Pets Celebrate Ten Years of Flying in Style with Virgin Atlantic

By: Maxine Sheppard

June 3, 2013

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The British have long been known as a nation of pet lovers and this year our four-legged friends are celebrating ten years of flying in style with Virgin Atlantic.

As the first scheduled airline to carry cats and dogs from the USA into London Heathrow under the Defra Pet Travel Scheme, we have flown over 15,000 pets since the “Flying Paws” scheme launched in 2003 to destinations as far flung as Cape Town, Los Angeles and Sydney.

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Our four-legged friends celebrate ten years of flying in style


Happy Barkday

To celebrate its ten year anniversary, we’re working with the Canine Cookie Company to give a “Happy Barkday” cake for dogs and a ‘purrfect’ birthday cake for cats, and we’re also giving owners extra miles for their Flying Club account.

“Since the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme in 2003, we have quite literally taken the lead in providing a pedigree service for our furry friends and we are seeing more and more passengers trusting us with their precious cargo,” said John Lloyd, our director of cargo. “We’ve transported so many breeds all around the world – ranging from Siamese cats to Australia and Yorkshire terriers to the Far East. We’ve carried animals for customers who want to make sure their pets also get a holiday in the sun, for those starting a new life abroad and we’ve even flown police sniffer dogs trained in the UK to the Caribbean.”

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We’ve taken the lead in looking after our precious cargo


Famous furry friends

There have been a number of famous faces spotted travelling with their pets around the world – John Barrowman famously takes his dogs back and forth across the pond – and a number of furry celebrities also choose to fly Virgin. Uggie, the star of Oscar winning film The Artist flew to Los Angeles to attend the Oscars and Mugly, “the ugliest dog in the world” also flew with Virgin when he travelled to the USA to claim his ugliest dog accolade.

Entertainer John Barrowman who is a regular user of Virgin Atlantic’s pet cargo service said, “My dogs are part of my family so when work takes me to America, as it does regularly, I want my family with me. I trust Virgin Atlantic with my dogs, Captain Jack, a Jack Russell, and Harris, a cocker spaniel.”

Find out more about the Virgin Atlantic Pet Travel Scheme

Has your dog or cat earned their wings? Share your experiences in the comments below.


Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.