If you have been given a balloon flight voucher as a gift or are treating yourself to a ride but you’re not quite sure what to expect or what it entails, look no further! We have put together a handy guide with our top tips for first time balloonists.
You will probably be aware that ballooning is a weather dependent activity, so you may be thinking that it is best to wait for the summer before you book in your ride, but it is not always the best time of year for flying in Britain! Most balloon companies will operate between early Spring and late Autumn, it is impossible to say what the best time of year for flying is as it changes each year so to get the best chance of flying, we recommend that you book as early in the season as possible so that you allow plenty of time to reschedule if you get cancelled. Most balloon flights are sold as vouchers which have an expiry date so pay attention to any guidelines set out about how many times you will need to book to get an extension on your voucher. If in doubt – talk to us!
It is really important to read the letter/information pack that comes with your voucher as it will contain everything you need to know about your balloon flight and what you need to do on the day. For example, you will need to know the meeting time and location and there will be a weather line phone number to call before your flight to check the final update about whether it will go ahead. If you have only been given a voucher, contact the person who gave it to you or request a copy of the information from the provider. You can also read our FAQ’s on our website
This is a question we often get asked in the Bailey Balloons office and our advice is always the same – dress as though you are going for a countryside walk – appropriate for the temperature on the day, and wear sensible shoes.
Depending on the time of year you are flying, you may need to take some layers with you. Balloons can only fly when the winds are light, there is no rain and there is good visibility, so it is usually a nice day but remember it can get chilly before a morning flight and after an evening flight when the sun goes down, the temperature in the balloon is around the same as it is on the ground. Wear sensible shoes as we normally land in a field, so high heels or sandals aren’t the best and if you are thin on top or tall – take a hat to protect you from the heat of the burners!
Ballooning is a relaxed experience not to be rushed. We usually say to allow around 3 – 4 hours in total for the whole experience. When you arrive, you will be given a safety briefing by your Pilot before the balloon is taken out and set up – we encourage everyone to get involved with the set up as it is great fun and a good way to get to know your balloon party before the flight. Once the balloon is inflated, you will get in the basket and fly for about an hour. When the Pilot finds a suitable place to land, the balloon will be packed away and you will celebrate with a chilled glass of Champagne (or beer/orange juice). Our ground crew will have been following the balloon and they will collect you and drive you back to the original meeting location.
Hot Air Balloons travel with the winds which means each flight takes a unique path. All of our launch sites have been handpicked for the fabulous views they offer, whichever direction you end up going in!
Ballooning is a very weather dependent activity, so you may experience a/some weather cancellations before you get to fly. Some people are lucky are go on their first attempt, but others need to try a few times before they are successful. To compensate for the weather, we schedule a minimum of two flights per day, 7 days a week between March and October with extra balloons put on during peak times. You can reschedule your flight via our online availability.
If you have a medical condition, disability or mobility issue, please talk to us before you book/fly. We can accommodate most conditions but we need to be made aware well in advance so we can ensure the correct balloon is scheduled and staff (if necessary). Unfortunately, we cannot fly anyone who is pregnant, if you become pregnant within the validity of your voucher, you can provide us with confirmation in order to get an extension to fly after the baby is born.
Ballooning is one of the safest forms of transport in the UK and Bailey Balloons have an impeccable safety record. All of our Bailey Balloons Pilots are very experienced and have flown in many conditions all over the world. Our passenger’s safety is our number 1 priority and we will never take a risk or chance if we feel it is not safe to fly. This is why you may see other balloons flying when our flights are cancelled – we will not fly if we are not 100% certain it is safe, hence why we were selected by the BBC to fly Sir David Attenborough for Planet Earth II!
Yes! You will want to take lots of photos and videos so make sure you have plenty of storage available! For safety reasons, we cannot allow selfie sticks in the balloons, but we do take in-flight photos with the camera attached to the balloon which you can view and purchase after your flight.
If you already have a Bailey Balloons voucher, you can check the flight availability on our website or you can call our friendly booking office on 01275 375404. If you don’t have a voucher with us yet or you need to register your Buyagift or Red Letter Days voucher with us, please call 01275 375300 or email [email protected]