Flying Pets as Cargo on Virgin Atlantic

All non-service animals traveling with Virgin Atlantic must fly as cargo. This option is available depending on the species, breed, and weather conditions. The airline’s pet policies are designed to accommodate safe travel. To that end, there are certain restrictions you should know about when traveling with your pet. 

Unlike most cargo options, Virgin Atlantic does its best to get you and your animal on the same flight. For most locations, the passenger will need to contact the Virgin Cargo department at their airport to determine if space is available on their flight. The airline recommends doing this before purchasing your own ticket and at least seven days before departure. Most cargo options ship your animal separately, so this service is greatly appreciated among Virgin Atlantic passengers. 

To make sure you can successfully fly a pet in cargo on Virgin Atlantic, here is the information you need. 

 

How much does it cost to fly a pet in cargo on Virgin Atlantic?
Cost varies by size and flight. You will need to know the dimensions of your pet’s travel container. 

  

How many animals/pets are allowed on each flight?
Availability is limited and variable.  

  

What animals are allowed to fly in cargo?
Most cat and dog breeds. 

  

What is the required kennel size?
The minimum accepted cage size is 20.8”L x 15.7”W x 15”H. 

  

What pet travel forms are required?
The required paperwork depends on your destination. See the pet travel paperwork webpage for specific instruction.  

  

Where are pets in cargo dropped off and picked up from?
You should check your dog in at the flight desk of your airport. Pick-up locations vary by destination. You or your IPATA agent should check hi in at least four hours before the departure time.  

  

Do I need to travel with my pet?
No, the airline is happy to transport pets traveling alone.  

  

How to Book a Pet Cargo Reservation with Virgin Atlantic 

In most cases, you should book your animal’s flight reservation before you own. For most locations, you will need to contact the Virgin Cargo department at your departure airport. In doing this, you see if they have space on your chosen flight. If there is space on your preferred flight, you will make the reservation at that time. You should book your animal’s ticket as early as possible and at least 7 days prior to departure.  

  

Other Types of Pet and Animal Travel with Virgin Atlantic 

  

More FAQ Information for Pets in Cargo 

Are there any additional crate requirements?
Virgin Atlantic has a list of strict crate requirements. To fly a pet on their aircraft, you must obtain an IATA-approved travel kennel. It should meet the following specifications: 

  • The crate must be made of wood or hard plastic and be rigid on all sides. It should not be collapsible and there should be no roof grill. 
  • It must be equipped with a suitable water dish, which is attached to the inside door of the kennel. (The airline can provide these.) 
  • It must be ventilated around all four sides. 
  • The base must be leak-proof. 
  • You must put absorbent material in the bottom of the pet kennel for comfort and utility. 
  • The locking mechanism must be central on the door. It should be the type of lock where pins fit through the roof and floor by at least 6mm. 

When it comes to crate sizing, your animal must have the space to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Failure to have the correct kennel size could result in your pet being refused for transport.  

  

Does the airline have a position on brachycephalic animals?
Virgin Atlantic reserves the right to refuse the carriage of brachycephalic animals—those with snub or short noses. Per the airline’s statement, this includes the following breeds of dog and cat: 

Dogs: 

  • All pugs 
  • Boston Terrier 
  • Brussels Griffin 
  • English Toy Spaniel 
  • Japanese Spaniel (Chin) 
  • Pekingese  
  • English Bulldog 
  • French Bulldog 
  • American Bulldog 
  • Shih Tzu 

Cats: 

  • Himalayan 
  • Persians 

Animals who are crossed with snub or pug-nosed breeds may be accepted for carriage, but this is to be determined by airport personnel.  

  

Are there other Virgin Atlantic pet policies and travel restrictions? 
Pets traveling on Virgin Atlantic must be at least 10 weeks old. Pets may not be sedated before the flight, and the airline reserves the right to refuse carriage if it believes this requirement has not been complied with. Additionally, dog breeds who fall within the list published in the UK Dangerous Dogs Act, as well as all breeds crossed with the prohibited list, will be refused carriage by Virgin. This includes: 

  • American Staffordshire Terrier 
  • Dogo Argentino 
  • Fila Braziliero 
  • Japanese Tosa 
  • Pit Bull Terrier (including American Pit Bull Terrier or Pit Bull Types) 

 

Are there any environmental restrictions in place?
Virgin Atlantic does not currently provide a statement regarding environmental restrictions—their cargo holds are air conditioned and heated. However, it is best to avoid pet cargo travel during very hot or very cold months. If temperatures rise or fall to dangerous levels, most airlines will refuse animal transport. This could create a dangerous environment within the cargo hold.