FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. DOES BAD WEATHER AFFECT THE SEAPLANE FLIGHTS ?

As mandated by the Civil Aviation Authority all flights are subject to an assessment of the weather and water conditions by the Captain. 

In bad weather seaplanes landing on water in remote areas of the Highlands and Islands do not have the same instrument landing facilities that are available to large airliners landing at major airports such as London Heathrow. Our runways can have large waves moving down them!

Occasionally, to ensure the comfort and safety of our customers, we may have to cancel a service due to high winds, turbulence, poor visibility or low cloud ceilings. In most cases, a short delay is all that is required - please see our Terms & Conditions.

Our weather cancellation rate is around 8% not unlike many other forms of transport in remote regions. To put it another more positive way, 92% of our more than 200 flights per month have no weather problems whatsoever.

2. THE WEATHER IS OK AT MY DEPARTURE POINT – WHY IS THE FLIGHT CANCELLED ?

The weather patterns in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland can produce great differences in conditions only a few miles apart. It may be that the tour route has weather conditions below our legal limits or that winds aloft, even in a beautiful blue sky, are generating severe turbulence. 

Conditions can also change very, very quickly. So, you may have reasonable weather above your head but don’t forget we cover some 70-110 miles at around 160 miles per hour on our tour and the weather just a couple of miles away may not be suitable at all. Equally, often the weather at our departure point is not so good but just a couple of miles away there is unlimited visibility and clear blue skies.

3. HOW MUCH SEAT CAPACITY DOES LOCH LOMOND SEAPLANES HAVE EACH YEAR ?

There are over 200 flights per month through the main season and those flights produce over 18,000 available seats per year for a booking on a first come first served basis. LLS expects to sell around 8,000 seats.

Although, over the whole year, we have significant capacity it must be appreciated that on any given day, week or month, particularly in high season, there are only so many seats we can provide. For example, in a rebooking situation in the middle of summer, seat availability could be very low for some weeks ahead, particularly on weekends. Please refer to question 10. In addition, as we move into winter with reducing daylight hours, on occasions, immediate rebooking can be difficult.

4. WHAT WEATHER FORECASTING RESOURCES DOES LOCH LOMOND SEAPLANES USE ?

At LLS we use a multitude of aviation and marine weather web sites, however, forecasts, unless they are extreme, such as advising of an approaching hurricane, are almost always wrong to some degree. I'm sorry to say that after 13 years we have come to know the forecasts as "fairy stories" - if you'd like some fun, print the 5 day forecast from the internet on five consecutive days then compare.  :-)

Weather forecasts provide a big picture view of the country but, unfortunately, they don't help a great deal on a local scale, particularly on the west coast and in the glens and mountains of Scotland. Actual weather reporting facilities are few and far between outside the UK's main cities.

5. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELLED ?

LLS will endeavour to advise you of the situation immediately on the contact number you have supplied. Please have your mobile switched on that day.

Loch Lomond Seaplanes understands that customers may be very disappointed if their flight is cancelled, we are too, but In these circumstances, Loch Lomond Seaplanes is unable to reimburse travel, accommodation or any other expenses you may incur in relation to the cancelled tour flight - to avoid disappointment, please bear this in mind if you have included our service in your plans for a very special occasion. Cancellations do occur and we can only accept responsibility for the provision of our seaplane flight and not any arrangements that you have made around the flight.

Rebooking will be subject to seat availability at that time.

6. DO YOU FLY THROUGH THE WINTER MONTHS ?

Yes, we fly all year round. Winter can be the best time of year. The colours are magnificent and the air can be much smoother. There is nothing better than a winter high pressure system for providing perfect flying conditions. The deep browns found on the hillsides with a sprinkling of snow on the mountain tops provide breathtaking views.

Of course, occasionally we can expect fog and icing conditions and these are not conducive to water operations. Daylight hours also reduce significantly and we can only schedule flights from 10am until 3pm in the depths of winter.

7. WILL I GET AIR SICK ?

Interestingly, only one in around 5-600 of our passengers will get a little queasy, usually, due to taking lots of photographs and enjoying the scenery through a very restricted 2 inch square camera viewer.

In many respects, there is no such thing as motion/air sickness as the symptoms are principally induced by the behaviour of the individual. It’s mainly caused by the eyes and the brain receiving conflicting messages – one senses motion, the other does not, so, for example, reading or playing computer games in a car could bring on the symptoms or, as mentioned, so could taking lots of photographs or videos whilst moving.

Keeping in mind their effectiveness and their side effects we wouldn’t recommend travel sickness pills but would simply advise that you just look out of the window – this keeps your brain and eyes in agreement, i.e. you're moving ! You can actually get the same symptoms sitting at the movies watching something like a car chase.

8. CAN WE TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS WHILST ON BOARD ?

Yes, with the most amazing landscape in the world on view from your First Class seat you'd be mad not to - don't forget to charge your batteries - we only ask that you don't press your camera against the window as it tends to scratch the glass. 

The caveat is that the aircraft is very good indeed for viewing but it is not a professional camera platform and I'm afraid the wing can't be removed to give you a better view :-). If you hope to take professional quality aerial photographs you really need a helicopter with the door off. Also, it is our company policy that we will not reseat passengers to accommodate photographers who would prefer a different camera view.

Large professional type cameras with long telephoto lenses are not suitable for use on the aircraft.

Also, please bear in mind looking at the landscape through a lens can also make even professional cameramen queasy - plus you miss the best of the experience ! See note 7 above.

9. WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE FOR CHILDREN AND WHAT IS THE QUALIFYING AGE FOR THE CHILD PRICE

Unfortunately, we are unable to carry children under two years of age. In addition, due to the seat belt arrangement in the seaplane, we are unable to carry children under the height of one metre. Children under 12 years of age qualify for our CHILD price and must be sat beside a responsible adult during the flight.

10. HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO YOU NEED TO BOOK ?

This is, as you can imagine, is very difficult to tell but in high season, to get the particular day that you want, you may have to book at least 6-12 weeks ahead for a weekend and in excess of four weeks ahead for a weekday - possibly longer.

Winter/autumn months have reduced hours of daylight and therefore have less flights. At LLS we always endeavour to supply more seats as demand increases.

11. WHAT SHOULD I WEAR ?

For ease and safety whilst boarding, high heels, flip flops and open toed sandals are not recommended.

12. IS THERE A PASSENGER WEIGHT LIMIT ?

Our aircraft seats have a weight limit of 22 stones / 308 lbs / 139 kg. Seat Belt Extensions are not available for this seat design, however, the seat belts will accommodate passengers below this weight.

13. IS THERE A PASSENGER HEIGHT LIMIT ?

Passengers who are up to 6 feet 4 inches tall should have no great problem with boarding and seating. If you are taller please call us to discuss.

14. CAN I FLY OVER MY HOUSE/BOAT ?

We'd be delighted to fly over your house or any other preferred area “if possible” - mention it to the pilot and he will do his best to fit it in to the tour. 

There are many considerations such as, is it close to our preferred route, will it disadvantage the other passengers, will the reroute exceed our scheduled flight time, does the weather allow it, will it fit in with Air Traffic Control, will it avoid aviation danger areas and finally, the other passengers might not be interested in the location you wish to see.

Our website maps show the area we fly within but we do not guarantee a particular flight path.

15. WHY DOES IT TAKE UP TO 28 DAYS TO RECEIVE A REFUND ?

It is not widely known that when a credit/debit card is used to pay for something the retailer may not get the money from the credit card company for 2 or 3 weeks. There are also many steps in the refund process and not just with the retailer – hence the 28 days turnaround time stated in our terms and conditions which is very much an industry standard.

In effect, we simply don’t have your money. In addition, the refund has to go back to the person who bought the ticket and not necessarily the passenger who received the ticket. Large corporations can get a much better turnaround time from banks and credit card companies, sometimes as low as 2-5 working days – with small amounts, some companies also finance the refund to facilitate it before they actually receive the money in from the credit card company. Larger amounts are subject to much more scrutiny hence the turnaround time.

Obtaining a refund of a few pounds over the counter for a "returned" item bought in a large store is quite a different process from dealing with several hundred pounds spent over the telephone or online - credit card fraud is now at frightening levels.

If you google “credit card refund delays” you will find some useful sites that explain, in detail, the processes involved – for example, on the following websites (please click) :

ehow

Knowledge Base

As we sell mainly over the phone, for your security, we ask for an email or written request to initiate the refund process.

If you find our credit/debit card refund policy inconvenient an alternative would be to pay by bank transfer or cash which would ensure an immediate refund in the event of cancellation.

16. CAN I SELECT MY SEAT PRIOR TO BOARDING ?

The aircraft is a high wing design and provides the best platform available for viewing the landscape, however, aircraft components such as wing struts, flaps and controls will affect views.

The seats are allocated by the Captain just prior to boarding. The Captain considers the aircraft weight and balance, security, English language capability, passenger mobility and several other factors in this process - there are in fact Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations which govern the use of the seat. Being at the front of the queue has no influence in the allocation of your seat - we're not Easyjet or Ryanair so why not just relax and enjoy the experience.

Our check-in staff cannot accept requests for the front right pilot seat and we ask that you do not approach the Captain.

Passengers will not be reseated to accommodate photographers who prefer a particular seat.

Wherever possible, couples will be sat together i.e. across the aisle and groups will be allocated seats across the aisle and in adjoining seat rows.

Unfortunately, passengers who do not accept the seat(s) allocated by the Captain will be denied boarding and will forfeit their tickets.

17. WHY DOES THE WEBSITE NOT MENTION HOW LONG THE FLIGHT TIME IS FOR EACH TOUR ?

The flight information mentions the minimum time that the experience will last for but importantly it also mentions the distance flown. If you were to fly in a small aircraft with a maximum speed of 90 mph, for example, you would only travel 45 miles in 30 minutes whereas in our seaplane the distance would be 80 miles. Also if there are strong head winds it would have the same effect, for example, if we flew in an 80 mile per hour head wind - this would mean that you would only travel 40 miles in 30 minutes as our speed over the landscape would only be 80 miles per hour ....... on these occasions, with Loch Lomond Seaplanes, your 40 minute experience can turn into a 55 minute one as your pilot ensures that you cover the route we'd like you to see.

From time to time there can be low cloud and poor visibility over Loch Lomond but clear blue skies just 5 miles away on the coast (that's Scotland for you!) - well we don't count that first bit ....... time in the air is not what it's all about - you, our customer, enjoying the tour as we would wish it for you is the most important consideration. So leaving the science behind, we feel that it's how far you go and how much you see that's much more important than time in the air.

18. CAN I FLY ON THE SEAPLANE WHEN I'M PREGNANT

Most restrictions quoted by airlines on flying whilst pregnant are established to reduce the cost and disruption to the airline of an in-flight diversion in the event of labour developing - not an issue for a flight on Loch Lomond Seaplanes as we could easily disembark you within ten minutes.

For medical information on flying whilst pregnant please read the following document - Air Travel and Pregnancy - Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

With respect to pressure and altitude changes as well as DVT concerns - the seaplane flies for a short period at very low altitudes - normally around 2,000 feet. For example, many roads throughout the UK and Europe are at a similar altitude.