Virgin Australia to launch nation’s first-ever pets in cabin flights

Virgin Australia has announced its intention to be the country’s first airline to operate flights with pets onboard under a plan unveiled today.

The Australian-first service, which will have pet lovers rejoicing nationwide, is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to launch within 12 months. In recent research conducted by Virgin Australia with Australian pet owners, nearly 70 per cent of respondents said they would travel with their pet in the cabin, with 57 per cent saying they would fly more regularly if the service were a reality.

Pets in cabin in-flight experience

The service will be limited to small cats and dogs on specific domestic routes. Animals being carried on board must remain in their approved pet carriers at all other times within the terminal. For the comfort of all guests and crew, pets will be limited to a few designated rows on eligible routes and will not be allowed to roam freely or sit on laps. Virgin Australia will charge a fee for guests eligible to bring their pets onboard.

The Australian-first service will have pets – and their owners – rejoicing © Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said, “Our love for animals has always been in the Virgin Australia DNA, and we are excited at the prospect of taking off with Australia’s first-ever pets in cabin flights.”

“Overwhelmingly, our guests tell us they want to travel with their pets, and we are now on a journey to make that a reality. Pets on flights is another example of Virgin Australia leading the way with new and improved service offerings and first-to-market experiences for our guests.”

No changes to assistance animals

The proposed pets in cabin flights will not change the eligibility of approved assistance animals to travel in the cabin of Virgin Australia aircraft at no additional cost. Pets can continue to travel as cargo through approved pet carrier services. The new pet in cabin service is subject to regulatory approval and is likely to launch within 12 months.

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