2014 FIFA World Cup Fans 'Left Stranded' as Airports Close Due to Fog

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By Christine Jane Caparras | June 18, 2014 6:03 PM EST

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has started with several issues and fears due to strikes staged by metro and public transport workers.


Surfers interact at Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro June 5, 2014. Rio de Janeiro, with its white beaches, blue ocean and jungle-covered mountains, is still the place that comes to mind when people think of Brazil. Soccer fans coming to Rio for the World Cup will be too late for the city's famed Carnival bash, but they'll also miss the energy-sapping Southern Hemisphere summer heat. By all means visit tourist favorites such as Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) and the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado, but here are places that locals enjoy, too. Despite its party reputation, Rio is also a daytime city. Obsessed with health and good looks, many Cariocas, as the locals are known, work hard to keep tan and fit. The beach is best at late morning and late afternoon. The most popular spots are between Posto 7 and Posto 10 in Ipanema.Each posto is a lifeguard station whose number serves as a beach address. Picture taken on June 5, 2014. To match story TRAVEL-RIO/ REUTERS/Sergio Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP TRAVEL SOCIETY)

While operations resume in the affected cities and transportation is not paralyzed due to the strikes, a different form of mobility issue is plaguing Brazil and its World Cup fans.

Prior to Brazil's second match against Mexico, flight to and from Rio de Janeiro were interrupted due to fog. About 12 cities were involved in the ongoing games. Brazil, being the largest country in the southern hemisphere, smooth air travel is a crucial part of ensuring the success of the games.

Rio's Santos Dumont airport was closed due to the fog and low visibility brought about by bad weather. This resulted in leaving hundreds of fans stranded as they attempted to make their way to the games. Almost a third of the day's flights were canceled.

The airport eventually reopened with 27 of 63 departures canceled by 11 a.m. Hundreds of fans were unable to watch the games. The same problem occurred in the southern city of Curitiba where 50 percent of flights were delayed.

With games taking place on a daily basis and fans having to shuffle through the country while following their teams, crucial planning needed to be done and with hundreds of travelers stranded or delayed. The flight issues have also resulted in hotel hassles with fans needing to extend or cancel reservations as they try to get back to their planned itineraries.

Some fans are in Brazil only to watch a single match while many of them have missed these matches because of the delays and putting thousands of dollars to waste. One fan, Sofiane Bekhe, spoke to Reuters about his predicament. He's an Algerian who flew to Brazil all the way from his home in Paris. He got stuck in Rio while his team played against Belgium, the one match that he had tickets for.

"I paid 6,000 euros ($8,200) to come to Brazil and I can't see the game. I've been in Brazil three days and I just want to go home." he lamented.

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Surfers interact at Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro June 5, 2014. Rio de Janeiro, with its white beaches, blue ocean and jungle-covered mountains, is still the place that comes to mind when people think of Brazil. Soccer fans coming to Rio for the World Cup will be too late for the city's famed Carnival bash, but they'll also miss the energy-sapping Southern Hemisphere summer heat. By all means visit tourist favorites such as Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) and the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado, but here are places that locals enjoy, too. Despite its party reputation, Rio is also a daytime city. Obsessed with health and good looks, many Cariocas, as the locals are known, work hard to keep tan and fit. The beach is best at late morning and late afternoon. The most popular spots are between Posto 7 and Posto 10 in Ipanema.Each posto is a lifeguard station whose number serves as a beach address. Picture taken on June 5, 2014. To match story TRAVEL-RIO/ REUTERS/Sergio Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP TRAVEL SOCIETY)
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