As 2019 is nearly ready to slide into the memory realm, we look back over what it has meant to us at Virgin Balloon Flights.
The highlight of the year cannot be anything else but our 25th birthday celebration.
While we look forward to the next 25, we know all the stories and adventures make us who we are today – the biggest passenger hot air balloon rides operator in the world.
What a great age to be celebrating as an experience provider, don’t you agree? Let’s take a look at how it rolled.
Big 25th Birthday Bash
We had our pilots and crews, together with passengers across the country, getting involved with our celebration.
They sent in photos and videos to wish us happy 25th birthday throughout the end of summer into autumn.
Our social media turned into a big celebration party in September. Great humour, good fun and images of their hot air ballooning adventures with us made this party awesome.
Our colleagues in the big Virgin family joined in for the special occasion.
Richard Branson sent us his video message talking about the beauty of hot air balloon flights and his lifelong passion for this amazing means of travelling.
We put together some of the best messages we received, and here’s our anniversary video to re-live the party.
The bigger Virgin family dedicated the feature in their end of the year issue of The Roger Collective to us.
Mixing fun and hard work, as usual, our team took a two hours photo shoot for the occasion.
There was one more special element added to this occasion.
The photo shoot took place in front of the Ironbridge Power Station towers, meanwhile taken down.
Our Roger images capture recent history now!
2019 Celebrations, Engagements, Fiestas
What would our 2019 retrospective here at Virgin Balloon Flights be without all the celebrations and party vibes?
Not only did we celebrate our special occasion, but many of our passengers chose us for those very special days in their lives.
This particular flight over Morecambe Bay saw a first wedding anniversary, a proposal and two other anniversaries in one.
We could only call it The Flight Of Celebrations.
Engagements often happen aboard our Virgin hot air balloons.
We’re not surprised so many people choose a ballooning adventure for the proposal they want to fondly remember for the rest of their lives.
May saw a few in flight engagements, and the pairs agreed to share their stories with us.
In July three of our pilots witnessed and helped with proposals aboard their balloons.
We were present throughout the year at big ballooning events or festivals.
From Bristol Balloon Fiesta to Strathaven, Cheltenham and Northampton Town Festival 2019, our pilots took our big red Virgin balloons across the country.
Belinda Beattie captured this image of our beautiful balloon at Strathaven Festival.
Our Teams Made The Magic Happen
While we had such a great time for our 25th birthday, the rest of the season teemed with photos from our pilots and crews.
Flying from over 100 locations across the UK, our pilots showed passengers beautiful stretches of landscapes.
From Bristol to the Lake District and Scotland, we admired these amazing views too through all the visual content they sent in.
Our Virgin Balloon Flights pilots have great crews around them to help provide passengers with the best experience.
Their teams not only work hard to launch and help pack after the flight, but they are great fun to be around.
Judging by photos such as the following, these crew members in the Lakes seem to be the heart and soul of the party.
Highly skilled and professional, they all provide their passengers with the ultimate hot air ballooning experience.
Mix a pinch of humour with the passion within, and you will get how amazing our teams out there are.
Sutty and his Team York guys also shared some great images and footage with us.
Then we all learnt about Neil’s amazing ballooning pins collection – 1000 and still counting.
The oldest object in his collection is from 1974 Albuquerque Fiesta.
His pins talk about his biggest lifelong passion – for hot air balloons. It all started in 1977 for Neil, and you can read his story here.
We would not have a true 2019 retrospective without our two resident dogs - Pixie Office Diva and Dexter Balloon Dog.
While Pixie loves lounging around on our desks in the office, Dexter is considered part of the crew in the Lakes, together with his dad Jonny.
Learn more about our resident dogs in our blog about their 2019 Christmas lists.
Looking Into 2020
Before we say good bye to the old year, we also think of what is to come next.
We are already working on making 2020 another memorable year, when our pilots who now fly abroad will return to the UK.
You will have a lot to look forward to with us as we'll be opening the new season with lots of excitement and anticipation.
Meanwhile, we'd love you to tell us about your 2019 retrospective. How has this year treated you?
And what are you looking forward to for 2020?