Hot air balloon experiences make for one of the most exciting gifts you can give anyone, whatever the occasion.
But what can you really expect on hot air balloon rides – and are they for everyone?
Most commercial balloon baskets in the UK are designed to take between 10 and 16 people.
But they are split into compartments, with up to four people in each one, so you still have some of your own space, and be with whoever you are riding with for that intimate experience.
Clearly, you need to bear in mind that you won’t be able to have a lot of belongings with you on the flight.
Cameras, however, are a great idea, and often there is somewhere in the basket you can store your photographic kit for landing.
Alternatively, take advantage of the in-flight photo service which is available in some areas!
Yes, there are some restrictions on who can fly in a hot air balloon, but not many and most people can hop on board with us.
The only age limit generally concerns those aged under seven, and those under 16 need an adult to fly with them.
In terms of weight restrictions, surcharges are often levied if passengers weigh more than 20 stone, or those who are heavier than 18 stone who are shorter than 6ft in height.
If you are pregnant, it won’t be possible to fly for safety reasons until after the birth. You also can't fly if you have recently had major surgery.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition or a disability, speak with your doctor or another health professional about whether you are able to fly.
So remember the following:
- Passengers must be at least seven years old to fly, with under 16s accompanied by an adult
- We can't fly you if you're pregnant or have recently had major surgery
- A weight supplement may apply if you are over 18 stone in weight
- Speak to your doctor if you have pre-existing medical condition or disability to ensure you are fit to fly.
When Do Hot Air Balloons Fly?
Most flights take place in the early morning or evening.
During the day, the ground is warmer, and the resulting rising air columns can result in updrafts and downdrafts which may mean the pilot would not be able to control the balloon’s height as easily.
In the UK, the ballooning season lasts from spring until the autumn, with each season bringing different weather, sights and experiences.
Read more about whether a sunrise or a sunset balloon flight is for you here.
What Should I Wear?
If you’re wondering about what to wear, comfort should take precedence over fashion, and sensible shoes are essential.
Think country walk clothes, with warm, comfy layers and perhaps some headgear, since the burners can be quite warm.
Where Will We Fly?
Finally, you probably won’t know until you fly exactly where you are going to land, or what height you will reach.
Altitude could depend to an extent on the time of year and air traffic restrictions in certain areas.
But the ground crew support team is in the touch with the balloon, and tracks it, and, once you’ve landed, you will be picked up and taken back to the launch site as soon as possible.
Balloon Flights from Virgin
As the UK's number one and only national operator of balloon rides, make Virgin Balloon Flights your first port of call to take to the skies.
We’re Britain’s number one when it comes to ballooning, and fly from more than a hundred locations nationwide.
We offer flexible ride vouchers, along with luxury gift extras, and can email or send the tokens for next day delivery.
From initial greeting and helping launching the balloon to the champagne toast and certificate presentation post-landing, anyone who rides in one of our balloons is in for a genuinely unforgettable experience.
So, go on, make someone’s day - send them up, up and away!