One of the most common questions asked by prospective passengers of our hot air balloon flights is “Can I take my bag?”….
The simple answer is no, the more complicated one is, “well, you may be able to, what sort of bag do you have?”
Essentially, as part of Hot Air’s safety requirement, passengers must be able to assume the ‘landing position’ when the pilot requests, and certainly on a descent for landing. The landing position requires that passengers be braced against the padded rear of the basket, knees slightly bent, and their hands on the rope handles in front of them.
If passengers are wearing backpack style bags, then they are not in the correct position for landing. As part of Civil Aviation regulations, as hot air balloons are not equipped with luggage lockers, no luggage may be stowed loosely on board, which of course means that these backpacks cannot be kept on the floor of the basket.
The only way a bag may be acceptable would be if it was small, did not impede the correct landing position, and was not going to move about on landing.
Ultimately, it is the pilot’s decision, but our recommendation is always to leave bags on our chase vehicles which will follow the flight, and take cameras, hats, sunglasses etc out – anything that can be safely put in a pocket or on a strap and tucked under an arm on landing is ok.