Flying Virgin Atlantic with kids – everything you need to know
By Helen Wright
The airline I fly most frequently with these days is Virgin Atlantic. They are by far my favourite airline over to Florida, because they are fun, great with kids and they fly to Orlando, Tampa and Miami, which means more options and some good deals too. I’ve always found flying Virgin Atlantic with kids a stress-free experience and children get a lot of perks on Virgin, including luggage allowance for lap-sitting babies, allocated seats, kids meals and the newly added Virgin Atlantic Kids on-board pack, which is fab. Plus, the crew – many of whom you can tell are parents themselves – are always so helpful and friendly with the little ones.
Why do I think Virgin Atlantic is the best airline for kids?
I know with my children, going on the plane is as much a part of the holiday as the holiday itself. Because younger kids don’t really know what to expect when they get to a destination, often the flight is the thing they look forward to the most. Virgin Atlantic give children the same welcome and service as their adult customers and, as a mum, I think that is really great.
I fly to Florida a lot and often the route to Orlando will be the first time that some children – and their parents – have flown long-haul. This can be quite a daunting experience for some. As well as making potentially nervous children feel at ease, a friendly welcome when you step on board can make all the difference to stressed parents too.
From the cute aircraft names (will you be flying on ‘Dancing Queen’ or ‘Leading Lady’? We always have to find out our plane’s name before we board) to the animated safety video – Virgin Atlantic really embraces being the ‘fun’ airline and that’s why I love it.
What is the Virgin Atlantic Kids Pack?
The new Virgin Atlantic Kids pack launched in May 2023 and it’s an extra treat for children aged 2-6 on board. The reusable pack, which you can take away with you when you disembark, contains an activity book and some keepsakes that kids will love. The airline worked with British-based company RowType (from Stoke-on-Trent) to create the packs, which include: Funky children’s UV400 sunglasses to wear on their holiday, a colourful sensory poppit toy, a holiday journal to capture amazing memories, an activity book for entertainment on the flight and a selection of colour pencils.
GOOD TO KNOW: These are given out on flights from UK airports only (so hang on to it for the way home). Due to the small parts included within the kit, lap-sitting babies under the age of two won’t automatically be given a pack.
The Virgin Atlantic kids menu is also new
The airline has also introduced a brand-new children’s meal option for its Spring/Summer menu on all flights. Little travellers will get a refreshing Pip organic smoothie, a giant cookie, yummy cheese dippers, and a healthy fruit bowl. The children’s entrée includes tasty chicken goujons, sweetcorn, and potato wedges. Oh, and if you’re feeling fancy and travelling in Upper Class (the dream), there will be an additional entrée of creamy mac and cheese too.
To receive a Virgin Atlantic kids meal, you will need to request one in advance up to 24-hours before you fly. You can do this by calling the customer service centre (+44 344 874 7747) or online via My Booking portal. If you don’t order a kids meal, children with a booked seat will receive a regular in-flight meal, which can range from chicken and potatoes, cottage pie or curry.
I must confess, I always forget to reserve one and luckily, mine have never complained about the adult meals, but those with fussy eaters will probably get on better with the kid-friendly option (which is usually less messy too).
FUN FACT: Virgin Atlantic also serve ice lollies mid-flight for all passengers – big and little! My kids LOVED this.
Will I be seated with my family on Virgin Atlantic?
Speaking from a personal experience, I have never been seated separately from my children on a Virgin Atlantic flight. As a family, we once were seated as a three and a one (my seat was two rows in front of Simon and the kids) but it was a completely full flight and we booked quite late. Booking early does mean more available seats to choose from and you will almost certainly be able to sit together.
Once you have booked your tickets, you can log into the My Booking portal on virginatlantic.com and choose seats. Unless you have booked an Economy Light fare, most seats are free to select. You can pay extra for seats toward the front of the aircraft or with extra legroom and all this can be done online where you will be shown a seat plan.
The official policy on Virgin Atlantic’s website is that the airline will aim to seat families together. They describe it as being within ‘arm’s reach of an accompanying adult’. This can mean next to, across the aisle, in front or behind them. I fly Virgin at lot and I have always been seated next to my children, who are currently 3 and 6.
If you book an infant fare, your baby (2 and under) will be sitting on your lap. One adult can accompany a maximum of two infants, but be aware it’s only one baby per lap. If you are travelling solo with two children under two, you will have to book a seat for one infant (at a child fare) and they will need to travel in an airline-approved car seat that the cabin crew will secure to the aircraft seat. Some cabins (Premium and Upper Class) have seats that do not support children’s car seats, so check with Virgin before you book.
Can you reserve baby bassinets on Virgin Atlantic?
If you have an infant traveling with you, some rows on the aircraft will have a bassinet or sky cot that pulls down from the wall and you can secure your baby into it during the flight. However, these are not guaranteed. To request a bassinet or sky cot, you will need to contact Virgin Customer care or use the web messaging on My Booking to pre-book and they will be assigned subject to availability. When a sky cot/bassinet has been pre-booked, seat numbers will be assigned by the airport on the day of departure.
I think new parents will find flying long-haul far less stressful with a sky cot, so it’s worth phoning airlines to check cot/bassinet availability before you book your flight. For example, Virgin Atlantic operate two flights per day from London Heathrow to Orlando – you might find all the bassinets have been booked on the earlier flight, but there are some available on the second flight. If you are traveling on Virgin Atlantic with a baby, it’s well worth checking before you book.
RELATED POST: My tips on traveling long-haul with a baby
Do kids get luggage on Virgin Atlantic?
Unless you have booked an Economy Light fare (that does not include baggage), all passengers can check a 23kg suitcase. This includes lap-sitting babies, unless their accompanying adult is booked on an Economy Light fare. Passengers in Premium and Upper Class, including children with allocated seats, receive two checked bags per seat.
All seated passengers can bring on an in-flight cabin bag (maximum weight 10kg). Lap-sitting babies and toddlers (aged 0-23 months) are entitled to one small bag each for essentials like bottles, nappies and toys etc.
In addition to the suitcase allowance, if you are traveling on Virgin Atlantic with kids, you can bring a fully collapsible pushchair (which will be collected at the gate and placed in the hold) and a car seat for free. For ease, I recommend your pushchair or pram folds in one piece. If not, use a buggy bag like this one to keep your pushchair together and prevent it being damaged in the hold and check it in with your luggage free of charge.
Compact fold travel buggies like the GB Pockit) are permitted in the cabin and we always take ours with us because many airports require you to collect your pushchair at baggage claim, which means carrying tired and grumpy kids through the airport at customs!
What are the Virgin Atlantic kids’ movies like on board?
My kids loved the TV, movies and games on offer on our recent flight to Tampa! There was a choice of animated films, Disney and Marvel movies and familiar TV shows that they love, such as Bluey, Blippi and Paw Patrol. We always bring their own headphones and tablets, but they enjoyed switching between the two. All seats in economy are provided with in-fight headsets, a pillow and a blanket.
Why I always fly Virgin to Florida
For all of the reasons above, I always fly Virgin to Florida with my kids. For us, it’s part of the experience and they make flying long-haul as fun and as easy as possible for families. For more helpful blogs, check out our tips for flying with babies and toddlers, how to combat jetlag in babies and toddlers and what are our must-have essentials for travelling with kids. We also have lots of guides to booking a big family trip to Florida, including how much Disney World REALLY costs and where to go on the ultimate Florida road trip.
Find out more about the family services on Virgin Atlantic on virginatlantic.com
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