Flight 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 +246 228 4737    
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.
Hong Kong     We do not accept pets travelling to the UK from Hong Kong, although we do accept UK>Hong Kong.

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.

Your pet should have passed the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). Please visit the DEFRA website or call the Pets Travel Scheme helpline on +44 (0)870 241 1710 (open Monday to Friday between the hours of 8am and 6pm, UK time).

An Export Health Certificate must be obtained from your vet no more than 10 days before departure. Your day of travel must be included as a day. This is basically a ‘fit to fly’ letter and must be on the vet’s letter-headed paper.

Alternatively, if you have a UK pet passport you can get it stamped by the vet and use this as the Export Health Certificate.

Some states may ask you for proof of your dog’s rabies inoculations. If you do not have this information available you may be asked to do this on arrival.

You will need an Import Permit from Pretoria, and an Export Health Certificate from DEFRA (6256 EHC for dogs and 6257 EHC for cats).

You will need an Import Permit from the Ministry of Agriculture in Barbados, and an Export Health Certificate from DEFRA (3890 EHC).

You will need an Import Permit from the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, and an Export Health Certificate from DEFRA (3472 EHC). Plus a signed statement from the shipper, stating the animal has been a resident in the UK since birth or for the last six months.

Please note, we don't carry pets into the UK from Hong Kong.

You will need an import permit from the Veterinary and livestock division in Antigua, along with an Export Health certificate from DEFRA (6592 EHC).

You will need an import permit from the local Veterinary and livestock division in St Lucia, along with an Export Health Certificate from DEFRA (3100 EHC).

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.

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
  • If the cage looks damaged, your pet and the cage may be refused for travel

The minimum size cage we will accept is 71 x 52 x 54 cm.

Please check our container requirements document before you travel

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.

Flying Paws scheme

If you are a Flying Club member and you fly your pet with Virgin, we'll reward you with bonus points, 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, Barbados, Boston, Antigua, St Lucia