The Virgin Atlantic pet policy for 2023 allows cats and dogs to travel in the cargo hold. No animals other than cats and dogs are permitted on Virgin Atlantic flights. In addition, Virgin Atlantic only permits registered Assistance & Service Dogs to travel in the cabin. Other pets aren’t accepted to fly in the Virgin Atlantic cabin, just in the cargo hold. You can collect air miles under the Virgin Atlantic Flying Paws Scheme. Also, your cat or dog must be able to move around within their carrier, and they have to travel with an adult passenger. The cost of flying your pet with Virgin Atlantic depends on the route and destination. Assistance & Service Dogs fly free of charge, but Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) aren’t accepted under the Virgin Atlantic pet policy. You can also check out pet travel reviews for Virgin Atlantic Airlines by other pet travellers, or leave a review if you’ve flown your cat or dog with Virgin!
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Virgin Atlantic has yet to resume pet friendly flights, therefore you can’t currently make a reservation for your cat or dog. You can check out other global pet friendly airlines instead.
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Table of contents
- Pets in the Cabin with Virgin Atlantic Pet Policy
- Cats and Dogs Flying in the Virgin Atlantic Hold as Checked Baggage
- Cats & Dogs Flying as Cargo with Virgin Atlantic
- Booking a Cat or Dog Flight with Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Atlantic Snub Nosed Breed Policy
- Banned Dog Breeds with Virgin Atlantic
- Pet Travel Documentation & Vaccines
- Are Pets Safe on Planes?
- Related Pages
|Dogs & Cats in the Cabin of the Plane||❌|
|Dogs & Cats flying as Checked In Baggage||❌|
|Pets flying in Cargo Hold||✅|
|Assistance Dogs in Cabin||✅|
|Psychiatric Service Dogs in Cabin||✅|
|Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in Cabin||❌|
Pets in the Cabin with Virgin Atlantic Pet Policy
Virgin Atlantic doesn’t allow pets to travel in the passenger cabin. Only registered Assistance & Service Dogs are permitted in the cabin on Virgin Atlantic flights, therefore all other cats and dogs must fly in the hold of the plane as cargo.
Cats and Dogs Flying in the Virgin Atlantic Hold as Checked Baggage
Virgin Atlantic doesn’t permit cats, dogs or any other pets to be transported in the hold as checked baggage. Pets may only fly in the hold as cargo with Virgin Atlantic. If you’re unsure of the differences between pets travelling in the aircraft hold as checked baggage or cargo, check out our detailed explanation.
Cats & Dogs Flying as Cargo with Virgin Atlantic
Pre-pandemic, Virgin Atlantic permitted pets in the hold as cargo. However, at present, this service has not yet resumed. Due to staff shortages in global airports, many airlines are reducing their pet travel services.
Normally, Virgin Atlantic accepts only cats and dogs flying as cargo in the hold.
As the Virgin Atlantic pet cargo service has not re-started yet, check out other cat and dog friendly airlines, as well as 7 Transatlantic Pet Friendly Airlines. For travel between the USA and UK, you also have the option of the world’s only pet friendly cruise!
IATA Requirements for Pets Flying in Hold
For the safety of your pet during air transport, the airline travel kennel must meet the legal requirements of the Live Animal Regulations (LAR) set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Therefore, in addition to ensuring that your cat or dog in their travel crate adheres to the maximum weight and dimensions set by Virgin Atlantic, the minimum inner kennel dimensions defined by the IATA LAR must also be met.
You can calculate the minimum inner space permitted by the IATA LAR, in addition to learning about the required construction, design etc for the pet in hold travel crate.
Should you need a new travel kennel, check out 4 Popular IATA Compliant Pet in Hold Crates.
Cost of Flying a Pet in the Hold with Virgin Atlantic
The cost of flying each pet in the hold is calculated by Virgin Atlantic’s Cargo Department, as it depends on the weight of your cat or dog, as well as the dimensions of their travel kennel. As your pet will be travelling as cargo, the fee will be higher than it would be than if you were flying with an airline that accepts direct bookings for pets travelling in the hold of their plane.
Booking a Cat or Dog Flight with Virgin Atlantic
To book your pet to travel with Virgin Atlantic airlines, the contact details are listed below, together with any restrictions on pet travel from your departure airport.
|The UK: Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester||Virgin Cargo UK bookings|
Tel: +44 (0)344 873 8000
|Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm||Virgin Atlantic does not accept bookings for pets landing in or leaving the UK on a Saturday or Sunday.|
|The US: Atlanta, Boston, JFK, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC.||Virgin Cargo US bookings|
Tel: +1 800 828 6822 ext. 4
|Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm (UK Time)||Bookings are not accepted for pets travelling to the USA over the weekend. Also, cats and dogs cannot travel on flights leaving Orlando and Miami from 1 June through to and including 30 September.|
|The Caribbean: Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia||Virgin Cargo Caribbean bookings +246 228 4737|
|South Africa: Johannesburg||All bookings out of South Africa must be made by an IPATA pet agent, who will make the arrangements on your behalf.|
|Hong Kong||You can’t travel to the UK from Hong Kong with your cat or dog. However, you can travel from the UK to Hong Kong.|
Virgin Atlantic Assistance & Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)
You can travel with a recognised Assistance or Service Dog in the cabin on Virgin Atlantic flights from the following destinations:
- London Heathrow
- London Gatwick
- JFK (New York)
- Newark (New Jersey)
- Washington DC
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Las Vegas
- Hong Kong
Remember, you need to let the Virgin Atlantic Special Assistance team know that you are planning to travel with your Assistance Dog at least 3 days before your flight. They will need the following details:
- A copy of the PET Passport or non-EU official veterinary certificate if your dog is starting its travel outside of Europe
- A copy of the dog’s identification card from the accredited recognised charity
- Details of the breed and weight of the dog in question
UK Special Assistance: +44 (0)344 481 4455
UK Special Assistance for the hearing impaired: +44 (0)344 209 0747
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) aren’t trained to perform a specific task for their owner, and therefore can’t travel under the Virgin Atlantic Assistance & Service Dog policy. As Psychiatric Service Dogs are trained and registered, they can fly in the cabin free of charge with Virgin Atlantic only on flights to and from the USA. The US Department of Transport Service Dog attestation must be completed prior to travel.
Virgin Atlantic Snub Nosed Breed Policy
Snub-nosed (brachycephalic) animals, such as French Bulldogs, Pugs and Persian Cats, can have trouble breathing during the flight, due to high temperatures and stress. To ensure their well-being, most snub-nosed (brachycephalic) animals may not be transported in the hold. Sometimes, airlines permit snub nosed breeds to travel in the cargo hold, rather than in the checked baggage area, but this isn’t recommended for the safety of your pet.
Banned Dog Breeds with Virgin Atlantic
Any dogs listed in the UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act, aren’t permitted to travel with Virgin Atlantic. Therefore, you can’t fly with these dog breeds on Virgin Atlantic flights:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Braziliero
- Pit Bull Terrier (Including the American Pit Bull Terrier or Pit Bull types)
But, check out other airlines that do fly ‘dangerous’ dog breeds.
Pet Travel Documentation & Vaccines
Virgin Atlantic is an English international pet friendly airline, so for flights within the EU, your cat or dog has to meet the EU Pet Travel Scheme criteria. This means that you’ll need to arrange either a Pet Passport or Animal Health Certificate, and ensure that your cat or dog is microchipped and vaccinated against Rabies.
Are Pets Safe on Planes?
If you’re worried about your furry travel companion’s wellbeing when flying, check out our comprehensive post regarding pet safety on planes. While in the USA, a monthly report is provided for airline pet incident rates, there isn’t an equivalent in Europe at the moment. So, there’s no data available for incidents when flying pets in the hold with Virgin Atlantic. Note that even the airline pet incident reports submitted in the USA are only for cats and dogs flying in the hold, and don’t include any in cabin events.
No doubt, at some point your trip will involve a car ride, so have a look at our 12 Essential Pet Car Safety Tips too. Should your cat or dog suffer from motion sickness, we’ve also compared some of the treatments, strategies and medications for pet travel nausea.
It’s important to be aware that you can’t sedate or tranquilize your cat or dog for their Virgin Atlantic flight.
In addition, to protect your pet’s health and wellbeing in a new country, be sure to keep your cat or dog safe from vector-borne diseases. In particular, Heartworm from mosquitoes and Leishmaniasis from sandflies in Southern European destinations pose a serious threat.
And don’t forget the all important Essential Pet Travel Accessories!
Prior to booking, always view the Virgin Atlantic pet travel policy on their website for any recent changes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, some airlines are frequently amending their rules for pets on planes.
Have a safe and wonderful trip, and remember to leave a pet travel review for Virgin Atlantic if you fly your cat or dog, in the cabin or hold!