Here at Virgin Balloon Flights, we want to make your once in a lifetime experience in the sky as easy as possible. As part of this we’ve put together a handy guide so you know exactly what to do on the day of your flight. setting up a hot air balloon How do I know if my balloon flight is going ahead? Step 1 – Check the Flight Line: If you’ve booked onto a flight with us the first thing you’ll need to do before heading down to the launch site is to check the flightline (you can find the number on your launch site’s page). In order to fly safely, wind conditions need to be perfect and with the unpredictable ‘Great’ British weather we do have to cancel flights. Read our post on hot air balloon weather conditions for more information on this. If you’ve booked on to a morning flight then you’ll need to ring the flight line at 11pm (or after) the night before and if you’re booked on to an evening flight (6pm) you’ll need to ring at 2pm on the day. Listen carefully to your pilot as there are occasions when we have to use a back-up launch site when the conditions at your original location are not suitable. If your flight has been cancelled completely you can re-book online at www.virginballloonflights.co.uk/book or give us a call on 01952 212750. If your voucher has less than six months until it expires then don’t worry - we will extend it by six months from the cancellation date, so you have plenty of time to find a convenient date to fly. When should I arrive at the launch site? hot air balloon launch site Pictured above: Hanging Houghton launch site, Northampton. Step 2 – Get Ready and Head Down to Your Site: Woohoo, your flight is going ahead! Now you just need to make the trip down to your launch site and get ready to hop in a balloon and take to the skies. We recommend you wrap-up warm, as it can be a bit chilly 2,000ft or more up. Also make sure you wear suitable footwear (boots or wellies), as launch site grounds can sometimes be a bit muddy. Don’t forget your camera so you can share your experience afterwards with family and friends. You’ll need to arrive at the launch site no later than the check-in time stated by your pilot on the flight line. Leave plenty of time to get there and check your launch site location page for the full address and directions - www.virginballoonflights.co.uk/locations – some sites do have a meeting point that’s separate to the launch site - you’ll find details of that on the dedicated page. What will I have to do when I get to my launch site? Step 3: Pilot Briefing and Registration: Time to meet your pilot, their crew and your fellow passengers! Your pilot will ask you to climb into the basket while he/she runs through a few safety procedures. Do I have to help inflate the balloon? Step 4: Help out with inflating the balloon (only if you want!): This is very much an optional part of the experience – we don’t want you to feel like to have to do this. However many passengers find this good fun, an ideal icebreaker and cool insight into the mechanics of ballooning. What is a Hot Air Balloon Ride Really Like? flying in a hot air balloon Step 5: Enjoy your flight! Time to fly! Remember there’s nothing to be nervous about, ballooning is a very calm, peaceful, serene experience. Your flight will last approximately an hour and your pilot will keep you well informed and point out specific areas and landmarks, which you’ll get an amazing bird’s-eye view of. What Happens Once the Balloon Lands? Step 6: Help us pack away the balloon and receive your certificate: As with the balloon inflation, don’t feel like you have to help deflate the balloon, but again most people find this all part of the fun. How Do I Get Back to My Car? Step 7: Head back to your original launch site: Balloons travel with the wind, so it’s likely you won’t land at your original launch site, but rest-assured our crew members provide a retrieval service back to where you started – a great opportunity to chat about your airborne adventure. Do I Need to Do Anything After the Experience? Step 8: Tell us about your adventure (if you’d like to): If you enjoyed your experience in the sky we’d be really grateful if you could give us a review either on our Trip Advisor page, on Facebook or Google+. If you managed to capture any good photos, please also feel free to email them to us. We’re always keen to see everyone’s airborne views. Keep us in mind as a gift for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, weddings and other special occasions. We’re sure you’ll agree that a hot air balloon ride is something everyone should experience.