air Balloon Question :)) don't laugh...

Ok,... this mortifies me.... when getting into the air balloon basket , is the basket lying down or is it in take off position? do we have to crawl in and out? or do I put me feet in the holes on the sides?


  • The basket is laying on its side, and you get in and lie down in "astronaut" position, with your back on the ground and your knees bent. The basket lifts up gently as the balloon rises. It was easy to get in the basket. When we landed, our basket stayed upright, and someone helped us climb up and out of the basket. You don't need to be afraid. Everything is well designed, and the ride is smooth. It was my first hot air balloon experience, so I didn't know what to expect, but it was easy and comfortable and I would do another without hesitation.
  • thanks Velvet17. I had a Drama queen moment.:)
    Thanks for the info.
  • We had a pretty good wind when we landed so we ended up in the same position as when we boarded. They land so everyone has their back toward the direction of travel, so if it tips over, which we did, you end up laying on your back not face down. Probably easier to get out than landing upright. In any case not a big deal. A very pleasant experience ... this was our third try. Our first two tries were canceled due to unfavorable wind conditions. But you do go where the wind takes you. We ended up flying over a herd of cattle ... which resulted in something of a stampede, and I’m sure the need for an early morning ‘round-up’.
  • edited August 2018
    Also, while the basket(gondola) may appear to be wicker or something similar, it has a steel frame and a padded steel upper frame that, if needed, acts as a roll bar/frame- the construction is very substantial . "Balloons fly best in light and stable winds of 4-6 miles per hour. Maximum safe winds are 8-10 mph." As Sealord said, they won't launch if the winds are too high (above 6 mph). If the wind has picked up since launch the balloon will land with the basket upright, sliding across the tall grass, but then the basket may be gently pulled over on its side (back to the launch position) and continue to slide a bit until enough hot air as spilled out of the bag. The pilot has a rope that causes the bag to open so hot air spills, the balloon deflates rapidly, and the basket stops sliding- it is all fairly gentle.

    Post landing- we landed upright. Relaxed smiles all around:


    Basket in launch position (they didn't have a ladder) during initial filling of balloon (auxiliary heaters and fans are used to speed the process and conserve onboard propane- propane tanks are visible here on the top (side) of the basket). A cool morning at zero dark thirty!


    Balloon 3/4 filled. Almost time to climb into the basket:


    Moments before launch- the bag has lifted the basket and passengers to the upright position but the ground crew continues to hold it down to get extra hot air in the bag so it clears the ground more quickly. The steel side landing skids are visible here.


    Floating effortlessly over a Maasai village and the grassy plains of the Maasai Mara:

  • I have had two Tauck trips with balloon excursions and in both cases we loaded the baskets in the upright (take off) position. A step ladder like contraption helped get us in the basket but it is still a bit awkward. Once you get settled in it is fine. One landing was upright and the other we tipped over but rolled gently and everyone was fine. Before landing they prepare you for either possibility. The first time I was terrified until we got in the air, then relaxed and enjoyed the view. I couldn’t wait to hop in the basket the second time!
  • Thanks everyone!
    AlanS , the pictures are nice... I hope the wind collaborates so we can enjoy this experience.
  • Thank you for the post! I, too, wonder what I have gotten myself into. We are doing a family Bridges tour in December and I've been a bit concerned about the balloon ride too!
  • We just got back last week from this trip. I do not like heights but there was no way i was not doing it. The operator was very professional with lots of experience. We loaded with the basket on its side. It was a little awkward but lots of help and very doable. As the balloon filled the basket became upright very gently and we were standing up. The landing was also very gentle. We landed on the side of the basket. I actually did not realize we were flat on the ground. I thought we were about to land and was still bracing for some bumps.. it was that gentle. Loved being up there. So peaceful and such a wonderful view of the Masai Mara!
  • LeeW wrote:
    Oh well! Posted twice!

    Lee, you can go back to one of your duplicates and in the upper right of your post you'll see "quote" "delete" and "edit" buttons- select "delete" and again in the pop-up window. You really don't need to enter a reason. (the "edit" and "delete" buttons are only visible to the person who made that post)

    It was a wonderful experience. The only thing that would have made it better is if someone could invent a silent burner. When the pilot wants to go up, he turns up the burner which can be a bit loud. It is not loud enough to really bother the passengers, but it scares the animals on the ground and often causes them to run away or scatter.

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