My husband bought me a gift certificate (for two) for a Hot Air Balloon ride with Sundance Balloons, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He gave it to me as a Christmas gift in December 2008. Taking a Hot Air Balloon ride is on my "Bucket List", so it was a nice surprise. I was excited, looking forward to the upcoming summer season, as the balloons fly April - October. We had to wait until April to call to book our flight. He had purchased the "weekday evening" flight. We booked our flight and waited. Once you have your flight booked, you can call the "Flight Line" 204-943-6393 to see when and where to meet to go on your flight.
Unfortunately, we have been booking flights since April 2009 and they have all been cancelled for all kinds of reasons. Rain, stormy weather, too much wind, not enough wind, winds not in our favour, upper-level winds not good, forecast for rain, forecast for wind, torn balloons, wet fields, and a handful of other reasons (like the pilot being sick) have prevented us from going up. Each time we are booked, I look forward to it, telling all my friends, and each time I have had to be disappointed. We were not warned that this may happen, and we were told that the ticket was non-refundable.
I was talking to someone today, and they said they went up just recently. He had been booking for 11 months, and he had to re-book about 10 times or more. He said on his flight, there were people who had been waiting since 2006, 2007, 2010. He said it's strictly weather dependent, and the date you book is what's available at the time. He also said it's all based on luck. We have a friend who won tickets in a silent auction last year, and they are having the same bad luck.
The tickets are non-refundable, so if you are planning on going on a Hot Air Balloon Ride with Sundance Balloons, be prepared to wait. You can book your flight in other provinces, as well. So, for example, if you're going to Calgary, you can book it there if you want.
I was thinking one way to satisfy more of their customers would be to stop selling tickets, and make sure the people that have been waiting a long time go up first. It is a short season, and you can only book so many times per season. The more people that are on the waiting list, the less options you have. If they need to continue to sell tickets, maybe let their customers know that they are prioritizing their customers that have been waiting a long time.
Weekday morning, weekday evening and anytime flights are available. We've been told that there is one balloon that travels around to cities that have a backlog, to help reduce the wait list.
Here's a YouTube video about Sundance Balloons in Winnipeg:
Good things come to those who wait. I hope.
For more information and reviews on Sundance Balloons, check out Trip Advisor.
Please comment below.
Up, up and away.
Angela Gentile, MSW, RSW
EDIT: It took four years. We ended up going on August 21, 2012.