How long is the flight?
Our flights on average last 45 minutes depending on the wind. Flights over 20 minutes are deemed completed. The whole experience including hotel pick ups and light champagne breakfast lasts between 2 ½ to 3 hours. Ballooning is also about watching the set up of the balloon, and the retrieve by our crew, not just the flight itself. Not knowing where you are going to land is always exciting and part of the adventure!
What do we see?
The exciting thing about ballooning is that you just don’t know. You will see the amazing colours and rock formations of the Atacama Desert at first light waking up in the morning. You will see many volcanoes in the distance and get a spectacular aerial view of the entire desert.
Can we go to …… by balloon?
The balloon can only go where the wind takes it. Although we cannot pre-plan exactly where it will land, but we always pre plan our flight path to include a variety of safe landing zones.
Is it safe?
• Commercial passenger ballooning is the safest form of all air transport.
• In San Pedro de Atacama we are always very careful. We only fly when there are light surface winds less than 8 knots. Our sister company Balloons over Bagan has been operating since 1999 and has never recorded any accident or incident however minor
• Our pilots and technicians are European and Australian Nationals qualified and registered in the UK.
• Our balloons are built to the highest standards of the British aerospace industry by Cameron Balloons,
• All our crew are trained to the highest international standards and have all been trained in first aid by UK Public Transport Inspectors
I’m scared of heights.
Ballooning does not usually affect those people who are scared of heights. Because the balloon travels with the wind, the basket is very stable and does not sway or rock during flight. There is no sense of vertigo or motion.
How many people can fit in one balloon?
We currently have 3 balloons in service. Two balloons have room for 16 passengers in four separate compartments plus a pilot. One balloon has room for 8 passengers in four separate compartments, offering a range of flexibility across our entire fleet for small or larger groups.
What is the premium service?
Our premium service offers a more personalised and spacious experience for a maximum of just 8 passengers per day in our smallest 8 passenger balloon. Designed to hold just 4 couples in their own individual compartments with more personal space, the premium service offers a more intimate and private experience. A highlight of the experience is a guided interactive tour around the balloon during inflation from your pilot just prior to take off. In addition to this, clients will receive a free photo of their flight.
What do we get for the price?
A memory that we hope will last forever; transport to and from your hotel to launch and landing site, flight, ‘rescue’, celebratory glass of champagne and light breakfast.
Where do we take off?
The take off site changes with the wind and is decided by the pilot in command on the day of the flight.
What time will we be picked up?
For the morning flight, passengers are usually taken from their hotels by our Balloons over Atacama bus between 05h00 and 0700h in the morning depending on the location of your hotel and the time of year. The exact time will be given to you the evening before when you or your guide come to our Sales office in San Pedro de Atacama to reconfirm your flight.
What time do we get back to the hotel?
After your morning flight, passengers are usually back at their hotels by 0830 hours or 0930 hours depending on the time of year. Some passengers like to stay longer after landing to drink an extra glass of champagne or chat with villagers who come to witness the landing. The post flight celebrations are an important part of ballooning in this special area and not to be rushed!
Can we fly at sunset?
Unfortunately because of the subtropical location in San Pedro de Atacama, evening weather conditions are often too windy and less reliable than in our scheduled morning flights. We believe therefore that a morning flight affords a more enjoyable and superior experience. Atacama is normally at its most beautiful early in the morning, and temperatures are pleasant and cool.
Can our children fly?
For safety reasons there are age and height restrictions. We set a minimum age of 8 years old, but as a general rule, all passengers must be able to see over the basket.
How can we pay for a pre-booking?
For a pre-booking, full payment can be made by VISA and MasterCard directly through our online booking system, by bank transfer at least 30 days in advance of the flight date, or through your local tour operator.
Can I get my money back if the balloon flight is cancelled?
Yes of course! Balloons over Atacama only operates when the chief pilot decides that the weather is suitable and it is safe to fly. Therefore it might unfortunately be possible that we have to cancel the balloon flight at the launch site for safety reasons. In that case we will refund 100% of your payment. All direct cash payments to Balloons over Atacama will be refunded in cash either in San Pedro de Atacama or in Santiago. If you have made payment through your travel agent, we will advise them immediately so that they can make arrangements for your refund on your return to Santiago or back home.
Can I decide later in San Pedro de Atacama whether I want to fly or not?
It is possible to buy a last minute stand by ticket at our Sales Desk in San Pedro de Atacama, but this is only possible if we have spaces left for the next day. If you are planning to stay in San Pedro de Atacama for 3 - 4 days there is a much better chance to book a standby space on one of the flights. If you are in any doubt, please feel free to contact us directly by phone or email, and we can give you an indication of our current booking status. Please note that this is an indication only, and may not remain accurate for very long.
Why do I have to give my weight?
It is important that we receive the correct weight of each passenger as soon as possible. The chief pilot needs this figure to calculate the total ballast of the basket, so that he can determine the total amount of lift available on that day.
Who owns Balloons over Atacama?
Balloons over Atacama is a 100% private Chilean company called Alicanto Balloons Spa. The company is owned and run by Brett Melzer and Khin Omar Win, who are the founders of Balloons over Bagan: www.balloonsoverbagan.com
What is the price?
Our prices for 2016 are:
For classic service
USD 300 per person (Xmas - Dec 25th - USD 315 per person)
For premium service
USD 375 per person (Xmas - Dec 25th - USD 395 per person)
These prices are valid from 15th August 2016 until 31st December 2016. Prices include transfers from your hotel, balloon flight and a light champagne breakfast.
Standby tickets can only be made and purchased within 48 hours or 2 full days at our Sales office in San Pedro de Atacama before the flight date.