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“Wonderful Flight!”

Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Co
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Flying with Tommy was absolutely wonderful. He is a very competent and experienced pilot that takes his job very seriously. My husband and I went to celebrate his birthday and had to reschedule many times due to weather. But, it was so worth the wait! The entire experience was professional and so enjoyed by both of us. My husband said it was the best birthday present he has ever received. The views are spectacular over the rivers and trees. Great views of the bays and gulf could be seen. The landing was perfect and just as he described in his pre-flight briefing. The champagne ceremony at the end was just great. Can't wait to go again.

Thank 607travelinggrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 October 2017 via mobile

Pilot Tommy, Mr. Victor, and Britni were honestly amazing to fly with! First and for most, they care for the passengers safety. They will take all forms of precaution necessary to make sure your trip will be well worth it. Precautions include using a pibal (helium balloon), checking on weather, wind current, and suitable places to launch and land. Pilot Tommy is extremely meticulous when it comes to flying, which says a lot about him, this man has many years under his belt. He honestly cares for the trip to be enjoyable and safe. We loved the hands on experience as well. It was such an eye opener for what it takes to function a hot air balloon. Once assembling was complete, taking off was fast. The views were breath taking. We saw The Gulf, Lake Shelby, many bays, we even saw all the way to Pascagoula, Mississippi. Loved how the balloon would climb and descend. Got to see the highest of highs and lowest of lows.
Will definitely recommend to friends and family.

Thanks again guys!

1  Thank Taylor L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2017

This exceeded our expectations. Tommy was very thorough in explaining to us what we could expect. He was thoughtful in asking our preferences flying over water or land. His years of experience made us feel safe. It was interesting to be part of the process of inflating and deflating the balloon. I would definitely recommend Tommy and his crew. He put our safety first and foremost.

Thank Diane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2016 via mobile

I've always wanted to fly in a hot air balloon so my hubby took me while on vacation. The owner met us at Jessie's Restaurant & we rode with him & his female crew member to the takeoff spot. He was more interested in talking with his female friend & making & receiving phone calls than conversing with us. My husband kept initiating conversation so he did finally talk to us a bit. We waited for probably 45 minutes to make sure conditions were good to fly. Finally he said we could go but it wouldn't be for long. He acted as though it was a big inconvenience but left it up to us. We chose to go. We were responsible for helping get the balloon ready, which was fine. Once in the air he positioned my husband under the burners which actually singed my husbands hair. It was so hot.
The views were spectacular. You could see for miles, including the Gulf, different bays, & countryside. The pilot did point out the sights to us. The sunset was breathtaking. We were up for about 30 minutes.
We were given no warning that we were going to land until I asked if that's what we were doing when descending. It was such a hard landing, the balloon & basket & my husband & I all fell over very hard. We literally had to crawl out of the basket on the ground. I ended up with bruises all over me.
You would think for a short ride with basically a crash landing that we would have gotten a break on price. Nope. $550
I highly recommend a hot air balloon ride but not with this guy.

3  Thank Robinv1963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tommy R, Owner at Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Co, responded to this reviewResponded 30 August 2017

Wow! I never look for myself on the internet and when I saw this I was floored. I would like to address.
It is very common for me to talk to my crew chief about weather conditions and where we will be hoping to take off that day and land. I also get updated briefings from flight services regularly when the weather is not perfect. I must also state that if my Mom or wife calls I will always take a moment to be sure they are alright. I will not change that policy.
We meet two hours before sunset for our afternoon flights. If we waited for 45 minutes then it is obvious that there was a weather issue such as a thunderstorm that was too close. I can't control the weather or when the sun sets. It takes us approximately 20 to 30 minutes to setup the balloon. Hence the fact that they only had 30 minutes of flight time left. As she stated, I gave them the option as to if they wanted to still go or not. I do not get paid anything if we do not go and want the customers to make that decision when the weather has delayed us. I commonly cancel flights and still pay my crew and I get paid nothing. The safety of my passengers is the most important. I will add that sometimes I may not be my normal fun going self when I am making decisions when someone's life is in my hands. I won't apologize for that. I have flown over 5000 people and this is the first time anyone has stated that they have been hurt in any way.

Everyone helps with the setup of the balloon from five year olds to 90 year olds. Setup is part of the passengers experience and is explained in detail on the website. I always position the passengers in front of me so they do not have to look at my arm on the burners during the flight. However, it is a balloon basket with two large burners. You will always be under the burners. Your head my get warm but out of over 5000 people no one has ever gotten their hair singed. Ever. I've had guys well over six feet and women with gel and hair spray. I can assure you that your hair will not be singed. If you are bald like me, I would recommend a cap.

The balloon itself has over 2.5 tons of inertia. When the basket touches the ground it is not uncommon for the balloon to keep going. The basket is suspended underneath and will bounce and skip until the balloon comes to a stop. Many times I will deflate the balloon and lay it over to make the skipping time as short as possible. We do it all the time. I've landed like this with a three year old and a 94 year old veteran. It is ballooning and not a crash landing. I would like to think that I do a good job of explaining all of this up front in our safety talk before the flight. Considering that no one has ever been hurt, I believe my safety record speaks for itself.
I will not pro rate a balloon ride but I do give the passengers a choice if the ride is going to be shorter than 45 minutes due to them being late or weather. I also have a policy that I get paid after the flight is over. If you aren't happy, don't pay me.

I hope that this silliness has not kept anyone from going on a balloon ride.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 December 2015

My husband surprised me with this experience for my birthday. I loved it! The captain let us help get the balloon ready (imagine holding it while the industrial fan fills the balloon), explained how he determined wind and flight patterns and then took us on a beautiful ride. He pointed out all the bodies of water and the land we crossed, and took us low enough to count the peanuts in the peanut fields and high enough to skim the tree tops. The landing was a blast and was a great spot of excitement after the serene balloon trip. Afterwards, we were initiated into the balloon riders club with champagne and the crowning ceremony. I felt like Miss America because every person we saw wanted a wave from us and was so excited to see the balloon. One of the best experiences I've ever had!

Thank ZJC10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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