Customer information: our solvent recapitalisation plan
You may have read reports about a filing that was made on 4 August under the U.S. Chapter 15 process, in support of our solvent recapitalisation plan. Let us explain what it means for our customers.
Following our return to the skies, we’re currently operating our flying schedule from our London Heathrow base, and these flights continue as normal. All upcoming flight and holiday bookings remain valid; Flying Club members can continue to earn and redeem their miles as usual; customers with cancellations can continue to request refunds and these are being processed; and our people are ready to ensure you Fly Safe and Fly Well. If your trip is cancelled as a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis and the global travel restrictions imposed, we will be in touch.
As announced on 14 July, we have taken a big step forward in securing our future, by launching a court backed process as part of a solvent recapitalisation of the airline and holiday business. The approval process is in motion and we expect the recapitalisation to come into effect in September.
The Chapter 15 filing in the United States is a procedural application to allow the US courts to recognise the restructuring process we are undertaking – in this case, the solvent recapitalisation of the airline under English law. Once approved and implemented, our plan will keep Virgin Atlantic flying.
We look forward to welcoming you onboard soon.
Travel advice regarding returning or entering the UK from 08 June 2020
The UK Government’s priority is to protect the public and stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). A key part of this is to ensure all passengers entering the UK are aware of the UK public health advice and duties, so that they can:
make informed decisions about whether to travel
arrive prepared to follow the necessary public health guidelines and comply with their duties to enter and stay in the UK
Due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 we are temporarily suspending the carriage of unaccompanied minors, aged 5 to 11 years old. This decision has been made with the health and safety of our people and customers at the front of our minds.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this temporary change in policy. We are in the process of contacting customers with bookings made for unaccompanied minors.
Optimising our network and fleet to become greener and more efficient
Our move from Gatwick to Heathrow and retiring our 747’s and A332’s.
We’ve announced plans to reshape and resize our business to ensure that is it fit for the future, in response to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy, our nation and the travel and aviation industry.
We’re making some changes to optimise our network and simplify our fleet, as we aim to establish ourselves as the sustainability industry leader. As part of these changes, we’ll be moving our flying programme from London Gatwick, flying modern twin-engine aircraft from London Heathrow and Manchester – with the intention of retaining slots at London Gatwick, to allow us to return in the future. From 5 May 2020, we’ll be saying goodbye to seven 747-400s, and four A330-200 aircraft will be retiring in early 2022 as planned.
If you’re booked to fly with us from Gatwick, we’ll be rebooking your travel over the next couple of weeks to ensure you can still get away as planned, including on flights from London Heathrow or with our partners where possible.
There’s no need to contact us right now. We'll be in touch directly with more information on what these changes mean and alternative options by the middle of June.
You’ll be able to see any changes and choose your seats in My booking as normal, or assign seats when check in opens 24 hours before departure. If you have paid for a seat in our 747 upper deck, you will be refunded.
Please note, we can’t reimburse any extra costs as a result of these changes, such as accommodation, parking or airport transfers from connecting flights. There is no V-room at London Heathrow, so any bookings will be refunded automatically. Entry to the Number 1 lounge is available here.
Upper Class customers and Gold Card holders will of course be able to access our award-winning Clubhouse at London Heathrow.
Our teams are receiving a high volume of calls at the moment, so please do bear with us – we'll be in touch as soon as we can.
Sao Paulo route launch cancelled
In response to the rapid acceleration and severe impact of Covid-19, we are continually reviewing our flying programme in order to deploy our fleet most effectively. As a result, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to withdraw our London Heathrow to Sao Paulo service which was due to launch on 6th October 2020.
If you are impacted by the route cancellation, we are offering rebooking and refund options.
If you have booked through a Travel agent or a third party, please contact them to discuss rebooking and refund options. For reservations directly made with Virgin Atlantic, please contact our customer team via our SMS messaging system on +44 (0) 7481 339184 (UK), 97634 (from a US number) or WhatsApp 0344 874 7747.
Face masks are required if you're flying to, from or through Los Angeles
From the 10th of April, as recommended by the CDC and the city of Los Angeles’ new order, you'll need to wear your own face mask or cloth covering for protection when travelling.
For more information please visit Dept. of Homeland Security: DHS.gov or Customs and Border Protection: CBP.gov
We are always evaluating our services to ensure they meet the needs of our customers. As the habits of our Upper Class customers change and the demand for complimentary ground transfer continues to decrease, we’ve made the decision to change how we offer this service.
In recent years, of the 20% of Upper Class customers that are eligible for a complimentary transfer, fewer than 50% choose to use one. For flight bookings made from 1st July 2020, we’ll no longer offer complimentary ground transfers as part of our Upper Class service. This includes chauffeur cars, limobikes and Heathrow and Gatwick Express tickets.
This change reflects evolving preferences and means we’ll be providing a consistent experience with our partners Delta, Air France and KLM. Customers will still be able to pay to pre-book a chauffeur car with us to take them to and from the airport.
We continue to invest heavily in our much-loved Upper Class product, focusing on what our customers have told us they want. We’ll be introducing eight further A350 aircraft in 2020 and 2021, so that more can experience the stunning A350 Upper Class suite and the new Loft area, as well as a brand new Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Manchester this summer.
Upper Class and oversized baggage changes
We've made some changes to our baggage policy that will help make sure we’re offering the most streamlined experience possible when travelling with us and our partners.
For bookings made after 9th December
The free checked in bag allowance for Upper Class customers will be 2 bags (from 3)
The charge for any oversized baggage will be £200/$300 USD (from £65/$100)
Information about Virgin Atlantic flights after Brexit
The open skies agreement between the UK and US, agreed in November 2018, and existing bilateral air service agreements with other key markets, will ensure that our flights will continue to operate as normal, regardless of the future relationship agreed between the UK and EU
The ‘status quo’ transition period until 31st December 2020 will ensure that customers can continue to travel with confidence as the UK has left the EU. We have robust plans in place to keep our planes flying and our customers moving, so we don’t expect changes to our scheduled services.
We encourage all customers due to travel with us to check the details of their flight at www.virginatlantic.com and to always ensure their contact details are added to their booking.
Important information on the use of e-cigarettes in India
The Indian government has recently announced a ban on e-cigarettes and related products. This means you will be unable to buy e-cigarettes in India or bring them into the country.
As part of a recent network review, we’re evolving our Caribbean offering to make sure we continue to serve destinations most loved by our customers. These changes mean that, from 8 June 2020:
We’ll be increasing flights from London Gatwick to Antigua, boosting services from three per week to four per week
Our Havana service will move from London Gatwick to Heathrow.
As part of these changes, we’ve made the decision to stop flying to St Lucia for the foreseeable future. It‘s never easy to withdraw from a destination and we’d like to thank our customers and teams in St Lucia for their loyalty and dedication over the last 21 years. Flights will continue to operate between Gatwick and St Lucia as planned until 8th June 2020 and we will continue to serve hotels in St Lucia through connecting flights via our partner airlines. Customer bookings for Virgin Atlantic flights departing up to and including 7th June 2020 will not be impacted. Flights to Grenada and Tobago will now connect through Antigua.