Olympics Update: Get Ready for Big Summer Crowds in London, Other Europe Cities

It was expected the London Summer Olympics would draw crowds, but news reports now show a huge 143 percent jump in passenger arrivals on July 26 – the day before opening ceremonies.

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This information comes from analysis by Amadeus, the bookings group which compared summer bookings to the same date in 2011. The airfare comparison site FareCompare has also noted a strong increase in London searches.

Who is Flying to London Olympics

The early bookers, according the report, are travelers from the U.S. – who increased their airline reservations to London by a whopping 82 percent over last year. In second place were the Germans.

Some ‘Delays and Frustration’ at Heathrow

London Heathrow airport officials say they have been planning for a surge in Olympic tourism for years and will bring in additional staff, but passengers are advised that airport delays and long lines may be part of their London travel experience in July and August and patience may be required.

Single Busiest Day for London Travel

The single busiest travel day at Heathrow is forecast to be Aug. 13 – the day after the games’ closing ceremonies – and airline passengers would be smart to avoid flying that day if at all possible.

But London won’t be the only place experiencing crowds.

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Other Europe Cities will See Crowds

Late July bookings are also picking up for cities in close rail distance of London, either overland or via the London-Paris chunnel and the latter include Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris.

Even if the Olympics are not on your must-see agenda – but you will be traveling in Europe during this period – expect higher prices and a certain amount of inconvenience whether you’re in or outside the UK.

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Published: March 6, 2012