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“Beware Travel Freedom Booking Agent”
Review of Outback Ballooning

Outback Ballooning
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US$31.92*
and up
Early Morning Ballooning in Alice Springs
Ranked #13 of 33 Tours in Alice Springs
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: OUTBACK BALLOONING ALICE SPRINGS: Whilst floating gently in the air you will appreciate the vast remoteness and scenery of the Australian outback. Wildlife, such as big red kangaroos are seen nearly every day as your balloon crosses spinifex grasses, mulga scrub and cattle stations. The tour includes return transfer from your accommodation in Alice Springs, sparkling wine and light refreshments plus a flight certificate. 30 Or 60 minute balloon flights available. Daily departures.
Reviewed 17 June 2017 via mobile

I booked 2 tix for a dawn balloon flight with Outback Ballooning, at least I thought I did. The booking was actually taken by a booking agent,Travel Freedom. During the booking process at no time was I aware of any specific terms and conditions on the web site. I had to cancel a few days after making the booking and that was when I found out there was a 50 (yes FIFTY)% cancellation fee. When I emailed Outback Ballooning, they actually thought I had booked thru an agent called Peterpans. I have never heard of them. The answer I got from Travel Freedom was that the terms and conditions, including the 50 (yes FIFTY)% cancellation fee were on the flight vouchers I received from them. I received these vouchers after I had paid my money and thought we had done a deal. The agent at Travel Freedom was very kindly offering to help me complete a Travel Insurance or credit card claim to get back my $370. Might this be a reason why Travel Insurance costs and credit card fees are so high? Outback Ballooning informed me that I could have booked direct with them and paid on the day of the flight. Where was this offer on their web site?Why then send me off to a booking agent (whom they did not know) who has potential to be injurious to their business.

Thank Wally H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
outbackalice, General Manager at Outback Ballooning, responded to this reviewResponded 19 June 2017

Wally H is perhaps trying to be helpful about some third party booking agents but his method is totally inappropriate and for such a supposedly experienced traveller shows a distinct lack of understanding about the modern travel industry.
Travel bookings as Wally H should know are now offered by many web based sites which may or may not be reselling products offered by more traditional agents. A prudent traveller who chooses not to book direct with an operator should read the terms and conditions of any agent and these are, in our experience, always available before paying. Despite his comments, Wally H in fact had to accept the terms and conditions before the website would accept his payment. Even when booking direct one should check the terms and conditions, maybe even compare for any differences between the operator and the agent as this is regularly the case. For example, with airlines and hotels where specials with different cancellation policies may be found that are not available by booking direct with the operator.
We are disappointed that Wally H chose our Trip Advisor site to complain about a third party booking process that he did not properly investigate and of course has not experienced a balloon flight with us so cannot review the actual product. It is even more disappointing as he notes that he will not be out of pocket as Travel Freedom has offered to help him complete a travel insurance or credit card claim.

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Reviews (136)
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9 - 13 of 136 reviews

Reviewed 15 June 2017 via mobile

Highly recommend this lovely trip out of Alice Springs. Safe and professionally run, this experience is amazing with lovely views over the dessert and cattle farms. Pilot very experienced and the ride was smooth and we felt safe at all times. Kids loved.

Thank Sophie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2017 via mobile

We were really looking forward to our hot air balloon ride over the MacDonnell Ranges. The balloon was so overcrowded that we could not move an inch. It was so hard to turn around to see the sunrise if you were on the other side of the balloon. The staff were very lovely and entertaining and the champagne breakfast was nice. However, we were expected to help pack up the air balloon after we paid $279 per person I don't think we should have been obligated to pack up the balloon which caused us to get absolutely filthy. After doing this we were covered in dirt and bindis. I think they shouldn't overcrowd the balloon as this impacted on everyone's experience. The balloon only went about 20-30m high which was disappointing as we thought we would go above the clouds however this was out of their control due to the weather conditions.

Thank cass-vella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
outbackalice, General Manager at Outback Ballooning, responded to this reviewResponded 31 May 2017

Thanks for your feedback Cassandra and I would like to address all your comments. Firstly, we definitely do not over crowd our balloons, the manufacturer specifies the maximum number allowed in each different size balloon which we strictly adhere to and in your case the balloon capacity was 20 and that is the number of people that we flew. Balloon baskets are by design, compact and people should be aware that as you are all standing, there is not going to be a lot of ‘personal’ space. All our marketing material mentions that you will see amazing view of the ranges, there is no indication that we will fly over and as a weather dependant activity, the pilots do not have any control over where they will fly each day, it is determined by the wind speed and direction. It would appear from our records that you were part of a tour group and I am certain that your guide would have explained how the morning would work. No-one is expected to help pack up, it is entirely voluntary and most people find this a fun activity but we are quite happy for people to stand back and watch if they choose to.
All our flight paths are recorded and on that day your flight actually went up to a height of 1,200 feet above the ground at one point. We usually fly within the first 1,000 feet but of course this is determined by the weather conditions on the day. For your information, it is illegal for us to fly above the clouds as the pilot must always maintain complete visual of the area in which they are flying.

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Reviewed 14 April 2017

What better way to see the sun rise than from a hot air balloon? Early pick up by John who kept us amused throughout. You need to be a little agile to climb in and out of the basket but help is at hand. Then off you go drifting gently through the ever lightening sky. Brilliant experience, I even saw kangaroos on the ground below. Back to earth with barely a bump and then everyone joined in rolling the balloon back into its hold-all.
Then champagne and bites for breakfast with more humourous tales from John. Do it, you will have a ball.

1  Thank Sue C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2017 via mobile

From the moment we were picked up at our hotel to our drop off everything was awesome.
John was hilarious, Jason and colleagues ( sorry, can't remember their names) were friendly, fun and professional.
The flight was beautiful and the whole experience one we have wanted to do for a long time. Thoroughly recommend it to all.
Thank you.

Thank Traveltogether5954
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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