Virgin Atlantic ESA and Psychiatric Service Dog Policy

Virgin Atlantic Main Takeaways:

  • Virgin Atlantic allows pets to travel on their flights, but they must be booked in cargo.
  • Breed restrictions apply, and certain breeds with flat faces are not allowed due to health risks.
  • Pet carriers must meet specific size and construction requirements.
  • Booking pet travel in advance is recommended, and availability may be limited.
  • Pet travel is available to and from specific UK and US airports, but weekend travel may have restrictions.
  • Some international destinations have specific requirements, and pet shipments to and from certain countries must be handled by authorized agents.

Virgin Atlantic’s pet policy applies if your ESA does not meet the criteria to be considered a psychiatric service dog. According to Virgin Airlines policies, you must get an agreement from the airline to travel with your pet. You must also make advance arrangements for your pet to be booked to travel in cargo. 

There are some important details about how to transport pets traveling on Virgin Atlantic flights: fees, pet carrier size guidelines, prohibited breeds, and more.

Virgin Atlantic’s Pet Fees

Virgin Atlantic does not post its pet fees on its website. The fees are based on the dimensions of your pet’s carrier. You can contact Virgin Cargo for more information.

Virgin Atlantic’s Breed Restrictions

Per Virgin Atlantic’s pet policy, pets cannot travel in the cabin. Instead, pets travel in the hold’s secured, heated, and air-conditioned compartment. For this reason, the airlines do not permit brachycephalic breeds with flatter faces with snub or pug noses, making breathing more difficult and increasing the risk of overheating. Specific species prohibited by Virgin Atlantic include Persian cats and English bulldogs. Additionally, per the UK’s Dangerous Dogs Act, the airline does not accept bookings for Pit Bull Terriers.

Virgin Atlantic’s Pet Carrier Size Requirements

Virgin Atlantic’s minimum size for pet carriers is 71L x 52W x 54H centimeters. Your pet’s transport must offer enough room for the animal to stand up, turn around, and lie down. There must be at least 5 centimeters of space between the top of your pet’s head and the roof of the carrier. 

The airline specifies a few additional requirements for each pet carrier:

  • Wood or hard plastic construction
  • Secure locking mechanisms
  • Rigid and non-collapsible
  • No opening roofs or grills
  • Ventilation on all four sides
  • Leak-proof bases
  • Hinged or sliding doors
  • Virgin Atlantic also requires a water dish attached to the inside of the pet carrier’s door. Each carrier must have soft, absorbent material on the bottom.

Virgin Atlantic’s Travel Requirements

Virgin Atlantic recommends booking pet travel at least seven days before your departure date. The airline offers pet travel to and from a limited set of destinations. There may be date and time restrictions on when your pet can travel on its aircraft. These can change without prior notice, so check with Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s pet booking service for additional details.

If the necessary documentation is not filed before your flight, your pet cannot fly with you. Please sort it out as soon as possible if any issues pop up. The aircraft will have limited space for pet cargo, and there may not be availability for your animal if you’re too late.


Pets can travel in and out of three UK airports: Manchester, Heathrow, and Gatwick. Virgin Atlantic does not book flights for pets landing in or departing from these locations on Saturdays or Sundays.


Pets cannot fly from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom but can travel from the United Kingdom to Hong Kong. An agent of the International Pet and Animal Transport Association must handle pet air shipments to and from South Africa. Contact Virgin Cargo Caribbean for pet shipments to and from Antigua, Barbados, and St. Lucia.

US Inbound

Virgin Atlantic flies to and from a small group of US locations: Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco, and Seattle, plus John F. Kennedy International in New York and Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC. No weekend pet travel is available for these destinations. Additionally, pets cannot fly out of Miami or Orlando between June 1 and September 30.