Hot Air Balloon Rides in Albuquerque, NM
Apex Balloons is one of the most personal, dynamic, exciting and experienced hot air balloon companies in the country. We have been providing safe, enjoyable hot air balloon flights in the Northeastern US and other regions of the country for over a decade. We offer hot air balloon flights in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the same commitment to service that our guests have come to expect. We schedule and fly hot air balloon rides in Albuquerque launching daily at sunrise, weather permitting, year-round.
We are not a large company - in fact, we are entirely owner/pilot operated - and we firmly believe that allows us to offer a much more personal experience over the larger balloon companies out there that handle many dozens of passengers daily. We prefer to operate on a smaller scale, which allows us to offer a more personalized and unique hot air balloon ride experience. Despite our small size, we are an established balloon company with many years of experience. Thousands of smiling faces have joined us in flight for an unforgettable experience that can hardly be surpassed. Check out what our past guests have said about their flights!
Owner and chief pilot Jon Radowski is proud of our absolutely immaculate safety record throughout our history in ballooning, and strives to make your flight as enjoyable and memorable as possible. When you call to ask questions or schedule your flight, you'll talk directly to one of our pilots - not just a secretary or answering service. Click here to read why else we firmly believe our balloon flights and service are the best available.
Hot Air Balloon Rides in Albuquerque during the Largest Balloon Festival in the World
We offer hot air balloon flights during the time of the big Balloon Festival in Albuquerque (October 3 - 11, 2015). As with all hot air balloon companies in Albuquerque other than the Festival's contracted balloon ride concessionaire, we are not participants in the event. As such, our flights must remain outside of a 4-mile radius of restricted airspace surrounding the Balloon Festival launch field during that time. To some, it might sound like we're excluded from all the fun, but that's not the case at all! We think there are a number of really smart reasons to fly with us during the Balloon Festival:
- Our balloon rides take advantage of a more scenic flying area which offers a varied, unique flight experience. Where we fly is where hot air balloons normally fly in Albuquerque at all times other than when the Festival is happening - and for good reason. There are far less powerlines and other obstacles where we fly.
- We'll have a magnificent vista and photo opportunities of all the Festival Mass Ascensions from a distance. Our first flights launch at the same time as all the other balloons at the Festival each morning. There are often many other balloons still launching and airborne during our second flight each morning.
- We offer a considerably more affordable flight fare (29-35% less than the Festival).
- No Festival parking or admission fees
- You won't have to deal with the crowd and commotion of spectator traffic struggling to get into the Festival in the pre-dawn darkness. Our launch site is easy to access, there is generally no traffic, and our meeting time is 6:30 AM rather than the 5:30 AM check-in time for rides at the Festival.
- We launch among and near approximately 10-30 other balloons, making for a small balloon festival of our own. There's lots of excitement nearby!
- Many of our flights offer passengers the opportunity to float low over the Rio Grande and experience a "splash & dash"
- Our pilots have many years of experience flying in Albuquerque. It's our "own backyard." Some of the pilots contracted to offer rides at the Balloon Festival may only fly Albuquerque once a year during the Festival. This is definitely one time you "should" trust a local!
- If your flight must be cancelled due to weather, there is absolutely no charge to you whatsoever.
Our flying area on the west side of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque offers a much greater range of scenery and landing opportunities than flights departing from the Balloon Festival launch site. Our preference is clear - and our passengers agree that our flying location offers a more interesting choice of scenery, and often affords a longer flight.
Although at least four miles away from the Balloon Festival, we will still have a truly breathtaking view of more than 500 other balloons lifting off silhouetted against the stunning Sandia Mountains. In addition, we find ourselves in the midst of our own separate hot air balloon festival, as we are typically flying among 20 or more other balloons from common launch sites alongside and around us. There's an abundance of amazing sights to see on our hot air balloon rides in Albuquerque during the time of the Balloon Festival.
We are able to charge considerably less than the flights offered directly from the Balloon Festival (compare our rates to the $429/$325 per person you'll pay there!), and there's much less spectator traffic to deal with. Come out to the west side and enjoy a spectacular hot air balloon flight without having to deal with the early-morning traffic jams and throngs of spectators crowding the gates to the event!
One final note - Other companies may charge a $30 per person nonrefundable booking fee if you can't fly due to bad weather. Imagine the insult added to injury: A family of four would be charged $120 for the privilege of not going on a balloon ride! We're usually more disappointed than our passengers are on the occasions when we can't fly. We can't imagine making them pay our costs of doing business, especially after traveling from far corners of the country and from around the world to try this once-in-a-lifetime experience. If we can't fly, there is no charge to you whatsoever.
Take a break and suspend reality...
When you're engrossed in a good work of art, a phenomenon called "suspension of disbelief" often takes over, allowing the viewer to accept certain fantastic elements in the name of entertainment. A similar occurrence tends to happen while ballooning: "Suspension of Reality." Aboard a hot air balloon in flight, the real world seems to pause, and a dreamlike sort of fantasy dimension springs to life. Problems and worries melt away, and nothing much really seems to matter as you take on a new way of seeing the world from your vantage point high in the sky. There's no way to accurately describe the feeling of a hot air balloon flight other than to say it's nothing like you'd expect. There's no motion, no sense of height, no fear involved. The only way to truly understand this remarkable feeling of freedom is to experience it.
Following the traditions of the early ballooning aeronauts, we will embark on a serene journey highlighted by moments of excitement and surprise. As our guests of honor, your flight is guaranteed to be memorable, breathtaking and above all else, safe.
We begin by unfurling the hot air balloon's seemingly delicate ripstop nylon envelope and attaching it to the basket. You are welcome to join our ground crew if you'd like the unique experience of assisting with setup and inflation of the balloon, or you may choose to oversee or snap photos from a less-involved position. A powerful fan is used to introduce air into the ten-story envelope, and it billows with color, quickly multiplying in size in the crisp morning air. Soon enough the burner is turned on, breathing life into the now fully-inflated balloon as it stands vertical and begins to tug skyward. You then step aboard, and before you realize it, the balloon is airborne without even a jostle. Your magical journey begins!
Imagine that you are floating weightless like a cloud high in the sky, drifting peacefully with the breeze. The vast panorama below you stretches endlessly from horizon to horizon, a sight unparalleled by any other in this world. The next minute you are skimming low over the tops of trees, leaves brushing past as you view another rarely-seen perspective of the magnificent earth. Awestruck humans and wildlife below look up in wonder at your beautiful and mysterious chariot of the sky. Dipping your toes into the magnificent Rio Grande, you experience the divine sensation of walking on water. This effortless state of flight is some of what you might experience on a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque with Apex Balloons!
During the Balloon Festival, flight time can range from 40 to 60 minutes, with most flights averaging about 45 minutes in the air. The entire experience will span three to four hours from the meeting time. At the conclusion of our wonderful adventure, we will indulge in a traditional champagne celebration to toast our successful flight. All guests will receive a personalized flight certificate to commemorate the experience. Each group of passengers leaves as new friends rather than just customers. See what others are saying about their flights on the feedback page!
We live for this. In short, ballooning is our life, our full-time occupation, and reason for existing. Experience counts for everything in ballooning, and our pilots come with all the highest qualifications and a minimum of a decade of flight experience each. We take pride in our perfect safety record and state-of-the-art equipment. Everything we do is in the interest of our guests' safety and enjoyment. It's more than a job - it's a lifelong devotion to sharing the wondrous beauty that is what hot air ballooning is all about.
We are fully insured by an A+ rated hot air balloon insurance carrier, and all our pilots attend (and often present at) industry safety seminars to fulfill personal and professional continuing education goals. Our hot air balloons are checked each time they fly, are maintained regularly, inspected and overhauled yearly, and comply with all FAA regulations pertaining to standard passenger-carrying aircraft. However, that's the bare minimum that is to be expected of all hot air balloon companies.
So, how are we any different? Why choose us? There are a number of reputable balloon companies in Albuquerque. We're all pretty friendly. Some have been in business for much longer than we've been offering flights in the Land of Enchantment. You'll find that a few even charge less than we do! Ballooning in New Mexico is so enjoyable that you will likely have a good time no matter who you choose to fly with, but we truly believe our balloon flights are the best and safest that can be experienced. We offer what we consider the most fulfilling and fun hot air balloon flight possible at a reasonable price (our rates are at the bottom of this page).
We try to fly higher, longer, and with the most varied array of unique flight experiences. We'll climb as high as possible on our hot air balloon flights to give a grand panorama of the entire Rio Grande valley. The elusive "splash & dash?" We'll go for it whenever possible, and your feet will actually stay dry as we skim gently along the water's surface! We'll try to fly as long as conditions safely permit - and not just calling it a day when your minimum allotted time is up. All the little touches that we try to add to each and every flight are what makes it positively fun and special for you as well as us.
On top of what we offer in the air, we're all genuinely down-to-earth fun people, which makes it easy for you to have a great time with us. We've never had anyone leave who wasn't smiling - and that includes pilots, crew, as well as passengers! It might sound a little corny, but we'll go above & beyond to make your flight absolutely perfect in every way. The bottom line is that a hot air balloon flight is an adventure most folks may only try once in their lifetime. We look forward to sharing a truly wonderful experience with you.
Jon Radowski, Owner & Chief Pilot
Special Events & Group Flights
For occasions such as corporate outings, team-building workshops, family gatherings, weddings and other functions, we specialize in large group hot air balloon flight excursions. We can easily handle parties of 30 or more with advance notice. Large groups will be accommodated in multiple hot air balloons, with our largest balloons capable of carrying 12 to 16 at a time in luxurious, comfortably-padded baskets. Be sure to plan ahead at least a few weeks for group flights, although we'll always try to accommodate last-minute bookings.
Hot Air balloon Engagements & Weddings
A hot air balloon flight is a very adventurous way to propose to your significant other. An exclusive flight for two will guarantee the basket to yourselves - with plenty of room to get down on one knee. She'll remember the day forever! In-flight photos and special arrangements are always available. We will do everything in our power to make your hot air balloon proposal perfect in every way.
We also offer spectacular hot air balloon weddings. Our pilots are ordained ministers and can officiate the ceremony, or you may wish to have your own officiant perform your marriage. The ceremony can be conducted either in the air or on the ground prior to liftoff. The marrying couple, minister and two witnesses - one of which can be the pilot - can all be carried in the basket of one balloon. Entire wedding parties can be carried aloft in one or multiple balloons. Please call for current wedding flight rates.
Please note that all pricing is per passenger. Special rate for children ages 5 to 12 (except during the Balloon Festival).
|Flight Type||Weekday Price||Weekday
|Festival Flight (Price per passenger)
(October 3 - 11, 2015)
|Year-Round Albuquerque Flight
(Price per passenger)
|Year-Round Albuquerque Private Flight for 2
*Due to overwhelming demand, Balloon Festival weekend flights on October 3, 4, 10 & 11, 2015 are priced higher than the weekday rate.
Hotel pickups and Private Flights are unavailable during the time of the Balloon Festival except for large groups with prior arrangement.
All Albuquerque Balloon Flights include the following:
• Flight time of approximately 45-90 minutes (Balloon Festival Flights are 40-60 minutes).
• Special post-flight champagne toast ceremony and refreshments. Non-alcoholic refreshments always available.
• Personalized First Flight Certificate
• Digital photos on the ground or in the air (on request, when available).
• Memories to last a Lifetime!
Hot air balloon flight prices shown above are current through 12/2015. Prices are subject to change at any time. Flight certificates sold at previous prices will be honored unconditionally. There is never, and will never be any up-charge to current pricing levels for previously purchased flights.
Apex Balloons' chief pilot Jon Radowski attends a number of hot air balloon festivals each year. Flights are available at most of these events. Balloon festivals can range in size from small rallies with less than 10 balloons, to grandiose gatherings with hundreds! It's always a tremendous thrill to be surrounded in flight by other hot air balloons, and the photo opportunities afforded are absolutely terrific. Contact us for availability and pricing at any balloon event listed below.
Over 100 hot air balloons and special shapes lift off during the Saturday morning mass ascension at the 2008 New Jersey Festival of Ballooning
Our 2014 Balloon Festival Schedule: (Dates in yellow can be booked!)
Number of Balloons
|Experimental Balloon & Airship Meet||Post Mills, VT||
|Rio Grande Classic / New Mexico State Hot Air Balloon Championship||Albuquerque, NM||
|Saratoga Balloon & Craft Festival
|Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning||Readington, NJ||
|July 28-31||Warren County Farmers' Fair Balloon Festival
|Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally
28 - Sept 1
|Festival de Montgolfières de Gatineau
||Gatineau, Quebec, Canada||
|Kiwanis Club of South Central Indiana Balloon Festival||Bloomington, IN||
|Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta