Do You Tip A Hot Air Balloon Pilot? (Answered)

NVAloft Flight Options

Your hot air balloon pilot is in charge of your flight, safety, and more. We believe you should tip your pilot for their amazing service.

Gratuity is always appreciated in service-based industries, and balloon rides are no different. Most tips fall between 10-20% of the total price, based on your personal experience and satisfaction. 

Keep in mind that tipping is a personal choice, while we’d love for you to tip your pilot, nobody will pressure you into tipping if that’s your choice. Your preference to tip or not should be based on both your experience and your pilot’s performance. 

Should You Tip After Your Hot Air Balloon Ride?

Hot air balloon rides are a truly unique experience that experienced pilots make all the better. A common question is about tipping, specifically if you should tip for your hot air balloon ride.

We recommend tipping for your balloon rides like you would with other service-based industries. It’s a great way to show your appreciation for the exceptional service and memorable experience our professional pilots and crew members were able to provide to you.

How Much Do You Tip a Hot Air Balloon Pilot?

Most tips for hot air balloon rides fall between 10% and 20% of your total price for the ride. We recommend tipping 20% when possible, especially if your crew provided the exceptional service they’re known for!

Do know your tip will be split across the team, giving you a chance to show appreciation to everyone behind the scenes.

If you are unsure how much you should tip, consider the following:

  • Was your pilot and crew professional?
  • How helpful and friendly was the staff?
  • Did you feel safe and comfortable throughout your ride?
  • What was the quality of your experience?

What Is The Tradition After A Hot Air Balloon Ride?

Champagne has been a ballooning staple since the very beginning when the first successfully manned balloon ride offered champagne to a local farmer, whose field was used for their landing. And with that, the tradition of having champagne after a hot air balloon ride was born.

In addition to champagne, we offer a post-flight brunch after every balloon ride, which includes a leisurely sit-down breakfast served in a restaurant setting in Yountville, with fellow aeronauts and pilots (plus Champagne Mimosas).

This adds an hour to the total adventure but we highly recommend making the time to experience the full adventure without feeling rushed. The brunch is a special meal, reflecting on an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime adventure you just took with the others who enjoyed it with you.