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
Firstly, I hope that you and your loved ones are well.
As a valued customer of Virgin Atlantic I wanted to share with you an important milestone. Yesterday we achieved a major step in securing the future of Virgin Atlantic through a privately funded solvent recapitalisation plan which has been approved by the UK High Court and recognised within the US jurisdiction
The last 6 months have been the toughest in our history, as they will have been for many of you. Despite the amazing efforts of our teams, at times we have not lived up to your expectations of us. We know we need to rebuild your trust in us and we will do everything in our power to achieve that.
We have always been, and remain committed to, refunding every customer who has requested one from us. We are working hard to increase processing capability and unlock some of the systems constraints we face. Our intention is to be able to process all refunds raised in October within 30 days and, once the whole backlog is cleared, return to 7 and 14 day time frames for Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays respectively.
Returning to the skies with confidence
We continue with the restart of our passenger flying programme – with flights from Heathrow to the US - New York JFK, Miami and Los Angeles; to Barbados, Delhi, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tel Aviv as well as future flying to Lahore and Islamabad.
Our commitment is to ensure every customer flies safe and well and returns to the skies with us with confidence
We are also committed to working alongside our industry partners to unlock travel restrictions and support public health by pressing for urgent government action to enable passenger testing
I truly hope that as demand returns and confidence continues to grow, we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back on board. We remain incredibly grateful to you as valued customers
Stay safe and well,
CEO | Virgin Atlantic
We no longer take cash payments at the airport
We no longer take cash payments at the airport so please bring an alternative for any additional charges or fees that may apply. This reduces the need for contact between customers and Virgin Atlantic staff, helping you fly safe and fly well.
Information for customers who purchased Virgin Atlantic flights through STA Travel
We are saddened by the news that our longstanding agent partner, STA Travel UK, has ceased trading. If you’re an STA Travel customer, the correct advice will depend on the nature of the booking and whether the ticket has been issued.
If you’re a customer of STA Travel that had a flight-inclusive package sold by the company which included Virgin Atlantic flights, you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL scheme and you should submit a claim to ATOL through the online portal. More information is on the CAA website here: https://www.caa.co.uk/ATOL-Failures/STA-Travel-Limited/
If you have an STA Travel flight-only booking and you’ve received your e-ticket from Virgin Atlantic (the ticket number will begin with the digits 932), we want to reassure you that this means your booking remains valid and your travel plans are unchanged, assuming the flight is still scheduled. Please login to Manage My Booking to ensure your contact details are up to date so we can keep you informed.
If you have an STA Travel flight-only booking with Virgin Atlantic but the e-ticket has not been issued, we’re sorry but your booking is not complete with Virgin Atlantic and won’t be accepted for travel. Please keep checking the STA website for further details.
If you have a valid STA Travel flight-only booking with a pending refund, due to a cancelled flight, your patience is appreciated until the administrator for STA Travel’s parent company is appointed and we’re able to provide you with the next steps.
Virgin Atlantic works with travel agents to process refunds, transferring the monies to the agent, who returns the funds to the customer. Agents are best placed to handle refunds for bookings made directly with them, as they have access to the terms of the conditions of the booking and the final price paid, including any extras that may have been purchased. Because STA Travel has ceased trading, this is not possible, but we are still awaiting more information from its administrators about the refund process.
If your cancelled flight was paid for with a credit card and ‘Virgin Atlantic’ appears on your statement, we can confirm this refund will be refunded back onto your credit card. It’s taking longer than usual to process refunds due to the huge volume of requests, alongside operational constraints on our teams and systems, so we appreciate your patience.
We understand this may be a concerning time if you booked a trip through STA Travel or are awaiting a refund from them, but we will endeavour to provide the latest information as soon as it is available.
Temporary changes to our in flight food offering
For the safety and wellbeing of all our customers and our crew, we have re designed our food and drink service to limit interaction where possible. It has been prepared and packaged with the highest possible standards of hygiene in mind. It may look a bit different, but we will still have a delicious selection of dishes for you to enjoy. Please note that during this time, we apologise that our Pre-Select and Dietary Meals services are not currently available whilst we offer our redesigned onboard service. If you have specific dietary requirements, you may prefer to bring your own food and snacks should our main service not be suitable. A vegetarian choice will still be included as part of our meal selection.
Unaccompanied Minors changes due to COVID-19
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.
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.
Temporary airport terminal changes at London Heathrow
There are currently temporary terminal changes at London Heathrow -find out more.
When you return to the UK: protect yourself and others
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’re 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 to ensure you can still get away as planned, including on flights from London Heathrow or with our partners where possible.
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
Changes to our ground transfer service
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)