Newest Review: ... the crew arrived and we helped take the basket off the truck, helped inflate the balloon, took off, landed, helped deflate the balloon it... more
Virgin Balloon Flights
Author Name: Jim Whitworth
Virgin Balloon Flights
Advantages: Many options from which to choose your flight.
Disadvantages: Very weather dependent but be patient and even in Britain you'll get a balloon-friendly day.
We've had tickets for a couple of balloon rides for what seems ages. We had them in Dec 2009 but waited until the summer of 2010 before booking a flight. We had four disappointments with the weather. We have had a couple of leisure helicopter flights so were well aware of the dependence of balloons on the weather, but after the fourth 'fail' we thought we might have to venture to a site further south. Lancashire seemed destined to be too windy, too wet, too cloudy or just too balloon unfriendly. We were delighted to finally get the ok on 27 March 2011, fifteen months and the fifth attempt.
We thought we would fly from Stoneyhurst but had to drive further north(!) to Burton-in-Lonsdale which meant a five o'clock start for a 7am flight, and the morning of the 27th also coincided with the clocks being turned forward, so we had about four hours sleep before setting off.
We found the launch site with a mixture of Virgin Balloon directions and satnav.
The pilot, John, and his crew were superb. Humorous, clearly experienced, and obviously his grey hair was a great comfort for someone on their first balloon flight.
The pre-flight unravelling of the balloon, the cold and hot filling, rope-pulling were great fun and an immense thrill to get off the ground. The weather remained overcast but the sun finally made an appearance ten minutes or so from the end so we were able to get a 'balloon shadow' photo.
Champagne, (we had the orange juice!) a certificate and the option of in-flight photos at the end made for a glorious day out and an experience not soon forgotten. I would recommend a balloon flight to anyone who can clamber on board.
Summary: I have been on scheduled airline flights, helicopter flights, but this balloon flight beats the lot.
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