying for.
How to Make Your Reservation
I suggest that you book your hot-air balloon flight directly with the
balloon company from this page. If you'd prefer, you can
book your flight through one of TTP's recommended
partner travel agencies. In either case you'll be booking through a trusted, legal source which can help if there are any questions or problems.
Confirm Your Company!
Please don't book through some unknown individual, group or website with
which you have no connection!
—Some sketchy companies offer huge kickbacks to locals for bringing them customers. These companies are barely profitable, and more likely to be unsafe.
—Fake websites purport to be reputable companies that actually give your reservation to less reputable companies; or that steal your credit card information and give you nothing at all.
—Unethical balloon company cars have been known to visit hotels just before balloon-flight pick-up times, collect passengers, then take them not to the balloon company they chose, but to an unethical company that pays them a big kickback. When the balloon company car comes to your hotel, assure that it is in fact coming from the company with which you've booked your flight.
—by Tom Brosnahan