FAQs

When are flights available?

This may vary slightly depending upon geographic area. The main flying season is from mid March to the end of October. Flights are available mornings and evenings at weekends and weekday evenings, plus the occasional midweek mornings. During the winter months a balloon flight voucher makes an excellent "Open Dated" present, which can be used in the coming spring.

What is the best time of year to fly?

There is no single "best time". Your operator will only fly you when the weather is suitable, whether that be March, August or October. Do not be misled into thinking it is best to go in "the summer" because you think that other times might be cold. Whether spring, summer or autumn it is far warmer on the flight than you imagine owing to there being no breeze (you are the breeze), plus you have the radiated heat from the burners. Many pilots say that a nice spring or autumn morning is wonderful, when the colours are at their best and the air clearest. However, whenever you fly, we hope that you will find it to be stunning.

What time of day do the flights take place?

Balloon flights usually take place within two hours of dawn and around two hours before dusk, as this is when the air is at its most stable. Times will vary throughout the year with sunrise and sunset. For example, May meeting times are around 6.00am and 6.00pm.

Where do we meet?

Full meeting instructions will be sent to you by the Operator when you book your flight.

How long does it take?

Ballooning is an experience NOT to be rushed. The actual time in the air is approximately one hour. Passengers and spectators are invited to participate in the pre and post flight preparation and dismantling of the balloon and this is all part of the experience. It is very important that you arrive at the meeting point at the correct time. It will sometimes be necessary to transport you a short distance from the meeting point to an alternative launch site, owing to the wind direction or local conditions. At the end of the flight you will be returned to the original meeting point. For this reason you must allow at least four hours for the complete experience. You are advised not to book a restaurant following an evening flight, as the return time cannot be guaranteed.

What do I wear?

You should wear clothing suitable for a country walk appropriate to the time of year, preferably of natural fibres. A hat or cap may be useful to protect your head from the heat of the burners. Ladies please wear trousers. Sensible walking shoes or boots are recommended, preferably ones that are waterproof, Most flights take off from, and land in, a field. Remember the grass may be damp, and you may encounter the odd cowpat. Stiletto heels or sandals should be avoided. Space is restricted in the basket, so please avoid bringing large rucksacks and bags.

Can I fly over my house, town or village?

Ballooning is like serendipity, which is the art of making happy and unexpected discoveries by chance. Where the balloon goes is entirely dependent on the wind, no two flights are the same. A balloon cannot be steered and travels with the wind. So it is not possible to guarantee a flight over a particular house, town or village.

Will the Operator allow me to choose a Launch Site?

As the balloon will only go where the wind takes it, the Operator, in any given area, has to use a take off point that will enable the balloon to stay away from restrictions, like air traffic control zones, during the flight, or avoid landing in areas that are unsuitable, for whatever reason. Your chosen Operator may need to use more than one launch site to achieve this. Please read carefully the meeting instructions provided by the Operator. If you are in any doubt please ask.

Is it a champagne flight?

A choice of champagne or soft drinks is available, usually after the flight.

How far will I travel and how high up will I go?

This again is dependent on the wind. The average distance covered is 8 miles, and the balloon will fly between 500 and 4,000 feet.

What happens to friends and followers who are not flying?

They are welcome to watch the balloon launch. If an alternative launch site to the meeting location is used, they will have to make their own way there and back.

Can I pick a fine day or cancel a flight if the sun isn't shining?

No. If the Operator considers the weather safe, the flight will take place. Living in the British Isles, it is not possible to guarantee sunshine. Flights will not take place in rain or fog. If you wish to postpone your flight date you must give the minimum period of notice in accordance with the operators written instructions. If you do not turn up for your flight you will have lost your entitlement to a balloon flight.

What happens if the weather is unsuitable for ballooning?

It must be understood that ballooning is very weather dependent. You will be asked to phone the Operator prior to the flight to check the weather. If it is unsuitable, you simply rebook for another convenient day. Most operators offer the facility to make bookings and re-bookings online through their websites.

It is normal practice not to make a decision regarding a morning flight until either late the previous evening, or even early on the actual morning of your flight. Evening flight weather decisions are usually made approximately 1.5 - 2 hours prior to pre-flight check in time. We therefore strongly recommend that where possible passengers arrange their flights in an area within 2 hours travelling distance from their home or where they are staying. Your chosen Operator will provide you with details of their launch site locations and their pre-flight weather information call-in procedure.

If I wish, may I change my flight to another area?

Yes. Whether after a weather postponement, or even before your first flight date, providing you give the Operator you have registered with 3 working days notice, you can change to another Balloons Over Britain Operator. All passenger transfers are dealt with direct between the passenger and the relevant Balloons Over Britain office.

If I need to postpone or alter my flight reservation, how much notice should I give?

You may postpone or change your flight reservation with the following notice, provided that you do so by telephone :-

  • At least two full working days before the meeting time for the flight, if your flight is booked for a day between Tuesday to Saturday inclusive;
  • At least three full working days before the meeting time for the flight, if your flight is booked for a Sunday or Monday.
  • "Working days" mean Monday through to Friday inclusive.

Once I have a voucher, how long in advance do I need to book my flight?

As a general rule you should book your flight three/four weeks in advance. Longer if for a weekend evening or a bank holiday.

Can I take a camera?

Yes, and twice as much film as you think you might need, but you are responsible for looking after your camera and personal possessions.

How many people will be in the balloon? Can I have a balloon to myself? Is there a minimum number of people? Can I fly from my own location?

On a standard flight you will be joining a group of other people. The balloon baskets are divided into compartments for your safety, and there will not be more than six passengers in any one compartment. You may book just one person, or as many as you wish, depending on availability of passenger space.

Exclusive, private flights for 2 or more passengers are available from certain locations. Subject to the location, it may be possible for these flights to be made from passengers? own launch site. Call us for further information.

Is it safe?

Ballooning activities intrinsically involve the possibility of physical risks greater than those encountered in daily life, even though they are conducted under the supervision of commercial pilots who exercise all due precautions to ensure safety. By taking part in such ballooning activities passengers are understood to be fully aware of these risks. All Balloons Over Britain Operators are certified and regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority and all the pilots hold full Commercial Pilot Licences. All operators carry combined single limit insurance to current European standards..

Is there an age or weight limit?

There is no upper age limit, but you must be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the basket, which is about 42 inches (1.1 m) high and stand for around an hour. Children must be at least 8 years old, and over 4' 6" high (1.4 m). A child under the age of 16 years will only be flown if accompanied by a responsible adult appointed by the parent(s) or guardian.

In the interests of safety and operational requirements we cannot undertake the carriage of passengers whose declared weight exceeds 18 stones (114 kg).

Medical Conditions?

We are not qualified to express an opinion concerning your fitness to fly and you must ensure that you are fit to fly. You must not fly if you are suffering from any significant medical condition, or have recently undergone surgery. We may ask you to provide a certificate of your fitness to fly from your doctor or specialist. It is necessary that you disclose any aspect of your medical or physical condition that could be considered to affect your safety or the safety of others. You must not fly if you are pregnant or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Can I fly with a disability?

We welcome the participation of disabled people in our experiences, though we recognize that to be able to participate safely in a Hot Air Balloon Flight certain disabilities may present greater difficulties than others. We are committed to ensuring that customers with disabilities are given every opportunity to participate, so we require that you tell us about any disability, even if YOU do not consider that it is a disability, at the time of ordering. Such information is needed to allow us to respond to our duty of care for our passenger's safety. This enables us to do our best to meet the participant's particular needs if possible. We will be happy to provide information about the disabled facilities available at specific venues on request. If you have someone who is confined to a wheelchair and would like to fly in a hot air balloon we suggest you contact Balloons Over Britain member Adventure Balloons direct who provide flights in a specially adapted basket in the Hampshire area.

How do I arrange my flight?

Once you have purchased your flight voucher, you will be sent confirmation of booking along with a passenger information pack. In this pack will be a list of all our Operators across the UK. Simply contact the Operator in the region you wish to fly quoting your Balloons Over Britain voucher number.

If you have any other questions or would like more information please call us on 01892 534314 or email [email protected].