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How to book your pet onto a flight

If your pet needs to travel, we can help you them get there.

This page tells you what you need to know if you want to book your pet onto a Virgin Atlantic flight. You'll find out who to contact, what paperwork you'll need, and which destinations you can fly your pets to and from.

If you're travelling with an assistance dog visit this page instead.

 

We understand that your pet is an important member of your family, and we take great care with them while they fly with us. Flying with your pet requires careful planning, so make sure you read this page carefully to make sure they can travel and stay safe throughout their journey.

Important: Check your pet can travel.

You can only book for your cat or dog, as we don't offer travel for other kinds of pets. Be aware that there are also certain breeds which are not allowed on board, for health or safety reasons.

We don't offer pet travel for all of our destinations all of the time. There is no pet transportation on our flights leaving the UK on a Saturday or a Sunday, for example. See below for full availability details for your departure and arrival airports.

 

How will your pet travel?

Your pet will travel in the hold in a secure, heated and air conditioned compartment. We do not allow animals in the main cabin unless they are assistance animals.

You do not need to travel with your pet, we're happy to transport pets travelling alone.

Pet travel is handled through our cargo department, you should contact them at your departure airport before you book your own ticket. You need to book at least 7 days before you plan to fly, and the earlier the better, as we have limited space.

 

On this page you'll find:

Get prepared for your pet to fly

Make a booking for your pet

Where your pet can fly from?

Get your paperwork in order

Prepare your pet for travel

Your pet's travel crate

Accepted breeds

Flying Paws scheme

Get prepared for your pet to fly

We have created a checklist below which includes all the steps you need to consider.

  1. See if we fly pets to your destination.
  2. Check we will carry your pet's breed.
  3. Get a secure travel case that meets our regulations
  4. Check what paperwork you will need for your destination, and make sure you have it. We will refuse to carry your pet without the right documentation.
  5. Contact the cargo department at your departure airport to get a quote and book, as soon as possible.
  6. Prepare your pet for travel.

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Make a booking for your pet

For most of our locations, you will need to contact the Virgin Cargo department for your departure airport to find out if they have space for your on your chosen flight, before you book your own ticket.

To find out the cost of your booking, you will need to know the dimensions of your pet's travel case.

Book your pet onto a flight as early as you can, at least 7 days before departure.

For some places such as Dubai and Johannesburg, we don't handle pet bookings directly, they are handled via an IPATA pet agent. You can find a pet agent for your departure airport on their website.

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Where your pet can fly from?

The table below shows information on who to contact to book a flight from these airports, and any exceptions to note. Please check with the shipping department for days of operation as we do not accept pets daily on all of our flights.

Flights leaving from: Who to contact Opening hours Good to know
The UK: Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester Virgin Cargo UK bookings
Tel: +44 (0)344 873 8000
Monday - Friday: 10am - 6pm We do 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) We do not accept pets travelling to the USA over the weekend. We do not accept pets leaving Orlando and Miami from 1 June through to and including 30 September.
The Caribbean: Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia Virgin Cargo Caribbean bookings +1 246 420 7734    
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.
Dubai     All bookings out of Dubai must be made by an IPATA pet agent.
Hong Kong     We do not accept pets travelling to the UK from Hong Kong, although we do accept UK>Hong Kong.

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Get your paperwork in order

The paperwork your pet will need to travel depends on your destination. Make sure you get it ready in plenty of time, as without the right documentation for your destination, we can't accept your pet for travel.

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Prepare your pet for travel

You or your IPATA agent should check your pet in for its flight four hours before your departure time.

Your pet will need to be secured in its travel container to be checked in.

We will not accept any pets that are under sedation, this is for the wellbeing of the pet.

It’s best not to feed your pet up to five hours before check in, although you should make sure it has plenty of water in its crate. We'll also check it has enough water before take off and after we land.

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Your pet's travel crate

It is your responsibility to make sure your pet's travel crate meets our regulations below. If the crate does not meet our regulations, we may refuse to allow your pet to travel.

Your crate must:

  • Be big enough to allow your pet to lie down, turn around and stand up – leaving at least 5cm between the top of your pet’s head and the roof of the box
  • Have a secure locking mechanism
  • Be made of wood or hard plastic
  • Be rigid on all sides (non-collapsible) and not have a roof with a grill that opens
  • Have an appropriate sized water dish attached to the inside of the cage door
  • Be ventilated around all four sides. However, the sides must not be ventilated at the top and the bottom, as this will weaken the integrity of the container
  • Have a leak-proof base
  • Have absorbent material in the bottom, for the comfort of your pet
  • Have a door forming one side of the box, either hinged or sliding

The minimum size cage we will accept is 53 x 40 x 38 cm.

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Accepted breeds

We can’t accept snub or pug nose breeds like English Bulldogs or Persian cats, this is for the safety of the animal.

We don't accept any dogs listed in the UK's Dangerous Dogs act, such as Pit Bull Terriers.

For a full list, please see our Pet Conditions of Carriage.

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Flying Paws scheme

If you are a Flying Club member and you fly your pet with Virgin, we'll reward you with bonus miles, as a thank you for choosing us. Ask for more information when you book.

2,000 miles 1,000 miles
For pets flying to:
San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Hong Kong.
For pets flying to:
Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Washington, Newark, New York, Dubai, Barbados, Boston, Antigua, St Lucia, 

Other useful links

Read our detailed Pet Conditions of Flying document.

What to do if you're flying with an assistance animal.

Find an IPATA pet travel agent.