Only 7% of Virgin Hot Air Balloon Trips Take Off


A frustrated customer found that 93% of Virgin’s balloon flights from Perthshire were cancelled. Most of the time flights were stopped for bad weather.

Ian Wittet, an entrepreneur from Edinburgh, began compiling data after his wife had been gifted a hot air balloon experience which she was unable to use. Initially her flight was cancelled for bad weather, but they were then unable to book another date.

Wittet called Virgin’s “flightline” twice daily for five months. From the information he gathered, it appeared that less than 10% of the hot air balloon rides happened. Future dates were booked well in advance, so much so that the next available date was after their voucher would expire.

A spokesperson for Virgin Balloon Flights said that Perthshire did experience a lot of weather-related cancellations in Perthshire last season but insisted that other Scottish sites had seen over one quarter of their fights take off successfully.

Virgin eventually offered a refund, but Wittet is now looking to start a class action. He calculated there was potentially 2000 other people that would’ve been left in the same position as him.

Virgin said: “Hot air ballooning is a fully weather dependent activity and this is clearly explained both throughout our website and by our customer service team for those who purchase flight vouchers by phone.

“After any cancellation on our part, we automatically ensure a customer has at least another six months to book onto another flight, extending the vouchers if necessary and as often as needed until that customer gets into the air.”