What is an assistance animal?
An assistance animal is trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability. Assistance animals may include guide dogs, hearing dogs and other assistance animals.
Guide and hearing dogs on domestic and international flights
Certified and registered guide / hearing dogs are welcome on board Virgin Australia flights when accompanying a guest who has a vision or hearing impairment, provided that they have the credentials listed below:
- Guide / hearing dogs must wear their coat, and/or have their ID medallion on their collar
- The handler must have their Handler ID
Assistance animals on domestic and international flights
Virgin Australia accepts assistance animals that:
- Have been trained to assist with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability; and
- Meet the standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place.
To make it easier for your request to travel with an assistance animal to be processed, we have a list of pre-approved training organisations. If your assistance animal has been trained by one of these organisations, all you need to provide is a document that confirms the animal was trained by that organisation:
- Organisations prescribed by section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act;
- Organisations accredited by Assistance Dogs International;
- Organisations or trainers accredited under the Queensland Guide Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009;
- Organisations or trainers accredited under the Western Australian Dogs Act 1976; and
- Dogs accredited by the South Australian Dog and Cat Management Board under the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995.
If your assistance animal has not been trained by a pre-approved organisation, we require further information from you to determine whether we can carry it. You will need to provide:
- Documents that confirm the animal has been trained to alleviate the effects of a disability; and
- Documents that confirm the animal meets the standards and hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place - this is most often and easily confirmed by providing a Public Access Test.
Important information for the carriage of assistance animals in the cabin:
- The animal must be harnessed, wearing an identifying coat and accompanied by its handler.
- Handlers must supply a suitable restraint for the animal in-flight.
- The animal must be seated on an absorbent mat for the duration of the flight.
- Please prepare your animal for the journey by exercising and limiting its fluid intake for several hours before boarding the aircraft. Note: international long haul flights can be up to 14 hours duration.
- If you are travelling with a group and there are 10 or more assistance animals travelling with you, please contact Virgin Australia at least 10 days before departure so that we can ensure your needs are met on board.
*Note: These guidelines are only applicable on flights operated by Virgin Australia. If you are travelling on a Codeshare flight with another carrier, you and your animal must meet that carrier's requirements.
Important: assistance animals travelling on international flights may be subject to specific Quarantine requirements. Guests are responsible for ensuring all requirements are met prior to travel, and Virgin Australia will not accept liability if your assistance animal is not approved for Quarantine clearance at your destination, or when entering Australia.
Flights to and from the USA: while Virgin Australia does not currently operate services to and from the USA itself, Emotional Support and Psychiatric Assist Dogs are welcome on board Virgin Australia flights as Service Dogs to and from the United States when accompanying a guest with a disability, if certain documentation requirements are met.
Therapy Dogs, which are pets that have been trained and registered by a therapy organisation in order to visit nursing homes, hospitals, schools and other facilities, are not considered to be Service Dogs. See information on travelling with pets on Virgin Australia flights.
To request to travel with your Emotional Support and Psychiatric Assist Dogs on a Virgin Australia operated flight* to or from the United States, please call our Guest Contact Centre.
How to book
If you intend to fly with an assistance animal, you must make your booking through our website and complete a Specific Service Request form or by contacting our Guest Contact Centre (internet fare will be honoured).
Assistance animals are carried free of charge on Virgin Australia* flights.
If you have any questions about travelling with an Assistance Animal, please call our Specific Assistance Team on 1300 139 303 (in Australia) or +617 3295 3941 (if overseas).