Each year Virgin Balloon Flights loves to celebrate Customer Service Week. It’s a time for our customer service team to reflect on their achievements over the year and takes place over the first week of October.
Customer service is always a high priority here at Virgin Balloon Flights HQ in Shropshire where our team of representatives centrally co-ordinate all customer related issues across each of our 100+ launch sites throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
Head of Customer Service Lynsay Symcox says that:
Customer Service Week gives the team a chance to get involved with different activities which promotes teamwork and encourages us to focus on how we can offer our customers the best experience possible. By sharing experiences and ideas we can learn and improve upon our level of service in an inspiring way.
So far this week the office has been decorated with customer service posters, there are colourful balloons and the occasional waft of freshly baked cakes has been very welcome. Various competitions have taken place and games played that assist communication and listening skills for example. And there’s more to come…
More info can be found at the Institute of Customer Service website.
To speak to one of our customer service stars about arranging a hot air balloon flight or to ask any questions about an existing booking you can reach us here.
No one loves surprises more than us. When someone gives you a gift and you have no idea what it is, it makes opening it really, really exciting.
Our hot air balloon rides make perfect gifts especially at this time of year when Father’s Day is just around the corner.
Customers who buy our balloon vouchers as a gift often ask if it’ll be obvious what they are when they arrive in the post so as to keep the balloon ride secret until the big day.
Whether it’s a birthday present, an engagement gift or an anniversary surprise Virgin Balloon Flights have taken several steps to help you keep your secret safe. Here’s how:
- Our balloon ride vouchers and packages come in plain packaging with absolutely no branding so no one will ever know what joy awaits them – they are even marked Private & Confidential
- When you order online you’ll be asked how you would like to receive your vouchers – choose Post Only if you share your computer or email account with the gift recipient
- Select our Express Delivery option if you need to know exactly when your tickets will arrive, this costs £6 and you’ll receive a text and email to advise delivery time to the hour! Learn about the best delivery option for you
Virgin Balloon Flights Voucher, Wallet and Souvenir Brochure
Helpful Tips to Ensure the Perfect Gift Experience
- Select Post Only option on our website so no email confirmations are sent which may be seen by prying eyes
- You can buy a voucher and book a flight for your loved one if you know when they can fly, the most efficient way to do this is to get tickets by email and post by choosing the Email and Post option in your shopping basket, minding your Inbox if you do
- If you book the flight as well for your loved one remember if you want to keep the flight quiet until the very last moment you’ll have to call our flight line beforehand to check if the flight is going ahead
- Have timing and routes to the launch site planned beforehand, don’t forget we may launch from a back up site so make sure you know where these are too – all info will be on your booking confirmation
- Check what days and times your gift recipient can fly as this’ll affect the type of voucher you buy for them
- Use your SnapFish voucher to print up to 40 free digital prints of your loved one’s airborne adventure and/ or see the pilot for a commemorative photo of everyone on the balloon ride taken mid-flight as the perfect memento
- Remember to tear off the little perforated tab in the right hand corner of your vouchers if you want the face value to be kept schtum from your gift recipient
The only thing we can’t help you with is keeping your secret shush until the big day. Don’t let the cat out of the bag and enjoy the look of excitement on your loved one’s face when the surprise unravels.
There's nothing quite like a ride in a big red balloon as the perfect gift
As aircraft go, there aren’t many that rival the serenity and sheer spectacle of a hot air balloon. Travelling some 30,000ft lower than your average civilian aircraft our passengers have been getting airborne from several of our launch sites across the UK this week amidst more lovely spring sunshine.
If you’ve ever spotted a hot air balloon peacefully wending its way above the beautiful British countryside have you ever wondered what keeps a balloon up in the first place? Well, the gas that generates ‘lift off’ in one of our big red Virgin balloons is propane. Once the balloon envelope’s been inflated with air that air is then heated with propane burners. The gas’s (now hot air) molecular behaviour alters making it less dense. This makes the air inside the balloon lighter than the air that surrounds it outside which enables the balloon to counteract the laws of gravity in what is known as The Gas Law; basic thermodynamics.
To learn more about how hot air balloons work why not build your own balloon? We don’t recommend this for unsupervised children or anyone wanting a half decent aerial view whilst on their hot air balloon ride. For this we’d refer you to one of our excellent balloon pilots. Chocks away!
The calendar says 25th March. Panic! It is exactly one month until Marathon Day!
As Virgin Balloon Flights’ marathon representation I’ll be running the Shakespeare Marathon (Stratford upon Avon) in aid of Macmillan on 25th April 2010.
Our lovely call-centre staff have been mildly amused seeing me jog off enveloped in Lycra© for my lunch-time 5 milers, which luckily seem to be paying off as I survived my first half marathon at the weekend. Yay.
Just like Virgin’s very own Bob Fear who is running the Virgin London Marathon, also 25th April, for Virgin Unite along with Sir Richard Branson himself, I’m in the final 4 weeks of training hell. The difference being that Bob and Sir Richard will be amidst a whopping 36,000 runners and will be lucky enough to see the brand new 70ft Virgin Money hot air balloon that has been specially commissioned by Virgin Balloon Flights to support the event.
My Virgin Money Giving page has made fundraising a doddle and gives everyone a chance to learn what all this running is in aid of whilst my training blog, describes the ongoing agony. Virgin Balloon Flights will be supporting both myself and Bob Fear’s fundraising efforts by holding charity auctions for hot air balloon rides. Thanks VBF
Eve running a very hard race
So our wonderful new blog is up and running and following the success of our Facebook and Twitter pages we figured the best way to give you an insight into the life of a pilot is to get them to guide you through their daily duties with snippets of factual, interesting or just for fun information directly from themselves.
For many millions of people Twitter is the preferred way to socially interact with others and tell them in as many words as a text message what they’re doing, thinking or believe in. So you’ve guessed it … there’s a new tweeter in town and he is none other than our very own VBF pilot Mark Simmons better known to friends and colleagues as “Nobby!”
A commercial hot air balloon pilot since 1991 Mark has flown more than 80 different balloons in over 30 countries and is a double world record holder, to this day holding the record for being the youngest pilot to captain a balloon across the English Channel in 1991 at the age of just 21; impressive hey!
Receive more impressive info and tweets about preparations to fly from Ashton Court, Bristol; ballooning flights from Royal Victoria Park, Bath; Glastonbury; Cheltenham; Cirencester; Monmouth and Pandy near Cardiff in South Wales. No time like the present; follow Mark now!
First Tweet from @markthevbfpilot
“All eyes on the long range weather forecast for the start of the 2010 Flying Season next weekend! Fingers crossed for another good year.”
“I could while away the hours, conferrin’ with the flowers, consultin’ with the rain. And my head I’d be scratchin’, while my thoughts were busy hatchin’. If I only had a brain” – Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz
If someone asked me what I thought about when they said ‘scarecrow’, I would most probably acquire a glum felt tone of voice and tunefully (or not) begin with ‘I could while away the hours…’ which is of course the sad song of the Scarecrow from the much loved tale The Wizard of Oz!
Mention this familiar figure of the rural landscape to a resident of Wray in Lancashire, and I’m sure they could tell you they’ve built a few, seen a few and definitely celebrated their being. Every year the Wray Scarecrow Festival runs as part of the village country fair, where residents display their themed scarecrows around the village. This year Virgin Balloon Flights are sponsoring the event with the most super duper scarecrow winning its creators a flight for two over the festival!
Wray Scarecrow Festival 2010
For further information regarding the annual festival please visit the Wray village website. You too can drift above Wray and see the scarecrows from the sky with regional tickets from just £94.99!
It’s the British Heat Foundation’s (BHF) Wear Red Day and Virgin Balloon Flights have decided to get stuck in in the best way we know how…eating! And wearing red. The office looks decidedly corporate this morning and if anyone walked in they’d think we’d gone a little Virgin crazy, but wait, this very public display of red is for an altogether different reason. Today we’re we’re raising money for Red for Heart which is the British Heart Foundation’s campaign to raise money for heart disease. The BHF’s vision is:
Within a generation, we will create a world where people do not die prematurely of heart disease. We will achieve this through our pioneering research, our vital prevention activity and by ensuring quality care and support for people living with heart disease. We need you to share our vision because, together, we really can beat heart disease.
And to help them achieve this we’ve had a day of eating cakes beautifully designed and baked by Simply Love Cupcakes, quizzes and bingo.
Virgin Balloon Flights tucking in
Simply Love Cupcakes very yummy cup cakes
We hope that the money we raised helps the BHF achieve their vision and wish the Foundation every success with future campaigns.
The 2010 hot air ballooning season is now under way and that’s not the only thing.
The Virgin Balloon Flights Blog has also just launched and promises to keep us very busy whilst we bring all things ballooning to you, whatever the weather.
Our company was founded over 22 years ago and some of our pilots have been flying hot air balloons for over 30 years, having hundreds of thousands of flying hours between them, so yes, we have TONS of ballooning talk to talk.