Booking Your Flight
Your safety and comfort is important to us, so to make your flight as enjoyable as can be, we need to know about your special needs in advance. To ensure we know what your requirements are, you must make your booking via our Guest Contact Centre (Internet discount rate applies). Should you fail to advise us in advance, your travel may be refused.
There is a limit of two electric wheelchairs/mobility aids on A330, 737 and Embraer aircraft and a limit of one electric wheelchair on ATR72 aircraft per flight due to restrictions in our aircraft hold space. No restrictions apply to Virgin Australia international long haul flights.
It is important that you provide us with as much information as possible at the time of booking. Key information we need to know includes:
- The type of mobility aid you are travelling with (electric or non-electric).
- If the mobility aid is electric, what type of battery is used (gel cell (dry) or wet non-spillable).
- Whether the mobility aid is collapsible.
- The dimensions (height, width and length) in adjusted or disassembled state and weight of mobility aid.
- Whether you are travelling alone or with a Carer. To travel independently you must meet the Independent Travel Criteria.
- Whether you are able to self transfer in and out of a wheelchair and/or an aircraft seat. Due to our Occupational Health and Safety regulations, Guests who weight more than 130kg*, and require to be transferred into or out of a wheelchair and/or an aircraft must arrange an Assistance Person (domestic) or a Carer (international) to assist with the lift.
- Whether any medical assistance will be required.
* Due to Occupational Health and Safety Law, we are unable to transfer guests who weigh more than 130kg. In these circumstances we can only assist with lower body transfers (guidance of the lower body/legs while transferring). Transfers from your wheelchair to an airport/aisle wheelchair and from an airport/aisle wheelchair to an aircraft seat are performed using a slide board and slide sheet supplied by Virgin Australia.
Important: If you have a connecting flight with another airline, you will need to check and comply with their guidelines for guests with special needs.
Mobility Aid Size Restrictions
To reduce the risk of damage to your mobility aid, and to our aircraft, the following restrictions apply:
- Refer to our ‘maximum dimensions’ table below. If your mobility aid is greater than the size restrictions specified (in either a folded or unfolded state), we will be unable to carry the item.
- All electric mobility aids must travel in an upright position.
- Electric wheelchairs must travel in the ‘free wheel’ mode.
If your mobility aid does not fit within these allowable dimensions (after being adjusted or disassembled) you will have to travel with an alternative mobility aid (such as a manual wheelchair) that fits within the above dimensions.
Mobility Aid Equipment Available at the Airport
Due to limited resources we can only provide assistance in certain circumstances. The following mobility assistance equipment is available when travelling with us, provided that it has been previously arranged with our Guest Contact Centre:
- Aisle wheelchair (boarding/disembarking aircraft)
- Manual self-propelled wheelchair
- Limited number of motorised wheelchairs to allow guests who rely on a motorised wheelchair to get to and from the boarding gate, and to the arrivals hall with assistance from team members. These chairs must be booked through our Guest Contact Centre.
- Slide board
- Slide sheet
If you fit within our health and safety weight requirements for transferring (130kg or less in weight), our team members can assist by transferring you from your wheelchair to an airport/aisle wheelchair and from an airport/aisle wheelchair to an aircraft seat (and vice versa) with use of the slide board and slide sheet.
If you weigh more than 130kgs and require assistance with transfers you will need to arrange an Assistance Person for travel on domestic flights, and a Carer for travel on international flights. Where required, we will assist with guidance of the torso and/or legs while transferring, whether or not you have a Carer/Assistance Person.
Note: A transfer is defined as movement between your wheelchair to an airport/aisle wheelchair and from an airport/aisle wheelchair to an aircraft seat (and vice versa) utilising the slide board and slide sheet. Guidance includes guiding your upper torso (shoulders) and legs while they are being transferred using the slide board/slide sheet combination.
We are unable to perform transfers other than in accordance with our slide board and slide sheet method.
Upper Torso Harness
All Virgin Australia aircraft are equipped with upper torso harnesses to provide additional support and restraint in the aircraft seat. The harness is suitable for use for adults and children over the age of two years. Due to safety requirements, we cannot allow guests to supply their own harness. If you require the use of this harness please contact our Guest Contact Centre to make your booking.
At the Airport
To allow us sufficient time to take care of your travelling and seating requirements, and transfer you between wheelchairs/aircraft seat, we ask that you check in at least:
- 60 minutes before the scheduled departure time for domestic flights
- 2 hours before the scheduled departure time for international flights
Note: Do not check in via web check-in or kiosk check-in. It is important that we have the opportunity to discuss and confirm the exact level of assistance we can provide.
At check-in you will also be advised of your estimated pre-boarding time, as early boarding allows for a private transfer into the aircraft and allows time for our team members to transport wheelchairs to the aircraft hold.
Travelling with a Manual Wheelchair
You can either check in your manual wheelchair or self-propelled wheelchair for use within the airport – and we will provide you with an airport aisle wheelchair – or you can choose to take your own manual wheelchair to the boarding gate (where possible). Your wheelchair will then be stowed in the aircraft hold.
Important (domestic only): Due to security restrictions, only wheelchairs/mobility aids that have been taken through security screening on departure can be returned at the arrivals gate at your destination, otherwise you can collect your wheelchair at the arrivals carousel. This option is for manual (non-motorised) wheelchairs only, as motorised wheelchairs must be packed according to dangerous goods regulations before travel.
Travelling with a Motorised Wheelchair or Mobility Aid
After your chair has been packed, we will provide you with an airport wheelchair or our team members will assist you in a motorised wheelchair to the boarding gate. At your destination, your motorised wheelchair can be collected from the arrivals carousel. Please ensure you advise us at the time of booking that you need to use one of our motorised wheelchairs – numbers are limited and they may not be available in all ports.
There are a number of handling requirements for motorised wheelchairs/mobility aids on our aircraft, including the packing of your wheelchair’s battery for travel. These requirements are as follows:
Wheelchairs/Mobility Aids with Non-spillable Batteries
Wheelchairs or other battery-powered mobility aids with non-spillable batteries may be carried on our aircraft, provided that:
- The battery is disconnected;
- The battery connections are taped down so they cannot connect together during flight;
- The battery terminals are covered and protected from short circuits; and
- The battery is securely attached to the wheelchair or mobility aid.
Note: Wheelchairs/mobility aids with gel-type batteries do not require the battery to be disconnected, provided that battery terminals are insulated to prevent accidental short circuits.
Wheelchairs/Mobility Aids with Spillable Batteries
Virgin Australia domestic and international short haul flights are currently are unable to accepted wheelchairs/mobility aids with spillable batteries.
On the Aircraft
Transferring to the Aircraft
You will be transferred into an aisle wheelchair to board the aircraft via an aerobridge (where available). At an airport without an aerobridge, you will transfer into our aisle chair at the check-in counter or on the tarmac, to be boarded onto the aircraft via the Disabled Person Lifter (DPL).
At the aircraft you will either:
For Travel on Domestic Services
- Self transfer from the airport/aisle wheelchair to the aircraft seat; or
- If you are unable to self transfer, and your weight is under our Occupational Health and Safety weight limitations of 130kg, we will assist you with the use of slide board and slide sheet.
If you are unable to self transfer and your weight exceeds our Occupational Health and Safety weight limitations of 130kg, you will need to arrange an Assistance Person (domestic only) in each port, or travel with a Carer. In this situation, we will assist with lower body transfers only (guidance of the torso and/or legs while transferring). You must provide a Carer or an Assistance Person to perform upper body transfers or lifts.
Note: A transfer is defined as movement between your wheelchair to an airport/aisle wheelchair and from an airport/aisle wheelchair to an aircraft seat (and vice versa) utilising the slide board and slide sheet. Guidance includes guiding your upper torso (shoulders) and legs while they are being transferred using the slide board / slide sheet combination.
On arrival you will be supplied with a wheelchair (manual self-propelled or motorised where available) or your own manual wheelchair upon request.
Important (domestic only): Only wheelchairs/mobility aids that were taken through security screening on departure can be returned at the arrivals gate at your destination.