Travel: Getting High on Champagne

The champagne-maker Krug is now taking its bubbly to new heights, offering the world's most expensive hot-air-balloon rides. For €50,000, eight passengers can ride and dine in total luxury while enjoying spectacular views of such sites as the Arizona desert and Somerset, England. Those with a fear of heights needn't worry; the unique adventure starts with a reception at the launch site, where passengers sit in cane-and-wood deck chairs and enjoy appetizers and champagne to ease any last-minute jitters. Then they board the lavish balloon, which features deep-cushioned, white leather lining and compartments for lunch canteens, champagne flutes and cutlery. Once airborne, an onboard butler serves a freshly prepared Michelin three-course lunch consisting of such dishes as bluefin tuna with sesame crème, while passengers take in stunning 360-degree views through complimentary binoculars. An hour or so later, guests are welcomed at the landing site with another reception, where they are invited to wind down and chat about the flight. A luxury car awaits to bring them to their homes back on earth. The Krug balloon has already been to the United States and Japan, and is currently offering trips in the United Kingdom before embarking on tours of Continental Europe and Hong Kong (