Up… Up… and Away


Michael Kaegi, Travel Editor

An unusual travel experience unique to the Southwest are hot air balloon rides, where people can view the mountains and sunny skies of Arizona from high above the ground.

Most hot air balloons fly a couple of thousand feet in the air, where it is the easiest to control wind direction. The air that is heated inside the balloon to make it rise weighs less than the cold air surrounding it. The greater the temperature difference is between the hot and cold air, the more dense the balloon will be, meaning they can carry more weight on a colder day, or if the air in the balloon is very hot, causing it to fly pretty high up.

“It was different, you were way high up in the air and it was very pretty. It was different than being in an airplane, we were in a tiny little basket, and overall it was a really cool experience,” said Kristine O’Connor, who recently rode a hot air balloon.

Hot air balloon rides can cost hundreds of dollars per rider. The most popular tickets, sunrise rides, usually cost $299 per person. The most expensive tickets can cost up to $899 per couple. 

“That is way too expensive in my opinion,” said Brody Curtis, a sophomore.

Typically, hot air balloon rides are at sunset and sunrise, the most optimal times to see the skies of the southwest. This promotes a unique opportunity to see the sun rise and set from high up, and allows for unique photos to be taken.

Since going on hot air balloon rides is something that most people have not tried before, it could possibly be an exciting, new way to experience the world from new heights. However, there are still some people who would want to stay away from hot air balloons because they’re afraid of being so high up in the air.

“I’m not afraid of heights, but I could see how some people might be,” said Chloe Craft, a sophomore.

Hot air balloon rides provide a different way to travel and view the world from above. It captures the beauty of the world around us at a new level and provides a new perspective to air travel.