Bulgaria scraps pet fees for Ukrainian refugees

Bulgaria Air offers all Ukrainian refugees currently fleeing war but who do not wish to leave their precious pets behind – a special act of kindness. The airline will waive all charges for carrying pets on its scheduled direct flights – as long as passengers hold a Ukrainian passport or refugee card.

By this gesture towards the less fortunate, Bulgaria Air undoubtedly proves the exact meaning of the motto of its animal transport services:


“Because we know they are part of your family”

no one left behind

The national carrier chooses to recognize that pets are like humans and are an integral part of every family. However, transporting pets requires a great deal of extra care in handling and controlling the aircraft load – which is why several airlines tend to charge higher fees and have strict policies for pets. transportation of animals.

Unfortunately, these obstacles have made transporting their beloved pets quite unbearable for refugees, especially in countries like Germany, Poland and Romania. Several refugees have had to either completely abandon their pets as they attempt to flee, or choose not to flee at all. This is why the European Commission has called on Member States to facilitate procedures for the safe transport of pets.

Bulgarian-Air-Embraer ERJ-190

Bulgaria Air has been known for years for its hospitality towards animals in flight. Photo: Getty Images

In addition, the Humane Society International – an international non-governmental animal protection organization – had also called on not only airlines but various other transport companies to provide better transport for pets of refugees from Ukraine, as the Director Europe Division executive, Ruud Tombrock, mentioned:

“Over the past few weeks, HSI/Europe has contacted 75 transport companies to ask them to do everything in their power and resources to facilitate the access of pets on planes and buses. No one should be separated from their beloved four-legged friend, especially in times of crisis. »

Free flights for pets

As a flag carrier known for its hospitality to animals in flight, it’s no surprise that Bulgaria Air chose to step in, as expressed by Bulgaria Air’s Executive Director, Hristo Todorov:

“Bulgaria Air has always had a very serious corporate social responsibility towards various causes, so it is no surprise to anyone that even in a serious situation like the current situation, we are reaching out again, giving a reason to smile to hundreds of people fleeing war.”

The Kind Gesture to Ukrainian Refugees will be available until the end of July, and Bulgaria Air will continue to offer its pet transportation services to all of its other passengers at current prices.

Bulgaria Air_Pets_Ukraine

The carriage of dogs and cats in the passenger cabin is possible if the animal weighs up to 8 kg and is traveling in a cage. Photo: Bulgaria Air

According to the airline, there is no weight limit for dogs and cats transported in the hold. However, specific sizes must be transported in a crate, or a transport container of exact dimensions must also be marked, at least three months old and vaccinated against rabies.

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Humanitarian effort

Currently, Bulgaria Air is the first and only airline to waive travel costs for Ukrainian refugees – as Rudd applauded:

“We commend Bulgaria Air for being one of the first airlines to offer free transportation for pets of Ukrainian refugees. Transportation restrictions for pets can be an additional hurdle on the long journey to safety refugees who consider their cats, dogs or other pets as members of the family and refuse to leave them behind.”

In these uncertain times of war and other international crises, it is heartening to see a national carrier stepping up to help those in need with such a gesture.

Hopefully more refugees and their pets can evacuate safely during these difficult times. And hopefully more airlines will eventually step in as well and make transporting animals a little more affordable for those who need it.

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