[caption id="attachment_675" align="alignright" width="344"] Jamie and Sarah enjoying their Champagne toast after landing[/caption] Each year we fly over 30,000 passengers all around the UK, but unfortunately every season a small number of people miss their flights because they don’t arrive in time. One couple who recently had a close call was Jamie and Sarah, from Liversedge in West Yorkshire, who last week had to make an unexpected dash to catch their early morning Virgin balloon ride. Pilot Martin Collinson was preparing for take-off, balloon fully inflated, at the York Racecourse launch site when latecomers Sarah and Jamie arrived. “I called over to them to hurry as we were quite close to take-off and the couple sprinted over. Fortunately I had time to give them the necessary flight safety briefing, then I completed my preparations, pulled the pin and we were off. “It isn’t uncommon for people to believe the basket is empty due to its height and not realise that, actually, everyone is already seated inside ready for launch. Luckily, on that day, conditions allowed them to catch the flight at that stage, but generally people arriving after check-in are not able to fly,” Martin added. Jamie, 27, and Sarah, 31, were relieved to make the flight which they took to celebrate both their birthdays and the recent arrival of baby son William. Not realising just how late they were, an apologetic Jamie said: “I made a special effort to help pack away the balloon after landing to make it up to the others! “We loved it though and, despite Sarah’s initial reservations with her fear of heights, we thoroughly enjoyed it. A fabulous morning,” he added. Topped-off with a Champagne toast after landing and a certificate signed by pilot Martin and Sir Richard Branson, the fortunate couple got to accomplish their airborne adventure…unfortunately not all latecomers are so lucky. When you have booked your balloon flight, remember to call your designated flight line, found on your booking confirmation, to hear your flight status and pilot message. This will let you know where and what time to meet to ensure you don’t miss your ballooning experience. If you arrive after check-in it is at the pilot’s discretion whether you can fly and generally it is not possible. As with any airline, it is your responsibility to arrive on time. If you miss your balloon flight we have still incurred the same costs as if we flew you and therefore voucher will become invalid. So, to avoid disappointment, please plan your route to all possible launch sites (primary and back-up sites) and leave plenty of time to get there. Don’t miss the boat (balloon)!