“I’ve got my balloon flight vouchers, what next?”

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So you’ve been given some balloon flight vouchers? Lucky you! A hot air balloon adventure awaits!

So what happens next? Here is a simple guide to booking a flight and making the most of this incredible experience.

How do I book my flight?

Booking onto a flight is easy and there are 2 ways you can do this.

You can give us a call on 01952 212750 and select the “Bookings” option. You’ll need to have your vouchers to hand as we need your voucher numbers and security codes. We can run through the availability from your preferred launch sites and if a date suits you we can book you on. We’ll ask for the approximate weights of each passenger and send you a booking confirmation (by email or post). It is important you keep this confirmation safe and read through it carefully as it contains full instructions on what to do next, including how to check whether your flight will be going ahead.

You can also view availability and make bookings through our website. You’ll need to register your vouchers first and import them into your account using the voucher numbers and security codes. Once this has been done, you’ll be able to access our bookings page and search by launch site or county to find a flight to book onto. You will be sent a booking confirmation too by email once a booking is in place.

Checking if your flight is going ahead

Your booking confirmation includes the number for your Flight Information Line. You need to call this number at the right time to check whether or not your flight is going ahead and for any other important information and instructions the pilot needs you to know.

For morning flights, you need to call at 11pm the night before, while for evening flights, you need to call at 2pm the day of your flight (or at midday depending on the time of year)

If your flight is going ahead, listen carefully to the full message and follow any instructions the pilot issues on his flight line. It is vital you listen to the entire message to ensure you know exactly where and when to meet, just in case the flight location has been changed to a backup site or if there are any other changes the pilot may have had to make.

Hot air ballooning is a fully weather dependent activity and there is a chance that your flight could be cancelled if conditions are not suitable but even if this does happen, our simple re-booking service will get you on the next available flight.

On the day

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the launch site – we are a commercial aviation company and the flight will go ahead without you if you do not arrive in time.

Each of our pilots has an ’emergency’ mobile phone that they will turn on about one hour before the flight in case you have any problems on route. The number for this can be found on your booking confirmation.

For the flight itself, we recommend clothing similar to what you would wear for a countryside walk, including sensible footwear and a coat or jacket, as even in the summer it can get a bit chilly at 2,000 feet. A hat is also a good idea (the burners can give off quite a bit of heat!) and don’t forget to take your camera!

You will be given a full safety briefing by the pilot, before being invited to help with getting the balloon ready (which is fully optional but most people find it’s really good fun!).

Then it is time to hop in the basket and off you go into the skies for your incredible hot air balloon ride.

My flight was cancelled – What happens next?

Hot air ballooning is a fully weather-dependent activity and unfortunately the ‘great’ British weather is not always on our side.

Some people are lucky and will fly on their first attempt while others can take a few bookings before they get into the air – it is simply luck with the weather conditions on the date you have chosen, which none of us can control.

We would never risk trying to fly passengers on a day when the forecast is for unsafe flying conditions, so you should always be prepared for the chance your flight may be cancelled.

But even if this does happen, you simply need to book another flight, which can either be done online or by contacting our customer service team on 01952 212750.

After any cancellation on our part, your flight voucher will automatically be extended accordingly to ensure that you have at least six months to book another flight with us. We will do this as often as necessary until you do get into the skies.

I’ve made a booking but can’t make that date now

If you’ve made a booking but can no longer make the date, don’t worry, you can always cancel your booking and reschedule. To cancel off online, we need 7 days’ notice however over the phone, we need just 3 days’ notice.

Once we are within 3 days of the flight date, we cannot cancel your booking. This is to ensure our flights have the best chance of going ahead. With the weather playing such a big part, we do our best to prevent any other reason a flight can be cancelled. Passengers not turning up can cause flights to be cancelled on an otherwise perfect day for flying. As we are a commercial ballooning company, we have legal requirements to adhere to regarding passenger numbers and the total weight of the basket.

Here to help

We hope you have found this helpful in answering any questions you had regarding how to book your balloon vouchers.

If we have missed anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, our customer service team is happy to help!

Call us on 01952 212750 or email us on customerservice@virginballoonflights.co.uk and our friendly call-takers will be on hand to help. Our call centre is closed at weekends but you can still contact us via the Live Chat facility here on the website (launch it with the white and red button in the bottom right hand corner).

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