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Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

Luxor, Egypt
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Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

please, please, please, please, please do not pick a balloon on price alone

Safety record, length of time in the air, insurance cover, pilot experience should override price when selecting your balloon operator

The Scottish Borders
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1. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

Earlier today I was sorting out my annual travel insurance policy, while going through the details of the policy I asked about hot air ballooning and I was told that it was no longer covered by the particular company I use (presumably because of the accidents in Luxor and Turkey). There was not even an option to add it on at a premium.

The man on the phone advised me if I wished to do the balloon excursion that I should check the companies insurance cover carefully before booking.

It's something I would LOVE to do when I conquer this silly fear of heights I have but before I book anything I'll definately be looking at the safety and insurance aspect over price.

The exact same applies for quad bikes.

England, United...
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2. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

I make no apologies for copy this same reply for another thread running on balloons.

FlatsinLuxor - totally agree.

With the withdrawel of the balloons from the air, the re-training, new conditions etc, we can but hope that all the companies have started out again on a 'level playing field'. It does seem however that cost, once again, is the major factor to tourists when considering taking a flight. Little or no mention has been made on the all important issues of insurance etc.

suziesooze - that's interesting that your insurance company no longer cover Hot Air Balloon flights in their Travel cover and just goes to show how important it is to check these things out in advance. It's all too easy, especially if you stay with the same company year after year, to just take things for granted.

With regards you fear of heights - I can only tell you that I get giddy standing on a kerb stone, and infact even 'height' things on TV can make my knees wobble and head swim, but going up in a balloon basket is an altogether different experience. You get no real sense of rising in the air or the height that you are at. I really would encourage you to give it ago one day.

Edinburgh, United...
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3. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

Hi Suzie

That's very interesting about the insurance cover and can only think too that cover has been withdrawn perhaps because of the recent accidents in Luxor and Turkey.

I too am terrified of heights but when I went on a balloon flight in Luxor a few years ago now, I had no time to be scared as I was too busy looking at the tremendous views and the sunrise and loved every minute of it. I hope you will manage to do this trip one day - it's a fantastic experience.

Luxor, Egypt
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4. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

Susie that is really interesting about your insurance and shows the importance of checking the insurance cover of the balloon company.

God forbid anything would happen but would you like to pay for it with the money you saved by going with a cheap company!!!!

Gloucester, United...
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5. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

I work for an Insurance company and our company does not cover flying, unless as a fare paying passenger in a fixed wing aircraft. We also do quit a lot of checks on competitors and most of the companies out their (but not all) say the same thing. So as, has been said check your policy wording carefully, do not just think you are covered and as has also been said check the balloon companies have adequate cover for flying, if not DON'T FLY WITH THEM, better to pay a little more and fly with a good company and know if the worst happens, you are covered.

coventry
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6. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

Hi

Whilst in principle i agree with the opening post how would you accurately check the facts required .

I'm positive if you asked those questions directly to the balloon operators and agents they would ALL reply that they have the best insurance , the longest flights , the most experienced pilots and the safest record in Africa !!!!!

If you do ask to see any documentation how do we know they are genuine ?

You only know how good insurance is when something goes wrong and a lot of people don't even read their own insurance ignorant of what they are NOT actually covered for .

Unless the Egyptian aviation authority keeps a database of such companies so that all details can be checked periodically and is accessible to the public we will continue to take it on trust that they are as good and safe as they say they are !

The Scottish Borders
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7. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

Probably because of everything that has been said on here recently in regards of insurance cover etc I asked a few extra questions whereas before I never really bothered that much.

What I was surprised though was with the camel trekking, I was told that i'm covered as long as I go on an organised tour with a licensed tour operator.

You never know one day I might get up there in a balloon, will be making sure of the companies insurances etc first.

England, United...
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8. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

basset - with regard your point about being able to check out the 'claims' of companies....

I am sure that when I originally made a booking with one of balloon companies I was emailed all the relevent information but it was such a long time ago now I doubt I still have it. Because of that I've just done a quick spot check on one of the other well known Luxor balloon companies (I've not flown with this company) and found that on their website they state amongs other things (my words, not a direct copy from the site:

Flights will be 50 mins depending on weather conditions

They have full passenger insurance

They have the CAA certificates

Surely if they are printing this on the website it would give you some legal comeback if there was a need to take issue with them over anything.

It also makes me wonder how many of us really read the Terms & Conditions of booking forms etc before we tick those little boxes on line. It's very easy to just tick it and move on to the next page believing all will be well. :-(

Luxor, Egypt
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9. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

How does Joe Tourist check these important facts?

Will the companies insurance documents be written in English? Is their safety record available from any "official" source? Will the pilot show Joe his flight log, so that Mr & Mrs Tourist can assure themselves that he has enough experience? How much experience is enough?

How safe is the road transport in which the Tourist family are taken to the launch site, and the boat that whisks them across the Nile?

In the event of Mrs Tourist sustaining a back injury in a hard landing, will the insurance pay out when she is forced to admit that she hadn't properly taken up the "brace" position, or the loss adjuster assesses that her heavy shoulder bag added extra downward force on her spine? (Like the straw that broke the camel's back.)

I'm not just being awkward here, just wanting to make the point that we have to trust someone eventually. Do we think that they aren't professional just because they're Egyptian?

Another point of interest might be that the balloon which had the accident in April actually belonged to one of the companies which were recognised as one of the "better" ones, and also one of the more expensive.

Food for thought, I hope.

Regards,

Edward

United Kingdom
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for Luxor
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10. Re: Balloons - Please, please, please, please, please

Mr DD & I both have 'pre-existing medical conditions' so have to price & then purchase travel insurance by phone rather than on line. This allows us to ask lots of questions (in addition to answering them).

In 2007 & 2008 we specifically asked about balloon flights & were told we were covered as long as we were not actually piloting the balloon.

We didn't ask in 2009 as the balloons were grounded.

It will be interesting to find out what the position will be in 2010.