Sofia Airport

Customer Reviews

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Terminal Seating 12345
Terminal Cleanliness 12345
Queuing Times 12345
Customer rating from 44 reviews
4/10
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3/10

Sofia Airport customer review

Used Sofia this week and the new terminal made a favourable impression. On arrival there was no line at immigration and having no luggage I was on the street within about 10 minutes of touch-down before the person collecting me had turned up. On departure arrived at the airport at 6:05 am for a 07:10 departure had accomplished check-in security and immigration with 10 minutes. The airport terminal is a bit spartan and there are still very few outlets. I was given access to the "business lounge" which looks like it was designed by EasyJet (it's all in bright orange too!). All access to and from planes seems to be by bus. There are finger docks but they don't seem to be in service at all and most of the planes are parked at remote gates. The one plane parked in front of a finger dock wasn't attached to it. The toilets looked as though they hadn't been cleaned in a long time but overall the airport gave a generally professional impression.
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Sofia Airport customer review

The new terminal is now open and some of the airlines are using this facility. The building is brand new very spacious. Some of the shops and restaurants are not opened yet but this airport is miles better than the old one.
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Sofia Airport customer review

Being a Bulgarian native I fly into and out of SOF on a regular basis. The old building cannot possibly handle the increasing passenger traffic and the launch of the new shiny terminal is being posponed since November of 2005 until present day. SOF has the unfriendliest check-in staff in Europe and the United States (New York excluded). Make sure you check the weight of your luggage carefuly before leaving for the airport and distribute the luggage evenly in your bags. I was made to remove stuff out of my 55-pound suitcase and put it in my 35 pound one at the check-in desk in front of the entire line or else threatened with an excess luggage charge. Early mornings turn SOF's departure hall into a zoo since a few carriers (LH OS AZ BA) have flights departing between 6 and 8AM carrying primarily connecting passengers for long-haul flights out of the major hubs in Europe. The airlines usually send their planes to arrive in Sofia late on the previous evening so that they can depart early in the morning. On several occasions however due to technical problems at SOF (the explanation given when that actually happened to me was that the lighting system on the runway was out of commission) said planes never make it to SOF in the first place. So it is a good idea to check with your airline the night before your departure to ensure your plane had safely landed. Bar on the second floor (departure hall) is way too overpriced - they charge EUR3.50 for a beer with an average price in the city for the same brand of about EUR1. Security and passport control are usually smooth and once on the airside a visit to the duty free shop is a must since it still offers the lowest prices of tobacco and liquor in the world (A carton of Marlboros costs EUR 15.00!!!) Transfer to the planes is by bus and the boarding procedure is nonexistent since everyone is trying to cram on the plane at the same time. Bulgarians are very skilled in running and pushing people around so even if you are the last one to board the bus that is the first one to get off the bus and climb the stair onto the plane there is no guarantee that you won't be overrun by the crowd. Overall the airport is inadequate for a capital city hopefully the new terminal will soon change the gateway to my home country.
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Sofia Airport customer review

Sofia Airport is easily one of the worst airports I have used. Avoid planes arriving during the day especially in the early afternoon as there are 7 or 8 planes landing at the same time resulting in chaos and traveller misery. Before arrival: Prepare for small planes full of people who carry all their baggage onboard. If you get on the plane late there won't be place in the overhead compartments for your stuff. If possible ask the flight attendant for a seat close to the exit. If you don't fly business and are on a plane with an aft door get a seat near the aft door. The locals flying on the plane spontaneously burst in applause on touch-down; it beats me why given what awaits you after landing. Arrival: Getting off the plane: Passengers are required to get off the plane and board a bus to the terminal building. Bring an umbrella and water-proof shoes in case of bad weather because the buses stop away from the plane and the terminal building; and jumping over large pools of water is how you get to the bus/terminal. Try to get on the second bus because it stops in front of the passport control booths that work better. Passport control: Sit on the right side of the bus near the door and be ready to run for the passport control booth. Avoid control booths after #3 (my experience is they tend to work slower than #1 to #3 and that the queues there are even less ordered than those in the first three. Boot #1 is the crew priority booth and if several planes land at the same time you may wait a long time before the crews get checked. Booths are numbered 1 to maybe 8 the last four or five seem always closed numbers run from right to left. Queuing is quite chaotic so be prepared to be pushed especially by the locals to have people get in the line in front of you etc. etc. Be prepared that the passport control official may go out of the booth at any time for a cup of coffee or a cigarette and that he/she isn't answerable polite or anything. Except for crews there are no priority lines; flying business into or outside of Sofia is generally quite pointless as there is almost no difference in the way business passengers are treated by the staff. Don't expect announcements of any kind. You're supposed to know what you're doing anyway right? The luggage: there is random wait for the luggage. In bad weather the bags come in wet and dirty. I have not had problems with lost baggage so I can't comment on that. The customs: Very convenient. At night there are usually one or two sleepy people there who try to ignore the passengers. During the day there are more people but I have never been asked for anything. The arrival hall: Another nightmare. Usually full of people who seem to have little or no buisness there and get in the way of the folks with bags. Since the arrival hall is small it is over quickly. Ignore the people who come to you and in broken English offer you a taxi ride. Fare to the city: go to the counter of OK Supertrans taxi in the right corner of the arrival hall and have someone to get a cab for you and come with you to the car. Once I was refused a booked ride by one of the drivers because my bags were "too big". The fare is (Nov. 2005) around 25 eurocents a kilometer; a fare to the city center is about 6-8 leva. Before departure: again avoid daytime flights. Early morning flights are early but arrival check-in security passport control and boarding are a breeze. Arrive about one hour before boarding and double the time if you travel daytime. A traffic jam develops around 2:30pm because of all the people who come to the airport to greet arriving passengers and that you may wait for up to 15-20 minutes on the last kilometre of the road to the airport. Check-in: there is no advantage in flying business on check-in. There is a serious advantage in early arrival. The people on the check-in speak some English but are generally grumpy and unhelpful. Make sure you've got the seating you asked for because the planes are usually crowded. Security control: this is a nightmare about as bad as the passport control on the way in. There are two checkpoints and no matter how many people are queued up usually only one is in operation. The queue usually goes halfway into the departure hall in front of the check-in counters - undoubtedly very convenient for everyone. Prepare for a long wait here during daytime. Passport control: usually easy the bottleneck is the security check. Boarding: board the bus last and stand on the right side. Getting on the plane: Try to get first in order to avoid full compartments.
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