Our staff here at Virgin Balloon Flights HQ are getting into the spirit of All-Hallows’-Eve with eccentric costumes, pumpkin carving and balloons of different sort (orange and black ones to be precise)!
To see the full Halloween album from the day visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/virginballoonflights
With Halloween marking the last day before our Christmas campaign begins we’re taking full advantage of the spookfest before our lovely customers purchase our hot air balloon rides for their loved ones festive gifts.
Why not check out our Christmas offers at www.virginballoonflights.co.uk where you can save up to 40% on selected national balloon flight vouchers and get a FREE box of Montezuma chocolates (terms and conditions apply).
Internet entrepreneur Jeanie and colleague Jackie were whisked high above the skies of Kent on their Wadhurst flight last month with pilot Damon Bridger.
Famous for her bright pink hairdo and savvy shopper website Mad About Bargains, Jeanie was originally scheduled to launch from the spectacular Bristol International Balloon Fiesta along with Jackie back in June after winning a competition hosted by Virgin Balloon Flights. With gusty winds proving challenging for all pilots that day their original flight had to wait, not long though and within a matter of weeks they were experiencing what it is like to see beautiful Britain from above in a Virgin hot air balloon. We asked Jeanie what she made of her balloon ride and if geography and company were no object, where and with whom she would most like to fly:-
“It has been on my bucket list for some time and I enjoyed every minute.
I would love to do a balloon flight over somewhere really spectacular like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls (if possible) and I think the most interesting person to do the flight with would of course be Sir Richard Branson (and I am not just saying that). I have run various businesses since I was very young and I think he is a fascinating person.
Thank you again for the fantastic prize. It is something we will both always remember.”
– Jeanie, Founder, Mad About Bargains
After landing and enjoying the traditional Champagne toast that accompanies all of our flights, Jackie said:
“We had the most amazing experience and would like to thank you and everyone at Virgin Balloons again! We loved the Champagne, the whole experience was really lovely, they made everyone feel special.” – Jackie, Mad About Bargains
To see for yourself what a ballooning experience is all about visit our brand new Experience page to see videos, experience a 360° virtual tour from the air, view our gallery, read our pilot profiles and to read some of our passenger testimonials.
To enjoy a hot air balloon ride from just £89 from Kent or any other county within the UK visit our locations page to see which launch sites are available near you.
One of our lovely Staffordshire launch sites Amerton Farm & Craft Centre, has a brand new addition to their farmyard family! Following the noise down into the farm, you’ll meet Marge the donkey.
Marge was born a year ago in Fradswell and she has moved to Amerton Farm to join the ponies and other animals in the farmyard. She has a lovely nature and is loving the attention she is getting.
Moyra McLaughlin, manager of Amerton Farm, said: “We always enjoy having new animals in the farmyard and to have a donkey like Marge is even more of an event. We hope visitors old and new will come along and visit her, she will definitely put a smile on your face! We are hoping that children will be able to enjoy a donkey ride during the school holidays next year.”
For further information regarding flights from Amerton Farm with Virgin Balloon Flights simply visit the launch site online or call Virgin Balloon Flights on 0844 844 8070.
Photo Marge aged 1 and 9 year old Elian Lawty
One of our top hot air balloon pilots is walking on air after winning an award for his airborne achievements and being personally congratulated by Sir Richard Branson.
Mark Shemilt, from Henley-on-Thames, was named as our Virgin Balloon Flights Star of the Year for providing exceptional customer service for passengers on his balloon rides and breaking two world records for ballooning.
The 46-year-old received the award and met Richard at a glitzy party at Kensington Roof Gardens in London last month where Stars from across the Virgin Group were rewarded for their fantastic efforts.
Mark swapped stories with Richard who became synonymous with hot air ballooning in 1987 when he was the first to fly across the Atlantic.
Mark has been ballooning since 1988 and takes people on Champagne balloon rides in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire.
He broke his first world record for duration by hovering over the French Alps in a special small balloon for over eight hours and another for distance when he flew 120 miles from Leicestershire to the Suffolk coast.
Mark said: “It was an honour to meet Sir Richard and talk about my ballooning world records with him as he knows more than anyone what’s involved and how challenging endurance flying is.
“He gave me a lot of praise and really encouraged me. He also said how much he loved hot air ballooning and that he wished he had time to do more.”
For more information about hot air ballooning experiences across the UK visit us at www.virginballoonflights.co.uk.
Entrepreneur Marcus Shaw from just outside Eye, Suffolk, spent the end of last month with his camera pointed at one of our lovely red balloons in Cornwallis.
The balloon ride passengers, Marcus’ mother-in-law Judy, and husband Steve, were celebrating Steve’s 50th birthday. Due to weather cancellations, the celebrations were somewhat delayed, but of course most definitely worth the wait.
“The flight took place in Norfolk on a beautiful Friday morning (30th September). They really could not have had a better day, the weather was perfect! The light was fantastic for photography; there was even some low lying mist which made it even more magical. The preparations and getting ready started at 7am with take-off about 8am, about an hour later the balloon landed in a field just outside the town of Wymondham,” said Marcus.
Marcus, married to Natalie and father to three girls, took the plunge just 12 months ago to turn his keen interest in photography into a professional service at affordable prices specialising in Portrait and Wedding Photography.
The full series of balloon flight photographs can be seen at www.marcusshawphotography.co.uk on Marcus’ blog. You can also follow Marcus’ ventures on his Facebook and Twitter pages.
You too can experience an airborne experience with Virgin Balloon Flights from Cornwallis or any other of our 100+ launch sites in England, Scotland & Wales. Simply call 0844 844 8070 or visit www.virginballoonflights.co.uk
Customer Service is always number one in the Virgin Balloon Flights office however this week it is even more in the spotlight as we celebrate National Customer Service Week 2011.
This week typically gives everyone in the office a chance to think about how they achieve customer service excellence in everything they do both today and tomorrow.
Working as a team is always vital here at Virgin Balloon Flights and Customer Service Week gives each individual a chance to pass on ideas and learning through various activities, challenges and group activities aimed at enhancing teamwork, collaboration and communication.
This year our team have been busy doing quizzes that get them thinking outside the box, building bridges in a team, creating various challenges for each other and things for a bit of fun like ‘Pyjama Day’ where one ‘lucky’ customer service representative was given the challenge of visiting a local garage to enquire about purchasing a vehicle, in her pyjamas – to see if what a customer is wearing affects what level of service is given, well it got a few smiles anyway which is always good in our book!
Our customer service representatives handle all hot air balloon ride bookings for every single one of our 100+ launch sites throughout the UK – we are based in Shropshire which is nice and central as our launch sites are spread right from Scotland down to Cornwall and everywhere in between.
With the launch of our brand new website www.virginballoonflights.co.uk on October 1st 2011 Customer Service Week couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time as there has been lots to communicate to customers about the many improvements our new system brings.
If you’d like to talk to our friendly customer service team about an existing Virgin Balloon Flight or to enquire about becoming an airborne adventurer just give us a call or visit our new website.
Most days in the Virgin Balloon Flights office are pretty exciting, and the last couple of days have certainly been no exception!
We’re delighted to announce that our brand new hot off the press shiny new website has now gone live.
October the 1st heralded a new online beginning for Virgin balloons with a much brighter, more social, more engaging new website that is faster, more customer focussed and more informative than ever.
Would be balloonists can find out which launch site locations we fly from all over the UK and see a fully interactive Google Map giving and indication of what might be in store on their balloon ride. Of course no two balloon flights are ever the same and depending on the will of the wind who knows what sights will come into view.
As well as offering fabulous hot air balloon experiences from over 100 UK launch sites, our new site offers a wealth of ballooning information… so if you don’t know your skirt from your envelope you can find out fast on our Ballooning Science pages and if you need to gen up on your knowledge of who flew the first hot air balloon then take a look at our Ballooning History pages.
With new Gift Extras to add to our balloon flights and a new online registration system to make booking flights even faster, the thrill of ballooning can begin even before our passengers take to the skies.
To find out more about our latest offers and to take a flight in a beautiful iconic red Virgin balloon visit www.virginballoonflights.co.uk where you can fly from just £89!