FLYING TO BULGARIA
From our personal experience with travelling from Britain we recommend Czech (CSA) Airlines and Lufthansa, as usually they offer the cheapest flights with excellent service. Also, Polish (Lot) Airlines, Air France and Austrian Airlines are very competitive. British Airways and Bulgarian Air are usually the most expensive!
For travelers from Ireland we recommend checking with Ryanair, who shortly are reputedly establishing a flight from Dublin to Plovdiv!
An alternative is to check seat only deals with the major Tour Operators such as Balkan Holidays
Low cost airlines
Bulgaria is confidently anticipating joining the EU in January 2007. With the EU Open Sky Policy several of the Low Cost airlines are expected to offer direct flights from the UK to Bulgaria. Until then these airlines are prohibited from having direct flights due to a bilateral agreement between a major UK and a Bulgarian airline!
FLIGHT INFORMATION FOR THE INDEPENDENT TRAVELLER
Whilst many holiday makers visit Bulgaria as part of a "package holiday" booked through a major Tour Operator, the availability and times of flights are limited and frequently are highly inconvenient. There is also the recurring problem with Aircraft Charter Companies used by Tour Operators of delayed and even cancelled flights.
There is a simple and relatively inexpensive alternative!
It is very easy to visit your local independent Travel Agent and ask them to book flights from the UK (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, London) to Bulgaria using regular National Airlines. Also, this can be done easily "on-line" using the many companies offering flight search facilities to find you the cheapest and most convenient flights. Here are just a few examples: expedia.co.uk; cheapflights.com; cheaponlineflights.co.uk; cheapestflights.co.uk; flightline.co.uk; airflights.co.uk; flightsdirect.com; flights4less.co.uk; flightcomparison.co.uk
Only British Airways and Bulgaria Air fly non-stop from the UK to Bulgaria (London to Sofia, Bulgaria). Several other airlines fly from the UK to Sofia, Bulgaria, but each requires a change of planes:
CSA (Czech Airlines) via Prague; Lufthansa via Frankfurt and Munich; Air France via Paris; LOT (Polish Airlines) via Warsaw; Austrian airlines via Vienna.
From Edinburgh and Manchester we highly recommend CSA (Czech Airlines - this is the one we prefer to use!), which usually has the lowest fares (£180 - £240 per person, depending on season) and provides superlative comfort and service. Importantly, Prague airport is small, rather like Edinburgh airport, and moving between planes is easy. Lufthansa is also highly recommended, it usually has similar fares to CSA, but Frankfurt airport is very large and can be intimidating for the less experienced traveler!
When flying with any of these airlines you simply "book in" at the appropriate departure airport in the UK. Your luggage will automatically be sent directly to your final destination i.e. Sofia. When you have to change planes in Prague or Frankfurt, etc., you simply walk off one plane, then usually have a short wait in the airport and then simply walk onto the next plane.
When you arrive in Sofia we, or one of our local friends who speaks English, will be waiting for you in the arrival hall of the airport to drive you to Banya. Your holiday begins here, as we will drive you, not on the main route to Bansko, but instead through picturesque valleys, past mountain lakes, perhaps show you a hot water geyser (the only one in Bulgaria) and finally you arrive at your apartment. This takes about 3 hours, and during this time, as we make friends, we can discuss with you what YOU, and not the Tour Operator, want to do and experience on YOUR holiday.
AIRPORT ARRIVAL INFORMATION Click here