Why is there a hot air balloon in departures at Heathrow?

The Burberry Balloon

Passengers in Terminal 2 can’t have failed to notice the life-size hot air balloon hovering over the departure lounge. But what is it doing there?

Standing over 15 metres tall, the Burberry Balloon is inspired by the achievements of Air Commodore Edward Maitland, who wore Burberry gabardine for his pioneering flight in a balloon named The Mammoth.

Air Cdre Maitland took up ballooning in 1907. The following year he completed his ‘Mammoth’ balloon journey from London to Meteki Derevni in Lithuania (then part of Russia).

He covered the distance of 1,117 miles in 31.5 hours, a standout moment in the world of lighter-than-air aviation.

But his achievements did not stop there. He travelled aboard the Airship R34 when it completed the first east-west transatlantic flight in 1919.

If Air Cdre Maitland was a pioneer in the world of early aviation then his counterpart in the clothing industry must be Thomas Burberry, who invented gabardine fabric in 1879.

With its tight weave, gabardine is a unique natural fabric, both water-repellent and breathable at the same time. The age-old craft used to produce gabardine for Maitland is still used today in Burberry’s English mills.

Of course, in today’s climate-controlled aircraft you won’t need protecting from the cold at altitude, but you can still recapture that touch of class from a bygone era. Luckily for you the Burberry Balloon is accompanied by a pop-up store featuring the latest fashion accessories. Look out for the DK88 leather collection, named after the house code for signature honey-coloured gabardine, each piece featuring Burberry’s exclusive new Trench Leather.

The Burberry Balloon’s installation at Heathrow marks the beginning of a world tour. It will be visiting locations across the globe, so be sure to check in before it departs on 7 August.

Don’t worry, though, Burberry will still be at Heathrow. And, as always, you can reserve online with us and guarantee that your item will be ready to collect when you travel.

Reserve from Burberry with Heathrow Boutique