F.A.Qs

BOOKING
Is it safe to book online?

Absolutely. We operate through TrekkPay, a gateway payment solution enabled by SIX, a PCI II compliant payment service, and rated A by Moody Credit Rating. In case of cancellation you will be refunded directly on your credit card.

Why do you ask for my weight during the booking process?

Every balloon comes with a maximum loading capacity, and it will vary depending the outside temperature and the maximum altitude we are planning to reach. Failing to respect this maximum capacity can lead to overheating, especially in Laos weather. Before each flight, we have to do a load chart, that’s why we ask your weight when you book!

I had change of plans, can I cancel or reschedule my flight?
  • Yes, If you tell us more than 7 days before the confirmed booking date, you will be fully refunded, with no cancellation fee.
  • 7 to 2 days before confirmed booking date: 70 % refund, 30% cancellation fee.
  • Less than 48 hours before confirmed booking date or no show/no flight: no refund, 100% cancellation fee.
  • Reduction of participants against requested bookings is considered and treated as cancellations.
    Check our T&Cs here.
Can I book a balloon just for me (and my fiancé/friends/family…)

Yes! You can privatize one of our balloons (or both!) for a special event, a wedding proposal, a birthday party, a family event, or just because. Contact us and we’ll provide you with a quote.

I couldn’t wake up this morning and didn’t show up for the flight, can I get a refund?

No, it will be considered as a no-show and won’t be entitled to any refund. Make sure that alarm clock is loud enough!

Why is ballooning expensive?

When things are done properly, hot air balloons are very expensive to own and operate. Balloons are considered to be aircrafts and are submitted to Civil Aviation, just like planes or helicopters. Which means if the law is respected balloons can only be produced and maintained by Civil Aviation authorized organisations.

As per regulations, the equipment must be inspected every year or every 100 hours or flight (whichever comes first).

Our pilots were the first to be certified in Laos by the DCAL, with international training and regular reassessment.

Plus of course there is also the cost of permanently employed staff, vehicles, insurance.

Laos is still one of the cheapest places to fly in the world compared to Myanmar or Thailand where the average balloon ticket costs 350-400 USD, or Europe where it is about 250-300 USD. With Above Laos you get the chance to enjoy a full ballooning experience with European standards of safety and quality for a fraction of this price!

We are slightly more expensive than some of our competitors in Vang Vieng, but we are so far the only ballooning company in Laos aiming for this level of service, and we feel this is a small price to pay for your safety… and your enjoyment.   

GETTING READY
How should I dress? Will it be cold or warm up there?

It is roughly the same temperature up there. We recommend clothes suitable for an outdoors walk. Depending on landing conditions, you may be walking in wet, muddy fields so closed shoes and long sleeves and trousers in natural fabrics such as cotton are best. It is also a good idea to bring a hat or cap, especially if you’re tall, to protect your head from the burner’s heat.

Can I bring my camera?

Yes, you can bring a camera and selfie stick, provided that they are carried in a small bag and are not a disturbance to other passengers. They must be stored at landing and they are carried at your own risk. 

How do I get to your place? Do you offer pickup service?

We are based here in the Nathong Valley, on the road to Blue Lagoon 1 (approx.. 10 min driving from Vang Vieng downtown). You’re welcome to visit anytime! However, before your flight we will pick you up at your guesthouse in our comfortable minivan, so you don’t have to worry about arranging transportation (price included in your booking).

Can I bring people to watch?

Yes, but this is subject to available space in our minivan. Check with us before! Otherwise they are welcome to join us with their own means of transport.

FLYING
Can you steer a hot air balloon? Can we visit several sites? What will we see during the tour? Will we go far? Where will we land?

Hot air balloons can’t be steered so they travel on the wind and you never know where exactly you’re going to land or how far you will go. The pilot will start looking for a suitable landing site after around 30 to 45 minutes depending the wind direction. The ground crew will track the balloon on the ground and aim to arrive shortly after landing.

How high can we go?

It depends the wind conditions! We generally reach 3000 ft above sea level but even below that the views are already amazing. We can’t fly above 5000 ft above Vang Vieng without entering a controlled airspace.

How long is a flight?

A hot air balloon ride with us lasts from 35min to 1h15, depending on prevailing weather conditions and suitability of landing sites, but you should allow at least 3 hours for the whole experience. We aim to do 1-hour flights, but can’t promise it since it will depend our wind direction. We don’t want to get stranded on a Vang Vieng cliff!

Why can’t you fly during the day?

During the day, the sun heats the ground which in turn heats the air above causing thermals or columns of rising air. These thermals cause updrafts and downdrafts which affect a pilot’s ability to safely control the altitude of a hot air balloon.

How many passengers do you fit in a balloon basket?

Above Laos currently operates two balloons:

– a small 3000 cubic meters (105 000 cubic feet) suitable for a pilot and 3 passengers or a family of two adults and two small children

– a medium-sized 5000 cubic meters (180 000 cubic feet) suitable for a pilot and a maximum of 8 passengers dispatched in two compartments.

The amount of passengers loaded can vary depending the outside temperature and the total load. That’s why we ask your weight when you book!

Some commercial balloons can be much bigger than that, and board up to 20 or even 30 passengers. At Above Laos we choose to fly with small to medium-sized balloons to keep the pleasure of flying, more flexibility to find landing spots, and more interaction with our customers for a better ballooning experience.

What’s the landing like?

Flying in a balloon is a very serene experience while in the air, but it is an adventure activity in the great outdoors and sometimes on landing the basket can tip and/or drag along before coming to rest. This is how balloons have been landing for over 200 years and is perfectly normal. The balloon and basket are designed for your comfort and safety throughout the flight. During landing you will be in the safe landing position within the basket as instructed by your pilot.

What happens if the flight is cancelled?

Depending availability, we’ll try to reschedule the flight. If you prefer or if there are no availabilities, you will be fully refunded. Online payments will be refunded directly on their credit card.

The weather looks fine, why did you cancel the flight?

Maybe the wind direction was unsuitable – the karstic cliffs can be rather threatening sometimes… Sometimes the weather can be so hot that the thermals are too strong for us to fly, causing a lot of instability and potential risk.There may have been a wind direction which would have taken the balloon towards something unsuitable, like a large town or restricted airspace.

Rain may have been forecast in the area. We cannot fly in rain because it means there will be poor visibility and it also makes the balloon heavier to fly. Getting a balloon envelope wet can lead to some damage. Thunderstorms or CB (Cumuli Nimbus) clouds may have been forecast.

Our safety will always be our priority, so we will cancel any flight we are not 100% comfortable doing. Remember, your pilot in command has a big responsibility and won’t take any risk so please don’t be too disappointed if there’s a last minute cancellation (sometimes it can even be once the balloon is already inflated and ready to go). Of course, we’ll try to reschedule the flight or we will refund you, whichever you prefer.

I saw another balloon flying in the area so why was my flight cancelled?

Our pilot’s decision whether to fly is not related to what other balloonists decide. Our pilots consider all the weather factors and make their own decision, always putting your safety first. The other balloon could have had better shelter at take-off from the wind on that particular wind direction. 

HEALTH & SAFETY
Is it okay to fly with children?

We don’t recommend taking children under 6 on board. Younger children tend to get bored after a while, especially when they can’t see above the basket handrail (115 cm high). Contact us for more info or to arrange a special kids’ activity.

Can I fly if I’m pregnant?

Unfortunately, for safety reasons and as per Civil Aviation regulations we are unable to fly women who are pregnant.

Do I have to be in perfect physical condition to fly?

A hot air balloon ride with us lasts from 35min to 1h15, depending on prevailing weather conditions and suitability of landing sites, but you should allow at least 3 hours for the whole experience. We aim to do 1-hour flights, but can’t promise it since it will depend our wind direction. We don’t want to get stranded on a Vang Vieng cliff!

In order to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone who flies, passengers must be satisfied they are physically able to take part in the experience. This means that they can climb in and out over the sides of the basket (which is about 42 inches or 1.15 m high), stand unassisted for an hour and adopt the bended knee seated landing position. Passengers must also be able to fully understand and follow all instructions given by the pilot and react quickly to them in the unlikely event of an emergency. Under Civil Aviation Law, the balloon pilot has a duty of care for all passengers and, ultimately, it is their decision if someone is able to safely participate on the day.

All passengers should be sure they do not have any pre-existing medical conditions which could be affected by the ballooning experience or could prevent them from safely taking part and should seek professional medical advice if unsure. You must not fly if you are suffering from any significant medical condition or if you have recently undergone major surgery. We require you to tell us about any medical or physical condition that could be considered to affect your safety or the safety of others.

I am afraid of heights, can I do a hot air balloon ride?

In our experience, people with fear of heights usually don’t get it in a balloon since they are disconnected to the ground and don’t experience this feeling of distance they get from standing atop a cliff or a tall building. The ascent is also slow and gentle and you move at wind’s speed, thus feeling no motion sickness.

If you worry about this please let your pilot know before boarding. They will do their best to make you feel good and can, if necessary, land back, drop you off and take off again in the very unlikely case where you’d feel too bad to continue with the flight.

Is it a safe activity?

Hot air ballooning is an extremely safe activity, and there are very strict safety guidelines when the regulation is properly implemented. We are complying with the international standards of safety. We operate with European equipment which is regularly inspected and maintained by a Civil Aviation authorized organization. Our pilots are all certified, internationally trained and regularly controlled and reassessed.

Book Now!

For more detailed info, have a look at our terms and conditions, or feel free to contact us!

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