Frequently Asked Questions

Ballooning

Which months do we fly?
Our main flying season is from April to October. Flights are available mornings and evenings during the week and at weekends, weather permitting and subject to availability.

What time of day do we fly?
We fly early mornings around sunrise and early evenings a couple of hours before sunset. This is when the air is at its most stable, so we can get the best of the calmer weather in the day. You’ll be advised of the meeting time when you’re booked onto your flight.

From where do we fly?
Our exclusive launch sites are near Wells Cathedral and Glastonbury Tor. We will supply full meeting instructions prior to your flight.

What are the ideal weather conditions for ballooning?
Ballooning requires light winds, dry weather, good visibility, and firm ground conditions in order to conduct a safe and enjoyable flight. If pilots cancel a flight it is because they are putting your safety first.

Your Flight

How many people will be in the basket?
Our exclusive flights carry only 2-3 people.

How long is the Hot Air Balloon flight?
The flight lasts for around one hour, depending on suitability of landing sites, but you should allow at least three to four hours for the whole ballooning experience. It incorporates a full safety briefing, the opportunity to assist with the lay out of the balloon if you wish, the airbourne adventure, packing away, followed by a celebratory glass of fizz (or soft drink) and return to the launch site.

What should I wear?
The temperature in the air is similar to that on the ground. We recommend clothes suitable for a walk in the countryside: comfortable layers and sensible shoes, trainers or boots. A cap or other hat is sometimes good to protect your head from the heat of the burners.

Can I bring a camera?
Yes! Please bring a camera - the views are spectacular! The balloon makes an excellent stable platform for photography. You are responsible for looking after your camera and personal possessions.

How far will we fly and where will we land?
Hot air balloons travel with the wind and whilst we have an idea prior to launch, we cannot determine exactly where we will land, and this is the exciting part of the journey. The distance travelled depends on the wind speed. The pilot will look for somewhere suitable to land with no animals, crop, or anything that could be a hazard. The ground crew will track the balloon on the ground and aim to arrive shortly after landing. After the balloon is packed away we will transport you back to the launch site.

What’s the landing like?
Landings can be very gentle in light winds or, if the winds are a little faster, we may have a drag along the ground before coming to rest and this is perfectly normal. During landing you will be in the safe landing position within the basket as instructed by your pilot. Many people say the landing is their favourite part of the flight!

Are spectators allowed?
Please do bring family/friends to watch but do not allow them to drive on to a launch field and bear in mind a lack of toilet facilities. We would ask them not to follow the balloon, as our experienced ground crew will track the balloon and bring all the passengers back to the launch site. Please note also that we do not allow any smoking or vaping at the launch or landing fields.

Is there an age or weight restriction?
There is no upper age limit, and passengers must be able to climb in and out of the basket and stand for at least an hour. Children must be 7 years old and be 1.4m (4’6″) tall. A child under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Can I fly if I am pregnant?
Unfortunately we are unable to take you flying if you are pregnant.

Can I fly if I have a disability?
We are committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are given the opportunity to fly and therefore we request that you inform us of any disabilities when booking so that we can do our best to meet the passenger’s needs. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, we are unable to fly anyone who is confined to a wheelchair.

Can I fly with a medical condition?
You must not fly if you are suffering from any serious medical conditions, or have recently undergone surgery, unless you have a certificate of your fitness to fly from your doctor. You must not fly if you are pregnant or under the influence of drink/drugs.

Is ballooning safe?
Hot air balloons are very safe. They go through vigorous annual checks to ensure they meet the strict standards defined by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the British Ballooning and Airship Club (BBAC). We are licensed by the CAA to operate balloons in a commercial capacity, and our pilots hold UK CAA Commercial Pilot Licences and Class 2 medicals. We take your safety extremely seriously.

I’ve paid my deposit, what happens next?
We ask for a £50 deposit to secure your flying slot and will only ask for full payment when we know the flight is 95% certain, around one or two days prior to the flight. Ballooning is very weather dependent. If the weather is poor and we can’t fly we will work with you to find another opportunity to fly, or return the full payment to you. If you decide not to turn up without giving reasonable notice, you will not receive
a refund.

What happens if my balloon flight is cancelled?
If we have to cancel your flight because of weather or other reasons outside our control, we will do our best to re-arrange your flight. If we are unable to do this we will give you a full refund within five working days of the flight date.

Am I insured to fly?
Chris Monk Ballooning carries a combined single limit insurance policy for passengers and third parties of at least 2 million. Passengers’ personal possessions are carried at the owner’s risk.

What qualifications do the pilots have?
All our pilots have been trained to the highest possible standards and hold a UK CAA Commercial Pilot Licence and Class 2 medical. They will each have a certain amount of flying experience before they fly our balloons and also have regular flight tests. Our company is licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority and gets regular company audits to make sure everything is as it should be.

My flight was cancelled but I saw other balloons flying?
Our pilots are very experienced and have in-depth weather forecasting tools available to them to help make the correct decision about whether it is safe to fly or not. We do not base our decision on what other balloonists are doing and our passengers’ safety is our number one priority.

Covid-19 and Ballooning
We make sure that we abide by the latest Government guidelines and those set out by the Department for Transport. Currently, all of our passengers are required to wear a face covering while in the basket and in the retrieve vehicle (unless exempt). Our pilots are exempt from wearing a face covering while the balloon is in flight as they need to use the radio to talk to air traffic control and the ground crew. Sorry, we are unable to fly anyone that has not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Finally...
We do not accept liability for any costs or expenses you incur if we have to postpone any flight, where the reason for the postponement is beyond our control. You are responsible for your travel arrangements to and from the meeting place and we do not accept liability for delays in your travel arrangements. We cannot supervise vehicles parked at the meeting place and vehicles and their contents are left at your own risk and no liability is accepted for any loss or damage to your vehicle or contents.

Our foremost consideration is your safety and the safety of others participating in the flight and you must obey all requests and safety instructions issued by any of our representatives. The pilot has complete discretion as to whether to allow you to take part in the flight and will refuse to allow you to do so if, in their opinion, you would be a risk to the balloon, or to the safety and enjoyment of another passenger.