I was given a flight as a Christmas present and EVENTUALLY the weather coincided with a date that I could fly.
Right from when the crew arrived and we helped take the basket off the truck, helped inflate the balloon, took off, landed, helped deflate the balloon it was an amazing experience.
Whilst flying Steve (our pilot) told us what was going on, which was great. The views of the sun over the solent (breaking through the clouds) was so beautiful, a photograph, just never could do it justice.
Aftyer being in the air for an hour and 20 minutes we landed and what a fantastic landing, I was expecting it to be much more rough!
It was such a fantastic experience and I am sure my friends got annoyed with me the next day when I carried on about the flight . I hope I can do this again
Oh the anticipation - calling the flight line - is it on or off again. Yes 3rd time of trying its on, but moved to an alternative site and an hour earlier than anticipated. So up at 3.30 am to locate launch site and be there for 5.15 am. Moon still up, mist rolling in, birds singing. Excited. other passengers and crew arrive. Then setting up adds to the excitement, watch a normal size party balloon floating away to show the wind direction and speed, then noisy fans blowing air in to inflate the balloon first, soon the burners light up. Very soon getting the call to climb in any way you can. Sorry two people failed to arrive, but we allowed as much time for them as we could. Before you knew it we were floating away in the mist. Very atmospheric. Yes floating - none of that horrid bouncing along and stomach lurching you get with aircraft. There were people aboard who'd never flown before and weren't looking forward to it, but they agreed it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be. Oddly although the scenery below changes and you get a very mild pressure in the ear at 1,2 and 3 thousand feet, you still don't have any sensation of moving its as if you are watching a film below and around you - with the sun in your eyes. The bird song is so very clear and that's all you hear (apart from the odd burner to control height) - so peaceful. I would have loved to stay up there. But we had to come back down to earth. Slowing coming down, then the burners are set off in short bursts to help control the landing. We had a gust of wind just at the last moment so the basket was dragged for a short distance along the ground. Once at a stop, all out, then help the pilot squash the air out of the balloon. Ground crew catch up with us, pilot (Damian Bridger) locates the land owner for vehicle access to the field. The cows come to see what's going on then walk away. Ladies hold the bag, gents fold the heavy balloon into the bag ( have you ever struggled getting a duvet cover on?). Then time for champers, and a trip back to our launch site. Sun has now burned away the earlier mist. Brilliant time, must go again. Go on do it YOU WILL ENJOY it it's a very pleasant hour and a bit flight not knowing where you will end up. PS don't bother trying to register on this dooyoo site they say it takes only 2 minutes, I've given up after waiting over 30 mins.
My husband and I flew from Prested Hall , check in at 6.30pm final arrival 9.30.we were in the air for approx. 90 mins It was a joint anniversary present The whole experience was excellent. My husband does not like heights but was distracted by the beautiful views and the peace and quiet as we glided over the fields. We were very lucky to have an excellent pilot and support team. Thank you for a lovely evening.
After recieving this wonderful gift off my lovely husband for our 30th wedding anniversary it was absolutely fantastic and would recomend it to everyone it was well worth the wait we had a fabulous time the pilot was very informative all the way through the flight and the ground crew were lovely thanks to colin and dave for the lovely glass of bubbly at the end thanks again for a fabulous day
Throughly enjoyed our flight from Perth Airport last week. The pilot was excellent, friendly and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble including packing up the ballooon at fist launch site (due to flog) and moving to another location to reinflate the ballooon again! Marvelous experience especially as we flew on first booking.
I paid £10 to change the location of my balloon flight from South-East to South-West. Unfortunately, my balloon flight in Bath was cancelled a day before at 11:00 pm! Of course no one even apologized that I had to pay for the train tickets and a hotel as I am from London. Now I want to book the flight again, which will be closer to my location and GUESS WHAT - I HAVE TO PAY AGAIN £10 to have flight from my original South-East destination. I CAN'T BELIVE how Virgin is taking extra money from their customers to pay for their mistakes and cancelations!!!
We live by the Lake District and were looking forward to a balloon trip from Newby Bridge hoping to go over the lakes and hills. Don't bother. Apparenly, if the wind is blowing over the lakes they won't go from that site, so picking a take off location near lakes or mountains is not worth while. I have flown before (in Africa) and had the most amazing experience. Unfortuinately, most of the experience was in what we flew over.
Managed to get our flight after 7 attempts (bad weather) and if you had never flown before, it was an interesting experience. Although the information says you may help with the settingup and packing - it did not feel as if we actually had any option. This was a bit embarrassing as both my partner and I suffer from bad backs. I was in agony for two days afterwards.
The tickets are very expensive and included a pack of goodies - so, we have 2 copies of Richard Branson's book, two DVDs of balloon flights, two caps, two pair of binoculars and two bags. We would be unable to cancel and get full refund unless these packs were unopened - which is, of course, highly unlikely especially as the dvd says it will tell you what to expect!
Tickets also included champagne on landing. We stood in a farmer's yard beside the packed up balloon and wasted five minutes drinking one bottle between 11 people, suitably watered down with orange juice. Why bother??
Had this cost £50 it would have been reasonable value. Nearly £200 - forget it.
Booked flight over a year ago for my mothers 50th birthday. Flight had been cancelled 10 times eventhough each time was on a sunny day with little or no wind.When asked for a refund, staff were very unhelpful and not very sympathetic.When finally able to fly, exprience was ok, but pilots have no clue where they will land, which meant we landed unauthorised in a dark boggy farm field, expected to help deflating the balloon whilst the van, which was meant to pick us up, was stuck mile away.NOT WORTH THE MONEYNOT WORTH THE HASSLENOT WORTH THE DISAPPOINTMENT!!!!!!
The only description, finally, of an experience of wonder and delight!!the professional skill, generous kindness, focus and authority of Mr Richard Prowse, our pilot was celebrated by all of us. His skill, goodwill and obvious experience made every moment for each of us - including our family at the beginning an end! - an experience to cherish - and to repeat!!!Thank you, Mt Prowse, from all eleven of us in the early morning of 9th August, 2012.Thank you, Virgin, as were we until 9th August! We have all vowed to be with you again!Katherine Graymore and Family. XX
What a superb day..Was very scared but it was well worth it.....I bought it for my hubby as a present and thought what have i done!!!! But we both went for it. We flew from Cheshire, Whitchurch Rugby club grounds....Weather was perfect. Blue skies sun shine....The pilot lindsey was great she new everyting and kept us well informed about everything....Landing we didnt feel hardly anything....the whole day was fab and we loved it although very scared.... Thank you all very much and also the lads who help us put the balloon away and drove us back to our pick up zone...very body had a great day.
What an amazing experience, from booking, flying, landing and transportation back to launch site! A great big thank you to Russell Collins for his expertise both in flight and landing. Russell was very professional and a passionate pilot. A great big hats off to Steve, Russells right hand man for his ground work expertise. Steve worked very hard and looked to be enjoying every minute. (he deserves a medal) We loved taking part in setting up and packing away the balloon. The atmosphere was friendly, relaxed and was great for team building!! Everyone helped in one way or another such a lovely bunch of passengers. I lost my glasses when packing away the balloon but Russell reassured me they would turn up when setting up next flight. Amazingly they did!!Thanks guys for an amazing experience and keep up the good work!!Patricia and Kenny ( lovely flowered top)
Given as a gift one Christmas, we received 7 day anytime tickets. The problem really starts from booking. I called up religiously every Tuesday to get flights flying from Biggar our closest departure point from Edinburgh. Only to be told to call next Tuesday as there were no new launch dates. I eventually asked for Aberdeen Castle Fraser and decided I would just need to make a weekend out of it.
We were really very very lucky. It was a blistering hot day on the 26/05/2012 yet if the wind did not die down we may not have flied that evening- even though we were told to attend the site at 7pm.
After speaking to the other 14 people there it was evident some had been waiting 2 years to fly.
Eventually it was agreed that they would start to inflate the balloon. With a 3 man unit (including the lazy pilot) they asked for our help to set up. If we hadn't have helped, I could assure you we wouldn't have been able to fly, because it would have been dark easily would have taken over an 2hrs, with only 3 of them to set up the balloon. With 10 it took 1hour. We fly at 8pm.
Amazing views and experience when you are up there - but you have no control over where you end up. The other 2 guys drove the car & trailer following us to our landing point.
Ended up landing at 8.50pm in a cow field in some very smelly cow pat! There were delays as we had to wait for the following team to convince the farmer to come release us from the field. Then there was the laborious task of deflating the balloon and rolling this us to fit back in the bag. At this point it was covered in cow pat! It took another hour or so to do this. Come 10pm we had our cheap wine (no body wanted a top up), we were then advised that there is not enough room in the mini bus they had arranged - only for 8 people (there were 16 of us). We got split up from our partners - as women "with the short legs" can go in the back of the car (6 of us) but they would need 2 volunteers to go in the basket ON THE BACK OF THE TRAILER! Ridiculous. Virgin made approximately £2300 for that flight - labour paid for via the customer.
I hope you have a better experience - but it is NOT worth the money in my opinion.
I'd just like to take this opportunity to compliment the team I had the pleasure of flying with this month from Stratford on Avon Racecourse. Russell J Collins and his accomplice Steve on ground crew were fantastic, polite, cheery and calm and were great to travel with. A wonderful experience and amazing weather/views, I can't thank Russell enough for his great skills and piloting! Not to mention their organisation and knowledge and booking of taxi and working with landowners and champagne and photo! Thanks!!
My Husband and I had flights bought as an anniversary present and we were fortunate enough to fly on our first booking. We flew from York Racecourse early morning and it was glorious. What an experience! The pilot Chris and the crew man Neil were wonderful, full of jolly reassuring banter but also very efficient and professional. They turned an exciting trip into an unforgettable one. I would definitely recommend a trip to anyone. Finally if you get you trip cancelled, don't despair, be sure that when you do it will be EPIC!!
Not much to say apart from is was an absolutely brilliant experience. Would love to do it again but it is a little expensive but all in all it's we'll worth it. Thanks virgin, and most all Hugh and our pilot Neall parry for an amazing day.