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 assistance needs in advance.
Guests whose special assistance needs requirements are listed below and are not flying within the next 24 hours can now book direct via the Virgin Australia website. If booking online please ensure you complete the Special Assistance section on the passenger page.
Please note, however, that Redemption Bookings must still be booked via the Membership Call Centre.
- Wheelchair required as unable to walk long distance but can use stairs and walk to seat
- Wheelchair required as unable to walk long distance, use stairs or walk to seat
- Travelling with own electric wheelchair in hold powered by dry cell battery
- Travelling with own electric wheelchair in hold powered by lithium battery
If your needs are not listed above you can submit your request online through our Special Service Request Form.
If you are travelling within the next 24 hours, you must make your booking via our Guest Contact Centre where your booking will be made at no additional cost to ensure we know what your requirements are. Should you fail to advise us in advance, your travel may be refused.
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 assistance needs.
There are limitations to the number of passengers requiring wheelchair assistance that Virgin Australia can carry on each flight ("The Wheelchair Cap") .
In a normal Domestic operating environment, Virgin Australia can generally accept up to two guests requiring wheelchair assistance. This number may, however, be higher or lower depending on the operational and safety requirements of the particular flight.
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.
Where the Wheelchair Cap has been reached for a particular flight we may offer you an alternative Virgin Australia flight ( "Alternative Flight" ) :
- Where an Alternative Flight is available on the same day as your requested flight, we will offer you an Alternative Flight on that day only. If there is a fare difference between the requested flight and the Alternative Flight on the same day, we will offer the Alternative Flight at the same price (same fare class, same origin and destination and same date of travel) or if the Alternative Flight is a lower price, we will offer you a seat at that price.
- Where an Alternative Flight is not available on the same day as your requested flight, we will offer you an Alternative Flight either on the day before or day after, the date of travel for your requested flight (where available). If there is a fare difference between the requested flight and an Alternative Flight on the day before or day after the requested flight, we will offer the Alternative Flight at the same price (same fare class, same origin and destination) or if the Alternative Flight is a lower price we will offer you a seat at that price.
In exceptional circumstances we may, upon request, be able to raise the Wheelchair Cap. In determining how many passengers requiring wheelchair assistance we are able to carry on each flight, we take into consideration the following:
- The aircraft hold space available for that flight;
- The access limitations associated with specific airports;
- The extent of guests’ disability and the level of assistance they require from airline staff;
- The level of assistance for any other guest's already booked on the flight;
- Whether the passenger is travelling with a personal wheelchair or mobility device and if so the nature of that wheelchair or mobility device (including weight, size, features);
- Whether the guest is travelling with a colleague/friend/family member on the requested flight;
- The availability of alternative flights; and
- Whether there are any compassionate or other reasons a particular flight is requested.
If you request that we investigate the possibility of raising the Wheelchair Cap for a particular flight, it is important that you provide us with a minimum of 48 hours notice and as much information as possible about your particular circumstances and the reasons for the request.
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.
84cm (65cm F100 Aircraft)
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.
Availability and Use of Eagle Lifts
Virgin Australia is committed to providing a safe and comfortable travel experience for all guests and its crew, particularly for guests travelling with special assistance needs requirements. For guests travelling with Virgin Australia and who specifically require the use of Eagle Lifts; this mobility assistance equipment is currently available at the following airports:
- Brisbane Domestic Airport
- Sydney Domestic Airport
- Melbourne Domestic Airport
- Adelaide Domestic Airport
For guests travelling to airports where Eagle Lifts are not available, alternate arrangements will need to be made through speaking to a member of our Guest Contact Centre.
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.
Wheelchairs and similar mobility aids with batteries are permitted providing:
- Battery(ies) are non-spillable or lithium ion. Virgin Australia does not permit spillable batteries.
- A non-spillable battery must not contain free or unabsorbed liquid.
- The battery is securely attached to the wheelchair or mobility aid.
- Battery terminals are protected from short circuit – e.g. enclosed within a battery container.
- Electrical circuits have been inhibited - e.g. a key switch turned off and the key carried by the guest and/or an isolation switch fitted.
- Switching off a device with a push-button on/off switch alone is not sufficient and additional measures are required – e.g. Battery disconnected and terminals tapped with electrical tape.
Wheelchairs and similar mobility aids specifically designed to allow the battery(ies) to be removed by the user (e.g. collapsible) and travelling in a collapsed state are permitted providing:
- Removal of the battery(ies) from the device must be performed by following the instructions of the manufacturer.
Non-spillable battery powered collapsible mobility devices:
- The removed battery(ies):
- Must be protected from short circuit by insulating the terminals. (e.g. by taping over exposed terminals).
- Must be carried in strong rigid packaging.
- Will be loaded in the cargo hold.
Lithium Battery powered collapsible mobility devices:
- The removed battery(ies):
- Must be protected from short circuit by insulating the terminals. (e.g. by taping over exposed terminals).
- Must be protected from damage by placing each battery in a protective pouch.
- Must be carried in the passenger cabin.
- A battery must not exceed 300Wh, or for a device that is fitted with two batteries required for operation, each battery must not exceed 160Wh.
- An additional one spare battery not exceeding 300Wh or 2 spares each not exceeding 160Wh may also be carried.
- Any mobility devices with batteries less than 100Wh - Guest are permitted to carry a reasonable amount of spare batteries for their personal use.
- Any spare batteries must be in carry-on baggage and be protected against short circuiting and damage.
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.