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Bulgaria guarantees compensations of up to EUR 600 to air travelers

Date: 15.02.2006

New rules for protection of air passengers in Bulgaria will guarantee compensation to all air travelers who find themselves bumped when flights are overbooked, delayed or canceled without good reason.

This is envisaged by a draft decree for passengers' compensations of Transport Minister Petar Mutafchiev, which has been put up for debate. The compensation measures apply to all flights, operated by Bulgarian or European airlines to or from any Bulgarian airport.

Passengers can demand compensation of EUR 400 when the length of the flight ranges from 1500 to 3500 kilometers.

In the case of flights under 1500 kilometers, passengers will be entitled to EUR 250 refund if the delay is two hours or more or the flight is canceled The compensation measure will be applied when passengers with valid tickets are bumped.

Should the length of the flight exceed 3500 kilometers, compensation to passengers will amount to EUR 600 in case of delays of over four hours or canceled flights.

The refund can be reduced by a half when the passenger if offered a different route aboard another plane or airline, whose arrival is delayed by two hours in comparison with the initial flight in destinations of up to 1500 kilometers, three hours for flights from 1500 to 3500 kilometers and fours for flights of over 3500 kilometers.

The new regulations entitle passengers to a 30% ticket refund if they are offered a lower class on an alternative flight of length of up to 1500 kilometers. The refund increases up to 50% and 75% of the ticket price when the flight is up to 3500 kilometers and over 3500 kilometers respectively.

The airlines may, under certain circumstances, have to foot the bill for accommodation at a two-star hotel at least.

Similar measures took effect EU-wide on February 17 last year, said to be the harshest measures introduced in the world ever.

At the beginning of February Oxford economist David Harbord became the first person to win a case against an airline under the new European flight regulations. David Harbord had booked to fly with Thomas Cook Airlines (TCA) from London to Vancouver on August 5 last year. When his flight was canceled, he declined TCA's invitation to join fellow passengers on a coach transfer to Manchester for a flight the following day. Instead, he booked with a different airline.

Sofia News Agency

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