CELTIC fans will have to break the bank if they want to fly to Italy to watch their team take on Juventus in their next Championship League away game.

Living the European dream will cost them hundreds of pounds in air fares and the chances are they will be forced to hop from one plane to another.

Joining the elite of Euro football comes at a price for Celtic fans after the Old Firm club achieved the impossible and beat Barcelona at Parkhead to take them into the knock-out stages of the competition.

Now through to the last 16, Celtic want to progress further but first have to dump Italian giants Juventus.

Thousands of Parkhead supporters are expected to jet out of Glasgow when the game is played in March in Turin.

Charter flights are expected to be laid on, with tour operators arranging packages combining accommodation and flight tickets.

But those who want to make their own way face a long and expensive journey.

Just two airlines will fly fans out of Glasgow to Turin, but neither offers direct flights.

Air France will take supporters on a long haul, with the cheapest return ticket costing almost £500.

Flybe – on behalf of Air France – will take supporters from Glasgow to Cardiff and then on to Paris Charles De Gaulle, where they will have to board another plane to complete the journey to Turin.

Because of the flight times, Celtic fans will need to set off the day before the match – it's due to be played on Wednesday, March 6 – and won't be able to head home until the day after the game.

And if they can put up with the journey they can probably put up with the price. The cheapest fare comes in at £489.14, while the dearest seat in economy class costs a budget-busting £1024.64.

The other airline flying south is British Airways. It offers a shorter journey and cheaper fares.

But fans will have to fly from Glasgow to London Gatwick to get a connecting flight to the Italian city. Return flights start from £167.94, rising to a maximum £630.

A BA spokesman said: "Every route is operated on a supply and demand basis. As demand increases there is less supply and the price goes up."

Airlines are desperate to encourage early bookings and will make a number of seats available at the lowest price.

But once sold, more expensive batches of seats will become available until the maximum price is reached.

A spokesman said: "That's why you often get two passengers who have paid different prices for the same tickets."

Scores of supporters are also expected to use online travel and flight search engines in the hope of finding cheap deals, while it's thought others could opt to fly to France and then catch trains or buses over the border to the Northern Italian city.

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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