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Beware of Great American Balloon Company

California
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Beware of Great American Balloon Company

I would like to share my very bad experience with Great American Balloon Company.

I bought the tickets for ride as my wife’s birthday present. We arrived at Temecula 1 hour prior to the scheduled ride and started to search for the launch location. It was impossibly difficult: before sunset, in full darkness, to find the place. We were cruising for 40 minutes and finally just stopped near some place to ask for directions and there it was: “The place!” We were 10 min. late (my wife got car-seek), but instead of being greeted, the company representative (later we realized it was the owner) started to yell and scream. We refused to fly and ask for refund. We’ve never got our money back.

One more thing: before the flight we’ve been asked to sign waiver that contained words:”I hereby irrevocably release Great American Balloon Company, his agents, successors, assigns, affiliates, directors, employees, shareholders from all rights, claims, demands or actions, which I … may have in connection with flight …even if any injury or death caused me or my property is due to negligence … or dangerous condition of any property upon which hot air ballooning will take place.” Is that supposed to make you fill “safe” flying with the company that refuses to be responsible for your safety?!

Bottom line: the company has very rude and unprofessional personnel and forces you to give them carte blanche on whatever happened. If you still want to have a ride, there are many other companies in the area, who treat their customers respectfully.

California
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1. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

In reply to this forum by this person, I can assure the readers, things did not transpire as Bob (actually named Leo) portrayed thw experience.

Yes, they were late, but the balloon had not taken off yet and they could have gone on their flight. when they arrived, they were greeted by me and I said, "Thank God you made it just in time, they were about to leave without you". they were 40 minutes late, not 10.

the man got out of his car and was so angry because he could not find the Maurice Carrie Winery (whereas everyone else had no problem finding it and there were 16 other people flying that day).

He was still so angry saying we neded to post better signs, etc.. the directions he was useing was not ours, it was Mapquest. We are not responsible if mapquest information is incorrect. had he used our directions, he would have been fine.

i only screamed when this man grabbed my arm and shook me violently and the veins in his neck were popping out and his wife is yelling at him telling him not to hit me. He said he refuses to get on the balloon and would make my life a living Hell. the Pilot came over to tell him to calm down and he was beligerant with him and the other passengers asked if they could just leave without im and they went off and had a wonderful ride, leaving Leo and Sophia at the winery. I called the police and when they arrived, there was a report made and they asked him to leave. he kept saying he would not leave to them and then after 20 minutes of arguing with the Police, they left. The police stayed with me and asked if i wanted to press charges but I said I would not.

No refunds to these people because they never purchased the tickets through us. they bought it on Ebay from someone selling their own tickets to them. It was up to her to give them a refund.

As far as the waiver, that is something all companies have for Insurance purposes. You will fill out a Realease waiver with any company you fly with that is fully Insured.

This person is just upset that they ruined their wife's birthday with their anger and they need to lash out at someone.

They would have had a great tiome as we have been doing this for 15 years and people love our flights and our professionalism.

Shame on him for ruining what could have been a great experience.

Temecula
5 posts
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2. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

I have heard nothing but good things about this company in the years I have lived here and have relatives that have flown with them. As far as not being able to find Maurice Carie winery, how hard can that be, it is on the same street you exit from the freeway, there are no turns, no street names to learn, you just get off the freeway at Rancho California Road and go east until you see a giant winery that looks like a southern mansion that fronts the road for about a quarter of a mile and can be seen for a mile.

San Diego...
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4 posts
1 review
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3. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

We too have had nothing but a very unprofessional unethical experience with this company. We had flights rescheduled repeatedly due to "weather" and then told sorry the date has expired and refused to honor our prepaid tickets (which are the only way you can buy tickets). We are out $400 and have taken no flight. We are taking them to small claims court. Beware of this company

Los Angeles
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2 posts
35 reviews
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4. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

I too would like to share my bad experience with Great American Balloon in Tememcula, Ca.

We had booked a flight just recently and contacted them the day before to check on flight information. Come to find out that they had canceled the flight for the next day because of weather conditions. Well, the next day we noticed that there were 6-7 other balloons that took flight the next morning. The weather seemed fine, the wind was calm. Yeah there was overcast, but it didn't seem to bother the other pilots. I was able to speak to one of the pilots and he mentioned to me that Great American Balloon has given the ballooning industry a very bad rap. He would receive requests from customers that had their flight canceled to fly them out. The pilot also mentioned to me that they he wouldn't be surprised that they used weather conditions as an excuse because they didn't have a pilot available that day. We are now trying to dispute the charge that they made on our credit card. We called to ask if they can provide us a refund, but of course, they wouldn't accommodate us. The said that we should try to reschedule or sell our flights on ebay. I don't think that we should go through all that trouble to try and accommodate their wishes. If anyone has any advice for us to try to get our money back, I would really appreciate it.

temecula
1 post
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5. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

These people need to be shut down. The safety standards are that of circus carnies on dope.

San Diego...
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4 posts
1 review
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6. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

This is our second post about this company, Great American Balloon Company. We won our court case and was awarded our money back, however, She has come up with sob story after sob story about why she can't afford to pay it back. We now have to take her back to court to have her wages garnished and a lien put on her home. We are not backing down, she needs to be stopped and put out of business. This kind of business owner is a danger to everyone.

johnkelliher
4 posts
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7. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

This is not a comment on the balloon company mentioned, but on balloon companies in general. There are many shady operators, and there are also some very good ones. This is a pricy thing to do (although well-worth it) and there is a significant safety difference between a solid company and a sketchy one, so DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! Call the Chamber of commerce for a recommendation, and ask the company to provide a copy of their insurance certificate (if they make excuses, run the other direction). By the way, the largest balloon company is A Grape Escape, which has been a Temecula Business of the Year, and which I've used three times (and done the homework on - they're solid).

San Francisco
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36,629 posts
27 reviews
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8. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

Hmmm ... bunch of bad reviews from new members who only want to flog this particular company? Sounds like Leo and Sophia really have an axe to grind.

89183
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1,493 posts
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9. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

Probably posted by owners or employees of competing companies.

I did my balloon ride with A Great Escape and had a wonderful time. Meeting place was the Wilson Creek Winery which sells a great almond flavored champagne.

http://agrapeescape.com/

http://www.wilsoncreekwinery.com/

89183
Level Contributor
1,493 posts
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10. Re: Beware of Great American Balloon Company

Probably posted by owners or employees of competing companies.

I did my balloon ride with A Great Escape and had a wonderful time. Meeting place was the Wilson Creek Winery which sells a great almond flavored champagne.

http://agrapeescape.com/

http://www.wilsoncreekwinery.com/