Since August of last year 2020 the DfT (Department for Transport) gave us an Exemption which allows us to operate our passenger balloons as normal (with passengers wearing the obligatory face masks, using copious hand sanitiser, and with all of our balloon equipment disinfected between flights).
Currently we are in another period of lockdown, and whilst our DfT Exemption remains in place and we are legally permitted to fly (because it’s our work), passengers would not be permitted to attend because it would mean they were making an unnecessary journey and so all flights have been suspended until the end of lockdown.
Looking ahead, with the vaccine being deployed and the current lockdown hopefully bringing the spread of the virus back under control, we are confident that our flying will recommence just as the weather improves. January and February are usually the least reliable months as far as ballooning weather is concerned, but by April both the weather and the Covid situation should be much improved, and we can look forward to recommencing our flying season.
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Ballooning is a unique experience, one which most people know little about. Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions and we strongly recommend that you read through before purchasing a voucher either for yourself or as a gift.
If you already have a voucher with us, simply check the dates and Book Online or call our passenger line on 01275 375404. If you are a new customer, please call us on 01275 375300 or Buy a voucher online.
The main flying season is from April to October but this may vary slightly depending on the geographic area, weather and ground conditions. Flights are available mornings and evenings during the week and at weekends. During the winter months a balloon flight voucher makes an excellent ‘open dated’ present, which can be used in the spring. Vouchers are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase which means you always have an entire flying season to take the flight, regardless of the time of year the voucher is purchased and we can delay the start of the voucher if you are buying it well in advance of the occasion. We recommend booking a flight date as soon as possible after receiving your voucher as you may need to reschedule a few times if your flight is cancelled due to weather.
There is no ‘best time’ to fly, we will only fly when the weather is suitable and safe. Do not be misled into thinking that it is best to go in ‘the summer’ because you think that other times might be cold, it is far warmer on the flight than you imagine owing to there being no breeze, plus you have the radiated heat from the burners. We have some lovely flights in Spring and Autumn!
Balloon flights usually take place within two hours of dawn and around two hours before dusk, as this is when the thermals are most stable. Times do vary throughout the year but during the summer meeting times are around 6am and 6pm. This will be confirmed when you call the check in line prior to your flight.
We usually meet in Ashton Court in Bristol, Royal Victoria Park in Bath and Llanarth Village Hall in South Wales. Maps will be sent with your booking packs and full meeting instructions will be given to you when you call the check in line prior to your flight. It is very important that you arrive at the meeting point at the correct time as it will sometimes be necessary to transport you a short distance from the meeting point to an alternative launch site, owing to the wind direction.
Ballooning is an experience NOT to be rushed. You should allow approximately 3 to 4 hours per flight. The actual time in the air is approximately one hour. Passengers are invited to participate in the pre and post flight preparation and dismantling of the balloon and this is all part of the experience.
Ballooning is very weather dependent. You will be asked to telephone the Passenger Line prior to the flight to check the weather and to see if your flight is going ahead or not. If It is unsuitable, you simply rebook for another convenient day. You can do this by either checking the availability on our website or calling the Passenger line/Booking Office on 01275 375404. A decision regarding morning flights will be made at 10.30pm the night before and a decision regarding afternoon flights will be made approximately 2 hours before the meeting time. When you book your flight you will be advised what time to call the Passenger Line on the day of your flight.
Our Pilots are very experienced and have in-depth weather forecasting tools available to them to help make the correct decision about whether it is safe to fly or not. We do not base our decision on what other balloonists are doing and our passengers safety is our number one priority. Sometimes you may see other balloons flying when we consider the conditions unsuitable and have cancelled our flights, this can be for a number of reasons. Smaller private balloons can legally fly in poorer visibility than passenger carrying balloons like ours or it could be a Pilot in training as the instructors ask them to fly in adverse weather conditions as part of their training.
No. If we consider the weather to be safe, the flight will take place. If you wish to postpone your flight date you must give the minimum period of notice in accordance with our terms and conditions. If you decide not to turn up or do not give the required notice you will lose your entitlement to a balloon flight and you will not receive a refund.
You may postpone or change your flight provided that you do so by calling the passenger line and speaking to the booking office during office hours. An answerphone message or email is not acceptable. We ask that you give us as much notice as possible and you must give at least ONE WEEK’S NOTICE before the meeting time for the flight.
The temperature in the air is usually the same as on the ground so clothing suitable for a country walk is ideal like trousers, long sleeves and flat shoes – and natural fibres are better than nylon. A hat or a cap is useful to protect your head from the heat of the burners. Also don’t forget to bring your camera and lots of memory!
Standing in a hot air balloon doesn’t feel the same as standing on the edge of a cliff or being in an aeroplane – you’re floating gently along with the breeze so there’s no sensation of movement. The balloon doesn’t so much as leave the ground as the ground leaves the balloon! You’ll feel no acceleration or movement as you do in a lift or aeroplane. We float gently along with the wind, ballooning is a calm and still experience.
Spectators are welcome to watch the balloon launch, but it’s our retrieval crew who are responsible for following the hot air balloon, meeting it on landing and taking you back to the launch site.
We normally reach between 500 and 2,500 feet high – and where allowed, we skim the treetops or climb to over 5,000 feet.
Where the hot air balloon flies is entirely dependent on the wind, no two flights are the same, so it’s not always possible to fly over a particular house, town or village. If you see balloons over your house, you may be lucky and the wind might take you in the right direction!
It’s best to book two or three weeks in advance for weekday flights and earlier for more popular weekends, evening and bank holiday flights but we sometimes have flights at short notice so please call and check.
We operate balloons that carry 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 people. The balloon baskets are divided into compartments for your safety. Exclusive, private flights for 2 or more passengers are available as well as small and large groups. Any number can be catered for! Please telephone us for further information on 01275 375300.
You can purchase in-flight pictures we take using a camera attached to the hot air balloon. Sweatshirts, polo shirts, children’s T-shirts, caps and stained glass balloons are available to purchase from your pilot.
Yes, and twice as much film or additional memory cards as you think you might need, the views are spectacular! You are responsible for looking after your camera and personal possessions.
There is no upper age limit, passengers must be able to climb in and out of the basket which is about 42 inches high (1.1m) and stand for at least one hour. Children must be 7 years old and be 1.4m tall (4’6″), a child under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Due to safety and operational requirements, we have to add a surcharge and sometimes restrictions to flight times for passengers whose weight exceeds 114kg (18 st).
Unfortunately we are unable to take you flying if you are pregnant. If you find out that you are pregnant during the validity of your voucher, please contact us and we will be able to extend the voucher by 9 months.
We welcome disabled people in our company, though we recognize that to be able to participate safely in a Hot Air Balloon Flight some disabilities may present greater difficulties than others. We are committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are given every opportunity to fly, but we require that you tell us about any disability or illness, even if you do not consider that it is a disability, at the time of booking. This information is needed to allow us to respond to our duty of care for our passenger’s safety and will allow us to do our best to meet the passenger’s particular needs if at all possible. Sadly, for safety reasons, we are unable to fly anyone who is confined to a wheelchair but we do have seats in one of our balloons that has allowed many disabled people to fly with us. Please also see our access statement for details of access and facilities at our launch sites and for the flight experience itself. Please do contact us if you have any questions.
If you have medical condition or have recently received surgery, it’s best to check with your doctor first to ensure you’re fit to fly. We may ask you to provide proof of your fitness to fly from your doctor. It is very important that you disclose any medical or physical condition that could be considered to affect your safety or the safety of others. You must not fly if you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Yes. You can book additional flight vouchers using the website, email or by telephoning us on 01275 375300 and we will be pleased to add additional passengers to you booking. Discounts are available for 6 or more passengers.
If you have been particularly unlucky and have had at least 5 flights cancelled due to weather, we will extend your voucher for free to give you more time. If you have had less than 5 attempts at flyng, you can pay to extend your voucher. More information is available within our terms and conditions or you can contact the booking office with any questions.
If you’d like to learn how to fly a hot air balloon, we can offer training. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01275 375 300.
We are very excited that the Civil Aviation Authority are allowing us to fly our all of balloons and we are looking forward to flying all our passengers from March 2021 onwards. We have very strict Covid-19 protocols in place. Staff have attended courses and we have been awarded the Visit England Good to Go and the AA Covid-19 Confident Awards. Passengers have to wear face masks and lots of hand sanitiser is used as well as all vehicles and balloon baskets cleaned in between each flight. If you have any questions, please contact us for more information.
If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you, so please call us on 01275 375300 or e-mail us on email@example.com