Hot Air Balloon Rides in FL with Big Red Balloon
flying corporate jets for a living, Phil Sekora and his wife
Melanie found themselves transferred to Tampa, Florida. When
the time came to be transferred again, they decided rather to
stay put and start a business of their own. Together, with all
their life's savings, Phil & Melanie opened the Big Red Balloon..
Phil was a pilot and his introduction to the hot air balloon was
flying an advertising balloon.
Because of his familiarity with
flying he always had a sense of the big picture. Melanie, on the
other hand, knew that starting a balloon company was an exciting
business decision, but only remembered her fear of flying after
their first balloon was inflated and waiting to take her up.
A large part of the excitement for visitors about to engage on
a balloon trip is watching the hot air balloon inflate to over
6 1/2 stories high in less than 15 minutes. Melanie still feels
the same sense of excitement as she did the first time she witnessed
the spectacle. From 5years old to 90, passengers of all ages enjoy
the ride. Big Red Balloon have a number of balloons, including
the largest balloon in the Southeast, carrying up to 10 passengers.
The balloon is spacious enough to accommodate such occasions as
weddings and proposals, ranging from formal to casual. The end of the trip is marked with a champagne brunch, done in
the true tradition of ballooning. Crystal, china and linen table
clothes complete, what visitors have said to be, a trip unlike
anything else. The brunch also gives people a chance to savor
the moment. The biggest surprise Melanie & Phil have experienced
from running their own business has been the joy of having new
people in their lives each day. Their hard work and dedication
has paid off, as they are known to be very professional and meticulous
about the safety of their passengers.
Eight years since they decided to stay put in Tampa, Melanie,
still afraid of heights, says flying in a balloon is so gentle
and peaceful that one feels like you are standing on a very stable
platform as the world moves around you. The perception is much
different from what people may expect of a balloon. It is only
a small 10-25% of people who experience any hesitancy at first
and need a little bit of encouraging, but Melanie speaks their
After they get back on the ground that 10-20% are ecstatic,
they feel they have accomplished something and overcome their
fear. So if you are in the mood for something different and have
never peeked out over tree tops at wildlife below, or floated
up a 1000 feet above the landscape, it might be time to visit
the Big Red Balloon.
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