Well... the unexpected, a balloon flight is an adventure.
At Bristol Balloons we do everything we can to make your hot air balloon flight as perfect as we can, but there are days when even the best laid plans get messed up by the weather. Whether or not we fly depends on the weather and your flight may be deferred. We use advanced meteorological services to track the weather conditions right up to the point of setting off for the launch field. A phone call to our dedicated flight line will advise you of any last minute changes to meeting arrangements or stoppages. We know how disappointing it can be if a flight is deferred, but we're confident that when you do fly with us you'll have the best balloon flight possible.
We suggest you wear outdoor clothing suitable for the time of year - stout, flat footwear in case of muddy landings, trousers for climbing in and out of a basket, long sleeves, a jumper or fleece for warmth. Your balloon will fly at the same speed as the wind, so once we're off the ground you won't feel any wind chill, but it can be cool on an early morning launch field and the temperature can drop quickly once the sun goes down. A hat is handy to shield your head from the warmth of the burners, particularly if you're tall. You may encounter wet grass, mud and the odd cowpat so we advise against wearing anything valuable, including loose or delicate jewellery. We do not accept responsibility for damage to clothing. On cold days we recommend gloves. We include further guidelines when we send out your voucher.
You are welcome to bring along friends and family to wave you off. However do make sure they have their own transport, are independent of you and you are independent of them. Sometimes we need to drive you to an alternative launch site. If your friends and family want to follow and watch, they can do so but they must have their own transport. Unfortunately we can only carry balloon passengers in our retrieve vehicles.
Park your vehicle, lock away valuables and make yourself known to the pilot in accordance with instructions on our pre-flight recorded telephone message. We do not always fly from the meeting place and it may be necessary for us to meet you and take you by road to a launch site that best suits the immediate wind conditions.
For many passengers and spectators this is one of the most exciting points of the balloon flight. When everyone is gathered your pilot will give you a full flight and safety briefing before inflating the balloon. Your pilot will show you how you can help with the inflation if you want to, or you can simply enjoy the noise and bustle. When the balloon is fully inflated and upright your pilot will invite passengers onboard and explain the features of the balloon and the procedures for flying and landing.
Yes, you can help.
Up, up and away
Many passengers never even feel the balloon take off as it gently leaves the ground behind. Don't forget to wave to friends and family so they can get a good photo. Then just relax and enjoy the flight. All our pilots are happy to answer any questions you may have about ballooning or the spectacular scenery that surrounds you.
A view of Bristol from our Balloon.
Your pilot will remind you of landing procedures before bringing the basket safely back to earth. All our baskets are segmented into small compartments for your comfort and protection should the basket tip on landing.
Allow two to four hours for the whole experience, from gathering at the meeting place to piling into the retrieve vehicle, all packed up after landing. After contacting the land owner and recovering the balloon we will return you to the original meeting place, but we recommend you do not organise anything important to follow on from the flight since your return can sometimes be delayed. On summer evening flights you may not get back till after 11pm.
Your transport back to the launch site - unfortunately we cant fly you back!
But first we have have to pack up!
Please find below the list of flight area information numbers to call if you are booked onto a flight:
Bath 0117 947 1024
Bristol 0117 947 1023 (also used for The Bristol Balloon Fiesta)
Gloucestershire 0117 947 1078
Somerset 0117 947 1056
Usk & Wye Valley 0117 947 1041
Westonbirt 0117 947 1034
Exclusive flights 0117 947 1026 (except for The Bristol Balloon Fiesta)
Links to other sites that may be of interest.