What’s red, flies through the sky and makes Christmas dreams come true? Virgin Balloon Flights of course!
When it came to filming a Christmas video showcasing our stunning flights in the UK, what better substitute for Santa’s sleigh than a beautiful, big red balloon?
Filmed on location in Virgin Balloon Flights hometown of Telford, Shropshire, the Unwrap An Adventure video was produced completely in-house.
Wanting to celebrate our wonderful staff as well as our beautiful balloon flights, we rounded up colleagues, friends and family one wintry afternoon.
With Chief Pilot Kenneth Karlstrom at the helm, we filmed some stunning footage from the Shropshire skies to capture the magic only a balloon ride can offer.
Filming a Christmas video in a hot air balloon
We had talked about the idea of making a Christmas hot air balloon flight video for a few years but had always met some sort of logistical obstacle in the past.
This time around some early Christmas magic helped us out and meant everything came together to make it happen.
A rare quiet afternoon in the office, the right weather conditions, enthusiastic staff and our chief pilot Ken being available all meant we could finally say, “Lights, camera, action!”
Everyone in the basket had a part, from taking super selfies in-flight to sprinkling magic Christmas fairy dust over the houses below. Blink and you’ll miss it, but even Ken had a festive twinkle in his eye.
Filming an enthusiastic sing-along of Christmas carols over the Shropshire countryside on an October hot air balloon ride was definitely a first. But as the balloon gently came to land in the stunning grounds of the Weston Park Estate, we enjoyed a traditional champagne toast to finish. It was an incredible afternoon and I only wish we had time to do it all over again every year.
A Christmas miracle
We often hear from people who would love to fly in a balloon but worry their fear of heights is stopping them.
Abi Sadler, who has worked for Virgin Balloon Flights for more than six years, is a perfect example to dispel this belief with her starring role in Unwrap An Adventure. Abi is so scared of heights that she hasn’t taken the flight that every employee gets to enjoy as part of working here. But she’d run out of excuses when I announced we needed volunteers for the Christmas video.
“I almost ruined the footage at the start with my utterly terrified reaction to just climbing into the balloon while it was on the ground,” she says. “But our pilot Ken and his crew were great at putting my mind at ease to convince me to even stay in the basket for launch.
“And when you leave the ground, which you don’t even feel happen, and this wonderful, peaceful state just hits you, it’s truly amazing.
“Once we were in the air, and after a bit of cheeky ‘showboating’ from Ken, I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacular vantage point we had. This pure enjoyment resulted in what I can only describe as a ‘giddiness’ taking over. It was such good fun, flying with the team and my other half and I’m left with this amazing memory.
“Maybe it was a Christmas miracle but if I could do it, anyone can!”
The season of giving
Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for us at Virgin Balloon Flights. Matt Jones, our managing director, says in all the years he has been with the company, the appeal of a hot air balloon ride has never waned.
“There’s just something about a hot air balloon ride that almost everyone wants to do it, from children to 100-year-olds,” he says. “Most people buy our balloon flights as a gift, so even with our balloons packed away for the winter, it’s our busiest time of the year.
“A hot air balloon seems to be top of the list as a Christmas gift experience for a lot of people.”
Find out how you can Unwrap An Adventure with Virgin Balloon Flights.