NEW YORK, March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Thinking of jetting off to London last-minute to catch this summer's Olympic Games? Think again. With the city bracing itself for a tourist tsunami, latecomers can expect little flexibility from airports, hotels, and car services that are already stretched to the max. Officials from the London Olympic Committee are strongly urging visitors to plan their trips now.
The sheer numbers back them up: the city is expecting 9 million visitors to flood streets that offer only 100,000 hotel rooms. And the travel bottleneck promises even greater headaches. This week, the Associated Press reported that four leading airlines have warned of an air-traffic surge that could cause chaos at the city's hub airports, making re-bookings difficult and new bookings virtually impossible, even for private flyers.
Phil Mathews, President of Air Partner, leading air charter company specializing in travel to the Olympic Games, says, "We're rapidly approaching the 100-day mark before the Games' opening ceremonies, but visitors still think they have time to spare. They don't. The one message we're trying to convey is book now and plan your trip down to the most minute detail."
Based in both the U.S. and the UK, Air Partner is a valuable resource for travel to London this summer. To help tourists make sure they get to the Games -- and have a great time once they get there -- Air Partner offers these tips:
1) Book Now. Every day you wait makes it less likely you'll be there for your favorite event. Affordable commercial seats are drying up, and rigorous pre-determined flight bookings mean limited slots for private aircraft. Last minute changes and/or bookings could result in your flight plan being rejected by airport or military authorities.
2) Use Public Transportation. In a jam-packed city, knowing the right route can save you hours in travel time, especially for those flying into regional airports rather than the hubs (Heathrow and Gatwick). Air Partner has identified the most convenient public transportation routes from the airport to your Olympic venue or accommodation.
3) Consider Hotel Alternatives. Limited lodgings necessitate creative thinking. Travelers struggling to find accommodation should consider outside-the-box options like camping or apartment stays. Local university halls are being made available as extra space and outside the city, VisitBritain.com lists an additional 27,000 room options across the UK.
4) Make it a Hiking Trip. London hopes to have 100 percent of spectators make it to the events by public transportation, cycling, or walking. Helpful tools such as the London 2012 Spectator Journey planner will show you the best ways to get to the Olympic venues from your lodgings.
5) Take Advantage of Free. For those who can't get tickets, free events such as the marathon begin and end on The Mall and big screens displaying live coverage will be set up in Hyde Park, Victoria Park, and Potters Field Park.
6) Plan, Plan, Plan. Opportunities such as city tours and show tickets sell out fast, so look into offers like the London Pass and other special events that are featured at the same time (London 2012 Festival).
The message is clear: London may be calling, but wait too long to pick up and you'll miss out. Book your trip today.
For rolling updates from Air Partner as you plan, follow @APOlympicEnvoy on Twitter.
CONTACT: Erin O'Neil PH: 212-431-1470
SOURCE Air Partner