Since the Icelandic volcano ‘Eyjafjallajokull’ erupted and paralysed air travel for all but hot air balloons, we have soared into the spotlight by keeping our Virgin balloons airborne and lucky passengers happy!

Sadly our planned rescue mission to fly some stranded Brits back over the Channel was thwarted as the wind was in the wrong direction. But, as everything else was grounded, our big red balloons got even more attention than usual. The British media were particularly interested with one of our balloons in Scotland being pictured in the press, our midlands balloon pilot Lindsay Muir appearing on BBC Radio and ITV jumping onboard to film from the basket too.

The team from ITV Tyne Tees News took to the skies with us last Wednesday from scenic launch site Witton Castle in Bishop Auckland for a bird’s eye view of the North East with pilot Dave 'Sutty' Sutcliffe.

Without an aeroplane or even a vapour trail in sight, reporter Johnny Blair described his balloon ride adventure with Virgin as “calm, tranquil, and spectacular.” Whilst passengers on the same flight were “thrilled to fly” after worrying the volcanic ash may halt or hinder their experience of a lifetime.

Although it has been lovely to have the skies to ourselves, thankfully, the volcanic ash is now dispersing, its column inches diminishing, and travellers are finally returning to their homes and families. We’re particularly pleased to see the planes of our friends at Virgin Atlantic back in the air. We wish everyone who is still stranded abroad a safe and speedy trip home soon.