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“BATV Not Recommended”

Balloons Above the Valley
Ranked #2 of 27 Outdoor Activities in Napa
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Get Carried Away! Balloons Above The Valley has been voted Best Balloon Ride in Napa Valley 17 years in a row. Dance with the wind above Napa Valley in a colorful hot air balloon. Celebrate your celestial adventure with a festive champagne brunch where you can reminisce about your journey in a serene wine country setting. May The Winds Welcome You Softly
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 16 July 2002

Not Recommended.
I was very disappointed in Balloons Above The Valley. My wife and I booked our flight back in February, and traveled from Chicago to Yountville to celebrate our 20th anniversary in July. We expected a romantic early morning flight above the vineyards, but got much less than we expected and paid for.

We arrived at 5:30AM ready for our launch. We filled out the waiver, given a cryptic group number and loaded into vans by group to travel to the launch point. At the launch point they started inflating the balloons and launching them. It was at that point we learned that we were relegated to the second "hop" of the day. We were stuck riding in the chase van while we watched the balloons from the ground. We were miles from our car, no chance to just leave.

BATV launched two balloons each capable of carrying 16. They overbooked by 14. I don't know how they selected us, but all 14 of us on the second hop seemed to be from out of state. My guess is that they figured their reputation would be safe since we wouldn't be around to spread the word.

The other Napa valley balloon operators launched at the same time, from the same place. NONE had a second hop and all of their flights were in the air between 45 to 60 minutes.

Once the first group landed in the vineyards around 8:30, they loaded us and launched again. We were in the air no more than 35 minutes from takeoff to touchdown, and because the valley air warmed, there was no wind. Where the other flight traveled a couple of miles from the launch point, we barely moved.

I wish I had done more research before we selected Balloons Above The Valley. I recommend finding an operator that has smaller balloons and baskets and make sure you specify you want the first Flight / Hop of the day.

We tried not to let the experience ruin our anniversary. Its a sure bet, I wont be flying with them ever again.

50  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 24 April 2004

We would like to respond regarding this customers disappointment on the second hop.We at Balloons Above The Valley never overbooked. We know exactally how many passengers we can accomodate with balloons, staff pilots, and weather on any given day. We do try to accomodate everyone wanting to experience our balloon rides.If this customer did not want to be on the second hop all they had to do was voice they desire and our staff is instructed to accomodate them if possible.Many customers ultimately enjoy the second hop, they like the fun of "chasing" the balloons and then they know on the second hop due to the winds they most of the time are going to go farther on the ride then the first hop when the winds are usually calmer.Second hops are not uncommon with any balloon carrier. However, most companies who have the more experience pilots are the companies which offer the "second" hop.We welcome any further questions anyone may have on this subject. Visit us at (our website).

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Reviewed 28 December 2016 via mobile
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Reviewed 2 July 2016
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Reviewed 26 May 2016 via mobile
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