Update on pet travel


Virgin Australia currently requires all guests wishing to book travel with their pet to make a booking with a Commercial Pet Transport Company.

It's natural to want to take the whole family along when you travel, and your furry friends are no exception.

Virgin Australia can accommodate pet travel on most domestic flights, where we have appropriate pet handling arrangements in place at each end of the journey.

Naturally, to keep everyone (including your pet!) safe, there are a few rules and guidelines to follow, as set out below. Virgin Australia reserves the right to refuse carriage of pets when the requirements set out below are not met.

With the right preparation, travelling with your pet can be a great experience for all concerned - but it is important to be well prepared.

Watch our video below for some handy hints to get your pet ready for their flight.

Is your pet suitable for travel?

All pets (excluding authorised Service/Assistance Dogs) travel in the cargo hold of the aircraft, which is temperature controlled like the aircraft cabin.

Unfortunately, due to container restrictions, only dogs and cats are accepted for transport when accompanying guests. All other animals will need to be transported using an animal transportation supplier. 

To be able to travel, your pet must:

  • Be over eight weeks old (this is due to possible dehydration while travelling);
  • Be in good health;
  • Not exceed 65kgs (including the container);
  • Not be unduly aggressive;
  • Be transported in a container which complies with the Virgin Australia guidelines for pet containers and is the correct size for your pet; and
  • Be treated for the Hydatids Tapeworm prior to arrival if travelling to Tasmania.

If your pet has any of the below conditions, a Veterinary Certificate confirming that your pet is fit for air travel (dated within two weeks of the travel date) is required for your pet. This is a restriction that applies on all Virgin Australia flights. All pets with the below conditions are flown at the shipper’s risk.

  • Pregnant or has given birth within 48 hours of the planned departure time;
  • Over 12 years of age;
  • Between 8 and 12 weeks old;
  • Sick, injured or recovering from surgery;
  • Has been sedated.

We recommend you familiarise yourself with our conditions of carriage prior to travel.

Some states have specific quarantine requirements. Please ensure you check quarantine requirements prior to travel.

How to book

Following consultation with industry experts, independent advisory bodies and pet transport experts, Virgin Australia Cargo has introduced a pet travel policy for brachycephalic (snub-nosed/flat-faced) breeds.

This policy has been designed to address the inherent risks associated with carrying these types of animals and their cross-breeds whilst working to ensure their utmost welfare during travel. ​

All approved Brachycephalic pet transport specialists are fully aware of these measures which include Vet assessments prior to travel, crate sizes, time of travel, number of flights per day and weather conditions.

Preparing your pet for flights

To avoid adverse temperatures that may pose a risk to your pet, please avoid booking travel for them during peak temperature periods, such as in the middle of the day.

We strongly recommend that if the temperature is forecast for significant heat and humid and/or it is a multi-sector journey, guests should consider changing their flight to an early morning or late afternoon/evening departure time to ensure your pet’s comfort.

Sedation is NOT recommended for pet air travel unless specifically recommended by your vet. If you wish to sedate your pet for travel, contact your vet for expert advice. A vet certificate will be required for pets sedated for travel. Virgin Australia does not take responsibility for any consequences as a result of sedation.

Much like any passenger, your pet should be fit to travel. To prepare for the trip, we recommend your pet: 

  • Visit the vet for a health check-up prior to any air travel to ensure they are fit and healthy and ready for travel 
  • Spend time in their pet crate (crate training) prior to travel so they are comfortable and familiar with being in a confined pet carrier for the duration of the flight

Animals can become dehydrated during travel, so a water container needs to be fitted to the pet crate. 

For further information on ensuring your pet is suitable and prepared for travel, Virgin Cargo recommends owners to review the following guidance information, along with any additional information that your selected pet transporter has available for you:

What do I need to consider before transporting my pet by air? – RSPCA Knowledgebase

Why and how should I crate train my dog? – RSPCA Knowledgebase

Virgin Australia currently requires all guests wishing to book travel with their pet to make a booking with a Commercial Pet Transport Company.

Booking with a Commercial Pet Transport Company will ensure your pet is collected directly from your home prior to departure and delivered to a pre-arranged recipient at your destination to avoid the risk of separation with your pet should you be required to quarantine.

If you wish to send a pet on Virgin Australia domestic services, please contact Virgin Australia Cargo directly on details listed below.

Please note, you will need to arrange your own airline approved crate for travel and arrange all airport pickup and deliveries and adhere to all IATA requirements.

Virgin Australia Cargo
Phone: 13 82 87
Email: cargo@virginaustralia.com

For Pet travel bookings through a pet travel professional please see below list of pet transport companies:

Company Phone number Email address
Aeropets 1800 237 673 info@aeropets.com.au
All Care Pet Transport (08) 9454 5736 info@allcarepettransport.net.au
Animal Travel 0499 229 287 animal-travel@bigpond.com
Aussie Pet & Animal Travel (07) 3200 1732 askus@apat.net.au
Aussie Pet Connections 0400 966 738 carmel@aussiepetconnections.com.au
Azzabern Animal Transport 0476 546 015 azzabern@gmail.com
Bay City Pet Travel 1300  151 520 baycpt@gmail.com
Dogtainers 1300 135 252 enquiry@dogtainers.com.au
Domestic Pet Transport 1300 359 697 bookings@domesticpets.com.au
Feathers and Scales 0405 738 968 linda@feathersandscalesfreight.com.au
Hanrob 1300 738 468 Opt1  transport@hanrob.com.au
Jetpets 1300 668 309 info@jetpets.com.au
Moorholme Pet transport (03) 9338 0823 info@boardingkennels.com.au
Pet Express Transport Services 1300 073 839 info@petex.com.au
Petflyers 1800 738 359 enquiries@petflyers.com.au
Tail Travel 0456 665 971 sales@tailtravel.com.au
World Class Hounds 1300 976 037 info@wchounds.com.au

What will be my pet’s experience when travelling in the cargo hold?

We will endeavor to maintain the temperature in the cargo hold to be consistent to the temperature experienced in the passenger cabin, lighting will dim lit this is to maximise your pet’s level of comfort.

Your pet maybe be exposed to high levels of airport operation noise whilst waiting to be loaded into the aircraft hold, please take this into consideration when organising your pet’s journey.


What happens to my pet during a disruption?

Our priority is to safely and securely transport your pet from Point A to Point B.

However, due to the complex environment surrounding airport operations, there may be instances where our flight operation is subjected to unforeseen disruptions e.g. adverse weather activity.

Your pet will be moved to a shaded, well ventilated area and frequently monitored if disruptions do occur.

If the delay exceeds greater than 2 hours or if we are unable to accommodate your pet on another service on the same day (including but not limited to cancellations and or connection flights missed at a transit port), our team will contact you to organise an alternative option of travel.


Should I sedate my pet?

No, Virgin Australia does not recommend sedating your pet for travel. If you wish to sedate your pet for travel, please contact your vet for expert advice. A vet certificate will be required for pets sedated for travel. Virgin Australia does not take responsibility for any consequences as a result of sedation.


What can be included in my pet’s container?

We understand that your pet may have a favorite toy/blanket/bed, however to keep free from hazards we will only accept an absorbent mat and water container to be included in the container.


Are there weight limitations?

If the combined weight of your pet and its container exceeds 65kgs please contact our Guest Contact Centre 13 67 89 (if calling from Australia) to discuss availability of travel. For contact numbers for outside of Australia view the Contact Us page. 


Can I change my pet’s flight?

Yes, you able to change your pet’s flight up to two hours prior to scheduled departure (subject to pet space availability and the Fare Rules of your ticket. Please contact our Guest Contact Centre on 13 67 89 (if calling from Australia) if you have any questions on changing your pet’s travel itinerary. For contact numbers for outside of Australia see our Contact Us page.