When travelling for business most corporate travellers are happy to be as far away from infants as possible, but most of them also travel with their families and will acknowledge the significant impact of Virgin Australia’s decision to offer a dedicated allowance for all infants. It could actually be described as a seismic industry change with the airline thought to be among the first major commercial operators to change the luggage rules for babies, certainly the first in Australia.
Currently, babies travel on the lap of a parent or guardian and therefore are not entitled to have a checked baggage allowance. But now, parents travelling with a child under 23-months old on any Virgin Australia operated flight can check in an additional 23 kilogram bag, free of charge. The change also means travelling families can bring along two special infant items, such as a pram, car seat, cot, or baby capsule, each most also weight less than 23 kilograms.
The new policy, which spreads across domestic, international short haul and international long haul routes will be applauded by parents who have previously been forced to squeeze baby’s wardrobe into their own suitcase, or pay pricey excess baggage fees to bring along a dedicated bag.
Adults travelling with infants will also be entitled to take an additional 7 kilogram carry-on baggage free of charge for essential baby products, including, but are not limited to baby milk, including breast milk; sterilised water; juice; baby food in liquid, gel or paste form; disposable wipes; nappies etc.
Oh baby, don’t we have some sweet news for you! Our smallest flyers now have their very own baggage allowance. Parents travelling with a baby up to 23 months old can check in an extra bag in addition to two special infant items! 🍼👶 #BabyGotBag pic.twitter.com/o8YHAXyHnS
— Virgin Australia (@VirginAustralia) August 14, 2019
Virgin Australia believes the move, the latest in a range of initiatives, will make travelling as stress-free as possible for families and will help attract customers.
“We want to be the airline of choice for travelling families and we’re proud to be the only carrier in Australia to recognise that travelling with an infant sometimes means packing far more than usual,” explains Paul Woosnam, general manager of ground operations at Virgin Australia.
“We know travelling with an infant can be incredibly stressful and we’re pleased to make that journey a little more effortless by introducing an infant baggage allowance on domestic and international flights,” he adds.
The announcement comes just a day after Virgin Australia confirmed details of its new project to help nervous flyers. which will see them receive extra support ahead of and during the flight, provided they inform the airline ahead of time.
Through the programme, Virgin Australia says nervous flyers will receive a personalised email a week before they travel with some inflight wellbeing tips from its expert health and wellness partners, and a behind-the-scenes look at some technical aspects of the airline’s operations. This will be followed on the day of the flight by a positive affirmation text message from the airline and inflight wellness and meditations on inflight entertainment and special attention from cabin crew during travel.
Even the most regular of travellers can suffer some level of anxiety when flying. “Our research tells us more than 11% of our guests experience high levels of nervousness about travelling, and that they want information and support to help them through their next flight,” says Stuart Aggs, acting chief operations officer at Virgin Australia.
“The Nervous Flyers program allows us to connect with our passengers throughout a number of touchpoints during their journey. Whether it’s sharing breathing techniques from one of our expert partners or a video to help put passengers at ease about turbulence, we want our guests to know we care and we’re here to support them,” he adds.