If you have purchased a hot air balloon experience from us here at Virgin Balloons or received a voucher as a gift, you will most likely be very excited about what is to come. Indeed, the thought of soaring effortlessly through the sky without any kind of engine is definitely one that is worth anticipating!

But what should you expect when the day of your adventure finally arrives?

Well, here is a general outline of what a typical balloon ride with us here at Virgin Balloon Flights entails:

Preparation & briefing

Upon arrival at your pre-arranged take off site, you will be met by the pilot and crew of your balloon. Please remember that the time we ask you to arrive is only the meeting time and not when the balloon will be taking off.

A crew member will check you in and provide you with a detailed summary of what will be happening. Once the flight crew have prepared the balloon, the pilot will give you a flight briefing. This will outline essential safety information and give you an idea of what to expect during the flight and what direction you be flying in, as well as any other information which may be pertinent on the day.

Next, the inflation fans will be started and the balloon will slowly fill with cold air. When the time is right, the pilot will apply heat to make the balloon slowly rise off the ground. Once the balloon is suitably upright, you will be called to climb into the basket.

Lift off!

After a few final checks, the pilot will give the all clear and the balloon will rise majestically into the sky. As you wave excitedly to those remaining on the ground, you will begin to appreciate the sensation of gracefully soaring through the sky in perfect peace and stillness. No jerky movements; no engine sounds, and no mechanics – just you and your adventurous companions looking out over the country in a completely different way!

Flight & landing

Your balloon flight will last around an hour, although the solitude and uninterrupted views will make it seem like a lot longer. The actual length of your flight will depend on the speed of the wind and the availability of a suitable landing place. After an hour or so of elegant adventure, your pilot will gently bring the balloon back down to terra firma and brief you on your landing position. Once on the ground, you will be greeted by the crew who will help you to celebrate your achievement with a well deserved glass of champagne! In addition, the pilot will proudly present you with a signed commemorative first flight certificate endorsed by the daddy of all balloon adventurers - Sir Richard Branson.

In total, your Virgin Balloons flying experience will last around three or four hours. However; the memory of it will live with you for much, much longer!