Watching the balloons from the ground is amazing on its own, but riding a hot air balloon during the festival takes it to the next level. Fortunately you can make that happen by booking a ride with the Rainbow Ryders. This is the only company allowed to take guests during mass ascension.
As with everything during the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, prices are at a premium. Rides usually run for at least $430 (normally $150) and they book up quickly. For reservations, contact them here:
Another way to get a ride, is to volunteer with a pilot. You can sign up online or if you meet pilots, ask if they need help on their crew. Jacob joined the Chase Crew of the balloon that I rode and helped pack up the balloon once we landed. Typically pilots will give volunteers a ride something during the week.