London travel demand rises following Queen Elizabeth's death

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People visit Buckingham Palace to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II after her death.
People visit Buckingham Palace to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II after her death. Photo Credit: Ink Drop/Shutterstock

Interest in traveling to London has been on the rise following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, according to travel booking app Hopper (No. 11 on Travel Weekly's 2022 Power List).

Flight searches and bookings and demand for London-area hotel accommodations in the days leading up to the queen's funeral on Sept. 19 have sharply increased across Europe, the U.S. and Canada, with the most in-demand days of travel occurring between Thursday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 17.

U.S. demand for flights has risen 49% since the Sept. 8 announcement of the queen's death. London bookings have increased 38% from last week. 

France, Italy, and the Czech Republic are among the countries with the biggest spike in flight searches to London. Albania is the leader with a 730% jump.

HotelPlanner CEO Tim Hentschel said hotel bookings are expected to rise 32% over the next two weeks. 

"Prior to the queen's passing, U.K. hotel occupancy was about 10% below 2019 pre-pandemic levels," Hentschel said. "It's very likely that London hotels, and hotels in surrounding cities like Kent, will surpass 2019 occupancy and revenue levels."

Travelers bound for London should anticipate delays at the airports and on the roads. They are encouraged to use alternate routes as well take the train or ferry from continental Europe. 

Heathrow Airport said flight operations will be impacted on Sept. 14 as the queen's ceremonial procession moves from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall as well as over the weekend when moments of silence are observed and when the funeral is livestreamed across the country, including on airport screens. 

Heathrow has had a capacity limit of 100,000 passengers per day since July, which makes an increase in London travel demand particularly challenging.

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