We feel it’s important that you and your fellow passengers are well-prepared for your ballooning adventure and for the CuliAir Programme.
For this reason, we have compiled a summary of frequently asked questions and general information in one convenient document. We kindly request that you read all the information carefully.
If you have a question that is not included in this document, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by WhatsApp at + 31 (0)6-53723440.
COVID-19 safety guidelines for ballooning
Obviously, ballooning comes with all the fresh air you could wish for. As a matter of course, we take all the necessary precautions for safe performance of your ballooning voyage.
We implement these measures to safeguard the security, experience, and expectations of everyone involved.
What has changed?
• We operate by smaller passenger number in the CuliAir passenger basket
• We follow guidelines and recommendations of the authorities
• We do not shake hands
• We have sufficient hand sanitizer gel available
• Wherever necessary, our crew wear face masks and gloves
• After each ballooning trip, we disinfect all of our materials
Health concerns and symptoms
Health is our prime concern. In order to create a safe environment, we request that you do not make reservations or cancel in timely fashion if you have any symptoms or health concerns that could be associated with coronavirus.
In such cases, we will reschedule your voyage to a later date by mutual consult.
We kindly request you to comply with all hygiene regulations, and to provide 1.5 metres of distance (6ft) whenever possible. If maintaining such distance is impossible, please wear your face mask.
CuliAir ballooning is available throughout the ballooning season from March through November, including Sundays and (national) holidays.
Throughout the winter season (November – February), we occasionally schedule special CuliAir winter voyages.
Ballooning is weather-dependent
Sunrise and sunset are the two most sensational moments of the day; they are also the only moments when ballooning is possible. This is due to the laws of thermics.
In the early morning just after sunrise, and in the evening, a few hours before sunset, there are no rising or descending thermal currents in the air: the perfect conditions to safely and comfortably ascend and descend by balloon.
Ideal circumstances are open skies and normal wind conditions. Heavy winds, poor visibility, developing thunderstorms, temperatures above 30°C, low cloud cover and rain are adverse conditions for ballooning.
Your culinary ballooning voyage can only take off under ideal weather conditions, to warrant a safe and comfortable journey. Such is at the discretion of the balloon pilot.
Ever since 2003, CuliAir has been working exclusively with highly experienced and licensed pilots acknowledged by the Dutch Royal Air Traffic Association (Koninklijke Vereniging van Luchtvaart) and acknowledged ballooning operators meeting the standards established by the European Air Safety Agency (EASA) and Dutch authorities.
The ballooning operator that we work with has full liability insurance coverage for its entire ballooning fleet. This insurance covers your participation from the moment you set foot in the basket until you step out again. This means that as a passenger, you are insured through the passenger insurance of the ballooning operator facilitating the ballooning voyage on behalf of CuliAir. (Minimum insurance standards are established by EU Decree nr. 785/2004).
Proceeding with the ballooning voyage or cancellation
Due to his dependence on the weather, the balloon pilot can only determine whether to proceed with the ballooning voyage or not on the day itself. This decision is usually made by the end of the morning, when the Dutch weather institute publishes its ballooning forecasts.
If you have a ticket for an evening trip, then we will contact you on the day of your trip between noon and 1pm. We talk you through the weather conditions and usually, we will indicate whether the ballooning voyage can proceed or not.
Takeoff location and assembly time
If the voyage is to proceed, we will notify you of the definitive takeoff location and the assembly time. This is determined by means of weather conditions such as wind speeds and direction.
Consequently, prior schedules (indications) and (preferred) locations may be adjusted to these conditions. This increases the likelihood of proceeding with the ballooning voyage.
The crew will not be on the takeoff location before the assembly time you receive.
If your ballooning voyage is cancelled
If the ballooning voyage has to be cancelled, this will always be in your own safety interests. In such cases, we will email you a unique voucher code to use for rescheduling your voyage using the dates overview.
Ticket validity and gift tickets
Your CuliAir ticket is not person-specific and is valid for 2 years from the moment of reservation unless otherwise agreed in writing. Gift tickets state their validity on the tickets themselves.
Parking at the takeoff location
Parking facilities vary between takeoff locations. You will receive information on the day itself.
Most Dutch ballooning locations are meadows and parks. These generally do not feature sanitary facilities.
These are indicative assembly times for CuliAir evening ballooning voyages.
Specific assembly times will be communicated on the day of the scheduled ballooning trip.
Reception at the takeoff location
The CuliAir ballooning team will receive you at the agreed time and takeoff location. There, we will start by serving an aperitif and light entrée.
Safety instructions and balloon preparation
The balloon pilot will give you a briefing and safety instructions.
Subsequently, the balloon is prepared, the kitchen and restaurant basket set up – after that, your high-end ballooning adventure will begin in earnest.
Please read the Safety instructions here
Balloon voyage duration
Your CuliAir ballooning voyage lasts for about an hour and a half. This is longer than a regular trip, but the time is needed to present your dinner in the fashion you deserve. Dishes are prepared on the spot as you relish the spectacular view.
Since hot air balloons drift on the wind, they cannot be controlled like other aircraft. CuliAir ballooning voyage duration may vary depending on landing conditions.
Pure taste starts in nature. The season’s best ingredients and flavours are Angélique Schmeinck’s key elements in creating her characteristic cuisine and taste combinations.
We serve aperitifs and entrées at the takeoff location. Over the course of the CuliAir ballooning voyage, you will enjoy three spectacular dishes prepared in the hot air of the balloon itself. These dishes are of course accompanied by the finest wines.
At the landing site, a festive dessert and traditional champagne baptism await to complete the journey.
Special preferences and requests
Hospitality and service are prime concerns at CuliAir. We are happy to cater to any special preferences and requests our guests may have.
If you have any food allergies or vegetarian preferences, or if you prefer non-alcoholic drinks, then please notify us upon your reservation.
The hot air balloon as a convection oven
At a volume of 10,000 cubic metres and measuring 45 metres from top to bottom, the CuliAir balloon works like a giant convection oven. Temperatures inside the balloon can rise to 100°C, allowing for slow cooking of delicate products such as sea bass or fowl on ‘low’ temperatures.
This is the perfect technique to let aromas develop, and to retain the juices present in fish or meats. A sophisticated system of pulleys allows custom-made baskets of fowl and bass to be raised up to the balloon’s pinnacle. There, the dishes are gently cooked at 90-degree temperatures, before they make their way back down the balloon for final preparation.
All dishes are presented in style, and as you sit at the fully set dining tables mounted on the edge of the basket, you will enjoy fabulous flavour and sensational views at the very highest level.
Many people experience the landing as an equally thrilling and enjoyable aspect of ballooning. Depending on wind speeds, landings can range from ever-so-gentle to fast and sporty. You will receive clear instructions from the pilot at the initial briefing as well as right before landing.
Please note that as balloons drift on the wind, the exact landing site is never known beforehand.
Once we are back on solid ground, the time has come for the traditional champagne baptism, accompanied by a festive dessert and an official ballooning certificate.
Total duration of the programme
Assume at least four hours of ballooning joy from your reception in the meadow until your return to the takeoff location.
We advise you not to make any plans for right after your ballooning voyage, as the programme may be extended due to local conditions.
Transit back from the landing site
If you wish, you can join us as we return to the assembly location.
If you prefer to arrange your own transport back from the landing site, a friend or relative can follow the ballooning crew by car to track the balloon on its voyage.
We are happy to present your driver with an entrée at the takeoff location, and a dessert with non-alcoholic beverage at the landing site (1 person maximum).
During ballooning, vertigo is not an issue, because balloons do not touch the ground.
Perhaps you may find the first few minutes somewhat exciting, but generally speaking, the sensation will soon fade if you keep your eyes fixed on the horizon.
Voyage route, distance, and altitude
As balloons drift on the wind, we can never be sure exactly where we will land. The route and distance covered depend on the direction and force of the wind, as well as on the altitude reached by the balloon. Distances vary, too. On average, we cover some ten to thirty kilometres during our voyage.
Cruising altitudes vary between 150 and 750 metres on average. This ensures sweeping views of the landscape. Sometimes, we can reach 2,000 metres, allowing you to gaze away into the distance for many kilometres all around.
Ballooning is suitable for all ages.
Weather conditions may be an impediment for senior passengers. If we anticipate a sporty landing, we advise elderly passengers to choose another, quieter day for their ballooning voyage.
Children are welcome as soon as they are over 1.30 metres tall. At that point, they can peer over the edge of the basket without problems.
We advise you to postpone your ballooning adventure if you are pregnant.
Safety first! This includes your safety as well as that of other passengers.
Ballooning is an outdoor activity that requires a certain degree of fitness. If you have any health issues, medical conditions, or physical impairments that may affect the safety of your ballooning voyage, please consult your general practitioner on the safety of your planned ballooning trip.
Ballooning dress code
As an outdoor activity, ballooning calls for a sporty outfit. We advise against wearing nylon clothes with regard to flammability and poor ventilation.
We advise wearing firm waterproof shoes without high heels, and we discourage wearing slippers or flip-flops. Meadows tend to be damp and muddy.
We will provide you with a cap to shield your head from the warmth of the balloon.
Please not that after landing, when the sun goes down, temperatures can drop rapidly; bringing an extra sweater or jacket may be a good idea.
Temperatures on board the balloon
Temperatures are similar to those at ground level. Since the balloon is carried on the current of the wind, you will not experience wind chill. In addition, the burners inside the balloon generate some warmth.
Of course, you are free to bring any (video) cameras to take fantastic shots as the balloon is set up and during the journey. Please note that bringing such equipment is at your own risk, however.
Luggage, handbags, backpacks
Only bring the essentials when you go ballooning. Bags and backpacks often occupy too much space in the balloon’s basket. You can leave your luggage in one of the trailer vehicles, which will be present on the landing site.
From a safety perspective, smoking is not allowed within a 50-metre radius of the balloon. Smoking is never allowed during the ballooning voyage.
We kindly request you to always comply with pilot and crew instructions; before, during, and after the voyage.
CULIAIR FROM A TO Z… BIRDS EYE VIEW
• On the day of your reservation, we will inform you whether the weather is suited for your voyage.
• If your ballooning voyage is cancelled due to weather conditions, you will receive a unique voucher code allowing you to pick a new date from the overview.
• If the ballooning voyage is to proceed, we will send you the exact address of the takeoff location and the time of assembly.
• The CuliAir ballooning crew will receive you at the starting location with an aperitif and an entrée.
• The pilot will give you a comprehensive briefing including safety instructions.
• As soon as the balloon is set up, we will take to the skies, allowing you to enjoy the CuliAir ballooning voyage and three sensational dishes prepared in the heat of the balloon. The voyage lasts for about 90 minutes, depending on landing conditions.
• After landing, there will be a festive dessert at the landing location with traditional champagne baptism.
• After completion of the CuliAir Ballooning programme, we will return you to the location where the evening began.