The coronavirus pandemic has caused huge problems for airlines around the world, with most now suspending almost all international travel.
As a result, thousands of people are having flights cancelled, or no longer wish to travel. You can see Virgin Atlantic’s current flight schedule here.
This is part of our series outlining the policies being introduced by each carrier amid the crisis. There is understandably confusion about customer rights in these unprecedented and fast-changing times.
So what are your rights if you were or are due to fly with Virgin Atlantic?
Rebooking your flight
If you have a ticket booked with Virgin for travel before May 31, you can rebook the ticket to the same or another destination for travel up till April 30, 2021, subject to availability.
If you rebook for a trip that is on or before June 30, 2020, you will not have to pay any additional fare difference. If the trip is after that, you will.
Virgin says it can only rebook flights 331 days in advance, so if you want to travel after April 30, 2021, you will need to wait.
If the ticket was booked after March 12 for travel any time this year, the same policy applies.
Unlike some airlines, which have created online forms to allow people to claim a voucher for future travel, you currently need to call a Virgin customer service advisor on +44 (0)344 874 7747 to rebook your flight. Note that lines will be extremely busy at the moment; if you can wait, please do so.
I don't know when I want to travel
Virgin is also allowing people to keep the voucher for future travel open if they don’t yet know when they want to fly. The new flights will be subject to additional fare costs, and must be rebooked for travel by April 30, 2021, for travel before that date.
You can complete the open ticket form here.
What if I want a refund?
Understandably given the current uncertainty in the travel world, some people would rather just cancel their flight and get a refund.
Whether you are able to do so depends on whether your flight is cancelled or not.
If your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund, per existing Virgin policy.
Again, to process this, you will need to call a customer service advisor on +44 (0)344 874 7747.
If your flight is not cancelled, Virgin told Business Traveller it will “treat every customer’s travel plans on a case by case basis and will always try to help if we can, taking into account the booking conditions that apply to their ticket.”
It also said: “Where a flight is not cancelled but a passenger cannot travel due to Foreign Office travel advice or travel bans/restrictions (e.g. US restrictions to British nationals) the Conditions of Carriage, which are published on the website here, define these circumstances as an ‘Event Beyond Your Control’, for which re-booking is the available option.”
In short: you won’t get a refund. But all of the above options (rebooking to a new date or keeping the trip open) are available to you.
What if I booked through Virgin Holidays?
The above information only applies to flights that were booked directly Virgin Atlantic. If you booked with Virgin Holidays you will need to contact them.
Can I get compensation for my cancelled flight?
You would normally also be entitled to compensation under EU legislation (EU 261) if your flight was cancelled with less than 14 days’ notice or delayed by more than three hours.
However airlines are claiming the coronavirus pandemic as an exception under “extraordinary circumstances”, so this is unlikely to be forthcoming.
I'm looking for a flight home
Finally, note that we are not associated with Virgin Atlantic. Please share your experiences with us in comments, but do not include sensitive information such as your booking details.
If you have further questions, let us know and we will put them to the airline.
You can also contact Virgin’s SMS messaging system at +44 (0)7481 339184 or by texting 97634 from a US number.