We recently had the absolute pleasure of flying with Thompson Aire with our 3 year old son. He has been fascinated with hot air balloons ever since he first saw pictures of the time my husband and I flew in one about 6 years ago. After watching many YouTube clips on hot air ballooning with him, we told Santa that a trip in the real thing would make his (and his parents'!) day.
We thought we knew what to expect, having flown with an Orlando-area competitor once before. We could not have been more wrong. For one thing, the customer service I experienced each time I contacted Thompson Aire was top-notch. All of my questions were answered, I never felt rushed off the phone, and I could tell just how knowledgeable and professional the staff was through our brief pre-flight telephone conversations. Once we met everyone at 6 am the morning of our flight (and they ARE punctual!), we were happy to receive the same level of customer service in person. Not only was our pre-flight briefing informative...it also showed me how seriously they take their jobs. These pilots are top in their industry. They have the art of hot air ballooning down to a very exact science. In addition to being extremely professional and knowledgeable, every staff member appeared genuinely happy to be at work! (Jeff, our pilot, enjoyed our flight as much as we did...and that was neat to see, given how many years he's been doing this!)
Once we got to our launch site, that's where I really began to notice a difference between this flight and our last one. Last time, I will admit, I chose a more budget-friendly option. But I will tell you that you absolutely get what you pay for. I would say it was no more than 15 minutes before Jeff had us up in the air. (Last time, it was closer to 45 minutes.) We also had lots of room in our basket...not to mention seats to sit on! (as opposed to our previous flight, when we were crammed in, 9 to the same size basket.) I still say there's really no such thing as a 'bad' hot air balloon ride, but it was nice to land gracefully this time, as opposed to spilling out with 4 adults landing on top of me, as happened on the "budget" flight.
The whole experience was amazing. We have since recommended Thompson Aire to 3 sets of friends who plan to fly as soon as possible. We would not use anyone else, now that we've experienced the best. We recommend that you don't, either. Thank you, to everyone at Thompson Aire, for a memory we will cherish forever.
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