Sedona Balloon or biplane tour?

Jun 22nd, 2003, 04:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 32
Sedona Balloon or biplane tour?

conflicted about which trip to take. If anyone has done either would like to hear about your experience.
loisagogo is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 11:43 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Sorry I can't help you with first-hand experience, but as a pilot, either one would be great. Can you post information on any places that provide these excursions, as my wife and I will be there in Sept. Thanks.
ajmilan is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 06:03 AM
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go to and that's where I got most of my information about everything available to do in Sedona. Great website
loisagogo is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 07:22 AM
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Not sure if this is your first balloon ride or not---but we took a balloon ride over Napa a few years ago and loved it. Altho, being our first time, there were some things that I wasn't aware of that could be nerve-wracking for a first-timer. We had to sign a waiver re: trespassing which I didn't quite understand until we were floating over everyone's "privacy-fenced-in" back yards!! 16 of us all peering into someone's very private pool/sunbathing area! (I'm not behind bars, so it all turned out OK!!) I also didn't know that frequently, the balloon may have to make several attempts at landing. We tried about 3 times to land due to the chase crew being unable to find streets that took us to the pilot's intended landing spot, etc. It was all really exciting to me, but some people were pretty nervous. The pilot even asked my husband to throw out the rope once----my husband said, "when?", the pilots said "NOW" and when he threw it, it landed in a huge tree----obviously, we didn't land that time either, so the crew had to chase us to yet another landing spot! I loved the excitement and the whole spectacle of the thing-----but it's kind of nice to know what to expect. Maybe you know all of this already loisagogo, but thought I'd post it for those who don't! I love Sedona, but haven't done either the balloon or the flight there, so can't really give you my opinion on that specific location.
Colette is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 06:37 PM
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Well, I think I can help because I just got back this week from doing both! They really are two completely different experiences, and I think it depends a lot on the individual. On Sunday morning I took a hot air balloon flight with Northern Light Balloons. Overall I enjoyed the experience. I had wanted to ride in a hot air balloon forever, and Sedona seemed to be the place with the beautiful red rock scenery. However, due to wind conditions (so said the company) we didn't really end up near the red rocks for 90% of the trip... we mostly flew over rolling hills of desert "scrub," and I really felt disappointed. I guess I spent too much time looking at the website with the idea I'd be floating over the red rocks. That said, there was a balloon from another company (Red Rock Balloons) that was much closer to the rocks. They say it depends on launch site and wind conditions, but I wish I had been in the other company's balloon! I enjoyed the flight, especially the liftoff, where you can really perceive the sensation of floating. The balloon ride is very gently and very slow, and motion is almost imperceptible when you're higher... it's really a ride for anyone. You don't feel the height (it's not scary at all), and it's quite gentle. It was beautiful and calm, and lasted about an hour. Afterwards they give you mimosas and fruit and a certificate for having flown. I recommend it, but I think I was looking for something a little more adventurous.

So the next day I booked a biplane trip. I did the 30 minute tour (Mystic Canyon Tour). Honestly, normally I'm a total wimp. I won't go on amusement park rides, rollercoasters, etc. And when I fly for business, I always make sure my company books me on planes with at least 30-something seats. So why did I choose to ride in a 2-seater? I was assured that if I flew early in the morning it would be a smooth flight with very little turbulence. Also, the company showed me video shot from the plane, and THAT was the view I hoped to have from the balloon -- right over the top of the red rocks (it's pretty high above them, but still spectacular looking). I really enjoyed this trip, but I should say that it was bumpier than advertised. I definitely got a bigger thrill out of it (more than the balloon), even though I got airsick about 20 minutes into the ride! (Thankfully, they had airsick bags).

I think it really depends on whether or not you're the type who would be "up" for a biplane flight... if so, and the idea doesn't petrify you, go for it... but fly first thing in the morning (they start at 9am). If you're looking for a calm, peaceful experience, go with the balloon.
CarolM is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 611

here are the tour company sites:

CarolM is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Just thought of one more thing that might help you with your decision: with the biplane, there is a two-person minimum to get the normal rate. If you want to go up by yourself, it's substantially more expensive (20 mins. for two people is $89 each... 20 mins. for one person is $160!) Thankfully they paired me up with a stranger (at my request) so I could get the cheaper rate. We ended up doing the 30 minute tour for $109 per person.

One other thing: the reason I was paired up with someone is that she and her husband had a combined weight of over 400 lbs. They couldn't fly together due to weight restrictions. If you're a couple, you might need to know that information.

Another financial consideration, the balloon ride (with either company) is $195 per person. However, it is a longer trip.
CarolM is offline  
Jun 28th, 2007, 08:41 PM
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I LOVED the biplane ride. I scheduled mine near sunset and the sunset colors on the red rocks = spectacular!!!
starrsville is offline  
Jun 29th, 2007, 02:58 AM
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Just another perspective.

I just returned from a trip (you can read my very detailed report and see many photos) that included a bit over 2 days in Sedona.

Essentially, all I did was hike various trails all day. I was in the Boyton Canyon, Fay Canyon area (NW part of town) and in the Bell Rock, Broken Arrow area (SE part of town).

During that time I never saw a baloon flying. I think I saw one small plane off in the distance.

The Broken Arrow trail (the most scenic I hiked during my visit) has a parallel road maintained by the Pink Jeep Tours company (there's a sign put up by the Park Service explaining this 'partnership').

During the last half of my hike I heard and saw about 6 or 7 jeeps bring people up, hang over the edge of cliffs, drive down steep, big rocks and "terrorize" the passengers. Once they got past the yelling they were mostly laughing and seemed to enjoy themselves.

Myer is offline  

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