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Frequently asked questions

Our balloon "Checkmate" flies over the Miami Redlands

Where do we fly?

Our hot air balloon rides take place south of Miami in an area known as the Redlands. Flying in this area allows our passengers to experience magnificent views of Biscayne Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, the Everglades and also the last remaining rural area of Dade County and Southeast Florida. Flights over downtown Miami and highly congested areas near Miami are restricted due to air traffic in the vicinity of Miami International Airport.

How long is the flight?

Because a hot air balloon "rides" the wind currents, the wind direction and speed will determine the length of the flight. Most flights are at least forty-five minutes to one hour in duration. Because we fly between the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades, the amount of distance we cover is limited. A typical flight covers approximately three (3) to twelve (12) miles. We cannot land in the ocean or the Everglades….we wouldn’t want to

Where does the balloon take off from?

Once everyone arrives at the meeting point and has checked in, we proceed to the selected balloon launch site. We have several locations that are used to launching the balloon. Launch site selection begins at the meeting point when our pilot and crew send up a "pi-bal" (small helium filled pilot balloon) to measure the wind direction and speed. Based on the wind mesaurements obtained at the meeting point, we proceed to the most favorable launch site. On the way to the selected launch site, we may stop and confirm the wind direction and speed with additional "pi-ball" measurements.

What should I wear ?

We recommend that you wear comfortable clothing. A light jacket or sweater may be necessary as it is sometimes cooler in the morning. Please do not wear open shoes or high heels as they make getting in an out of the balloon difficult.

How high do we go?

A hot air balloon is capable of flying at various altitudes, giving passengers a varied perspective of the landscape below. The maximum altitude we reach will depend on wind direction and speed. We will fly as high as a few thousand feet above the ground and as low as the tree tops in open areas. You’ll really enjoy the view!

Where do we meet and at what time?

Our meeting place is the Holiday Inn Express Kendall. The hotel is located at 13475 SW 131 St, Miami, FL 33186. Please see our location & directions page for a map.Your car will remain at this location until after the flight. You should plan on being with us for approximately three (3) hours. The meeting time is 6:30 am. 

How far is the meeting point?

Travel times to the meeting point are as follows: (approx) Miami Downtown 30 minutes, Ft. Lauderdale 55 minutes, Palm Beach 1 hour 20 minutes, Key Largo 45 minutes, South Beach 45 minutes, Naples 2 hours 45 minutes. Please plan your drive accordingly. Traffic in the early morning hours is generally light. If you’re planning an overnight stay for your morning balloon ride, please let us know so that we can give our list of recommended hotels in the area. If you are delayed  or lost please call and let us know (305)860-5830.

How many people can ride in the balloon?

Depending on the number in your group, you may have to share the basket with up to eight other passengers. Our balloons carry two to ten passengers plus the pilot. If you reserved an exclusive balloon ride, you and your guest along with the pilot will have exclusive use of the basket.

Can we bring a camera? Our own champagne?

Every one of our balloon rides includes a well presented post flight celebration picnic which features drinks and snacks for everyone. You are welcome to bring your own food related items. We encourage you to bring a still camera or a video camera to record your ballooning adventure. Our policy is not to have open containers onboard the balloon during flight.

Can our friends/family follow us while we fly?

Yes, you can bring someone along that just wants to watch the balloon set up, flight and landing. We have limited room in our chase vehicle. Any addtional persons may have to follow our chase vehicle in their own car. Our chase crew attempts to take pictures of the balloon while it’s in flight.Your friends/family may do the same if they decide to join the "chase".

What if we need to reschedule?

Please be sure to let us know at least 48 hours in advance if you need to reschedule a flight. We will be in contact with you the evening before the flight between 7:30-8:30 pm. Cancellation by the passenger(s) with less than 48 hour notice or not showing up at the meeting time and place will forfeit any money paid to Winds Aloft Aviation, Inc. Such actions will also void the use of any gift or flight certificate(s) issued by either Winds Aloft Aviation, Inc. or a third party vendor.  All ride certificates will be considered redeemed if passengers do not show up for their ride, are more than 15 minutes late, or cancel withi less than 48 hours.

What is your refund policy? 

Refunds are available, less a $100 administration fee, within 7 days of the date of purchase. Rides that are purchased less than 7 days in advance are refundable up to 48 hours prior to the reservation. Rides purchased less than 48 hours in advance are nonrefundable.The refund will only be returned to the original purchaser. There are absolutely no refunds after weather postponements or rescheduling, even if within 7 days of purchase. Inclement weather can force us to postpone your flight and you will then need to reschedule. 

If your flight is cancelled for weather, your pre-paid reservation is valid and you can reschedule. Winds Aloft Aviation, Inc. certificates certificates are non-refundable. Third party certificates are not issued or refunded by Winds Aloft Aviation, Inc. Please contact the vendor directly.

What is considered bad weather?

The pilot of the balloon has the final word on conducting the flight or deciding to cancel it. The flight can still be cancelled after the balloon is inflated as weather conditions sometimes change at the last minute. This rarely happens, but it is possible. Winds greater than 8 mph on the surface, strong winds above the ground, rain, thunderstorms, fog and low clouds are some of the weather conditions that may delay or cancel a flight. We kindly ask that you allow us to determine if weather conditions are suitable for flying. Please do not go by TV or radio station weather. We are experts in our field and have access to detailed, up to the minute weather information specifically formatted for aviation activities….in other words please kindly let us make the call on weather conditions. Your safety and enjoyment are paramount. We have an impeccable safety record. We strongly recommend that you have a back up date in mind for your balloon ride as ballooning is a weather dependent activity.

Are you licensed and insured?

Yes, our pilots are highly experienced professionals with years of experience. The FAA issues commercial balloon pilots a Commercial Pilot Certificate with an LTA (lighter- than-air) rating. Each pilot should have their pilot certificate in their possession at all times while flying. We will not feel offended if you ask to see it. We are insured through an aviation insurance company that specializes in hot air balloon coverage.

Do I have to sign a waiver ?

Yes, each person riding in the balloon must sign a passenger release. Minors (under 18) must have written parental or legal guardian consent to ride in our balloons. Please read and sign the release. If you happen to have questions or concerns we will gladly address them.

Will I get motion sickness in the balloon?

Motion sickness occurs to different people under varied circumstances. Because balloons fly with the wind, we do not feel any significant turbulence in the balloon while in flight. Once the balloon leaves the ground, the ride is very smooth. On landing, we sometimes bounce a few feet before coming to a stop, however, this should not cause motion sickness.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns

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Balloon flights and tethers are weather dependent. All flights are early morning.Your safety and enjoyment are our top priorities. Restrictions may apply. Policies, procedures and pricing subject to change without notice.

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