Virgin Airlines Pet PolicyReading Time: 4 minutes
Do you want to know more about Virgin Airlines Pet Policy for flying with a pet or emotional support animal? As of April 2018, Virgin America is no longer an airline as they have merged with Alaska Airlines. However, two carriers under the Virgin umbrella do still operate flights between certain US cities: Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.
So, while there is no single Virgin Airlines Pet Policy, you need to follow the policies for either Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Australia, depending on who you wish to fly with.
Boarding with Animals: What Assistance Animals Are Accepted for In-Cabin Flight?
First of all, you need to understand the differences between the types of assistant animals.
- Emotional Support Animals: An emotional support animal is an animal that provides a form of comfort, emotional support or companionship to a person with an emotional or mental disability. The animal receives no formal training.
- Service Animals: Service animals, usually guide dogs, are specially trained to do specific tasks for someone with a disability, such as a vision or hearing impairment.
Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), a passenger with an emotional support animal can fly with their ESA if they need to and it is free for the animal. First, however, you do need to check the individual policies and procedures for the airline.
- Virgin America flights, which are now merged with Alaska Airlines, welcome animals on board. With Virgin Airlines Pet Policy now Alaska, documentation confirming your eligibility for an ESA or service animal, and the health and behavior of the animal must be provided at least 48 hours before flying and kept with you at all times. They do exclude certain species and breeds of animals for health and safety reasons. They also have requirements for managing your animal’s behavior and the space they take in aircraft passenger cabin. General pets allowed are dogs, cats, rabbits and household birds. They can fly with this airline either in-cabin or in the hold depending on the type of flight and space availability.
- Virgin Atlantic’s policies require your supporting documentation at least three days in advance. This includes verification that any in-cabin assistance dogs have had certain levels of training. They also list some specific flight routes that allow service dogs on their website. They do have species and breed restrictions, including any dog breeds listed under the UK Dangerous Dogs Act. Pets that are non-assistance animals (cats and dogs only) may be carried in the hold on their flights.
- Virgin Australia’s policies accept service animals and assistance animals that have been trained to assist with a disability. They have documentation requirements around proof of training and the animal meets certain standards of hygiene in a public place. There are also requirements around containment and ensuring your animal is within your seat space constraints.
Documentation: The 3 Forms You Will Need Before Arriving at the Airport
Down to the all-important paperwork! To follow Virgin Airlines Pet Policy, make sure you have supplied the right documentation to your airline at least 48 hours before you fly, and it will help speed up the whole check-in counter and boarding process with your emotional support animal at the airport.
The three types of documentation for emotional support animal owners that any of the Virgin Airlines Pet Policy requirements include whether Virgin America/Alaska Airlines, Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Australia, are:
- ESA Letter: Your ESA letter needs to have been signed by a qualified mental health professional to confirm you have a disability that benefits from your emotional support animal. The ESA letter needs to be dated no more than 12 months prior to your travel.
- Veterinary Health Forms: Vet health certificates or forms may be needed to confirm that your animal is healthy to fly, and has received and is up to date with any vaccinations or shots.
- Training and Behavior Testaments: These airlines may ask for verification that your emotional support animal has received training to a certain level, particularly how to behave in public places and around other people.
Cargo Travel: The 4 Main Facts to Know When Checking-In Your Pet
Under each of their policies, you may be permitted to take your animal on a flight as a regular pet. As a pet, they can often travel in an air-controlled cargo area of the aircraft. Their check-in process will be similar to checked baggage.
- Cost: There is a charge for transporting your pet. With Alaska Airlines (previously Virgin America) their pet charge is currently $100 each way whether they fly in the cabin with you or in the cargo hold. Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia charges are based on the animal’s weight.
- Breed Restrictions: There are restrictions under these three carriers on the pet breeds allowed in their cargo holds. This includes any short-nosed dog breeds and cat breeds, such as Persians, boxers, pugs and bull terriers. Any similar brachycephalic breeds may also have breathing difficulties under stress. They also have limitations on dangerous dog breeds.
- Weight and Height Restriction of Pet Carriers: Carriers for pets such as dogs and cats in the cargo hold must fit within certain minimum and maximum dimensions and designs.
- Pet Safety: These three airlines offer guidelines on food and water to ensure you provide enough nourishment and hydration to your animal before and during your flight. There are also regulations on the number of pets that may travel in one kennel or pet carrier, and the age of puppies and kittens that can fly.
5 Top Tips As You Are Preparing to Travel with Your ESA
- Check and recheck the requirements of the individual airline you are going to fly with. Many airlines are updating these on a regular basis, and Virgin Airlines Pet Policy could be just the same.
- Ensure all the documentation needed is current. This includes your ESA letter, any veterinary certification and evidence of training.
- Make sure you supply all the paperwork to the airline at least 48 hours in advance of travel and carry it with you on the flight. Some airlines have a first-come-first-served policy and only allow a certain number of animals on flights.
- Think about what care your ESA needs before and during the flight. This includes restroom breaks, food, and water. Many airports have pet relief areas so you can encourage your pet to “go” before you board.
- Depending on your type of pet and the flight you board, you may need to provide a pet carrier to contain your ESA. Check any size and space limitations in relation to your seat, and whether this is counted as part of your carry-on baggage allowance.
Flying with Your ESA: Know the Special Requirements when Traveling with Virgin Airlines
There are special requirements for flying with your ESA no matter if you’re flying Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Australia!
- Route Restrictions: There are restrictions and limitations of ESAs on certain flights and aircraft with all of these airlines. You can find out more information by searching on their individual websites below.
- Species and Animal Limitations: For health and safety reasons, many types of animals are prohibited –rodents, snakes, amphibians, and reptiles, for example.
- Care of Your Animal: You will likely be required to ensure your animal fits within your seat specifications and that you take care of your animals needs during the flight if it is in the cabin with you.
Where to Call or Visit for More Information on Virgins Airline Pet Policy
To find more detailed and specific information for pet owners on flying with pets and assistance animals on flights that were Virgin America and are now Alaska Air, Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Australia, links to their individual general pet policies are below:
Taking a Different Airline? Check out More Policies Here
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