23/06/2018
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South West Balloon Flights

Balloon Rides Over Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you had a question before contacting us please check it's not already answered below. If it isn't, please fill in the contact form on our contact us page.

 

When are flights available?

Flights are scheduled on a selection of mornings and evenings across 7 days a week from March/April to late October. See 'Flight Availability'.  Be sure to check the expiry date on your voucher and book a flight as soon as possible, ballooning is a weather dependent activity so you need to allow plenty of time for rescheduling before your voucher expires in case you get cancelled by the weather. Balloon flights are made during daylight hours either early in the morning or in the evening, when the winds and thermals are calmest. Times depend on the sunrise and sunset times. For example, May meeting times are around 6.00am and 6.00pm.


Where do we fly from?

We fly over some of the most scenic areas of the UK. See our Meeting Locations for more detailed information.


How long does it take?

Ballooning is an experience NOT to be rushed. The actual balloon flight is approximately 45 mins - 1 hour, however everyone is involved (if they wish) with the pre-flight laying out and inflating of the balloon, and the packing away after the flight. It is very important that passengers arrive at the meeting point at the correct time and are fit enough to participate in the experience. It will sometimes be necessary to travel a short distance from the meeting point to a local launch site. Passengers will be returned to the original meeting point at the end of the flight. For this reason passengers should allow at least 3.5 - 4 hours for the complete experience. Passengers are advised not to book a restaurant following an evening flight, as the return time cannot be guaranteed.


What do I wear?

No special clothing is required. Sensible outdoor clothes and weatherproof footwear suitable for wearing in the countryside at the time of year will be fine. Remember, we usually land in a field and the grass may be damp, and you may encounter the odd cowpat. A hat may be useful to protect your head from the heat from the burners. Ladies wear trousers please. No sandals, flip flops or high heels.


Can I fly over my house/town/city?

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 direction on the day, 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.


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

This again is dependent on the wind. You may travel anything from 2 to 20 miles with the average distance covered being about 8 miles. Altitude wise, the flight will normally take place between 500 and 3,500 feet above ground level.

 

What happens to friends and followers who are not flying?

They are welcome to watch the balloon inflation and 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 cancel if the sun isn't shining?

No. If we consider 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 a minimum of 7 days' notice in accordance with our Terms and Conditions. If you do not turn up for your flight or give sufficient notice of postponement you will not be entitled to reschedule your flight nor will you be entitled to any refund. Please see our Terms & Conditions for more information.


What happens if the weather or ground conditions are not suitable for Ballooning?

It must be understood that ballooning is dependent upon suitable weather and ground conditions. It is essential that you telephone our pre-flight weather information line prior to the flight to check if your flight is proceeding, as stated in your booking confirmation email.  The pre-flight weather line will have information about whether your flight is cancelled or proceeding and any changes to the meeting time or location so it is imperative to call before you leave. If your flight is cancelled, you simply rebook for another convenient day.


How long in advance should I book my flight?

We recommend that you book a flight date as soon as you receive your voucher.  Dates are displayed on the website around 30 days in advance but we often have last minute spaces available.  When you receive your voucher, login to your online account to update the passenger details and then you will be able to access the flight availability and book a date.


Can I take a camera?

Yes, you will want to take lots of photos!  But you are responsible for looking after your camera and personal possessions.


Is it safe?

Yes. We are licensed, certified and audited by the Civil Aviation Authority and all our pilots hold full Commercial Pilot Licenses and have many years experience flying in various conditions and locations across the world. We carry £5m public liability insurance and we are very pleased to say that we have never had to use it!  Some medical conditions such as osteoporosis or back problems can cause injury if there is a bump on landing, please read the information regarding medical conditions and pregnancy carefully.

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 any more than four passengers in any one compartment. You may book just one person, or as many as you wish.  Ballooning is a safe and fun activity for people of all ages and abilities but please do read on to check the age and mobility/medical restrictions.

Alternatively you may like to book an Exclusive Flight where you have an entire balloon to yourselves (plus the pilot of course!) - For details of Exclusive Flights please call the Aerosaurus Balloons on 01404 823102.


Is there an age or weight limit?

There is no upper age limit, but passengers must be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the basket, which is about 1.1m high and similar to climbing over a 5 bar gate. Children must be at least 7 years old, over 4’ 4” high (1.3 M), and accompanied by an adult. For operational reasons there is a surcharge for passengers whose weight exceeds 18 stone (114 kg) of £2 per excess kilo.


Medical Conditions/Mobility/Pregnancy?

We are not qualified to express an opinion regarding medical fitness to fly. It is the passengers responsibility to ensure they are fit to fly. A passenger must not fly if suffering from any serious medical condition or have recently undergone surgery, unless certified fit to fly by their doctor. Passengers must not fly if they are pregnant or under the influence of drink or drugs. A pregnant passenger will have their voucher validity extended free of charge upon providing a copy of the MATB1 form - See Terms and Conditions. Any passenger carrying medication is asked to inform the Pilot and Crew of their situation. We MUST be informed prior to the flight date of any medical condition/mobility issue or pregnancy via email at mail@southwestballoonflights.co.uk.  If you arrive for your flight and the Pilot cannot fly you due to any of these reasons, you will lose your right to fly and will not receive a refund if we have not previosuly been informed.


Can I fly with a disability?

There are many differing levels of disabilities. If you have any form of disability please check with us first. Sadly for safety reasons we are unable to fly any person who is confined to a wheelchair.


How do I arrange a flight?

You first need to purchase a flight voucher(s) which will entitle the passenger(s) to a hot air balloon flight. The passenger must then log into the Passenger Area of our web site, where they are able to view and book on flights. Remember, balloon flights depend upon suitable weather and ground conditions and therefore you may have to book onto more than one flight before getting flown.


Can I bring my own refreshments?

Passengers may bring their own water or soft drinks but these must be in plastic or cardboard containers. Passengers may NOT bring alcoholic drink. Food is not permitted on board the balloon unless for medical reasons (if this is the case please email the office prior to the flight). For safety and logistical reasons we cannot permit passengers to bring glass, china or cutlery on a flight.

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