Looking Back At 2022, The Year Of Hot Air Balloon Flight!

Reading Time - 5 minutes

What a year it's been! We've seen some amazing sights, both from above and below, and we've made so many new friends along the way.

We've taken our craft to new heights, exploring the world from a brand-new perspective.

We're proud to say that we're one of the leading providers of hot air balloon rides in the country, and we're dedicated to making sure that everyone who flies with us has a truly memorable experience.

So whether you're looking for a romantic gift or an adventure with family or friends, we hope you'll give us a call in 2023.

We'll be happy to help you plan your perfect trip!

Now... let's take a look back at what we've done in the last year.

No restrictions in 2022!

In January, we headed into an exciting new season with no restrictions.

For the first time in two years, we were ready to fly as normal!

Richard Branson Tells All About Hot Air Balloons To A Local School

Sir Richard Branson surprised a school that had named one of their classrooms after him with a live appearance on a Zoom call from his home on Necker Island.

He had a great chat with lots of the students, where they were able to ask him lots of questions about his life, his business, his history with hot air balloons, and his love for adventure!

He also presented the school with a framed piece of the balloon Richard flew in when he broke the world record for flying a hot-air balloon across the Atlantic Ocean in 1987.

Take a look at this video to see what happened that day!

Our Customer Team Manager Shaun Howells Celebrates 10 Years with Virgin Balloon Flights

Shaun Howells, our customer service manager extraordinaire, celebrated 10 years with Virgin Balloon Flights this March!

Shaun started in our call centre in 2012, where he quickly made a name for himself as reliable and hard-working, and was subsequently awarded the highest Virgin accolade, "Virgin Star of the Year" in 2013.

The Week Of Three Proposals

We celebrated a very special week of love at Virgin Balloon Flights in May, when three couples asked their loved ones the ultimate question in the clouds.

This ended with three proposals happening in one week! Two of which were on the same flight!

Julian and Joanne and Dafydd and Angharad said yes while floating across Bristol, and Taranjeet and Belinda were on a flight over Evesham.

This special occasion called for an extra special toast at the landing site! Love was really in the air!

Up, Upcycled, And Away Project Launched

In June, we launched an exciting project, Up, Upcycled, and Away.

As a way of recycling retired hot air balloons, our balloons can only do 6,000 hours before they have to be retired, considering we have over 100 launch sites and over 20 pilots with 10,000 passengers, you can imagine how many hot air balloon envelopes we fly!

And so we called on you, the British public, to pitch ideas for repurposing these retired balloon envelopes, which are made up of 34,000 square feet of resistant material, enough to cover 16 football pitches!

We have successfully given material to several entrepreneurs, artists, homemakers, schools, universities, hospitals, and much more.

Have a look at our video here, explaining the project in full.

Queens Jubilee Flight

The Bristol and Bath launch site really felt the love for the Queen's Jubilee by decorating their baskets with union jack bunting and all passengers wearing crowns to celebrate the special occasion of 70 years of our Queen!

Bristol School Visit

In July, Pilots Colin, Allie, and Caroline went to the Claremont School in Bristol to discuss all things related to potentially joining the ballooning world post-school.

The team brought a basket, a balloon envelope, and fans to the day.

Claremont School is a special school with 70 students, all of whom have physical disabilities and complex health needs.

They had an exciting day exploring hot air ballooning equipment.

Alongside many conversations about what it’s like to be a pilot and crew member of a hot air balloon team, there were discussions and demonstrations of the basket, the balloon, and most importantly, the flames!

Fiesta Summer Season!

We arrived at the fiesta site at Ashton Court Estate to set up for the Bristol Balloon Fiesta and enjoy our morning mass ascent, and then it was time to watch the night glow, and this year, it absolutely blew our socks off with a soundtrack provided by BBC Radio Bristol for the Fiesta.

With enjoyed several mass ascents even while several were cancelled due to the heat wave!

Just around the corner from our head office, we headed on down to Telford Balloon Fiesta.

The Saturday also saw one of our beautiful, iconic red Virgin balloons tethered in the arena for more than five hours.

The arena entertainment was spectacular, between the live music, children's entertainment, and the IMPS motorcycle display team putting on an amazing show.

Seeing pyramids created while riding a motorcycle was not something any of us expected!

Customer Service Week

Virgin Balloon Flights had an activity-packed customer service week here.

Customer Service Week was a jam-packed week at Virgin Balloon Flights.

Starting off with ‘Language Day', where the team played "Customer Sales Bingo" to help their customer service skills get stronger and more comfortable using sales terminology on phone calls, each completed bingo would award one point towards our ongoing scoreboard for all who attended!

On Tuesday & Wednesday, we focused not only on developing those techniques but also on testing them out through seminars led by experts as well as exercises designed specifically around these new abilities, which gave everyone plenty of opportunities to make progress, whether they were veterans or just getting started.

This next seminar focused on individual development, where team members could offer advice and praise each other’s own differences.

It also provided a space to discuss difficulties they were facing with work, with the rest of their group, who would be able to provide helpful hints for tackling any issues that came up during these discussions, which turned out to be not only insightful but really great exercises in communication too!

The entire week was rounded off with a wonderful buffet lunch, where everyone brought in a dish from home to share in the office.

While our balloons may be tucked away on the ground for the winter as the season is over, we are extremely excited about what the next year of flying has to offer.

We wait as each landing site slowly thaws in the new year when spring arrives, and then we take to the skies again.

If you're starting to think of all the memories you can create in the new year, get in contact with us today, and a member of our customer support team will help.

Related Posts

Get your stamps ready, these flights are worth writing home about

Customer Service Week at Virgin Balloon Flights, It’s Customer Service Week, which means it's…

Read more

Lockdown is over, Summer begins!, Lockdown… Lockdown! LOCKDOWN! The repetitive…

Read more

Remembering a Loved One, This must have been a very emotional moment…

Read more
A virgin hot air balloon taking off over a field

The History Of Hot Air Balloons, The history of hot air balloons began over 200…

Read more