U.S. fans at 2014 World Cup to see a lot of Brazil - from the air

Fri Dec 6, 2013 7:01pm EST
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By Brad Haynes

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The World Cup finals in Brazil next year may be as trying for United States soccer fans as it is for their team.

U.S. players learned on Friday they will face elite opponents Germany, Ghana and Portugal at the start of the tournament. The other bad news for fans? The venues hosting these matches mean long, expensive flights through some of the vast country's most overcrowded airports.

Far-flung games from the northeastern coast to the Amazon rainforest may force the U.S. team to fly about 9,000 miles in three round-trip flights between the matches and their training facility in Sao Paulo.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said the itinerary they are stuck with is "the worst of the worst."

Fans will also book some serious mileage if they want to catch the team's first three games. American demand for early ticket sales was the highest of any country outside Brazil, according to FIFA.

Brazil's outdated airports and restrictions on foreign airlines will only magnify the cost and inconvenience of air travel - the only reasonable option given the distances and the dilapidated roads available.

Two domestic flights between the first three U.S. matches could alone cost $1,000 or more, if travelers snap up the deals that websites offered on Friday.

But prices are already climbing.   Continued...

Aerial view of Cuiaba airport in extensive renovations November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker