OPTIMISTIC England football fans face paying hefty air fares if they want to book flights to see the World Cup final.

Supporters who believe the Three Lions will win their semi-final against Croatia are being charged huge sums to get to Moscow for Sunday (July 15).

British Airways and Aeroflot are the only two carriers who fly direct to the Russian capital from the UK, with departures from London Heathrow.

BA's Saturday flights are sold out and, although fans can travel out on Friday, only premium economy seats remain at a cost of £950.

The earliest direct flight home with spare seats is not until the following Wednesday, costing £621 in economy.

This leaves fans with a total bill of £1,571 – almost triple the cost of BA flights in economy one-week later.

Availability and prices may improve once England's place in the final is confirmed.

After the team secured their semi-final spot, BA shuffled its fleet to use larger Boeing 777 aircraft for Moscow flights ahead of Wednesday's match and similar arrangements will be made if England beat Croatia.

Russian flag carrier Aeroflot is offering Saturday departures, returning the following Wednesday, with only business class tickets available costing a total of £2,657.

Fans who want to book flights now but are unable to spend almost a week in Russia or afford four-figure sums have several options involving connecting flights.

Flight comparisons sites show a return trip departing from London Luton via Cyprus on Saturday evening and returning to London Gatwick via Belarus on Monday afternoon for around £550.