Sky high in the city — a ride with Bailey Balloons in Bristol
If you’ve read a few of my sky high posts, you’ll know I visit places that offer amazing views. I went for something a little different this time round. It was time to get sky high in the city on a ride with Bristol’s Bailey Balloons!
It would be my first time in a hot air balloon and I was really looking forward to it.
About Bailey Balloons
With balloon rides leaving from Bristol, Bath and South Wales, Bailey Balloons’ main headquarters is located in Bristol.
The owners have years of experience ballooning. Not only does Bailey Balloons offer group and other types of rides like champagne flights as part of their business, they also take part in balloon festivals like the annual balloon festival which takes place in Bristol every August.
Booking and departing for your balloon flight
Booking is pretty simple. Departing and going on your flight is sometimes not as simple because it’s very dependent on the weather conditions on the day. You may find that your flight is cancelled and you’ll only know this on the day. You may know sooner if the weather has been bad and predicted to stay the same for a longer period.
It happened with my first attempt and since I don’t live nearby and already booked travel in advance, decided to still go along and spend the day in Bristol. I made my balloon flight on the second attempt although I’d heard about a couple whose flights were cancelled more than four times! To check you need to call the passenger line for the availability on their website. They’ll check the weather late the night before. The good thing is if you have a cancelled flight you can just re-book.
When you book your flight, there will be a set time and dedicated place to take off. From there you’ll likely walk or be driven to where the balloon will be filled up and take off. The meeting times can vary throughout the year.
Once you book you will receive a pack that has all of the details of your flight so you know where and the time to meet.
The flying season is usually from April to October but this can vary depending on the weather. There really isn’t a best time to fly because even if it’s warm and sunny, it could still be quite windy.
Your balloon experience - what to expect
Going on a balloon flight is an experience that shouldn’t be rushed. If you’re planning to go on a ballon ride, you should allow approximately 3 to 4 hours for your entire flight even though your actual “flight” time or time in the air is anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour. This is because there’s a few other things to do as part of your experience. More about that in a bit.
Sharing your ballon ride
If you’ve not chosen a private flight you’ll share your experience with others. Depending on the size of your basket you’ll likely have about 16 people maximum in one balloon basket. That may sound a lot but the basket is more spacious than it looks. It’s split into four sections with each one holding four people.
What to wear
As you’ll be high up it’s best to wear something that you’re comfortable in and will keep you as warm as you want to be. Since you’ll be climbing in and out of the basket, it’s probably a good idea to factor that in when deciding what to put on. A good option is trousers or jeans and a pair of flat shoes, trainers or plimsoles. In case you’re wondering, the temperature, even though you’re higher up, tends be about the same as it is at ground level.
As you’ll be closer to the heat from the burners, which keeps the balloon up, you may want to wear a hat for additional protection.
Remember I mentioned earlier that there are a few other things you’ll need to do? Well, as part of your experience, you’ll be expected to take part in the pre- and post-flight preparation and wrap up activities. This will include things like carrying and rolling the balloon out and helping to position the basket. The volume of air in the balloon is around 375000 cubic feet of air, so a lot to fill up! It’s actually really cool to watch.
All mobile phones will need to be placed on flight mode once your flight takes off.
One other tip, remember your camera!
Post-flight wrap up
Once your ballon flight is over and you’re out the basket, you’ll need to help with the post-flight wrap up. This involves helping to flatten and then roll the balloon back up.
I went for a sunset balloon flight and after we landed, all the passengers (I did too after taking a few snaps) helped flatten and roll up the balloon. The backdrop was beautiful backdrop – the sun setting.
At the end, you will receive a flight certificate and finish off with champagne.
What an experience!
Now you have an idea of what to expect, start thinking about booking a trip in future.
Where do Bailey Balloons flights take place
If you’re thinking of something a little different, book yourself a balloon experience!
Contact Bailey Balloons
Tel: 01275 375 300
Are you excited at the thought of a balloon ride? If you want to do something a little different, I’d say a balloon ride is definitely that!