Latest Travel Updates

Madagascar - Pneumonic and Bubonic Plague Outbreak

Virgin Holidays continues to monitor reports of an outbreak of pneumonic and bubonic plague (Plague) in Madagascar, a destination we currently do not sell or feature in any of Virgin Holidays tours or excursions from our African or Indian Ocean resorts.

Outbreaks of Plague are not uncommon in Madagascar and tend to occur during the rainy season. The latest outbreak risk for international travellers to Madagascar is said to be low-moderate.

Plague is an infectious disease and is transmitted by bites from infected fleas, direct contact, inhalation and ingestion. Symptoms include fever, chills and painful/swollen lymph nodes in the armpits, groin or neck, shortness of breath and cough.

You should always take insect bite avoidance measures when travelling to any tropical destination. Please refer to your Travelsmart leaflet on Manage My Booking.

If you are visiting Madagascar before onward travel to a Virgin Holidays destination, you can keep up to date with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel advice for your onward destination - where quarantine restrictions may apply - at

Updated – 6 November 2017


Carnival Fascination 

We have received information today that Carnival Cruise Line have been asked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support the relief and rebuilding efforts in the Caribbean following the devastation caused by the hurricanes in the last couple of months. As a result of this, the Carnival Fascination will be used to provide housing for relief workers in the US Virgin Islands and as a result, all sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico or Bridgetown, Barbados have been cancelled until February 2018.

The ship will enter dry-dock for refurbishment following this period and the first sailing in 2018 will commence on 18th February.

We will be contacting all our customers based on sail date to discuss options for amendments, and we are planning to speak to all customers within the next few days. We are expecting high call volumes over the next couple of days, so if you are impacted by the above cancellation, can we ask that you do not call on to our service team, as you will be contacted by one of our service consultants very shortly.

Updated – 12 October 2017


Riviera Maya, Mexico - Cyclospora

Virgin Holidays are aware of reports of holidaymakers returning from the Riviera Maya region of Mexico suffering from a sickness infection called Cyclospora.

Cyclospora is an infection transmitted through the consumption of contaminated food and drink. Although symptoms are often unpleasant, it doesn't usually pose a serious threat to health and can be easily treated using antibiotics. Given the short lifecycle of cyclospora, person-to-person transmission does not occur.

You can find more information on the following links:

If you have any questions you can contact our Customer Service Team on 0344 557 4321 for assistance.  

Updated – 21 July 2017


UK Ban On Electronic Hand Luggage

The UK Government has introduced additional security measures on all direct inbound flights to the UK from the following countries: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey. If your itinerary includes a direct flight originating from one of these countries to the UK, you will have to comply with the regulations. There are no restrictions on electrical items on flights from Dubai to London

Under the new arrangements, phones, laptops and tablets larger than 16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm will not be allowed in the cabin. Devices of this nature will need to be placed into hold luggage.

The aviation security measures brought in by the US and UK do not impact any Virgin Atlantic flights. Customers can continue to bring electrical items, such as phones, tablets and laptops on board the aircraft.

If you have any questions you can contact our Customer Service Team on 0344 557 4321 for assistance.

Updated – 22 March 2017


Virgin Atlantic - London Gatwick Terminal

From 25 January 2017, all Virgin Atlantic flights will operate from the North Terminal at London Gatwick Airport. As most Virgin Atlantic flights from Gatwick leave early in the morning, twilight check in and bag drop will continue to be offered, so you can avoid the airport queues and check in any luggage the night before.

As part of this exciting change, there will also be a brand new Clubhouse and V-room in the North Terminal from the 25th January 2017, where you can start your trip in style.

Updated – 17 January 2017


Customers who own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – please see the below message from Virgin Atlantic:

As a result of the emergency order issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Virgin Atlantic advises all customers who own or possess a Samsung Galaxy Note7 device that they will not be able to travel with it on any Virgin Atlantic flights – whether on their person, in carry-on baggage, or in checked baggage.

If airport staff observe that a customer is in possession of a Samsung Note7 device prior to boarding an aircraft, that customer will be denied boarding unless they can make arrangements for the device to be taken home or left with a family member. Customers should not pack the phones in their checked luggage.

This prohibition includes all Samsung Galaxy Note7 devices. The phones also cannot be shipped as air cargo. The ban will be effective from Saturday, 15th October, 2016, at noon Eastern Standard Time (ET).

Any passenger violating the ban may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines by the U.S Department of Transportation.

If you are due to fly with another carrier, please check with them before you travel.

Updated 16 October 2016


Virgin Atlantic Baggage Allowance – Sport Equipment

Virgin Atlantic have recently made some changes to their baggage policy. It means that, for bookings made on or after 31 August 2016, your sports baggage will be included in your overall checked baggage allowance. So:

  • You’ll be able to carry sports equipment (up to 23kg and 190 x 75 x 65cm) as part of your checked allowance.
  • One extra piece of sports equipment (up to 23kg and 190 x 75 x 65cm) will cost 65 GBP / 100 USD / 100 CAD.
  • If you want to bring any extra sports equipment in addition to the above, you’ll need to pay our standard excess charges, including oversize charges (where applicable).
  • There’s no change to our policy of charging for additional, overweight or oversize baggage.

For bookings made before 31 August 2016, our previous sports equipment policy will still apply: allowing one extra piece of sports equipment in addition to your checked baggage allowance.

Find out more about our sports baggage policy.

Updated - 13 September 2016


Maldives Entry Requirements

The entry requirements for the Maldives have recently changed. With immediate effect, your passport should now be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry into the Maldives.

Updated – 05 August 2016


Zika Virus - Information Update

We are continuing to monitor reports of cases of Zika in Virgin Holidays destinations. The virus spreads via the bite of an infected mosquito, and may produce mild symptoms for 2-7 days such as skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and headache. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.

Customers who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should speak to their healthcare provider for further advice if they are travelling to a destination where the Zika virus is present. Current advice is that pregnant women planning to travel should postpone non-essential travel to areas with active Zika Virus transmission until after pregnancy.

For the latest travel advice, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance by destination, please follow the links below:

Travel Health Pro - Zika Virus 
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Any Virgin Holidays customers who are pregnant have the option to amend or cancel their booking free of charge. Passengers in the UK who are due to depart can contact our Customer Service Team on 0344 557 4321 for assistance.

If you are currently in resort and have any concerns, our resort teams are contactable 24 hours a day and numbers are available under Customer Support on our website.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates where necessary.

Updated – 2 November 2016


Passport Requirements for the USA

Travel under the Visa Waiver program (ESTA) is restricted to travellers possessing passports with specified security features. Visa Waiver Program requirements are: 

The passport must have a machine-readable zone on the biographic page

The passport must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. 

As of April 1, 2016, all travellers must have an e-Passport to use the VWP. An e-Passport, denoted by a symbol on the front of your passport, is an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip. E-Passports are issued by the proper passport issuing authority and must meet international standards for securing and storing information corresponding to the passport and bearer. 


Seaweed in areas of Mexico and the Caribbean

Please note that some areas of the Caribbean and Mexico are occasionally being affected by an increased level of seaweed. This is an unusual natural occurrence and is changing on a regular basis with the currents. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully, but please be assured that any hotels which are affected, are working hard to remove the seaweed as quickly as possible to ensure the enjoyment of your holiday.


Virgin Atlantic seat requests

Virgin Atlantic have made some changes to the way you can request seats with them. Please take a look here for more details.


South Africa – Revised Immigration Rules when travelling with children (Under 18 years)

The new immigration rules for South Africa relating to travelling with children under the age of 18 comes into effect from 1st June 2015.

From 1st June 2015, parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child's unabridged (full) birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, parental or legal consent for the child to travel (e.g. an affidavit from the other parent, a court order or – if applicable – a death certificate).

You should travel with these documents in case you're asked to provide them.

There are other requirements for children travelling unaccompanied or with adults who are not their parents. For more information, contact the South African High Commission or the South African Department of Home Affairs.

If you would like to find out more, you can get the latest information from the Foreign Office by clicking here

ESTA - Electronic System for Travel Authorization

It's mandatory for everyone travelling to or transferring through the US, under the Visa Waiver Program, to obtain approval to travel no later than 72 hours prior to travel by completing an online process ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) scheme.

Failure to obtain an ESTA could result in the passenger being denied boarding by the airline.

The cost of an ESTA is currently approx $14 per person and can be obtained by visiting Once completed & approved, the ESTA application is valid for two years and allows multiple visits without the need to reapply – simply update your details on the same website. Travelers can apply for an ESTA even if they have no firm plans to travel to the US.

An ESTA is only valid for stays of 90 days or less.

If you need any further information on the ESTA or you have any other visa queries, then try the Visit USA Website at where further information on the scheme and up to date fee can also be found.

The ESTA is very similar to the automated visa that you purchase to enter Australia and is completely paperless