Getting a balloon flight..If you want to experience a flight in a hot-air balloon in the UK, or buy a flight as a gift, your best bet is to contact a CAA-licenced balloon operator in your area. There are a large number of operators, from the smaller, locally-based firms to the largest, nationally-operating companies. The following sources may get you started:
- The British Association of Balloon Operators (FLASH WARNING)
- Yellow Pages
- balloon flights for the disabled
Please contact the operators directly. The BBAC cannot recommend any one company above another, and is not responsible for the content of sites external to its own.
Tips on buying..Some useful questions to ask your balloon operator before making your choice:
- What is the cost?
- Is there discount for bulk sales of flight vouchers if required eg 5 plus
- Where are the launch sites?
- How many people will be flying in the basket at the same time (excluding the pilot) ?
- Does the operator celebrate the occasion in any way eg, provide a glass of champagne and / or a flight certificate or photograph?
- What would be useful to bring and wear? (They often have a leaflet which explains all of this)
- What is the procedure and terms of the voucher (eg, how long will the voucher be valid and can you book a voucher for someone else? etc)
We at the British Balloon and Airship Club hope you enjoy your flight.
Tips on Enjoying a Hot Air Balloon Flight
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your hot-air balloon flight:
- Do ensure you are fit to fly, for example you would not be able to fly with heart problems, back problems, if you were pregnant etc. Please check with your Doctor & flight operator if you are uncertain if you should fly in a balloon
- Do take a camera
- Do wear layers of clothes it is often quite cool in the early mornings in the UK
- Do wear flat and comfy shoes (waterproof shoes are a good idea as grass is often damp in the early mornings)
- Do remember the Pilot is in charge of the aircraft, this is important for your safety, please do as you are recommended
- Do listen to the passenger briefing which includes safety information and your landing position requirements
- Do make sure you are on time - the balloon cannot wait for you
- Do smile and wave when you are flying (people can see you)
- Do telephone the balloon passenger's hotline to get up to date information prior to your flight (if that is what your operator requests)
- Do take sweets, snacks and small cartons of soft-drink - these can be put in the retrieve vehicle for after your flight... (You are likely to be in the countryside for about 3 hours in total)
- Do park vehicles considerately with access and thoroughfares kept clear at all times.
- Do not leave any valuables in the vehicles as they will be left behind and you will be driven back to the launch site after the flight
- Do bring the family to wave you off (arrange to meet them for breakfast or at a pub after the flight)
- Do remember that about 80% of all balloon flights end up with the basket lying on it's side - this is perfectly normal
- Do remember that ballooning is proven to be the safest form of aviation and
- Have a great flight
If you flight is cancelled, please remember that it ballooning is a weather dependant sport and it is a requirement by UK law that passenger rides operators are only fly in certain weather conditions.
However, every year, tens of thousands of people fly, so please be a little patient, it will be worth the wait!