We'll help you get clearance for your guide dog or assistance dog to travel with you onboard. 

If possible, please get in touch before you book your flight, as guide dogs or assistance dogs can't be booked online and we may need to limit the number of dogs we carry in the cabin of our aircraft.

If your dog is not a guide dog or assistance dog, you can find out more about Travelling with pets

Check your assistance dog is allowed to fly

We can't accept snub or pug nosed breeds such as the Pekingese, Pug breeds, Boston Terrier, Brussels Griffin, English toy Spaniel, Japanese Spaniel, English Bulldog, French Bulldog and Shih Tzu in the cabin of our aircraft, or any dog listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Please take a look at our conditions of carriage for further clarification.

Before we welcome your guide dog or assistance dog into the cabin of our aircraft, we'll need to make sure they've received sufficient training. This includes behavioural training (such as in public spaces) as well as specific training to assist you with your medical condition.

If you can't provide documented evidence of your dog's training, you'll need to make alternative arrangements for their transport.

Find out more about Travelling with pets here

Preparing to travel with your assistance dog 

Make sure your flight route accepts guide dogs or assistance dogs.

Check your ticket carefully - If any part of your journey is with another airline like Delta or KLM, contact them separately to check their acceptance criteria, which may be different to ours.

Delta
KLM
Air France
Air New Zealand
Singapore Airlines
WestJet
Aeromexico
Korean Air
Middle East Airlines

Customers travelling to or from the US must submit the U.S. DOT Service Animal Air Travel Form below for validation before their flight attesting to the animal’s health, training and behaviour.

In addition, for flights scheduled over eight hours customers must also submit a DOT Relief Attestation Form attesting that the dog will not relieve itself in the aircraft or can do so in a sanitary manner.

To make sure that your dog has all the necessary documentation, vaccinations, treatments and tests to enter or leave the UK and to avoid quarantine, please check the requirements needed in the PETS (the Pet Travel Scheme) set out by the UK Government, and their advice on allowing Guide and Assistance Dogs into the UK. 

Documents required by the Animal Reception Centre are listed on their website. 

Heathrow Airport

Tel: +44 208 745 7894

Fax: +44 208 759 3477

Email: harc@cityoflondon.gov.uk

Website: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/animal-health-welfare/heathrow-animal-reception-centre

Heathrow Airport’s Animal Reception Centre requires a minimum of 72 hours notice before your scheduled departure to issue your pre-approval letter.

Manchester Airport

Tel: +44 161 209 7670

Fax: +44 161 209 7672 

Email: info@petsonjets

Website: www.petsonjets.com/assistancedogs/

Book your assistance dog onto your flight

Let us know at least 72 hours before your flight that you're planning to travel with your guide dog or assistance dog with our  assistance dog form.

Alternatively, email special.assistance@fly.virgin.com with the following details:

  • Your booking reference, flight number and date of flight
  • Breed and weight of your assistance dog
  • What task your assistance dog assists you with regarding your medical condition
  • Attach details of the behavioural training your assistance dog has completed

Onboard with your assistance dog

All assistance dogs must be restrained once onboard and the safest way to do this is for your assistance dog to be tethered to a seat belt.

Details of different restraining harnesses which can be used for comfort onboard.

Assistance dogs should use an animal relief area before boarding the aircraft. We do encourage all assistance dog handlers to bring absorbent mats with them in their cabin luggage in the event their assistance dog unexpectedly needs to relieve themselves.

Ideally, assistance dogs should be fed a light meal two hours before the flight with a small drink. You are able to bring a small amount of dog food or treats onboard should your dog need access to this. We will be able to provide ice chips or water to your assistance dog providing you have a water bowl.

Please note, we will not be able to provide your assistance dog with any food during the flight.

Preparing to travel

All airports are unique, and no two have the same layout. 

To familiarise yourself ahead of your journey of the assistance available, check out our airport guide page - where you'll find links to all the relevant info on the individual airport's website. (Remember to check both the airport you're flying from and the one you're arriving into).

If you need to arrange wheelchair assistance for your journey through the airports, you can do it by logging into My Booking. Select the level of assistance you need, dependant on your mobility. Please do try to to book early (at least 72 hours before your flight).

You can check in two mobility aids in addition to your luggage allowance, providing these are for your personal use and you're not transporting them for someone else. These include wheelchairs, mobility scooters and portable hoists.

Please contact our special assistance team to provide them with the details of your electric mobility aid at least 48 hours before you fly.

You can find more details and restrictions on dangerous goods on the mobility assistance page.

If you're travelling with a smaller mobility aid (like a walking stick) there's no need to contact the special assistance team in advance. You can bring these with you free of charge in addition to your free baggage allowance, unless they’re being carried on behalf of someone who’s not travelling. You can usually take mobility aids into the cabin with you. For some larger mobility aids, such as non-foldable walking frames, there may be occasions where there’s nowhere in the cabin to store them and the cabin crew will need to place them in the hold. If this is the case on your flight, the crew will be happy to help you get about the cabin as needed.

If you’re travelling alone, the special assistance team can arrange for you to be escorted by one of the airports assistance providers. They'll help you through the airport terminal and make sure you get to the boarding gate in time to be one of the first to board the aircraft. If you'd like the team to arrange this service, please let the special assistance team know at least 48 hours before your flight.  

For customers with hidden disabilities, we’ve created a symbol that discreetly lets our teams know you need a bit of help. Show it to anyone in a Virgin Atlantic uniform, at any point in your journey, and they'll know that you need a little extra help, reassurance and patience.

The symbol can be downloaded by clicking here and either saved on your phone or printed out to have as an insert for your passport. You can also pick up the symbol as a card or pin badge at check in.

Download the hidden disabilities symbol

Our hidden disability symbol can be used for a variety of different conditions such as autism,  deafness, dementia, or severe anxiety - or if you are travelling with someone who has.

Many of our airports we operate out of recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower programme. This also acts as a discreet sign that the wearer has a hidden disability and may need support through their journey. 

If you are travelling on a flight departing from the United States, you can request assistance for security screening in advance of your flight through the TSA Cares programme.
You can find out more information about this service and the support offered by clicking here. Please note, this weblink will redirect you to an external website. 

Online check in is available from 24 hours before your flight up until 70 minutes before departure. You’ll provide your passport details, personal contact information and confirmation that you’re travelling with the appropriate visas (if applicable). This means when you arrive to the airport, our teams will just double check the information you’ve given and it will speed up your check in process on the day of your flight.

Check in online

Need a little help?

Our dedicated special assistance team are here to make your journey amazing. We can organise assistance for you in the airport, book your mobility devices onto the plane, approve battery operated medical devices to be used onboard, and make the arrangements for your assistance dog to travel with you.

To contact the special assistance team, please complete this form.  It's best to let us know as early as you can (or at least 72 hours before your flight).

Prescription medication

If you need to fly with any controlled medication that has been prescribed for you by a doctor or other medical practitioner, there are some restrictions and guidelines to be aware of.

Tips for travelling with prescription medication

* You medication should be in its original packaging, pharmaceutically labelled to clearly identify it as being prescribed for, and belonging to you

* Your medication should be carefully packed in your check in baggage and placed in the hold where the temperature is between 4-5°C

* Pack three or four days of medication in your hand baggage in case you need it during the flight, or your check in baggage is delayed or lost

* Carry a repeat prescription so your medication can be replaced if it is lost or damaged, or you need to top up your supply while away

You'll also need a letter from your medical practitioner confirming the type of medication (including the generic drug name), with prescribed doses, and details of any other medical items required, such as syringes or EpiPens. This is particularly important if you are carrying controlled drugs or if your liquid medication exceeds 100ml. 

Some medication may contain ingredients that are illegal in some countries, even if it has been prescribed by your doctor. It’s a good idea to check with the UK embassy at your destination.

Over-the-counter medicines (such as headache tablets) are fine to bring as long as they are legal in your destination country and you keep them in their original packaging.

Keeping your medication cold

The onboard fridge cannot be used to keep medication cold. However, if you bring a cool bag the crew will be happy to top it up with ice.

Liquid medication

Increased security at UK airports affects the amount of liquid medication that you can take in hand baggage.

For the latest airport security advice on carrying liquid medication, please check your airport’s website or The Department of Transport.

There’s also more information on liquids on our own liquid restrictions page.

We do recommend all customers take out travel insurance prior to their trip, so that you’re protected if you do become unwell before or during your trip.

If you’re travelling with equipment, while we always take good care this, it’s still a good idea to make sure it’s insured against loss or damage – just in case.

If you flight is operated by one of our partners, even if it has a Virgin Atlantic flight number, then please see their website for more information on requesting special assistance:

At the airport

Find out more about how we can assist you at the airport via the options below.

Please aim to arrive between two to three hours before your flight to allow plenty of time to check in and make your way through the airport. 

If you’ve requested mobility assistance, this can usually be provided from just inside the aircraft door. Some airports also have assistance points that you can call from and request support in the terminal. 

If you're able to make your own way to the check in desk, assistance can be provided from there as well.

Details of where to pick up assistance and the layouts of the terminal can be found in our airport guides page.

When you arrive at the check in area, head to the check in desks of the cabin you're travelling in, eg. Economy, Premium or Upper Class. 

We also have dedicated special assistance check in desks in some airports which you can use. 

If the queues are quite long and there's no special assistance check in desk, our airport people will try to get you checked in as soon as possible. Just ask.

All customers travelling must be present at the check in desk to complete the required identification checks with your passports. 

On arrival at most airports you'll be able to pick up an airport trolley to bring your luggage into the airport terminal. At the check in desk, you'll be asked to put your luggage onto the baggage belt for it to be tagged, before being transported to the aircraft and placed in the hold.  

Please remember when packing your checked bags that you keep any essential medication with you in your hand luggage, as well as any medical equipment you might need during the flight 

If you need help lifting your luggage onto the belt, please just ask.

During your journey through the airport, you'll need to go through the security screening area. Some airports use metal detectors, others use millimetre wave advanced imaging technology.

If you have a pacemaker or a similar internal device that can't go through a metal detector, please bring a a letter or card confirming this from your physician, and tell a member of the security team when going through the area. Each airport will adopt their own security screening process which may include a ‘pat down’. 

If you're carrying liquids over 100ml or sharp items such as needles for medication, please bring  paperwork from your doctor saying that these are prescribed to you and need to be transported in your cabin baggage - as the security team may request to see these.

The airport security process is operated by the individual airports. With this in mind, please do communicate with the teams when you arrive what accommodations may need to be made to help you with your disability or medical condition. The security screening process is an important and essential part of safe air travel, so please be respectful to the teams if an accommodation request cannot be made. 

If you're travelling in our Upper Class cabin, you'll be able to access our Clubhouse (destination dependant) or  partner lounge before your flight. Please do speak to the concierge at the front desk who'll be able to advise you of the accessible features of our owned and shared spaces.

Boarding the aircraft

When it's time to board the aircraft we'll be there to assist whever we can, Find out how in the options below or contact us.

When it's time to board the plane, we'll call you based on the boarding group number on your boarding card. 

When we ask for customers requiring special assistance to be among the first to board, you're welcome to come forward if you need a little extra time to settle in. You don't need any prior approval. Of course, if you'd prefer to be one of the last to board the aircraft, feel free to wait in the boarding gate area until we make the final boarding announcement.

If you've arranged wheelchair assistance, it'll take you to up to the aircraft door. If you require one to get to your seat, you'll need to transfer out of the airport wheelchair, and into our onboard aisle chair. 

When you arrive at the aircraft door, our ground staff will help stow your wheelchair for your flight. 

If you're travelling with a manual collapsible wheelchair, we may be able to stow this in the aircraft cabin in a designated storage area. This storage is on a first come basis, and can't be reserved ahead of time. Don't worry, if we can't store your manual wheelchair in the cabin, we'll secure it safely in the hold for you.

When you arrive at the aircraft door, our ground staff will help stow your wheelchair for your flight. 

If you're travelling with a manual collapsible wheelchair, we may be able to stow this in the aircraft cabin in a designated storage area. This storage is on a first come basis, and can't be reserved ahead of time. Don't worry, if we can't store your manual wheelchair in the cabin, we'll secure it safely in the hold for you.

You can usually take mobility aids into the cabin with you. On occasions where there’s nowhere in the cabin to store them, the cabin crew will need to place them in the hold. If this is the case on your flight, the crew will be happy to help you get about the cabin as needed.

Onboard the aircraft

Find out more about the onboard experience and how we can assist you once onboard the plane.

We're proud to have members of our cabin crew team trained in British Sign Language. 

If you'd like to request a BSL trained member of cabin crew for your flight, please complete this online contact form at least 12 weeks before you fly.

This means items like respiratory assistive devices including CPAP machines and Portable Oxygen Concentrators, as well as feeding pumps, breast pumps and other power operated devices. 

Just to let you know, we can’t provide electricity to power medical equipment on our aircraft, so your equipment will need to be battery powered. For more info, check out our medical conditions page

See our medical conditions page

Once onboard, our cabin crew can provide an individual safety briefing and a verbal seat orientation so you'll know the distance to the emergency exit door and proximity to the bathroom.

They can also show you how to use our onboard entertainment system and how to contact the cabin crew during your flight.

You can request a verbal seat orientation before your flight by completing this online contact form.

Onboard, you can dive into the movies, music and TV shows on our seatback entertainment, Vera - most of which has audio descriptions, closed captions and subtitles. 

We can also provide onboard neck loops which work in conjunction with the 'T' switch on a hearing aid. If you'd like a neck loop for your next flight, please contact our special assistance team. 

You're also very welcome to use your own entertainment devices like laptops or iPads.

Seating

Seat and cabin layouts vary depending on the aircraft and cabin you're flying in. Our seat maps include the locations of our moveable armrests and accessible toilets, and you can also contact our special assistance team to find the best seats for you, including Bulkhead seats. These are allocated on a medical priority basis within 24 hours of the flight departing. If you're flying Upper Class, be mindful that on some of our aircrafts you will need to stand or transfer into our onboard wheelchair while we convert it into a fully flat bed for you.

Sometimes, we need to make operational changes (like aircraft swaps or departure times), which means seat numbers can never be guaranteed. If this happens to your flight, you may notice your seat numbers change.  You can amend them again through My booking, or speak to our special assistance team who will be able to check if there are alternative seats they can move you to. 

Manage my booking

We allow a variety of seating supports to be used onboard our flights, please find below the supports which are approved for use on your Virgin Atlantic flight.

If you are looking to use a seating support, please let our Special Assistance team know ahead of your flight to ensure you have a suitable seat booked. 

If your seating support is not listed, please contact our special assistance team with the following information:

-      Manufacturer name

-      Model 

-      Dimensions of the seating support

We'll then check if the support is safe to use on our flights.

Seating supports which are approved for use on your Virgin Atlantic flight

-        Crelling Harness

-        The travel chair

-        Burnett Body Support

-        Carrot 3

-        Stabilo

-        Firefly To Go

-        Tomato Car seat

-        Contour 886

Toilets

There are accessible toilets on all our aircraft, which are equppied with grab rails, transfer chair and single/bifold doors. Their location varies from plane to plane, so do check the seat map to see where they are on your flight.

Our cabin crew will be happy to help you to and from the toilet using the onboard wheelchair. They can't assist you inside the toilet itself for hygiene reasons.

If you think you'll need further assistance once inside the toilet, please contact our special assistance team who'll be able to discuss your options with you in a discreet and tactful manner.

Food and beverages

We follow European and UK food legislation allergen guidance, we may be different from other countries. The allergens declared refer to ingredients only, and food may contain traces of allergens since they're processed on or with equipment that makes products that may contain allergens.

Because of that, we can't guarantee the absence of food allergen or peanut traces in our meals, onboard and in our lounges. You can get a list of food allergens contained in meals served on flights departing from the UK and US from your Cabin Crew.

Our suppliers are based all around the world, and not every country has the same legal requirements for providing allergen information. On flights to the UK, allergen labelling on pre-packaged items may not reflect all of the allergens required to be declared in the UK. For passengers flying from the US, we also adhere to the three additional nuts listed under US allergen advisory information.

Peanuts are never knowingly included in any of our meals onboard. However, our meals are not produced in a nut-free environment, so may contain traces.

All other nuts may also be served on our flights to other passengers as part of the menu ingredients and/or the snack service, in any cabin. We also can’t stop other passengers from bringing (or eating) their own food onboard, which may include nuts.

In view of the above, we strongly encourage your to take all necessary precautions to prepare for the possibility of inadvertent exposure.

We recommend taking the following precautions when travelling with an allergy.

- If you have an allergy that could result in an anaphylactic reaction you should carry your medication, such as antihistamines or an Epi-Pen, in your hand luggage. If you are prescribed an Epi-Pen we always suggest that you carry 2 of these in your hand luggage and ensure they are in date. 

- If you’ve had an allergic reaction within 30 days prior to your flight, please contact our special assistance team.

- During our preboarding announcement for special assistance customers, you are welcome to pre-board the aircraft so that you can wipe down your seat surfaces and tray tables. 

-  If we can’t meet your dietary requirements, we recommend you bring your own food onboard - our special assistance team can increase your hand luggage allowance for you to do so. We are unable to store your food in our onboard fridge, or heat any food items you bring with you. Please remember that any food you bring must align with security and immigration regulations regarding the transport of food into another country. 

- Our special assistance team can notify our cabin crew as to the nature of your allergies. 

- If requested, our cabin crew can make an onboard announcement asking for other customers to refrain from eating peanuts, but not for any other ingredient. 

- We can't alter any of the meals or ingredients served onboard our flights based on customer requests. We're also not able to control ingredients other customers may have brought onboard with them, or offer allergen free flights. If you have an individual concern regarding travelling with your allergy, please contact your treating physician before flying. 

Arrival at your destination

Upon landing, our cabin crew will notify you when it is time to disembark the aircraft. In most destinations we disembark customers from the front to the back of the aircraft. 

Due to this, we are not able to arrange priority disembarkation for any of our customers. If you’d prefer not to stand and wait to leave the aircraft, you’re welcome to remain in your seat until the other passengers have disembarked and then take your time to collect your belongings and leave the aircraft.

If you’ve arranged airport assistance including wheelchair assistance or an airport escort, the airport assistance team member will meet you at the aircraft door and will assist you through the airport into the arrivals hall. 

Upon arrival at your destination, we will return mobility aids to you at the aircraft door. Please do allow a short wait for these items to be retrieved as our ground staff will help to bring these to the aircraft door from the hold. 

If you’ve arranged wheelchair assistance, the airport assistance provider will be waiting for you by the aircraft door when you land. Please note, if there is any delay in the assistance provider arriving at the aircraft door, our cabin crew will let you know and may ask you to remain in your seat until the assistance is available for you. 

The customs and immigration halls across the destinations we travel to are operated by each individual airport. Due to this, we are unable to directly assist with helping a customer to fast track through this part of your journey of the airport. If you do need assistance with expediting some of the longer queues, we would suggest for you to speak to one of the airport officials in the customs and immigration halls who will try their best to assist you. 

Once you’ve gone through the immigration hall, you will enter the baggage reclaim area and will be able to retrieve your luggage. Lots of luggage does look the same, so please check the tags to ensure it is yours before you leave the airport. 

If you do need assistance reclaiming your luggage from the conveyer belt, please ask a member of the airport ground staff who will be able to assist you.

If you’ve arranged airport assistance including wheelchair assistance or an airport escort, the airport assistance team member will meet you at the aircraft door and will assist you through the airport onto your connecting flight. If you’d prefer to use your own manual wheelchair when connecting through to the airport, please do let our airport teams know prior to your flight, so that they can ensure it is tagged correctly and returned to you upon landing. 

If you are looking to bring an electric wheelchair and wish to use this during your connection, please do allow some additional time as this process will take slightly longer due to the careful manual handling of these devices. 

Futher assistance

Compliments and feedback

Your feedback is vital to how we run things around here. Good or bad, let us know about your experience with us and we'll use it to make ourselves better. Click the link here to our compliments and feedback page

Compliments and feedback 

Delayed, lost or damaged Items

If your bags or checked in items have been delayed, lost or damaged please click the following link to our Baggage page where you can find out how to inform us of the incident  

Delayed, lost or damaged Items