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London Flight, Hotel Fares Surge Ahead Queen’s Funeral

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Hotel prices in London and airfares to the British capital are soaring as hundreds of thousands of people flock there ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday, potentially providing some respite to the city’s tourism business amid economic woes.

The death of the queen, 96, on Sept. 8 ended a 70-year run on the throne that made her Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and one of the world’s most recognisable faces as the only British monarch most living people have ever known.

Since the announcement of her death, the average rate for a hotel in London increased to $384 per night from $244 per night, according to Hayley Berg, lead economist at travel startup Hopper.

The rush for accommodation comes as members of the public visit the capital to pay their respects and foreign delegations arrive for the funeral on Sept. 19, with authorities preparing for a huge turnout.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to file past her coffin in a round-the-clock lying-in-state from Wednesday evening to early on the day of her funeral.

High-end hotels Claridge’s, the Connaught, The Dorchester, and the Berkeley in the upmarket Mayfair district were sold out for Sunday night, their websites showed.

Rates had breached 1,200 pounds ($1,388) for a five-star hotel on Monday and were expected to double in the next five days as the city’s hotel system reaches 95% occupancy levels, HotelPlanner said.

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