We flew with Dream Baloons in October 2012, booked via a local guy moored at the Iberotel. He charged half what Thompson were asking, and I believe all the money went to the right place (later visited his house in central Luxor, lovely bloke, works hard and deserves your cash).
The price included a minibus from the hotel down to the waterfront, tea/coffee and a twinkie on board a boat, transfer across the river, another minibus to the launch site, and all the same transfers to bring you back once you land. Minibuses were clean and air conditioned, all the staff were great. You sign to say you agree to take responsibility for your own actions on the Balloon and then you're off!
The ride itself lasted about half an hour, with a slow cruise down to land. Kafim flew our balloon, an experienced pilot, he explained before we left that the ride is entirely dependent on the weather (something a lot of people seem to forget) Where the wind blows, you go!
We were very lucky, the wind held us over some of the temples near the Valley of the Kings and we got great views of the farms and fields leading down to the Nile and finally, on descent, we cruised almost silently over a town just in front of the Nile, waking up the odd resident (and chicken) with blasts from the canisters. Kids waved, animals honked, mooed and barked and we finally came down in the marshy flood plains of the river itself.
Out there, getting transfer back requires the ground crew to first locate the balloon, and then get people out to you in a bus, so if you land long, sit tight. We had some help from a local man who jumped into his steel boat and using only a wooden pole, ferried every person on the balloon back and forth across an irrigation channel to dry land.
A great experience, despite some fairly persistent moaning from other passengers about everything from the landing site, to Ox poo and even the temporary seating that was offered up when we found ourselves in a farming village (the crew turned over a day bed for the ladies to sit on). If you're thinking about going, take extra memory cards, wear shoes you don't care about and don't gripe, they're doing their best!
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