Virgin Atlantic Baggage Fees Guide (Carry-on, Checked, Economy Light) [2020]

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Virgin Atlantic is known for its Virgin feel with onboard bars, brilliant advertising, and trendsetting premium economy. Nonetheless, Virgin Atlantic is not trendy when it comes to Economy Light baggage allowance and fees.

In this article, I go over Virgin Atlantic Economy Light, Economy Classic, Economy Delight, Premium Economy, and Upper Class baggage allowance and fees. Then I explain other goodies that you might want to bring onboard like musical instruments, sports equipment, and pets.

What are Virgin Atlantic baggage fees?

Virgin Atlantic primarily has long-haul flights making Virgin Atlantic one of the few airlines that offer free baggage in most fares, except Economy Light. Economy Light checked baggage fee goes for $60/£45. Luckily, Economy Classic and above fares offer free baggage. I go into more details down below.

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How can I avoid Virgin Atlantic baggage fees?

Virgin Atlantic makes it pretty easy to avoid their baggage fees.

Fare options

There is only one Virgin Atlantic fare, called Economy Light, that requires you to pay for one checked bag. Economy Classic, Economy Delight, Premium Economy, and Upper Class allow at least one checked bag for free weighing up to 50 lbs/23 kg.

  • Economy Classic: 1 bag
    • US/UK to India/Lagos: 2 bags
    • US to Johannesburg: 2 bags
  • Economy Delight: 1 bag
    • US/UK to India/Lagos: 2 bags
    • US to Johannesburg: 2 bags
  • Premium Economy: 2 bags
    • US/UK to India: 3 bags
  • Upper Class: 2 bags (70 lbs/32 kg)

As you can see, the fares above come with a decent baggage allowance, especially for Premium Economy and Upper Class passengers.

For your reference, it’s $60/£45 when you want to check a bag flying Economy Light. If you pay $60 each way for checking one bag, that would be $120 roundtrip. So, keep that in mind when booking Economy Light and knowing you have to check a bag.

Elite status

For the most loyal Virgin Atlantic fliers, you are given special benefits each time you fly Virgin Atlantic and select partners. 

No matter what class you are flying, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members are allowed one extra carry-on bag and one extra checked bag. The extra bag can be up to 50lbs/23kg.

For example, if you are flying Economy Light, Gold members are entitled to a free checked bag plus an extra carry-on bag. Plus, Gold members can select their seat at booking, which isn’t allowed if you aren’t a Gold member booking Economy Light.

Other Gold benefits include Clubhouse access when flying Virgin Atlantic or Delta Airlines, arrivals lounge at Heathrow, priority boarding, priority check-in, and extra miles when you fly Virgin Atlantic.

Partner elite status

If you are a Delta SkyMiles Silver Medallion or higher, you’re entitled an extra checked bag in any class whenever you fly Virgin Atlantic. The extra bag can be up to 50lbs/23kg.

You will also get other benefits like priority boarding and check-in. If you’re a Delta SkyMiles Gold Medallion or higher, you are also entitled to priority baggage, Clubhouse access, and priority security.

Credit Cards

You can utilize certain credit cards to reduce or eliminate your baggage fees on Virgin Atlantic.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the hottest travel rewards credit cards. It earns 3X the points on dining and travel and comes with a host of valuable benefits. One of these perks is a $300 travel credit that can be used on anything that codes as travel, including your baggage fees. You also have travel insurance built into the card, which includes delayed baggage insurance.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

CAPITAL ONE VENTURE benefits

One of my favorite cards to use to cover miscellaneous travel purchases is the Capital One Venture card. It’s a popular credit card that comes with a bonus of 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

It earns 2% cashback on all purchases toward travel, and the points can be used to cover virtually any travel purchase. The cashback you earn can be used to erase any travel purchases you made, including baggage fees.

Virgin Atlantic personal item and carry-on restrictions

When flying Virgin Atlantic, you are allowed to bring on one personal item and one carry-on in Economy and Premium Economy. For Upper Class passengers, you are allowed to bring one personal item and two carry-on bags.

Personal item

Each passenger in any class can bring one personal item on any Virgin Atlantic flight. Virgin Atlantic doesn’t disclose the max dimensions and weight for personal items.

So, if you bring a personal item, you must make sure it can fit under the seat in front of you. If not, you can put your personal item in the overhead bin, but do note that space can be limited. Some examples of personal items would be a briefcase, purse, laptop, and small backpack.

Carry-on

Economy (Economy Light, Economy Classic, and Economy Delight) and Premium Economy passengers can bring one carry-on bag. The max weight and dimensions are as followed:

  • 22lbs/10kg max weight
  • 9in/23cm length 
  • 14in/36cm width 
  • 22in/56cm height 

Upper Class can bring two carry-on bags. The max weights and dimensions are as followed:

  • 26lbs/12kg for one bag weight
  • 35lbs/16kg combined weight
  • 9in/23cm length 
  • 14in/36cm width 
  • 22in/56cm height 

Most of the time, Virgin Atlantic is flexible with weight, but you must be able to put your own baggage in the overhead bins without any help.

For your carry-on item, you can bring a suitcase, bag, garment bag, carrycot, pushchair or child seat for infants, and any required mobility aids, such as a wheelchair. Some items will be gate checked for free. As long as it doesn’t exceed the dimensions above, you will be fine.

Children’s carry-on baggage

Babies and toddlers under the age of 2 years old (aka lap infants flying on the lap infant fare) are only allowed to bring a bag that is 13lbs/6kg or less. They are entitled to the same amount of baggage as what is shown above.

Liquids

The same TSA standards apply to Virgin Atlantic flights arriving or departing from the US. You can review a list provided by the TSA of permitted and prohibited items which may be included in carry-on baggage including the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule.

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Virgin Atlantic checked baggage fees

Virgin Atlantic fees structure is actually straightforward and not route-specific. So, all the fees, no matter the route, will be the same.

 Economy LightEconomy Classic and DelightPremium EconomyUpper Class
1st bag$60/£45IncludedIncludedIncluded
2nd bag$100/£65$100/£65
(US/UK to India/Lagos and
US to Johannesburg have 2nd bag included)
IncludedIncluded
3rd bag$200/£140$200/£140$200/£140$200/£140
4th bag$200/£140$200/£140$200/£140$200/£140

Economy and Premium Economy bags can weigh up to 50lbs/23kg. If the checked bag is weighing more than 50lbs/23kg, then it will be charged as an overweight bag, too. Upper Class bags can weigh up to 70lbs/32kg. Bags over 70lbs/32kg won’t be accepted. Bag dimensions can be up to 35.5 x 29.5 x 16in (90 x 75 x 43cm).

Lap infants receive one free checked bag for Economy Class, Economy Delight, Premium Economy, and Upper Class.

Remember, with Virgin Atlantic or Delta status, you will get one extra checked bag on top of your original allowance.

As you can see, it’s very different for some of these destinations. It’s best to check before you pack your suitcase.

In comparison to other international airlines, United charges the following rates:

  • $35 for the first checked bag
  • $45 for the second checked bag
  • $150 to $200 for the third checked bag
Get extra baggage allowance when flying Upper Class.

Virgin Atlantic checked baggage allowance

Checked bags flying Virgin Atlantic in any seat must not exceed 35.5 x 29.5 x 16in (90 x 75 x 43cm). In Economy and Premium economy, bags must not exceed 50lbs/23kg each. For Upper Class checked bags, they must not exceed 70lbs/32kg each.

For elite status members, bags can be up to 50lbs/23kg.

Virgin Atlantic excess baggage fee

Overweight and/or oversized bags are a thing. Sometimes we might pack too much and have to pay an overweight fee. So, being aware of the fees that are associated with overweight and oversized bags will help us out.

Overweight and/or oversized bag for Virgin Atlantic

If your bag exceeds the baggage allowance max weight or the dimensions quoted above, your bag will be subject to excess baggage fees.

Virgin Atlantic will apply fees for each way.

  • Overweight: $100/£65
  • Oversized: $300/£200

If your bag is both overweight and oversized, you will be charged both of the fees.

Tip: Get all the tips and pointers you need for your checked bags in our ultimate guide to checked luggage!

Sports bags on Virgin Atlantic

If you have sports baggage that you want to bring on your Virgin Atlantic flight, you might need to register your sports bag no later than 24 hours before departure.

To learn more about the fees associated, packing instructions, and if you need to register sports baggage, click here.

  • Archery equipment – bows and arrows
  • Avalanche rescue equipment
  • Bat and balls
  • Bicycles
  • Boating/Fishing equipment
  • Boogie boards, skim-, speed- and skateboards
  • Broomball/curling equipment
  • Climbing gear
  • Equestrian equipment
  • Fencing equipment
  • Firearms used for sporting activities
  • Golf Clubs
  • Hammer (Athletic)
  • Hockey/lacrosse/ringette/cricket equipment
  • Ice Skates
  • Inline Skates (Roller Blades)
  • Kayaking equipment
  • Parachutes and parachuting equipment
  • Pole Vaults and javelin
  • Racquets (badminton, squash, tennis, table tennis)
  • Scuba diving equipment
  • Skeleton Sleds
  • Skis and snowboards
  • Sports balls (inflatable) and bowling balls
  • Surfboards, paddleboards, kiteboards, wakeboards, and wave skis

Remember, you must confirm your sports baggage; otherwise, the check-in staff will refuse it if you need to register the bag.

Musical instruments as carry-on or checked baggage flying Virgin Atlantic

Musical instruments can accompany you in the cabin as a carry-on when flying Virgin Atlantic. The musical instrument must fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

Some examples of musical instruments as a carry-on would be a flute, trumpet, violin, etc. I strongly recommend having a hard carrying case to protect your instrument.

If you wish to buy a seat for your musical instrument, you can do so by calling Virgin Atlantic. Each instrument cannot exceed 165lbs/75kg and no more than 12in/30cm above the top of the seat cushion.

You may also check your musical instrument as a checked bag. If you do so, it will be subject to standard baggage allowanced based on the ticket you bought. 

Again, I strongly recommend you having your instrument in a hard carrying case or shipping case that can protect it.

Virgin Atlantic military baggage policy

Since Virgin Atlantic is an international airline, they don’t give US military personnel or veterans any benefits for flying their metal. Therefore, Virgin Atlantic won’t allow US military personnel to check bags for free. Only US airlines will give benefits to US military personnel and veterans.

If you want to learn more about military benefits for airlines, I suggest reading our article.

When can I check-in bags for Virgin Atlantic?

Check-in typically opens up to three hours before departure, some counters will be open before three hours, and it all depends on the airport. Virgin Atlantic recommends checking in your bag two hours before departure.

Some airports, like Tel Aviv airport, recommend arriving three hours before departure as security takes time. 

Virgin Atlantic pet policy

Virgin Atlantic doesn’t allow any pets into the cabin on any of their flights. If you wish to transport pets as cargo, you may do so with limited availability and select days available.

For example, Virgin Atlantic won’t transport pets leaving or arriving on Saturday or Sunday.

The crate cannot be any larger than 27.9 x 20 x 21in (71 x 52 x 54cm). Crates must not be damaged and must have a leak-proof base, ventilated, absorbent material on the bottom, and rigid. You can learn more about the rules here.

What if my bags are lost or damaged by Virgin Atlantic?

If your bags are lost or damaged, make sure you report it to Virgin Atlantic immediately. It is imperative to make a claim in person or online after the flight.

Making a claim with any representative is alright, but make sure you get a copy of the Property Irregularity Report (PIR) because having a copy is best for you. Refer to this link.

Virgin Atlantic lost and found

Losing or forgetting something on the aircraft happens to the best of us. Virgin Atlantic suggests speaking to someone at the airport before you leave the airport. A staff member might be able to grab it for you if you spoke up soon enough.

However, if you need to contact lost and found, you can call +1-800-880-6253 for the lost baggage team.

Items are usually held up to 30 days, but perishable items like food will be destroyed immediately.

For more information, click here.

Final word

Virgin Atlantic, to my surprise, isn’t overly too complicated with their baggage fees. While the prices are a little steep, the pricing structure is instead uniformed for every route they fly. This is a breath of fresh air compared to the complicated baggage fees that Lufthansa have.

Cover photo by Colin Brown Photography via Flickr

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