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Virgin Australia announces big change

Virgin Australia announcement. . Picture: Alex Coppel
Virgin Australia announce small pets can fly in cabins. Picture: Alex Coppel

Virgin Australia is set to become the first airline in the country to allow pets in cabins on domestic flights from next year, following regulatory approval.

While the pets would have to remain in their approved carriers for the entire flight, many pet owners will be relieved they no longer have to store their furry friends into the cargo area of a plane.

The privilege, for the moment, will be restricted to small cats and dogs who need to be able to fit into an airline -approved carrier.

Virgin Australia announcement. . Picture: Alex Coppel
Virgin Australia is set to become the first airline in the country to allow pets in cabins on domestic flights from next year, following regulatory approval. Picture: Alex Coppel

Virgin Australia’s Group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said the company was “really excited” to give Aussies the opportunity to travel with their fur babies.

“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,” Ms Hrdlicka said.

“Overwhelmingly, our guests tell us they want to travel with their pets, and we are now on a journey to make that a reality.

“It’s something that commonly happens overseas and is proven to work well.”

Virgin Australia announcement. . Picture: Alex Coppel
Pets would have to remain in their approved carriers for the entire flight, but many pet owners will be relieved they no longer have to store their furry friends into the cargo area of a plane. Picture: Alex Coppel

She said almost 70 per cent of Aussie households have a pet, so the announcement was significant for a large proportion of the country.

“It’s also a great thing for pet-friendly accommodation providers who will benefit greatly from increased connectivity and the ease for travellers to fly with their pets.”

 

  1. The service will be limited to small cats and dogs on specific domestic routes;

 

  1. Pets will be restricted to a limited number of designated rows

 

  1. Pets will not be allowed to roam freely or sit on laps

 

  1. Pets must also be carried in a Virgin Australia approved pet carrier under the seat in front of the owner for the duration of the flight

 

  1. There will be no changes to approved assistance animals being able to travel in the cabin of Virgin flights

Melbourne Airport chief executive Lorie Argus said the airport was looking forward to helping the airline deliver the service.

“We expect the pets in cabin concept will prove a popular offering and we look forward to working with Virgin Australia to make it a reality,” Ms Argus said.

“Animals being carried on board Virgin Australia flights will be required to remain in their approved pet carriers at all other times within the terminal.”

Further details will be announced in due course, including available routes, the cost of bringing a pet, how flights will manage bathroom breaks for pets and more.