Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor?

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Jan 5th, 2010, 03:23 PM
  #1
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Hot Air Balloon Ride in Luxor?

I have the opportunity of taking a hot air balloon flight in Luxor in Feb... is this worth it? I have done this in Cappadocia and the sights were amazing, but not sure if it is worth the time and expense in Luxor. Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Jan 6th, 2010, 06:43 AM
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This just resumed in October I think after some problems with an accident last year they suspended for quite awhile according to our tour agent.We just got back from Luxor and did not do it because of pricing(varies from $150USD to $250USD) and the fact that some of the pilots of these balloons are not really certified.There is a problem with the balloons going/floating over to the Luxor airstrip accidentally and the Egyptian police or army having the right to shoot them down for security reasons.
The above and the fact that my retired commercial pilot husband said "no way"!
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Jan 6th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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Don't know about the safety, but my daughter and her family did it Dec. 30 in Luxor and loved it. It was cancelled once due to weather, tho it looked fine to my daughter. When they went she said it was amazing. We hot air ballooned in the Loire in October and it was a lot less exciting.
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Jan 7th, 2010, 12:55 AM
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I don't plan on doing it because of safety reasons... call me chicken maybe...
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Jan 7th, 2010, 11:01 AM
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Oh duty free - who told you the police or army would "shoot down" the balloons?

NO WAY!

First, they don't exactly "accidentally" fly over that way, from what I know. If the pilot is smart and clever he will not allow that, as he knows his ASS is GRASS if he ends up landing in the airport or on Army property. He is in BIG trouble, but shoot down a balloon with 36 tourists in it? Not going to happen.

The last time I went, (a year ago last Sept) our pilot had watched all the others go up before him. He knew well that at a certain height there was a wind blowing to the east and everyone that high would go over the river. He never went up that high. I believe our company was the only one that day that didn't end up in Luxor proper. I'm sure the customers of the other balloons wondered why we never hit the same elevation, but if their pilots were watching, they were probably kicking themselves for being so aggressive and stupid.
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Jan 7th, 2010, 03:01 PM
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Nobody is going to shoot down your balloon, that's silly. They would never cut the throat of tourism in Egypt by doing something like that. It seems like the Egyptians have bent over backwards to try and protect the tourists as they know we are a huge part of the economy. I would be very interested to know where you heard that. Surely not from a tour guide or other reliable source.

I took the balloon ride in Luxor and it was the highlight of my trip. I also took the balloon in Cappadocia and while the scenery is different in Egypt, it is equally magical. I say it's a don't-miss.
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Jan 7th, 2010, 03:20 PM
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We took the Luxor balloon ride in March, and it was outstanding. We never felt unsafe. In fact, it was probably the high point of our trip. If you have the chance, I would highly recommend it. It was much better than the balloon ride in Cappadocia.
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Jan 7th, 2010, 04:24 PM
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I did not say that they would definitely shoot the balloon down but that if it goes into that airspace there are problems and quoting the source"they would have the right to shoot the balloon down" if there was a breach of security. Much like the F19's for the US if there was a question of terrorism. I do realize that they wouldn't shoot down tourists but that there are qualified pilots and certified companies and then there are those that are not.
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Jan 7th, 2010, 07:59 PM
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We didn't do the balloon ride simply because we didn't want to get up that early (there were so many early days already -- Abu Simbel, etc . . .), but we saw the balloons from our cruise boat, and it really looked like a lovely adventure. I am hoping that Lollie14 will weigh in, as I believe they chose to do the balloon ride.
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Jan 8th, 2010, 06:13 AM
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abby97

Sorry to say but we didn't make the balloon ride in the end! ( Matt was getting into the van to drive to the balloon launch site and accidentally got his finger caught in the jump seat...they couldn't get the seat unlocked to release his finger for a few seconds (seemed much longer). This happened five minutes before we were set to get on the balloon....he was ashen colored and felt sick so we had to opt not to fly! We are disappointed but we have a reason to go back! I saw several people that went and they said the ride is very short but has incredible views of the Valley of the Kings! Next time!
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Jan 8th, 2010, 04:05 PM
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Thank you for coming back dutyfree. If we think about the things a government can do then the possibilities are unlimited. I'm only concerned with what they are likely to do, and I'm glad we agree they are not at all likely to shoot down a balloon.

As for safety and experience of the pilots, I would probably ask our Casual Cairo for a recommendation for a reputable company.
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Jan 8th, 2010, 05:36 PM
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Last January in Egypt we elected not to go for the balloon ride,mostly because of the cost. However we were very sorry we didn't go. The members of our group who did loved the experience and felt it was a real highlight.
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Jan 8th, 2010, 10:07 PM
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I want to know was the ride in Cappadocia more or less expensive than the ride in Luxor? Even at $150 USD per person, I'm thinking Luxor is probably still the cheapest balloon ride in the world. Anyone know of another country you can find one cheaper in?
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Jan 9th, 2010, 05:56 AM
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CC, I paid $200 in Cappadocia. Luxor was cheaper for me.
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Jan 9th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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P_M - That is what I thought. To the best of my knowledge Luxor still offers the most value possible for Hot Air Balloon rides if you have not taken one ever, or still want to in Luxor. It is still quite a thrill.
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Jan 9th, 2010, 12:56 PM
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We paid $250 in Cappadocia in 2006. It was for my 60th birthday so was worth every penny.
We will be in Luxor this October and hope I can get a balloon ride it-They are awsome-Chris
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Jan 9th, 2010, 11:19 PM
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I know Hod Hod used to be the mose expensive company at $125 per person before the halt of all flights. Now their rate is up at around $150, and they are still less expensive than Cappadocia which must also be an economical place to fly. I hear in Kenya, flights can cost $500, and I expect other places around the world they are that expensive and more.

I would urge everyone to pay a fair price for safety and care. If the customer lets an industry like Hot Air Balloons get into a bidding war for the cheapest price, it is the CUSTOMER THAT PAYS in more ways than one. This time some accidents happened and we also lost ballooning for several months.
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Feb 14th, 2010, 06:57 PM
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Yes, they suspended balloon flights from late April until late October due to various accidents which are summarized in a cautionary travel-company article at
http://bit.ly/egypt_hotairballooning

They cut the number of balloons that can be up there at the same time from something like 50! to about 9. And all pilots had to be re-trained no matter how expert they might be and had to be tested and recertified.

We went up only 3 days or so after they were permitted again (but we had no idea they had ever been stopped). Our group absolutely loved it. From the boat ride to the other side where we were taken to the balloon site.

I have a 7-minute videoclip up now, which shows what the balloon ride over Luxor region is like. The roar of the flame is very rough sounding in videoclips but when it's not being activated it is eerily quiet and wonderful peaceful as we floated above so much of that area. The videoclip has a few labels that let you know approximately what is going on.

This is at http://bit.ly/hotairballooning

(I also took the one over Cappadocia, Turkey, which had that utterly amazing landscape, but I had more fun in the Luxor one for some reason. It was very solid and we could almost walk about in it, to a point.)

The flight in Cappadocia in 2004 was $250 (cheaper than most at the time -- I have some photos from that one at
http://www.pbase.com/andrys/cappballoon

And the cost of a one over Luxor varies quite a bit, but ours cost about $163 U.S. each.


- Andrys
http://www.pbase.com/andrys/egypt_jordan
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Feb 15th, 2010, 10:52 AM
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Andrys - who'd you fly with?
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Feb 15th, 2010, 08:10 PM
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Casual_Cairo
I didn't know them but we flew with Sindbad Balloons (yes, that's the correct spelling -- I had to check).

The amount covered the boat to cross the river very early and also ground transportation to the balloon 'airport' after the boat ride.

They're the 4th company that's formed there, using pilots from the very first one, which no longer exists, and is said to be the largest. Good safety record.

IsramWorld was the umbrella group taking care of our group and Sindbad was booked through their Egyptologist Yasser Wahab. Here's a picture of him:
http://www.pbase.com/andrys/image/119690725

Very knowledgeable tour guide.

Many have recommended the balloon company Hod Hod Soliman, I notice. It's the most expensive and the insurance is paid in $US but they say if you book with them when IN Luxor, the balloon trip price is only pound-40 or so but does not include the ground transportation there. We were picked up by Sindbad on the cruise ship.

As I mentioned earlier, I think, I loved the flight.
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