Football fans planning to travel to Brazil for the World Cup should book their flights now, as prices are expected to rocket after next week’s group stage draw
Football fans planning to travel to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup are being advised to book their flights now, as prices are expected to rise dramatically after next week’s group stage draw.
With venues spread out over an area the size of Europe, many fans are waiting to find out the location of the games before booking their flights to Brazil to avoid unnecessary internal travel.
Currently, direct flights to Brazil during June next year start at around £1,000-£1,200 return, however after the draw on 6 December prices are expected to rise rapidly as the cheaper seats are booked up, forcing some fans to pay full fare for economy seats – around £1,800-£2,000 – and leaving others no choice but to buy business class tickets, which could be well over £3,000.
“At present we can find flights to Rio and São Paulo for around £960,” says Chris Rendell-Dunn, flights reservation supervisor for tour operator Journey Latin America. “Flights to the northeast are more expensive at present, with average flight costing around £1,200. We did notice that after Portugal qualified last week, the price on TAP [the Portuguese airline] increased by £200-£300 in the space of a few days. Our advice is to book sooner rather than later as costs are likely to keep on increasing.”
Vicky Silver, who works in flights and operations for Veloso, another tour operator specialising in Latin America, says: “It depends on the route and the date, but flight prices could be 25% higher after the draw. It’s the same for internal flights.”
Chris Pickard, chairman of the Latin American Travel Association (Lata), says: “So far the price of flights to Brazil has actually stayed pretty much the same for that time of year, so the tip is to buy a trans-Atlantic ticket as soon as you can. Most international airlines will only take you to Rio or Sao Paulo, so you’ll probably have to get a connecting flight anyway.”
He adds: “The only exception to this is the Portuguese carrier, TAP, who are the only ones that fly directly to the regional airports in Brazil, so flying to Lisbon first could be an option. But because Portugal are in the World Cup too, these flights are also quite busy. Every country in Europe with a major airline that flies to Brazil has qualified. But TAP have 38 or more flights a week, so they have the most flights into Brazil.”
British Airways and TAM are the only carriers that offer direct flights from the UK to Brazil, with daily flights to São Paulo from London Heathrow. Air France also offer direct flights from Paris to Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo, and last month added a thrice-weekly flight from Charles de Gaulle airport to Brazil’s capital, Brasilia.
British Airways are expecting their flights to Rio de Janiero and São Paulo to be very busy during the World Cup but say they are currently looking at ways they may be able to increase the number of seats available. In June, lead-in fares for British Airways to Rio start from £927 return and to Sao Paulo from £963 return, including taxes.
Usually travellers in Brazil can save money by purchasing an airpass for domestic carrier TAM Airlines, which permits travel on a set number of flights with one fixed-price ticket. However, it has not yet been decided if these will be valid during the World Cup. Even if they are, there will be a very limited number of seats allocated for the deal.
The advice from Lata is for fans to also book their internal flights as soon as the group draw is announced. “There are lots of flights in Brazil every day, but it’s still worth buying in advance,” says Pickard. “There is also a very good intercity bus service – it’s very comfortable, but it may take two days to get between cities.”
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