Balloon pilots are the cowboys of the air, roaming the wide-open skies and herding children's runaway kites. Giddy up, up, and away with this Groupon.
$329 for a Hot-Air Balloon Ride for Two ($450 Value)
Crews meet with up to eight passengers roughly 30 minutes before sunrise or 2.5 hours before sunset, when the winds are more manageable. After a quick briefing while the balloon takes shape, they set off on a 60-minute flight that soars up to 1,000 feet before descending and skimming the countryside's treetops and corn fields. Participants celebrate their successful trip with an age-old tradition: a glass of sparkling wine after landing.
Wayne Standefer, the head pilot at Balloon Adventures, is well versed in Dallas-area scenery and topography, knowledge that helps him regale passengers with information during flights. The adventure begins as the aircraft is brought to life before your eyes. Once his balloon reaches its full height—more than 10 stories—Standefer invites you inside the tightly woven wicker basket to soar above rooftops and trees and dip low over fields and rivers. Total flight time is usually around an hour, though the whole experience can take three times as long from start to finish.
Balloon Adventures also charters its services for weddings, arranges surprise flights for special occasions, and offers instruction in specific tasks such as rigging the balloon, navigating in-flight, and shooing away flocks of paper airplanes. In addition, the company participates in hot-air-balloon festivals, where clouds of bright purple, orange, and yellow balloons fill the daytime sky or illuminate the festival grounds at night.